Over 57,000 fans got to see a great night of fights at UFC 243, and now it’s time to look ahead at what’s next for the winners. Who’s next for new UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya? We answer that question and others as we play matchmaker for UFC 243.
Israel Adesanya vs. Jon Jones
In the main event of the evening, Israel Adesanya knocked out Robert Whittaker to become the new UFC middleweight champion. It was a superstar-making performance for Adesanya, who improved to 18-0 in his MMA career with a 7-0 mark in the UFC. He looks like he’ll be an elite fighter and a money-making machine for the UFC for years to come. In his post-fight interview, Adesanya called out Paulo Costa, the top-ranked middleweight contender. That’s a great fight, and seems very likely to happen next. But this article is about playing fantasy matchmaker, and the fight I want to see more is Adesanya vs. Jon Jones. I think this would be an epic fight and that Adesanya is one of the few men who can give Jones problems. Jones doesn’t currently have a fight lined up and needs an opponent. The UFC is all about booking big fights, and Adesanya vs. Jones is a massive fight.
Dan Hooker vs. Dustin Poirier
The co-main event saw Dan Hooker pick up the biggest win of his career to date when he won a unanimous decision over Al Iaquinta. Hooker is now 6-1 since moving up to the UFC lightweight division, and the win over Iaquinta puts him in the top-10 of the division. In his post-fight interview, Hooker called his shot and said he wants top-five Dustin Poirier. Although Poirier is still chasing Conor McGregor, a fight against Hooker would be a tremendous matchup between two of the best lightweights in the world. This would be the perfect main event for a Fight Night card in New Zealand since it has to be five rounds.
Sergey Spivak vs. Yorgan De Castro
Two of the six finishes at UFC 243 belonged to heavyweights on the main card who each earned their first victories in the Octagon. Sergey Spivak submitted Tai Tuivasa while Yorgan De Castro knocked out Justin Tafa. It makes sense to throw these two in the cage against each other and see what happens. There would be a high possibility of a finish.
Dhiego Lima vs. Jake Matthews
Two mid-tier welterweights picked up decision wins at UFC 243 as Dhiego Lima defeated Luke Jumeau and Jake Matthews beat Rostem Akman. Neither guy exactly lit the world on fire with their performances, but both men got their hands raised. With both fighters on the same timetable and sitting around the same spot in the UFC’s stacked welterweight division, let’s pair them up next.
Brad Riddell vs. Tristan Connelly
An incredible preliminary card fight saw UFC newcomers Brad Riddell and Jamie Mullarkey go to war for 15 minutes as they each won $50,000 for “Fight of the Night.” Riddell won the fight via unanimous decision, and afterwards said he wants to fight at UFC 245 this December in Las Vegas. Just a few weeks ago at UFC Vancouver, another Octagon newcomer in Tristan Connelly won “Fight of the Night” for his incredible upset victory over Michel Pereira. Coincidentally, Connelly also requested to fight at UFC 245. Riddell vs. Connelly would be an extremely exciting fight and it absolutely needs to happen.
Do you agree with our fantasy matchups for the UFC 243 fighters? Who would you like to see Israel Adesanya fight next?