Nurmagomedov had some solid wins entering his effort at UFC 165 but none over opponents with Pat Healy’s resume. “Bam Bam” has been rock-solid for a long time and was riding the momentum of a sizeable winning streak going into the tilt. Nurmagomedov’s ability to out-grapple the grizzled wrestler was impressive in itself and his stand-up looked sharp as well. With the decision nod over Healy, it’s time to give Nurmagomedov a foe in the Top 5. Possible candidates could be Benson Henderson or T.J. Grant (with Rafael dos Anjos interesting as well even if not as highly ranked). Carmont’s outpointing of Costa Philippou wasn’t wholly impressive in that he failed to do more than show he was the superior wrestlers and ground technician, characteristics most fans were already aware of prior to the pairing. Still, he beat a man on the cusp of contendership and deserves due respect. Carmont’s next opponent should have similar status and be marketable match-ups, so names like Yushin Okami and Luke Rockhold make sense. Submitting Matt Mitrione isn’t necessarily an impressive feat in itself but when you factor in Schaub’s relative greenness on the ground and his ability to avoid eating any fight-ending shots along the way it’s a different story altogether. Schaub picked up a second straight win influenced by his grappling game by beating Mitrione. Stipe Miocic would be a suitable opponent for his next match-up, as he’s one of the few heavyweights with name value not currently booked for action and has the skills to serve as a significant challenge to Schaub’s continued success. Barao cemented his status as a Top 5 pound-for-pound pugilist by beating down Eddie Wineland to retain his interim bantamweight belt. The victory was his 31st consecutive instance of success and added to other wins in the Octagon over Michael McDonald, Brad Pickett, Scott Jorgensen, and Urijah Faber. There’s no question linear champion Dominick Cruz should serve as Barao’s next test, though there’s always the possibility his long-injured knee won’t heal before the Brazilian sees action again. If so, Barao should end up in a rematch with Faber assuming “The California Kid” can get by McDonald later this year. It’s hard to argue against the assertion Jones is the most talented light heavyweight in UFC history and en route to becoming perhaps the greatest fighter MMA has ever seen. His win over Alexander Gustafsson served as testament to both the skill and determination Jones possesses. Though he’ll undoubtedly face fellow 26-year old Gustafsson again at some point, his next bout has already been locked in, as “Bones” is expected to take on Glover Teixeira in early February at the UFC’s annual Super Bowl Weekend show.
Less than a week removed from the epic bout between light heavyweight champion
Jon Jones and polished contender Alexander Gustafsson at emotions are still running high where the card is concerned. Jones and Gustafsson turned in an instant classic, battling it out over five furious frames with “Bones” barely emerging with a victory. Of course, the 205-pound king certainly wasn’t the only competitor picking up an extremely important win. With the event officially in the books, it’s now time to take a look at what’s next for some of the card’s biggest winners. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC 165