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Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Tyron Woodley and UFC 209's other winning fighters?

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(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 209’s losing fighters?)

The UFC welterweight belt remained around the waist of Tyron Woodley after Saturday’s UFC 209 headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Woodley (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC) capped off the organization’s second pay-per-view event of the year with a majority-decision victory over Stephen Thompson (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) in a fight that was met with mixed reactions across the MMA world.

It was one of the more forgettable UFC main events in recent memory, but the rest of the card fortunately delivered with David Teymur (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), Daniel Kelly (13-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC), Cynthia Calvillo (4-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Alistair Overeem (42-15 MMA, 7-4 UFC) earning impressive victories over their respective opponents.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 209’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Alistair Overeem

Derrick Lewis

Should fight: Derrick Lewis
Why they should fight: After falling short in a UFC heavyweight title fight against Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 in September, Overeem rebounded in a big way with an absolutely vicious third-round knockout of Mark Hunt.

Overeem kept himself relevant as a top contender in the division with the impressive win. Despite nearly 60 pro fights on his record, “The Reem” said he’s not anywhere close to done, and it appears he wants to make another run toward UFC gold.

He’s already faced many of the best in his weight class, but one fighter he hasn’t encountered inside the octagon is Lewis (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC). “The Black Beast” is coming off a huge knockout of his own,against Travis Browne at UFC Fight Night 105 in February, and specifically named the Overeem-Hunt winner as someone he’d like to fight next.

Overeem said he’s open to the fight, so now it’s just a matter of figuring out when and where it could go down.

Cynthia Calvillo

Alex Chambers

Alex Chambers

Should fight: Alex Chambers
Why they should fight: Highly touted Team Alpha Male prospect Calvillo made a splash in her octagon debut when she dominated Amanda Cooper for a slick first-round submission victory.

Despite making her professional MMA debut less than seven months ago, Calvillo got a spot on the PPV main card following a late fight-card shuffle. She made the most of it and immediately announced herself as a fresh face to watch in the strawweight division.

Although the win was impressive, it can’t be dismissed that it came against a similarly inexperienced opponent who’s shown gaping holes in her ground game. Calvillo will need a tougher test if she really wants to turn heads, and someone more proven inside the octagon such as Chambers (5-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) would be a good test of her ability.

Daniel Kelly

Johny Hendricks

Johny Hendricks

Should fight: Johny Hendricks
Why they should fight: Kelly once again surprised in the underdog role when he upset former UFC champion Rashad Evans by split decision for the most significant victory of his career.

Kelly has been overlooked since he first appeared on the UFC scene via “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” but has somehow put together six victories in seven octagon appearances and cannot be counted out any longer. He’s proven he’s going to give any opponent a difficult outing, and because of that, he should get increasingly challenging matchups.

The Australian just defeated a former light heavyweight champion. Now it would be interesting to see how he fares against a former welterweight titleholder. Hendricks (18-6 MMA, 13-6 UFC) recently moved up to 185 pounds to earn a unanimous-decision win over Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 105. “Bigg Rigg” said he’s ready to take on all comers and wants to prove he can be a factor at middleweight. Going through Kelly would do that.

David Teymur

Olivier Aubin-Mercier

Olivier Aubin-Mercier

Should fight: Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Why they should fight: In one of the many surprising outcomes in Las Vegas, Sweden’s own Teymur took some steam off the hype train of Lando Vannata when he slugged out a clear-cut unanimous-decision win in a “Fight of the Night” performance.

After earning two knockout wins to open his UFC career, Teymur showed he has the technique and discipline to fight for three hard rounds and come out on top. That’s a trait that’s going to take him a long way in the loaded lightweight division.

Although Teymur is clearly a standup oriented fighter, he showed against Vannata that there’s more to his game. Vannata tried to take him down more than once, but “Groovy” isn’t exactly a ground specialist. Teymur will need to get past someone with a truly outstanding ground game before his calls of one day becoming UFC champion are taken seriously.

Aubin-Mercier (9-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has earned four of his five UFC victories by submission and is a problem on the ground for anyone who fights him there. A matchup with Teymur would be a classic striker vs. grappler affair, but that’s what both men need at this point.

Tyron Woodley

Should fight: Winner of Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Woodley should fight the winner of the UFC 211 matchup between Maia (24-6 MMA, 18-6 UFC) and Masvidal (32-11 MMA, 9-4 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC 209, check out the UFC Events section of the site.



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