What’s next for the stars of UFC 268?

Kamaru Usman
Image Credit: @UFC/Twitter

The UFC returned to Madison Square Garden for the first time since November of 2019 for a stacked UFC 268 card. The event saw two titles on the line as Kamaru Usman was looking to defend his welterweight title in a rematch against Colby Covington. Rose Namajunas and Weili Zhang were also running it back from their fight in April for the strawweight strap.

UFC 268 ended up being one of the best cards in recent memory as in the main event, Usman edged out Covington in a super close fight. Namajunas, meanwhile, went up 2-0 on Zhang as she defended her belt with a split decision win. Now, after UFC 268, here’s what I think should be next for the four fighters involved in the title fights.

Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman is no doubt the best welterweight in the world, but what was proven on Saturday is Colby Covington is a close second. Those two are clearly above the rest but for Usman, he remained the champion and now has no clear-cut number one contender.

If Leon Edwards defeats Jorge Masvidal at UFC 269, then Usman’s next fight will be against Edwards. Yet, if Masvidal wins, Vicente Luque will likely get the next shot as he did serve as the backup fighter for this scrap. No matter who he does fight, it’s likely he’ll return sometime around April or May as he looks to continue his dominant reign.

Colby Covington

Colby Covington had a lot of moments in this fight against Kamaru Usman and did come close to winning it. After the loss, he called out Masvidal which is smart as it is a massive fight, and got people talking about that rather than his loss.

No matter if Masvidal wins or loses to Edwards on December 11, Covington vs. Masvidal is the fight to make. It can be a five-round fight on a pay-per-view as the two do not like one another and the build-up would be intense. The winner would also get one step closer to getting another title fight.

Rose Namajunas

Rose Namajunas
Image Credit: @UFC/Twitter

Rose Namajunas defended her strawweight title at UFC 268 in a razor-close decision and for her, she goes from one rematch to another. She has only fought rematches since 2017 – Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Andrade, and Weili Zhang – over six straight fights.

Next time out, Namajunas should take on Carla Esparza who beat Namajunas for the inaugural strawweight title in 2014. The fight can be a co-main of a pay-per-view sometime near the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter of 2022.

Weili Zhang

Weili Zhang is now in a unique spot as she is 0-2 to the champion and likely won’t get a title shot anytime soon. She could move up to flyweight, but it appears she is focused on remaining at strawweight.

If she does stay at strawweight after UFC 268, Zhang has options for her next appearance. She could rematch Joanna Jedrzejczyk but the future of the Pole is uncertain. With that, a fight against Claudia Gadelha makes sense. I’ve been told Gadelha is getting close to making a comeback and a fight against Zhang makes sense as it’s a step back for the former champ and with a win, she’d still need another win or two to get back to the title.

What do you think should be next for the stars of UFC 268?

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