The Vanquished: What's Next for UFC 242 Losers

By Abhinav Kini Sep 7, 2019
On Saturday, Khabib Nurmagomedov continued to showcase his dominance as he defeated Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. Utilizing his wrestling like always, Nurmagomedov was able to submit Poirier with a rear-naked choke in the third to retain his lightweight title.

Elsewhere on the main card, Paul Felder avenged his first professional defeat with a split decision win over Edson Barboza in their lightweight co-main event; Islam Makhachev outpointed Davi Ramos via unanimous decision; Curtis Blaydes made it two wins in a row following his TKO victory over Shamil Abdurakhimov; and Carlos Diego Ferreira continued his winning streak with an impressive decision triumph over Mairbek Taisumov.

So, what now for all the UFC 242 losers? Here's a look at who they should square off against next:

Dustin Poirier vs. Donald Cerrone/Justin Gaethje loser (or Conor McGregor): Despite a devastating loss to Nurmagomedov, Poirier has nothing to be ashamed about as he still ranks as one of the best lightweights in the world. One way to get back on track would be to take on the loser of the upcoming UFC Vancouver headliner between Justin Gaethje and Donald Cerrone. The winner of that bout will likely look for the next title shot after Tony Ferguson, so it makes sense for Poirier to face the loser from a rankings perspective. Alternatively, if McGregor is ready to fight someone else before getting another title shot, a rematch with Poirier also makes a lot of sense.

Edson Barboza vs. Charles Oliveira: Following a closely-contested split decision loss to Felder, Barboza has now dropped four of his last five bouts. Granted he has faced some of the very best in that timeframe, there's not going to be any easier opponents down the rankings either. A bout with Oliveira — who has won his last five and is currently unbooked — would be a potential barnburner where a win would show Barboza is still very much one to be reckoned with in the division.

Davi Ramos vs. David Teymur: Ramos was unable to trouble Makhachev in their lightweight encounter, succumbing to a unanimous decision defeat. It snapped a four-fight winning streak for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who now goes back to the drawing board. One fight that makes sense is with Teymur, who is also coming off a loss against Charles Oliveira earlier this year.

Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Tai Tuivasa/Sergey Spivak winner: Like Ramos, Abdurakhimov saw his four-fight winning streak snapped at the hands of Blaydes via TKO. Given that he's ranked in the top 10, it seems unlikely that Abdurakhimov will drop down much. But his ranking also makes him an ideal opponent for the heavyweights looking to climb up further. An appropriate next bout could be the winner of Tuivasa (ranked No. 13) vs. Spivak, which takes place next month at UFC 243.

Mairbek Taisumov vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier: Taisumov suffered his first defeat since 2014 when he was outpointed by Ferreira. He started the contest well, but eventually couldn't deal with the volume and pressure of the Brazilian. This was also Taisumov's first fight in nearly a year and if he plans on remaining active, a fight with Aubin-Mercier — loser of his last three bouts — makes sense.
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