Who UFC 257 winners want next – and how likely they’ll get them
Making wins in the UFC is definitely no simple job, however what follows is typically a lot more essential: the post-fight callout.
So, after Saturday’s UFC 257 occasion in Abu Dhabi, who made the most of their time on the mic?
See listed below for today’s Callout Collection – and simply how sensible every one is.
Wishes to combat: [autotag]Amanda Nunes[/autotag] The callout: “Now I can move forward and think about who’s next, but the only person that I see that makes sense to me is Amanda Nunes. Coming off of fighting three former world champions in a row and then I just beat the best wrestler in the division and Amanda can’t fight wrestlers. When you saw her fight against Cat Zingano, she got rag-dolled and got stopped in the second round. “I am a problem in this department. I’m coming off a win in terrible style, a rear-naked choke, a win by submission, an interruption. I believe that’s enough to offer me the battle with Amanda, specifically given that she is battling a lady with just 3 wins and a lady who hasn’t had rather the resume that I’ve had. I’ve had the toughest road in the division, more than anybody.” The reality: [autotag]Julianna Pena[/autotag]’s official ranking position in the UFC may list her at No. 7, but if the UFC is looking for fresh blood to challenge Amanda Nunes’ dominance of the women’s 135-pound division, “The Venezuelan Vixen” might just find herself on the shortlist. Pena joins a list that includes Aspen Ladd, Ketlen Vieira and Irena Aldana as top 10-ranked fighters who haven’t yet had a shot at “The Lioness,” and although Pena is listed below her three rivals on the UFC’s official women’s bantamweight rankings. She may be able to jump the queue. Ladd is working her way back from a knee injury, while Aldana is coming off a loss. Vieira, meanwhile, picked up a win over Sijara Eubanks last time out. But here at MMA Junkie, we have Pena ranked higher than the Brazilian in our MMA Junkie/USA TODAY Sports rankings and, given Ladd’s current status, Pena might just have a shot. Providing the UFC doesn’t manage to book a third bout with Valentina Shevchenko, the field looks wide open for a bantamweight contender to emerge, and Pena has certainly done her case no harm whatsoever.
Wants to fight: [autotag]Al Iaquinta[/autotag] The callout: “I want to fight with top 15 (opposition) but all the fighters in the top 15 have fights. Only Iaquinta – he doesn’t fight a lot of the time. Before I said I want to fight with Iaquinta. He had injuries, but now my manager said maybe he will be ready in May. I said, ‘OK, I’m ready in May. Let’s go, Iaquinta.’ Everyone says he’s scared of me. Iaquinta, don’t be scared. Let’s go fight!” The reality: [autotag]Arman Tsarukyan[/autotag] has looked like a serious threat ever since he arrived in the UFC, but the star-studded lineup at 155 pounds has meant that he has largely flown under the radar. But now, after his victory over Matt Frevola in their hastily-arranged matchup at UFC 257, it’s time for Tsarukyan to be given a test against ranked opposition. Iaquinta seems like a solid callout, especially as the division as a whole is stacked, with much of the UFC’s ranked talent already booked. Another name that could present a fascinating style matchup is Beneil Dariush, who faces Diego Ferreira on Feb. 6. If Dariush comes through the fight unscathed, a bout with Tsarukyan in the late-spring or early-summer could work out nicely.
Wants to fight: [autotag]Khabib Nurmagomedov[/autotag] The callout: “Conor McGregor! Surprise, surprise! There’s a new king in the lightweight division! Dustin Poirier! Your time is coming! And Khabib! If you ever do see fit to grace us with your presence back here in the UFC octagon in your quest for 30-0, you have actually gotta beat somebody. So beat me, if you can! God bless! See you at the leading!” The reality: After the spectacular events of UFC 257’s two featured lightweight bouts, there were only two names [autotag]Michael Chandler[/autotag] should be calling for, and the former Bellator champ wants to prove himself in the ultimate test, against the undefeated UFC lightweight king. Unfortunately, based on Dana White’s comments in the post-fight press conference, it seems that the Russian star was never really that interested in facing either Chandler or Dustin Poirier, who both picked up massive victories on fight night. It seems the whole “impress Khabib” angle was little more than a PR move to help tee up a rematch with Conor McGregor, but when that possibility disappeared, any interest Khabib had in an octagon return seems to have evaporated. It means that, despite delivering one of the all-time great post-fight promos, Chandler isn’t likely to find himself facing Nurmagomedov inside the octagon. And with Poirier seemingly not too enamored with the idea of facing him, either, it will be very interesting to see who Chandler does face next. One thing is for sure, after a performance like that against one of the toughest men in the division, Chandler should be fighting for a belt the next time we see him.
In photos: UFC 257
In photos: UFC 257 scorecards
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.