UFC 262 while being one of the least purchased PPV’s of the year still proved to be quite exciting, despite a couple of instances which proved just how incompetent some of the judges are, the card was still action packed and still managed to change the trajectory of a division for years to come.
Charles Oliveira delivered on his promise and knocked out ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler to secure the lightweight strap.
Despite the booing fans in attendance, Beniel Dariush was able to dominate Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson to capture a unanimous decision.
Charles Olivera brought Brazil another title to add to her collection, coming back from serious adversity in the first round to finish a deadly Michael Chandler early in the second round. Olivera has all the means to become one of the greatest of all time with deadly striking and even deadlier ground game one can wonder how he didn’t fight for the title of undisputed king of the lightweights years ago, but nevertheless he is the king now and he must defend his throne.
The obvious choice in challenger would be the winner of Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier with the latter perhaps being more entitled to a shot at the belt, McGregor is currently 1-2 at lightweight and a win over Poirier doesn’t seem like enough to scrap for the belt, Poirier on the other hand defeated Dan Hooker in a legitimate fight of the year contender and then proceeded to be the first man to ever knock out the legendary Conor McGregor, if Dustin can go out and beat Conor again there is no doubt in my mind that it will be ‘The Diamond’ vs ‘Do Bronx’.
‘Iron’ Michael Chandler made quite the ruckus when he transferred over from Bellator and obliterated the chin of Dan Hooker in the first round at UFC 257. Due to Conor and Dustin wishing to finish their rivalry with a trilogy Chandler was given the opportunity to do battle with Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Olivera for the vacant lightweight crown. Although he came up short in this contest he did look spectacular, almost finishing the Brazilian in round one, but almost is not good enough unfortunately and its back to the drawing board for Chandler.
The good news however is that Chandler is arguably in his prime and and can most definitely work his way back to a title with a convincing win over one of his peers. Just the thought of a bout with Justin Gaethje is enough to send any MMA fan wild with excitement and anticipation, both gentleman are coming off loses but more importantly these two men are arguably the most exciting 155ers in the division today and a fight between the two would produce fireworks and would most probably win fight of the night or even fight of the year honors.
Or, if for whatever reason you don’t like that fight Beneil Dariush is currently ranked #3 and a bout between both Chandler and Dariush could be a title eliminator.
Beneil Dariush pulled off an upset over fan favourite Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson. Dariush was met with a wave of boos from the crowd as he managed to out grapple Ferguson for three rounds, despite the boos, Dariush is still the victor and has still made a significant jump up the rankings meaning it now now time for the Assyrian to take on some serious contenders in the shark infested waters that is the lightweight division.
Dariush will be looking for bouts that get him close to the belt, this is why a bout with the loser of Poirier vs McGregor sticks out, the winner will be most deserving of a title shot no doubt, but the loser will be looking to work back to the top of the rankings immediately and what better than a 7 fight win streak in Dariush, a bout with the loser can and will send Dariush to a title eliminator if he manages to win.
An alternative for Dariush would be Rafael Dos Anjos, if he manages to defeat RDA Dariush will have a former champion and former interim champion under his belt back to back all but surely securing a title shot.
A tough night for Tony Ferguson fans everywhere, seeing the legendary ‘El Cucuy’ lose for a third time in a row, in dominant fashion no less. It’s no secret that Ferguson is not as young as he used to be and it would seem as though Ferguson is struggling to keep up with the younger talent.
But all is not lost, Ferguson made significant changes to his boxing during that bout and if he can make similar changes to his ground game we could see ‘El Cucuy’ return to his dangerous status.
As for a next opponent, Tony should be looking to fight someone ranked below in the top ten, and two immediate opponents come to mind, Paul Felder or Dan Hooker. Felder is coming off a loss to RDA and Hooker is coming off a loss to Michael Chandler. If Tony can go out and put on a classic ‘El Cucuy’ special, the naysayers will be hushed and Tony can begin his ascent once more.