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Here Comes A New Challenger: Matches to Make – UFC 190

(via Getty)

By Sam Stilson

We all knew how the main event of UFC 190 was going to end. We had it figured out the moment the fight was booked. Yet, somehow Ronda Rousey still managed to wow us all. The women’s bantamweight champion truly has something special…and that’s the ability to get hundreds of thousands of people to sit through not one but two TUF Brazil finals (and pay for the privilege) just to watch her fight. Incredible.

UFC 190 turned out to be a much better card in practice than on paper and most indicators are suggesting it was more successful than UFC 189. Rousey is well on her way to becoming the new GSP, if she hasn’t already surpassed him, and we can likely expect many more ‘RONDA ROUSEY and a bunch of other fighters’ -type fight cards to come.

Now let’s look at what might be next for the main card competitors.

Ronda Rousey should fight: Miesha Tate

Rousey is all but booked to face Miesha Tate for a third time in December as the co-main event for the Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo card. But I’m still holding out hope that we can see Cat Zingano and Tate rematch to truly earn another title shot. Rousey’s dominance is getting close to 2008-2009 Anderson Silva levels, where increasingly less-deserving contenders (Cote, Leites) are getting title shots and the public (or perhaps like Silva, Rousey) draws closer and closer to boredom. Rematches of rematches doesn’t seem like a great way to stave off the yawns.

Bethe Correia should fight: Marion Reneau

As expected, Bethe got was coming to her. After weeks of mean mugs and cheap shots, when the fight night arrived, Correira looked scared, stiff and awkward. Talking trash about the champ’s friends and family got her a title shot, but her underdeveloped skills and lack of experience proved she didn’t deserve it. A bout against the relatively inexperienced but still ranked Marion Reneau seems appropriate. It’d be a classic striker vs. grappler matchup and a win for either woman would justify a top 10 spot.

Shogun Rua should fight: Quinton Jackson

Shogun’s back! PRIDE never die! That’s what no one but the most diehard Rua fans should be saying after UFC 190. While a return to training under Rafael Cordeiro clearly paid dividends aside from some sharp kicks (love handles be gone!), Shogun still looked a bit slow, very chinny and nothing like a contender. Rampage already asked for a rematch back in April, and reminded Shogun he’s ready and waiting after the fight. It’s a great match for a UFC on Fox event that would reel in casual fans.

Antônio Rogério Nogueira should fight: Loser of Teixeira-Saint Preux

While Lil’ Nog didn’t look as bad as his brother, he certainly didn’t impress at UFC 190. He’s still a ranked light heavyweight, and considering the state of the 205 lb division, there are still winnable fights for him in the top 15. The loser of the upcoming Glover Teixeira vs. Ovince Saint Preux fight makes sense. If it’s Glover, he’ll be on a 3-fight losing streak and badly in need of a win over a name opponent. If it’s Ovince, the two have yet to fight and he could use another win over a legend for legitimacy. For Nog, a win over either man proves he still belongs at the top.

TUF Brazil 4 finalists should fight: Other TUF contestants

Congratulations fellas. Enjoy your Harley Davidsons.

Stefan Struve should fight: Antonio Silva

Struve got a much-needed win over a legend and pushed Big Nog into retirement to boot. In addition to holding onto his ranking, I’m sure the win helped build the Dutchman’s confidence, which surely was waning after suffering through heart surgery, panic attacks and brutal knockouts in his last few fights. He should take on Bigfoot Silva next, another heavyweight who likely overcame his own fears and self-doubt at UFC 190. Winner can move on to top 10 opposition again. Then probably get KTFO.

Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira should fight: for a retirement package

At least he didn’t get knocked out or submitted this time, right everyone? At 39, sitting outside of the top 15, the time is right for Big Nog to call it quits. It was a hell of a career and he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame next year.

Antonio Silva should fight: Stefan Struve

Winning this fight was probably a terrible thing for his long-term health, but he’s back on the winning track and holding onto a spot in the rankings. As stated above, Struve is a perfect next step.

Soa Palelei – should fight: Todd Duffee

Both Palelei and Duffee recently had chances to break into the upper tier of the heavyweight division by putting away fading stars. Both men were soundly beaten for their efforts. Despite a good first round, at UFC 190 Soa proved once and for all that he is a mid-tier gatekeeper at best. Both men need a win to keep their jobs, let them duke it out on the prelims.

Claudia Gadelha should fight: Joanna J?drzejczyk

Gadelha looked incredible as she easily dispatched former WSOF champion Jessica Aguilar. Her rematch with Joanna J?drzejczyk should be a classic and provided the UFC doesn’t bury it on Fight Pass could be just what the division needs to come to prominence.

Jessica Aguilar – should fight: Jessica Penne

It’s not that Aguilar looked bad in her UFC debut, just overmatched. Not unlike Eddie Alvarez’s debut against Donald Cerrone, her fight just reaffirmed what we already know, that being another promotion’s champion doesn’t mean you’re UFC champion material, just that you’re pretty good. She should probably get booked against another contender rather than receive a slow rebuild. Jessica Penne just lost her title bid and would make a great next opponent.

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