The UFC made a pitstop in Nashville for an amazing card that was nothing but spectacular. It lived up to the hype as we saw Anthony “Showtime” Pettis upset Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in the main event to solidify himself as a top welterweight contender.
In the co-main event Curtis Blaydes blew right through Justin Willis to solidify himself as a title contender amongst the heavyweights.
So what’s next for some of the winners and losers of UFC Nashville?
Winner: Anthony Pettis
Pettis joins Conor McGregor and Kenny Florian as the only men to have wins at featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight. At this point, Pettis can only go up from here. I dont think people are really seeing how great this win was, he just beat the number four ranked welterweight in the world and a man that his teammate Tyron Woodley couldn’t put away in ten rounds. I think his coach Duke Rufus said it best, “Anthony is now chasing legacy,” and there is no better way to do that then to move around in weight classes while racking up big wins.
Not only his he known for his famous Showtime Kick, but he is also known for the greatest Superman Punch in UFC history over the years. I think people seem to forget why he is called “Showtime.” As for what’s next, I would love to see a rematch with Rafael dos Anjos at 170-pounds. Anthony will be strong, his wrestling has gotten better, and off his back he has become a real problem for guys.
Next match: Pettis vs dos Anjos.
Loser: Stephen Thompson
Although he did get knocked out, this is the first knockout loss in Wonderboy’s career (not just in MMA, but in kickboxing as well). This is the name of the game with four ounce gloves, all you have to do is be great for a second. This is the first time he has been on a two fight losing streak, so I would love for him to take some time off, at least most of the year and come back at the end of the year.
Next match: TBD, after recovery.
Winner: Curtis Blaydes
There is nothing like getting back on track. Curtis Blaydes made easy work of Justin Willis with a dominating performance. He truly showed there are levels to this game. I would like to see him fight another top-10 guy and continue with his winning ways. Curtis is in his prime and his title shot is going to come with time. Fights with Cain Velasquez, and Alexander Volkov are fights I would like to see.
Next match: Blaydes vs Velasquez or Blaydes vs Volkov.
Loser: Justin Willis
He’s a great future contender, however, Justin needs to go back and learn from this loss. He is a great fighter with tons of potential. I think the fight with Blaydes was a a bit too soon, although that was a great match-up for Blaydes. I would like to see him fight maybe number 13 or 14 in the division.
Next match: Willis vs Shamil Abdurakhimov.
Winner: Luis Pena
A great win for the young prospect, Pena has all the qualities to one day be a champion. But first, he needs to get the scale down since he missed weight by four pounds and looked terrible on the scale. The champion, Max Holloway is bigger than Pena, so a run at featherweight should be doable for the prospect. I would like to see the match makers book Pena against Alex Caceres. That’s a fight I think the fans would like. Alex is not in the top-15 and with a win against a veteran like Alex, Pena would be on his way to cracking the top-15.
Next match: Pena vs Caceres.
Winner: Maycee Barber
Probably the biggest up-and-coming prospect since Conor McGregor, Barber is really making some noise in the UFC. She had an amazing flyweight debut and took out a very game and tough, J.J Aldrich. With this big one and the hype around her, it’s hard to see Barber’s next fight not be a top-15 or top-10 opponent.Fights that could possibly be next for her are fight against Paige VanZant, Antonina Shevchenko, or even Montana De La Rosa.
Next match: Barber vs De La Rosa.
Loser: J.J Aldrich
Although she came up short, Aldrich is an amazing fighter and will be elite in the future. I believe she will be back stronger than ever. I would like to see her get a good matchup and work her way up to a top-15 opponent in the 115-pound division instead.
Next match: Aldrich vs Jessica Aguilar.