UFC 189 delivered, and delivered in a big way.

The role out of Reebok deal, the new production, and the greatest main card performances we have ever seen culminated to provide fans with quite possibly the greatest event of all time. The main event of the prelims even delivered. The bar was UFC 100, and there will be fans and pundits that will cling to that event as being the greatest of all time. Regardless of where you place this event in the history books you woke up on Sunday morning feeling a lot better about the future of the sport.

In life it’s great to have something to look forward to. The same is true in sports, especially in a combat sports-entertainment business. There have been a lot of recent set backs in MMA that seemed like they could cause the sport to regress. That fear has been somewhat eleviated by the UFC and the fighters performances on Saturday night. Some of the work has already been done for Joe Silva and Sean Shelby, but they still have their work cut out for them as always. Here are my picks for the match ups to make following UFC 189.

Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo
This isn’t even  up for discussion. McGregor is now the interim champion and once Aldo is healthy the UFC is going to have them unify in Las Vegas. UFC 189 was record breaking, and the Aldo vs. McGregor fight will be even bigger. One factor that is going to play a major role in whether this fight even happens is if Aldo can get down to featherweight without an I.V. The fighters are allowed to use I.V.’s to rehydrate until October. The same time that Aldo says he will be able to start training again.

Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks (or GSP)
This fight is the only one that really makes sense. If Georges St-Pierre returns it would change everything though. Hendricks and Lawler have each defeated each other once before, and it’s a bit soon for the trilogy, but if G.S.P. doesn’t come back it’s the only fight to make. One would think the USADA partnership would satisfy St-Pierre’s concerns around p.e.d.’s and Lawler has defeated Rory twice now. Lawler and St-Pierre is the preferred match up at this time.

Jeremy Stephens vs. Ricardo Lamas
Stephens is coming off of the biggest win of his career. He defeated the current champion, Raphael Dos Anjos back in 2008, but that was a very different time. With a big win over Dennis Bermudez he needs to take a step up in competition. Ricardo Lamas lost to Chad Mendes back in April, but he has been in the top five for a long time. The fight would determine if Lamas is still a viable contender, and it would also help to show whether or not Stephens can continue to improve.

Gunnar Nelson vs. Dong Hyun Kim 
The welterweight division is pretty deep. Gunnar Nelson shares the Irish support because he trains with S.B.G.. His only loss is to Rick Story, and in every other fight he has looked dominant. Dong Hyun Kim is in a similar position. In the past two years he has only been defeated once, and that was by Tyron Woodley. This fight could easily headline a UFC Fight Pass card. If they chose to put them on Fight Pass it would satisfy existing subscribers, and bring in new ones. If this scenario plays out it should be held in Europe or South Korea.

Thomas Almeida vs. Dustin Ortiz
Thomas Almeida has really made a name for himself in a short period of time. He has fought three times since November and won every time. In his last two he displayed devastating knock out power. Against UFC 189 he was a heavy favorite, but Brad Pickett came out and looked better than he had in a while. He was landing big shots and hurting Almeida. Ultimately, Almeida landed a huge knee that knocked Pickett into the next dimension. Ortiz carries a decent ranking in the division, and w’s over some good names. He has won three out of his five UFC fights, but two of them were split decisions. He needs to prove himself and Almeida would be a good test. If Almeida wins it would move him into the rankings.


About The Author

Michael Davis
Director, Business Development/Senior Staff Writer

Michael Davis is a seasoned professional in the world of finance. In recent years, he has worked for Fortune 500 companies and consulted at one of the largest hedge funds in the world. After working closely with a mixed martial arts management company, he realized he could apply his skills to the sport he loved. The culmination of his professional experience and passion for MMA have led him to his role as Senior Staff Writer and Director of Business Development at The MMA Corner.