Here are six UFC fighters who have done enough in recent times to earn a rematch of one of their prior losses in the near future.
At UFC Fortaleza last weekend, top bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes proved exactly how much can change in a short space of time as he completely ran though Raphael Assuncao – the last man to hand him a defeat inside the cage.
For Moraes, the contentious decision loss that saw him come home with an L in his first UFC outing could well have been the result of the infamous octagon jitters but if Saturday’s showing proved anything – it’s that a second attempt can often be enough to really show what you’re capable of.
With that in mind, here are six other fighters who deserve the opportunity to run back one of their most noteworthy defeats.
TJ Dillashaw: Lost to Henry Cejudo by first-round TKO at UFC Brooklyn.
To kick things off, we’ll begin with the most recent entry on this list.
Henry Cejudo well and truly shocked the world when he managed to completely starch the heavily-favoured champion of the bantamweight division TJ Dillashaw in one-round in the UFC Brooklyn.
The thing is, and this was something we pointed to in our pre-fight prediction, the weight-cut that TJ undertook to make the 125lb flyweight limit clearly had an effect on his ability to take a shot.
And of course, when that shot came, it was enough to swing the fight’s momentum in the former-Olympian’s favour.
But when you consider that he is still the bantamweight champion of the world – the calls for a rematch are more-than-warranted – especially due to the early stoppage that saw the fight called a shade earlier than it should have been.
Whether it’s for the 125lb title again or, more likely, the 135lb belt, expect to see Cejudo vs. Dillashaw II before the year is out – no matter how many worthy contenders both guys have in their own divisions.
Stipe Miocic: Lost to Daniel Cormier by first-round KO at UFC 226.
Stipe Miocic had firmly inserted his name into the heavyweight G.O.A.T conversation after establishing himself as the most successful UFC champion the division had ever seen.
Beating down Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos, and Francis Ngannou in a reign that saw him display every tool in his water-tight skillset – the Stipe-era would come to crashing halt when the champion of the 205lb division Daniel Cormier blasted through him in one of the biggest shocks of 2018.
Many had picked DC to get it done, sure, but a first-round KO was a result that virtually no-one saw coming.
An immediate rematch for the most consistent heavyweight in the promotion’s history wouldn’t have been scoffed at by any means but with DC’s time in the sport coming to a close, could anyone really blame him for chasing the fights that further his legacy and add 0’s to his bank account?
Even still, Miocic deserves another crack. Only time will tell if he gets it or not.
Daniel Cormier: Lost to Jon Jones by unanimous decision at UFC 182 and by third-round TKO (later overturned to a ‘no-content’) at UFC 214.
On the flip-side, if Stipe Miocic doesn’t get a rematch in 2019, it will likely be because Daniel Cormier has signed himself down for a third showdown with Jon Jones – the one man to have seemingly gotten his number during an otherwise stellar career.
As things stand, Jones holds a record of (1-0, 1 NC) against DC, but to those who witnessed UFC 214’s brutal TKO – it could well be seen as an emphatic 2-0.
With that being said, Cormier has done everything right since losing on that night – going 3-0 with a trio of finishes, defending his 205lb belt before taking the heavyweight title and then stamping his authority on the division with his first successful outing as champ.
Make no mistake, Cormier vs. Jones III at heavyweight needs to happen.
It would be perhaps the most significant fight in the history of the sport – a fight between the two most bitter rivals we’ve ever seen, two men who hold belts in the two most historically-significant divisions in the game.
Yoel Romero: Lost to Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision at UFC 213 and by split-decision at UFC 225.
Ok, I know. Romero might have lost to the middleweight champion on two occasions in the space of a year but if we’re being completely honest here, I would watch these guys fight twice a day from Monday to Friday and still buy a PPV on Saturday night featuring them both in the headlining slot.
Their second showdown at UFC 225 was an incredible display of heart and grit from both fighters and while Whittaker got the nod, there are many who feel that the fight should have been scored a 47-47 draw – a view that becomes more apparent with each viewing.
So why not throw Romero in there with Whittaker again? Especially if Kelvin Gastelum can pull off the upset and dethrone the champ this weekend.
When Bobby Knuckles and The Soldier Of God throw down it is as perfect a recipe as any pairing this sport will ever produce.
Valentina Shevchenko: Lost to Amanda Nunes at UFC 196 by unanimous decision and by split decision at UFC 215.
Another duo of showdowns that served up a divisive second offering. The rivalry that exists between dual-weight champion Amanda Nunes and women’s flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko is one that deserves a more fitting conclusion.
Shevchenko is among the most technically-skilled fighters in the game – in any division. And while she wasn’t able to defeat Nunes on two occasions, their second bout at UFC 215 was as close as can be.
Now, having dropped down to her more natural home at 125lbs, the possibility of becoming the fifth fighter to earn that increasingly less-exclusive champ-champ status may see her test the waters at 135lbs for a third-fight that makes quite a lot of sense when you think about it.
Nunes, of course, managed to completely annihilate Cris Cyborg in the UFC 232 co-main event and in the time since, has made it clear that her time at featherweight is over.
We all know how much the UFC love a good super-fight and with that mind, why not set these two up before Nunes eventually retires – something she has hinted at recently.
Max Holloway: Lost to Conor McGregor by unanimous decision at UFC Boston.
If anyone deserves a rematch on this list above all others, it’s the featherweight champion of the world, Max Holloway.
As a 21-year-old, he stepped in on short-notice to take on the rising force that was Conor McGregor in a clash that was hindered to a certain extent by an ACL injury sustained by the Irishman that forced him to out-grapple the Hawaiian for the majority of the bout.
In the time since, Max has managed to compile a 13-fight win-streak, all-but clearing out the division in the process.
Now, with a move to McGregor’s natural home at lightweight seemingly in his future, setting him up for a second bout against the former champion would be an absolute no-brainer and an incredibly interesting contest.
Conor, of course, will be looking to rebound from his UFC 229 defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov before long so do not expect this fight to happen in the very near future but with Max’s advancing age – the cut down to 145lbs will eventually become too much for the 27-year-old to handle, opening a door for what could be one of the best fights the promotion will ever see.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena