In the final UFC show of 2018, UFC 232 delivered the fireworks in the cage.
With Jon Jones defeating Alexander Gustafsson in the main event, ‘Bones’ returned to the top of the heap in the light heavyweight division and claimed the division’s championship for the third time despite never losing the belt in the Octagon.
Perhaps overshadowing Jones return however, was the demolition of Cris Cyborg as Amanda Nunes moved up a weight class to record a first round KO over the long-reigning and widely considered best female fighter on the planet.
With Nunes teeing off on Cyborg throughout their short-lived bout, Nunes became the first female fighter to simultaneously hold two championships in the UFC and cement her legacy and name in the history books.
Elsewhere there were huge wins for the likes of Alexander Volkanovski, Petr Yan, Ryan Hall and Nathaniel Wood but we’ll sign off 2018 with five fights that the UFC should make with the winners on the main card of UFC 232:
Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith
While it may not have been the best Jon Jones we’ve ever seen, ‘Bones’ Jones still dominated en route to victory against a top contender in Alexander Gustafsson.
We’re now in a sticky situation where Jones is clearly a level above the rest of the pack at light heavyweight with only Daniel Cormier seemingly able to give him a problem.
With that being said, Jones has already defeated Cormier once and knocked out DC before their second bout was ruled a no contest.
A fight between Jones and Cormier at heavyweight would help to balance the scales between the two but I’d rather Cormier just sail off into the sunset with a handsome payday against Brock Lesnar.
With a Jones – Cormier trilogy bout off the table, Anthony Smith is next in line at light heavyweight.
Amanda Nunes vs. Holm/Ladd Winner
Amanda Nunes sealed her position as the greatest women’s fighter of all time on Saturday night as the Brazilian fighter demolished Cris Cyborg inside of one minute.
Nunes is now only the third UFC simultaneous two-weight champion and it’ll be up to ‘The Lioness’ which of those belts she defends first.
With the featherweight division particularly barren, however, a bantamweight defence against the winner of the upcoming Holly Holm – Aspen Ladd fight would make the most sense.
Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Rocco Martin
By taking advantage of Carlos Condit’s notoriously worrisome takedown defence, Michael Chiesa earned an impressive one-armed kimura submission win in his welterweight debut.
While Chiesa called for a fight with Neil Magny in his next outing, ‘Maverick’ should fight another fighter outside of the top 15 to see how he stacks up in a deep division.
With Anthony Rocco Martin also eager for a crack at a top 15 fighter, a fight between the former lightweight fighters would be an intriguing proposition.
Corey Anderson vs. Dominick Reyes
Through output and cardio, Corey Anderson defeated Ilir Latifi to mark his third straight win at 205 lbs.
With the division lacking in any noticeable contenders to Jones’ current throne, Anderson will need one more big win before he can enter the discussion as ‘Bones” next challenger.
With Dominick Reyes yet to fight since a dominant performance against Ovince Saint-Preux, a fight between Anderson and Reyes would help clear up the light heavyweight division.
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Frankie Edgar
In a brilliant fight, Alexander Volkanovski defeated Chad Mendes and added his name alongside Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar and Conor McGregor as the only men to defeat ‘Money’.
Volkanovski is now a clear title contender at featherweight but a fight with Frankie Edgar would make a clear no.1 contender for Max Holloway’s 145 lbs title.