When a card is as stacked as UFC 238 was, you expect the best, and it delivered. Not only did UFC 238 meet our expectations, but it blew them out of the water.
From top-to-bottom this event was a blast for fans and each fight offered more than the last.
With everything that happened, let’s attempt to play matchmaker for the winners and losers from Saturday’s three most important fights.
Main Event – Henry Cejudo defeats Marlon Moraes via RD 3 TKO
In a night of phenomenal finishes, Henry Cejudo found a way to end the night with an unforgettable performance. After clearly losing the first round, he was able to switch up the game plan and take complete control.
As fans, we all appreciate an active champ who defends their belt against the best in the division. With that said, I can’t see anyone at 125 or 135 beating Henry Cejudo right now.
Sterling and Yan both put on strong performances, but I don’t think they are at Cejudo’s level yet. They still have a lot of time to improve, as they are both young, but pairing either of them up against Cejudo would be nothing more than a rushed title defense.
In his post-fight speech, Cejudo did hint at the idea of going up to 145 and I’m actually a fan of the idea.
With Moicano recently losing to Aldo, Volkanovski is the only clear contender for Holloway after the Edgar fight.
Considering that Cejudo has a couple injuries to deal with, he could be healthy in time to fight the winner of Volkanovski and the Edgar/Holloway winner.
This also gives time for the 125 lb and 135 lb fighters to earn a title shot.
Moraes looked very strong in the first round with his barrage of leg kicks that clearly did a number on Cejudo.
Due to a combination of Cejudo’s game plan change and signs of gassing – potentially from the kick-heavy first round – it was all downhill after the first for “Magic.”
We got a chance to see Moraes’ durability in the second and third rounds, and after the onslaught of clinch knees, I don’t think his durability can be questioned.
He simply lost to the better fighter.
Despite the loss, Moraes is still in the title picture and he is still a force to be reckoned with. I personally can’t see anyone else at 135 beating him right now.
The UFC could consider pairing him against Petr Yan or a even a rematch with Sterling. Other interesting match-ups include Cody Garbrandt or Pedro Munhoz, although I don’t believe the UFC would throw Garbrandt in against another killer in Moraes right away.
Or would they?
Co-Main Event – Valentina Shevchenko defeats Jessica Eye via RD 2 KO
Although the UFC has switched to “Performance of the Night,” I think it’s fair to say that if “KO of the Night” was still a thing, Schevchenko would have won it. Jessica Eye had nothing to offer against Valentina Shevchenko and the skill-gap clearly showed.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I don’t think there’s anyone in this division that can hold their own against Schevchenko.
She is lightyears ahead of everyone else in the division in terms of pure MMA skill.
Shevchenko is the whole package and when we break down the top 10, there’s no one close. Unlike Cejudo who has an opening to change divisions, Schevchenko is kind of stuck at 125 for now.
Sure, she can challenge Nunes again for her belt, but it seems that the UFC has a clear route for Nunes that they want to follow through with.
Even though I’m really not a fan of title shots simply for the sake of a title fight, that’s what we’re forced into for the next little while at 125.
Schevchenko’s next few title defences will most likely be against fighters who are just there until a clear contender can rise through the rankings. The big up-and-comer right now is Maycee Barber, but she still has a long way to go.
I’m sure the mindset in Eye’s camp is that it was one mistake that cost them, but the fact of the matter is that she’s just nowhere near as good as Shevchenko.
For Eye it’s back to the drawing board. She now knows the gap that separates her from championship quality, and maybe it’s time to fight some lower ranked fighters to focus on improving the skillset as a whole.
Fights against Joanne Calderwood or Alexis Davis would make sense, as all three are coming off losses
People’s Main Event – Tony Ferguson defeats Donald Cerrone via RD 2 Doctor Stoppage
Two fighters that can never be in a boring fight showed us all once again that they can indeed never be in a boring fight. An unfortunate ending to a barn-burner, but it’s safe to assume that the third round would’ve just been more of what we saw in the second.
No fighter has a more appropriate nickname than Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson.
He truly is the boogeyman, but let’s just cut to the chase.
Tony deserves the title shot.
Dana White’s recent comments worry me that Conor is going to fight the winner of Khabib/Poirier, alongside a quote that goes something like “I think a lot of people want to see that fight.”
Everyone wants the rematch,” but I want nothing more than the Eagle vs El Cucuy. If this was the last fight I ever watched, I would be content.
Tony Ferguson is on one of the most ridiculous winning streaks that includes him fighting from behind a few times after being dropped or beaten up a bit.
As a fighter, you go into a fight against El Cucuy complacent with the fact that when you come out, your loved ones may not recognize you anymore.
There are obviously other fights that the UFC could make should they decide to cheat him out of a title shot, but they don’t make sense and the title shot is all we should be talking about when the name Tony Ferguson comes up.
Cowboy is just going to keep doing what Cowboy does, and that’s fight.
He clarified that he did not suffer any facial injuries or fractures, which means he’s healthy to go again.
At least in Cowboy terms that’s what that means.
I’d actually like to see either a rematch against Barboza or a fight against Gaethje, assuming he’s willing to fight Cowboy off a loss.
The first Barboza and Cerrone fight was fun while it lasted, and although Barboza hasn’t had a chance to show it in his recent outings, he has greatly improved since the first fight.
I don’t even need to attempt to sell anyone on the idea of Cowboy vs Gaethje.
Cowboy may be coming off a loss, but we could see the winner of a potential fight between the two come out as the next title contender.