UFC 230: What happens next?

By Matty McClure

Originally, the UFC 230 card looked like the UFC’s first weight-class tournament with four middleweight fights all on the main card. Some fighters pulled out and brought that number down to three in the end, but it has shaken up the division like never before.

Before we talk middleweight, however, we must mention Daniel Cormier and he said it best himself: “Brock Lesnar, when you come, bring that brand-new WWE title, I feel like being a WWE champion too.” Lesnar is eligible to fight from January 8 2019 onwards, after entering the US Anti-Doping Agency testing pool 6 months ago, and you can be sure that Cormier will be his first fight for the heavyweight title. This will most likely be the double champ’s retirement fight, as he has always planned on retiring on his 40th birthday in March 2019.

The next big talking point from this card is Chris Weidman; a huge name in MMA who now finds himself in fight-limbo after being punched unconscious at the hands of Ronaldo Souza. Former middleweight champion who dethroned the great Anderson Silva and defended that title three times, is now 1-4 in his last five fights with only one win since early 2015. He won’t get a fight in the top five now as they have all either beaten him or been booked for another fight; the only possibilities would be Derek Brunson, David Branch, or an upcoming prospect.

Following on from Weidman, we have Israel Adesanya. ‘The Last Stylebender’ demolished Derek Brunson with his wide skill set in stand-up fighting, so he will most definitely be looking for a top five fighter. Yoel Romero may be a longshot as he is most likely waiting for the winner of Whittaker vs Gastelum in early 2019, but Rockhold and Weidman are both available. Another possible opponent, who will be Adesanya’s biggest test yet, is Souza.

Souza is on a resurgence for the middleweight title after suffering a setback in a split decision to Kelvin Gastelum, who is booked to fight champion Robert Whittaker. He knocked out Weidman this weekend in spectacular fashion which will result in him moving up to the top four rankings. If he doesn’t have his eye on derailing the Adesanya hype-train, he should most definitely push for a war with number one contender Yoel Romero, who is currently available.

The middleweight division was torn apart after Georges St. Pierre won and then vacated the belt instantly last year on his return. This recent overhaul of the division has opened up many exciting, possible fights for all top ten contenders.

Edited by Ben Knapton

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