The first Ultimate Fighting Championship Pay-Per-View card of 2023 is in the books, and UFC 283 left us with some pretty interesting scenarios in a couple of weight classes.
Two title fights topped the promotion’s return to Brazil over the weekend, and both saw undisputed titles changing hands (becoming unified in one case). In the main event, Jamahal Hill sent Glover Teixeira into retirement, while in the co-feature, Brandon Moreno, holding interim gold to start the night, unified the titles and is now the undisputed UFC flyweight champion, having defeated Deiveson Figueiredo in the fourth fight of their series.
Also, while it doesn’t play into this article, the legendary Shogun Rua retired. Do yourself a favor: go back and watch the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. Shogun is nothing short of a legend, and a future Hall of Famer.
Now, on to what comes next (maybe) for the losing side of the UFC 283 main card.
Shogun wasn’t the only Brazilian legend to retire on Saturday night. After coming up short in the main event, looking to reclaim light heavyweight gold, Glover Teixeira called it a career.
It’s odd speaking of Teixeira in these terms because he never really dropped out of the title picture. Even at 43, Glover was still in the mix right up until the end. He took considerable damage against Jamahal Hill, but refused to go away — an apt description of Teixeira’s career, really. He refused to be denied, and captured the UFC light heavyweight championship at 42, after falling short to Jon Jones back in 2014.
What’s next for Teixeira will be coaching the likes of UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira. Now calling Connecticut home, you can expect to see more talent coming out of Teixeira’s gym. He’s one of the good guys in the sport, and is another fighter who deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame when all is said and done.
Here’s where things get really interesting: after losing to Brandon Moreno at UFC 283, Deiveson Figueiredo signalled a move to bantamweight.
Figueiredo is now 1-2-1 against Moreno, and while their fourth fight ended early due to a cut, the “God of War” was losing the fight after three rounds. What could have happened in the final ten minutes? We’ll never know. That’s almost enough to want to see a fifth fight, but the UFC isn’t likely to ever do that.
So it’s off to see the wizard at 135 for Figgy, who helped draw new fans to a weight class in 125lbs that was on life support for a couple of years. Who should he draw at 135? As a former champ, probably a high-profile opponent. Cody Garbrandt would be interesting, and is fighting in March against Julio Arce. Cory Sandhagen and Raphael Assuncao are also booked opposite one another for March. With Figueiredo likely needing some time for that cut to heal before he can train full force, the winner of either of those match-ups would be suitable. Sandhagen vs. Assuncao feels more likely, so we’ll go with that.
Figueiredo’s next fight: Sandhagen vs. Assuncao winner
It was a rough night at the office for welterweight wins leader Neil Magny at UFC 283. Magny, who told us that he wanted the Burns match-up to test his grappling, fell short in that department, ending up submitted.
Magny has been a guy who likes to stay busy, a guy that is always a tough out, and this was one of his more decisive losses. He’ll likely get an opponent lower down the totem pole next, and that’s fine. Fighting on the same night as Magny was Warlley Alves, who also came up short. He’s an Ultimate Fighter Brazil winner, and another mainstay of the division. They’ve never fought, and the timing works.
Magny’s next fight: Warlley Alves
The immediate answer to what comes next for “Lucky” Lauren Murphy is “time off.” Murphy frankly wasn’t so lucky at UFC 283, absorbing a one-sided beatdown from Jessica Andrade that became hard to watch by the end. There’s no questioning her toughness, and she later thanked her corner for not throwing in the towel, but it was clear they should have done just that. That fight dragging on to the final bell did no one any favors, least of all Murphy, who clearly lacked an answer to Andrade’s power.
The importance of brain health cannot be understated when it comes to combat sports. But that’s an argument for another day. When it comes to who Murphy gets next, the loser of Jennifer Maia vs. Casey O’Neill could work. That fight doesn’t arrive til March, giving Murphy some extra time to heal up.
Murphy’s next fight: Maia vs. O’Neill loser
Scotland’s Paul Craig couldn’t get Johnny Walker down in their UFC 283 PPV opener on Saturday, and he paid for it.
Craig has now lost two in a row, albeit against strong competition in Walker and Volkan Oezdemir. He’s not exactly in dire straits, but avoiding an 0-3 slump is key. Someone who also needs a win, and is in dire straits, is Dominick Reyes. Reyes has lost four straight, dating back to his title bid against Jon Jones. Both of these fighters are still ranked, but at risk of losing the number next to their name.
Booking this makes a lot of sense and helps get one fighter back in the mix.
Craig’s next fight: Dominick Reyes