Not much has been said about the future of Conor McGregor since his loss at Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.
As the dust settles on the ugly aftermath of the main event with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) still yet to determine suspension lengths for those involved, UFC President Dana White has been reluctant to discuss future plans.
White did shed a bit of light on the subject following The Ultimate Fighter 28 finale on Friday.
White laid out a scenario where McGregor would face former adversary Dustin Poirier to determine who would face the winner of a potential lightweight championship matchup between Nurmagomedov and former interim champion Tony Ferguson.
McGregor defeated Poirier in 2014 when the two fought in the featherweight division, while Nurmagomedov has been scheduled to fight Ferguson on four separate occasions, none of which came to fruition.
White would not provide a timeline for these prospective matchups because the promotion awaits the NSAC’s decision on Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s futures.
White wants to see Usman face Woodley
The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale was held on Friday at the Pearl at the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and featured a welterweight main event with big implications on the division when third-ranked Rafael dos Anjos faced fifth-ranked Kamaru Usman.
For quite some time, Usman has been heralded as a top welterweight who has been unable to prove himself against the top fighters in the division because there has been an unwillingness to face him.
Usman proved why when he defeated the former lightweight champion dos Anjos in dominant fashion.
Following the event, White expressed interest in Usman facing champion Tyron Woodley sometime in the future. White did not rule out Usman being next in line and said that nothing is guaranteed, pointing out that former interim champion Colby Covington failed to defend his interim title and got injured.
There have been reports that the UFC have been trying to line up a welterweight title fight between Woodley and Covington at UFC 233 on January 26 in Anaheim.
Espino and Chiasson win The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters
The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale featured the finals in the heavyweight and women’s featherweight divisions to determine who would be this season’s Ultimate Fighter.
The women’s featherweight division finals were contested between seasoned veteran Pannie Kianzad, who typically fights at bantamweight, and up-and-coming fighter Macy Chiasson, who entered the fight with a 2-0 professional record.
While Kianzad was the veteran, Chiasson showed more savvy, reversing position on Kianzad and sinking in a rear naked choke in the second round that forced Kianzad to submit.
Chiasson’s win immediately puts her into title contention as the promotion has very few legitimate women’s featherweights on the roster.
On the heavyweight side, 38-year-old Juan Espino made short work of Justin Frazier, taking him down at will and inevitably winning by a straight armlock submission in the first round.
Espino is the oldest individual to become The Ultimate Fighter and surprisingly, is older than Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner Diego Sanchez.
Both Chiasson and Espino earned six-figure UFC contracts with their victories.
Dos Santos hands Tuivasa his first defeat
Junior Dos Santos has had an up and down career since he won the UFC heavyweight championship in 2011. Since winning the belt, he had not won back-to-back fights. That streak ended this weekend in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Adelaide, Australia, when Dos Santos handed Australian Tai Tuivasa his first professional loss.
For Dos Santos, 2018 has been a fruitful year. He headlined two cards and won both of his fights, which puts him back into the championship mix at heavyweight.
Tuivasa entered the fight with a 10-0 record, but the former champion Dos Santos was a big step up in competition as Tuivasa’s biggest challenge prior was another former champion in Andrei Arlovski, who’s best years are behind him.
The main card was rough for the home crowd as fighters from Australia and New Zealand went 1-5.
Contenders Series winners shine in debuts
Six fighters who earned victories on the most recent season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series competed at this weekend’s cards and all of them continued their winning ways, earning wins in their UFC debuts.
On The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale card, Roosevelt Roberts, Antonina Shevchenko, Kevin Aguilar, and Edmen Shahbazyan earned victories, while at UFC Fight Night in Adelaide, Australian Jim Crute and Sodiq Yusuff also scored wins.
While The Ultimate Fighter has historically been a breeding ground for young, up-and-coming talent, the competitors from the most recent season of the show were largely overshadowed by the promise and potential of the Dana White’s Contenders Series competitors.
Attendance and bonuses
The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale at the Pearl in Las Vegas drew 2,020 attendees for a gate of $204,600 (USD). Performance bonuses were given to Roberts, Joseph Benavidez, Espino, and Usman, who each earned an additional $50,000.
UFC Fight Night in Adelaide, Australia drew 8,652 attendees for a gate of $1,403,303 (AUD). Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Yusuff, and the Fight of the Night bonus went to Kai Kara-France and Elias Garcia. Those four fighters also earned an additional $50,000.
Silva to return against Adesanya in title eliminator
Anderson Silva will be making his long-awaited return to the octagon and he has a very tough challenge ahead of him.
The 43-year-old Silva will return from a one-year suspension levied after testing positive for a banned substance that was determined to have been found in a contaminated supplement at UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia to face undefeated Israel Adesanya.
Adesanya, who hails from nearby New Zealand, is often compared to the former middleweight champion Silva.
To make the matchup even more interesting, White confirmed that there is a middleweight title shot on the line and that the winner will be the next challenger for the title that will be contested on the same card in a matchup between champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum.
Adesanya has won all four of his UFC fights, while Silva has struggled in recent years going 1-3-1 since dropping the middleweight title to Chris Weidman in July of 2013. Prior to the loss to Weidman, Silva had defended the title ten times.