Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey made history last December as the first two undefeated champions to headline and c0-headline a UFC card together. They started right where they left off tonight. You get the feeling after tonight that these two could be headlining shows together for years to come. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Below we’ll take a look at who should, could, and would make the most sense for these two dynamic champions next.
Chris Weidman: Vitor Belfort, Weidman’s originally scheduled opponent, is next for Weidman if he can get his license. Unfortunately, this fight will be clouded by Vitor’s issues with TRT. Nonetheless, it’s the fight to make considering the year he had in 2013. The UFC could also go the “Jacare” Souza route if they want to play it safe. The reason Machida got this fight was because of Vitor’s issues and the possibility of him being removed due to a failed drug test or another “injury” was too much of a risk for the biggest card of the year. This turned out to be the correct choice, the whole Sonnen-Wanderlei saga was enough of a headache, Vitor would’ve only added to it. What we got tonight was a great fight between two warriors that have never had their named linked to any sort of drug scandal.
There is no longer any question who the best middleweight in the world is today. It’s Chris Weidman. He conquered Anderson Silva, and he just beat Lyoto Machida in the first official war of his UFC career. Belfort, or “Jacare” should we run into any issues with “The Phenom.” It’s Chris Weidman versus Brazil for the foreseeable future.
Ronda Rousey: Shame on Joe Rogan for asking Ronda if she’d be ready to save UFC 176 next month. A performance like this needs to be marinated on for another 6 months before she enters the cage again. This is the kind of performance that skyrockets her star even higher. With all of the Hollywood stuff on the horizon a loss for Rousey affects everything. The difference between putting “Starring UFC Champion or Starring Former UFC Champion,” before her name when you’re advertising something is just kind of a big deal. Again, this is the type of performance that people need to think about and the media will of course talk about for the rest of the year. Rousey will fight again at UFC 182 on January 3rd in the co-main event before Gilbert Melendez takes on Anthony Pettis for the lightweight strap. So the big question is, who’s next?
This really depends on what happens inside of the women’s 135 lbs division between now and then. There is no clear-cut number one contender for Rousey outside of Cat Zingano and that’s been the case for quite some time now. Zingano wants a fight before she gets Rousey which is understandable considering how long she’s been out for due to injuries and life altering issues. If Zingano can get back in there and get a win in the early autumn then we have have that fight to look forward to. If Bethe Correia can beat Shayna Baszler next month then her 9-0 record and Four Horsewoman storyline makes her a marketable and worthy option. However, My favorite option is still Holly Holm.
Word around the campfire is that the UFC is closer than ever to signing Holm. A number one contenders duel with Zingano, or an immediate title shot against Rousey would likely be in the cards for the Pro Boxing champion turned undefeated mixed martial artist. The positive thing is that there are plenty of options for Rousey going forward and that is never a bad thing.