What’s next for the women of #UFC223?

All six women who fought on the UFC 223 card got through what was one of the most hectic fights weeks in MMA history. With all of the drama that ensued leading up to fight day, none of the women’s fights were in jeopardy of being scrapped.

Now that the fights are over, where do the six fighters go from here? WMMA Rankings can help the UFC matchmakers figure out what to do next!

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Strawweight champion rose namajunas

Stephen: Within half of a year Rose Namajunas beat former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk twice. It goes without saying that Rose Namajunas is the best in the division. With 2 fights in 5 months it would be understandable if Namajunas wanted to take some time off. Given all of the fantastic talent in the Strawweight division there are options for the champion. Jessica Andrade is one of the most deserving fighters in the division for a title shot. Andrade is coming off of a beautiful and action packed decision win over Tecia Torres. That win gives her two in a row in a gruesome division. Every time she steps foot in the Octagon, Andrade puts on a show. A fight with Namajunas would be no different. With Andrade’s power, she would be a legit threat to Namajunas’ title.

Nick: “Thug” Rose silenced any doubters on Saturday night when she handed JJ her second consecutive loss to defend her title for the first time. Rose showed mental fortitude– overcoming adversity throughout the week and during the fight. With Namajunas as champion, there are a lot of fresh and exciting fights to make. Karolina Kowalkiewicz is one of my personal favorites who I would love to see fight Rose again, however, I think it is fair to say Jessica Andrade deserves the next title shot. With a FOTN win over Claudia Gadelha and a FOTN-worthy win over Tecia Torres, “Bate Estaca” poses a real threat to the throne in what would likely a fantastic match-up with Rose.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Stephen: The former Queen of the Women’s Strawweights Joanna Jedrzejczyk now has two losses in a row to Rose Namajunas. Although she thinks she won the second fight, the judges didn’t see it that way. Now the former champion needs desperately to bounce back before she falls into a dark abyss. Karolina Kowalkiewicz took a split-decision win over Felice Herrig in a fight that was one of the better ones on a card full of fun fights.

Nick: Despite dropping back-to-back losses to Rose, I still believe Joanna is one of greatest. JJ’s in an interesting place having beat the majority of the top five during her dominant title run. One of the only top contenders she hasnt faced– Tecia Torres. A showdown between the two would likely be a fast-pace, high-amplitude war that has fans on the edge of their seats. Besides the JJ vs TT match-up, a move to flyweight may be next in the cards for Joanna.

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Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Stephen: The perfect matchup for Joanna Jedrzejczyk is country mate Karolina Kowalkiewicz – who wants retribution. The two Polish starlets have fought twice before, once in the UFC in a title match at UFC 205 and once as amateurs. In both fights Jedrzejczyk came out the winner. Now Kowalkiewicz is on a 2 fight win streak in the UFC and Jedrzejczyk has lost two in a row. What better time than now for these two women to throw down once more?

Nick: What a fight! KK pushes and maintains such a violent pace in every fight that makes her a force in Octagon. Namajunas retaining the title is good news for KK– this puts her closer to the title picture than it would have had JJ won. With Jessica Andrade likely taking the next title shot, Kowalkiewicz may be one fight away from challenging. Perhaps the winner of Michelle Waterson vs Cortney Casey at UFC Fight Night Glendale on April 14th? This would likely make for an exciting match-up, plus both Casey and Waterson are top ten ranked. Additionally, Casey called out Karolina at the UFC Glendale media day.

Felice Herrig

Stephen: Prior to her fight at UFC 223 against Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Felice Herrig was on a 4 fight win streak. That might have been snapped but Herrig has no reason to hang her head. That was a great fight from both and one of the judges had Herrig winning. With retribution on the mind, Felice Herrig’s perfect opponent is Tecia Torres. The two fought back in 2013 at Invicta FC 7 where Torres got the nod from the judges. Now both are in the UFC and are shooting for a title shot. Although both Herrig and Torres are coming off of losses, they weren’t bad losses. Herrig and Torres would put on a show. The UFC really should think about making this fight.

Nick: There is no shame in this loss. Through her four-fight win streak, Herrig showed that she is a real threat and earned her spot in the division. The veteran continues to improve with every outing. Though she is scheduled to face Nina Ansaroff in June/July, I would love for Randa Markos and Felice to run back their grudge match form TUF 20.

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AshleE Evans-Smith 

Stephen: Making her Flyweight debut at UFC 223, Ashlee Evans-Smith looked impressive against Bec Rawlings. She was bigger and stronger – this was the right move for Evans-Smith. Now that she has her first win in the Flyweight division under her belt, Evans-Smith will look to keep the momentum rolling. A fight with Katlyn Chookagian would be ideal. Chookagian needs a fight and Evans-Smith is always down one. These two ladies would put on a show for the fans while helping themselves move up the rankings.

Nick: I’ll admit, I was skeptical when Ashlee first announced her move down to the 125 division as I always thought she was big at bantamweight. It proved a good move— against Bec she was clearly the bigger fighter and was able to bully and discrete the pace of the fight. It’ll be really interesting to see where she goes next from here. I think a match up with fellow former bantamweight Katlyn Chookagian serves as a telling match up for both.

Bec Rawlings

Stephen: With 4 straight losses stemming back to 2016, Rawlings has put herself in a bad spot. Although she did well against Ashlee Evans-Smith at UFC 223, she lost. The question here is whether Rawlings will have another fight in the UFC.

Nick: There is a strong chance that was Rawling’s last showing in the UFC. With that being said, I’m glad she got the chance to fight at 125 and not have to drain her body to meet 115. Perhaps Invicta will scoop Bec up if she is cut? 

 

You play matchmaker! What matches would you like to see happen post-UFC 223?

 

 

Stephen

One comment

  1. – Joanna vs Felice makes sense (if Joanna doesn’t retire or take a fight at 125 next).
    – Karolina vs Watersonvs Casey winner
    – Ashlee Evans-Smith vs Mara Romero Barella (apparently Chookagian is maybe fighting Calderwood)

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