Jack Hermansson is on top of the world right now. In terms of his fighting career. He arguably just had the performance high of his career vs top-5 contender Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza at UFC Fight Night 150 in Sunrise, Florida.
What could be next for ‘The Joker’ at middleweight?
Well, this is a very interesting predicament, to say the least. Not one that we haven’t seen before though.
Hermansson just defeated Jacare, a guy who was promised a title shot, if he had won the fight that night. Instead, Jacare lost the fight by unanimous decision and now we have Jack Hermansson up to bat. Who should he fight?
Honestly, there aren’t many challengers available right now. Luke Rockhold could have been one but he is moving up to the 205-pound division to fight Jan Blachowicz. Israel Adesanya is almost definitely waiting for the unification fight with current middleweight king, Robert Whittaker. Yoel Romero is scheduled to fight Paulo Costa in August. Basically, the entire top-5 of the division is busy with other fights and there is only one challenger remaining.
It will depend on whether or not that Hermansson cares who he fights. Most fighters want to keep going up and fight somebody who is ranked above them. Which makes perfect sense, because it brings you closer to the title. Also, an old saying goes, if you don’t compete with those who are better than you, you may not improve yourself.
Either way, there are fights to be made. If Hermansson doesn’t mind fighting somebody ranked underneath him, I could see a fight with him and former champion Chris Weidman materializing. If not that, potentially a fight between Hermansson and surging Jared Cannonier. That would be an excellent fight.
Although I have a feeling that he may want to go upwards on the ladder and fight somebody above. In which case, there is one, single fight that could be waiting for him. And in my opinion, this may be the best fight to make right now… Jack Hermansson vs Kelvin Gastelum.
It also makes perfect sense for both men at this point in their careers. Hermansson is now ranked #5 at middleweight and Gastelum remains at #4. They are the only two guys available within the top 5 right now and their styles would make for an excellent match.
At the same time, Gastelum did just have an all-out war with Israel Adesanya at UFC 236 and he may want to take some time off. He fought the full 5 rounds, came up short but had a really great performance. I just think that after a fight like that, we may not see him for at least a couple of months. He may need some time to heal the body and mind before coming back and we have to respect that.
So, well see what happens.
Maybe we can get Hermansson vs Gastelum for Abu Dhabi in September. If not that, maybe they can fight on the Whittaker/Adesanya main card, whenever that fight goes down. I could believe in a Whittaker/Adesanya main event, with a Hermansson/Gastelum co-main event. Whatever the case, Hermansson is definitely in title contention right now and he’s likely one fight away from a shot at the gold.
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