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Just wow. With UFC 257, that’s all I could find myself saying. Wow. If you missed it, Dustin Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor in round 2. Michael Chandler looked incredible. This card delivered, despite its distinct lack of names. So, we shall dive into the main and co-main event from UFC 257 in today’s edition of Aftermath. Let us begin!
Michael Chandler Steals The Show At UFC 257 Until Poirier Fought
Next opponent for Michael Chandler: Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira
Michael Chandler really showed out at UFC 257. He took on Dan Hooker who is one of the top names in the division and made him look like he did not belong in the cage with Chandler. Chandler moved forward the entire fight. Hooker was very inactive and just let Chandler come to him. No jabs to keep him at bay, nothing. Hooker did not gain the respect needed from Michael Chandler. The finishing sequence saw Chandler go back to the body, something he did all night on the tall Dan Hooker, and then come over the top and blast Hooker with a right.
The win over Dan Hooker showed me that the UFC really isn’t the cream of the crop anymore. They are certainly top heavy, but with Chandler having come over from Bellator, he’s showing that there are quality athletes in Bellator, ONE, RIZIN and the likes. Don’t get me wrong, Israel Adesanya, Stipe Miocic, and Alexander Volkanovski are still the best in the world, but there are fighters like Chandler, Patricio Pitbull, Demetrious Johnson and such that could make their claim as best in the world in their divisions.
Dana White said post fight if Khabib doesn’t return, Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler should fight for the vacant title. I like this fight. Poirier is by far the best in the division resume-wise. Seeing Chandler starch a Dan Hooker that Poirier had to go down to the wire is a great case for this fight being the best two in the division. But, Poirier might have other plans. That said…
Charles Oliveira is my second choice. Do Bronx looked invincible against Tony Ferguson at UFC 256. If the UFC makes Poirier versus someone else (*cough* Justin Gaethje 2 *cough), Chandler and Oliveira could be a number one contender bout to see who gets the next shot at the coveted lightweight title.
Dustin Poirier Shocks the World
Next opponent for Conor McGregor: Charles Oliveira, Rafael Dos Anjos
Coming into UFC 257, Conor McGregor was the selling point of the card. Conor is the A side in the eyes of the casual. McGregor had the long layoff and it showed. He was not as crisp and he paid for it. This isn’t to take anything away from Poirier. To continue to be one of the best, you have to stay active and McGregor hasn’t been. He ate leg kicks from Poirier and it was that gameplan that had McGregor not able to plant on his lead leg and generate the power.
McGregor is now in an off situation. In his last 10 events, he’s been the show, the centerpiece. Now, having lost two of his last three and arguably not top five anymore, it’s hard to imagine Conor McGregor being a main event now, regardless of how much attention he draws.
If McGregor wants to stay in the mix, Charles Oliveira is the man to put in the ring with McGregor. Oliveira, as mentioned with Chandler, ran through Tony Ferguson. And if Chandler and Poirier get matched up, Oliveira won’t get the Chandler fight obviously. This fight would be a good test of Oliveira to see if he’s truly elite or if he just beat up a shot Tony Ferguson.
The second option is Rafael Dos Anjos. I’ve wanted this fight for some time, even saying that the fight should have been at welterweight once upon a time. Now with Dos Anjos back at lightweight, it’s time to settle the score for history’s sake, even if it’s 4 years too late.
Next opponent for Dustin Poirier: Michael Chandler, Justin Gaethje
I thought Michael Chandler was the most impressive part of UFC 257 until Dustin Poirier did his thing. He came into the fight completely overlooked and counted out. He was the pawn to be sacrificed for the return of McGregor to champion form. McGregor said he was out of competition, and while that was true, it’s a fighters responsibility to stay active and keep his skills sharp. McGregor didn’t do that and Poirier implemented a perfect game plan.
Poirier’s game plan went at the lead leg of McGregor quick and often. With Conor McGregor standing wide and heavy on the front leg, that’s where he generates his power. But, when that becomes compromised, planting on that leg becomes hard and can put a fighter in a bad spot. That’s exactly what Poirier planned on. McGregor’s leg was done for and his striking precision suffered. Poirier chinned him and poured on the damage. He caught Conor McGregor right on the nose, knocking down the Irishman, snagging the win.
Dana White says Michael Chandler is next, and that’s my top choice. Chandler isn’t exactly young and I want to see him fast tracked. If he’s destined for UFC gold, it will likely be through Dustin Poirier.
But, I’m greedy and want to see a rematch with Justin Gaethje. The first fight saw Poirier win and made Dustin a better fighter. But, that fight also prompted Justin Gaethje to evolve and become a different and better fighter. They need to fight again. Both the former interim champ to fall to Khabib. Both the top contenders. Book it.