UFC 265 was another outstanding event that saw Ciryl Gane become the UFC interim heavyweight champion, Jose Aldo proving he’s still a problem for the 135-pound division, and Vicente Luque emerging as a contender in the welterweight division. We’ll play matchmaker for all these winners and look at who they should fight next.
Ciryl Gane (-102) vs. Francis Ngannou (-116)
An obvious choice (I know) and props to our friends over at Fanduel for setting the line on this fight already. Like the clip above mentions, these two did train briefly together in the past which makes this matchup that much more intriguing. Ngannou (16-3) won the UFC heavyweight title in March by finishing Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 and is currently riding a five-fight win streak. Gane (10-0) defeated Derrick Lewis by third-round TKO and has now stopped seven of his 10-career opponents. The heavyweight division is alive and well with this fight and the potential of Jon Jones in the mix.
Jose Aldo vs. Cory Sandhagen
As much as Jose Aldo would like to fight TJ Dillashaw next, his knee injury might prevent that from happening any time soon.
So why not do Jose Aldo vs. Cory Sandhagen? Let Rob Font serve as the backup for Yan vs. Sterling 2 and then TJ re-enters the mix when he's healthy.
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) August 8, 2021
I agree with much of what Damon says above although I think Dillashaw should still get the winner of Sterling-Yan in October. Not only is this a fresh matchup, but it allows Sandhagen the ability to take out another former UFC champion, despite the fact many felt that he defeated Dillashaw last month. For Aldo, it’s a chance to take out another top bantamweight in pursuit of another title shot and for Sandhagen, it’s an easy way to make people forget about that loss to Dillashaw. Font can serve as the backup or fight the winner of this matchup. Plenty of options at 135-pounds.
Vicente Luque vs. Leon Edwards II
Luque’s first-round submission victory over Chiesa was impressive and he did call out champion Kamaru Usman. The currently 170-pound king is set to clash with Colby Covington in November at UFC 266. This would be a great fight to put on that card as well should an injury occur in the main event. Yes, Edwards defeated Luque in 2017, but both are different fighters than when that fight took place at UFC Fight Night 107. Edwards should have earned a title shot with his 10-fight unbeaten streak, but since he hasn’t, waiting around is not a good strategy as the UK fighter has been fairly inactive due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. Gilbert Burns was never an option for Luque since they are close friends/training partners, and the problem with Burns fighting Edwards is that a win for him would likely put him in line for another title shot. Usman just defeated Burns this year and it’s unlikely the UFC would want to see that rematch anytime soon.