We’ve already established that there was plenty of winning going on at UFC 218. You can read all about that right here. Little Caesars Arena was also chock full of losers on Saturday night in Detroit.
I was able to witness an older drunken fella wearing a suit coat with a Chris Weidman tee-shirt under it—whom my brother described as having ‘dead eyes’—punching a handicapped kid in the head. During the third round of Henry Cejudo versus Sergio Pettis, we also got to see a crazed woman getting punched by a kid after said kid had to witness his mother being swung at by crazed woman—family first—am I right? Luckily for Cejudo and Pettis, the fans still got to see a fight during their competition.
These were just some examples of the kind of losing that was happening in the crowd on this night. As far as the Jose Aldo’s and Justin Gaethje’s of the world go, their losses appear on paper only. Every single one of the men and women on this card gave everything they had on what turned out to be a highly entertaining and important card in the grand scheme of today’s UFC. Let’s take a look at what could be next for the fighters who weren’t able to get into the win column at UFC 218.
The proverbial torch has been passed from Aldo to Max Holloway which means that the ‘Blessed Era’ is in full swing. But what does that mean for the former 2-time featherweight king?
Aldo is a future first ballot Hall of Famer and a Brazilian mixed martial arts legend. If he chose to hang up his gloves tomorrow, that simply does not change. In this sport, there’s always the “next” guy—even Holloway will find that out one day.
Before he was called upon to fill in for Frankie Edgar at UFC 218, Aldo was scheduled to fight Ricardo Lamas in Winnipeg on December 15th. Lamas will now take on Team Alpa-Male product Josh Emmett, who was tapped as a late replacement.
The fight I like for Aldo is a rematch of that 8-second classic from 2009 against Cub Swanson. Just like Aldo deserves an eventual rematch against Conor McGregor sometime down the line, this UFC fan favorite deserves another crack at Aldo. Whether he wins or loses against Brian Ortega next week in Fresno, Aldo versus Swanson II is a five round main event that should be booked to headline a Fight Night show sometime next spring.
Like Aldo, Alistair Overeem is another true legend of the sport that has seen better days. Unlike Aldo, he’s been knocked out over a dozen times. I don’t believe it’s anyone’s place to tell a fighter to retire. Let me just say that it’s never a bad idea when you survive a knockout like the one he did in Detroit at UFC 218.
Overeem has fought everyone who is anyone in the division. He’s held titles everywhere but the UFC and he actually has fought 13 times for the promotion, which is plenty more than I think anyone thought he would. If he does fight again, and he probably will, a battle against a returning Cain Velasquez would answer a lot of questions for both men.
There’s no shame in being out wrestler by an Olympic level competitor like Henry Cejudo. If Pettis learned one thing during this fight it’s that it didn’t feel so good. Now, he gets to go back to the drawing board to figure out what he needs to work on in Milwaukee to take that all important next step so he can get right back into the thick of things. A fight against Wilson Reis would be a solid option for Pettis.
Like I said in our winner’s article, a lot of rest and recovery would be the best thing for Alvarez and Gaethje for their immediate future. That fight likely took a handful of years off their respective careers. When Gaethje does return to action, match him up with Kevin Lee and prepare for more fireworks.
While her idea weight class is at 105 lbs—unfortunately this division does not yet exist in the UFC—Waterson is still a major threat for anyone at 115 lbs. I’d love to see her against the loser of UFC 219’s Carla Esparza versus Cynthia Cavillo bout.