Three new UFC champions were crowned over the past month, but the "And new!" streak came to a crashing end on Saturday night in the main event of UFC on FOX 17 when lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos defended his championship over Donald Cerrone in stunning fashion. The Brazilian titleholder opened up early and quickly became only the second man to ever finish Cowboy with strikes.
Also on the FOX main card, Alistair Overeem picked up the biggest win of his UFC tenure with a shocking upset TKO over former champ Junior dos Santos, and Nate Diaz surprisingly defeated Michael Johnson by unanimous decision, picking up Fight of the Night honors in the process.
The event was a fantastic way to cap off the year, so with that, it's now time to take over the role of UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby and match up some of the competing fighters with potential future opponents.
Rafael dos Anjos: Who Dos Anjos defends his belt against next all comes down to Conor McGregor's next move -- would you look at that, the organization's biggest star is the deciding factor for title shots in other weight divisions. If McGregor decides to remain at featherweight for a while longer, rising star Tony Ferguson is more than deserving of the title shot against the Brazilian. If the featherweight champ moves up, however, dos Anjos vs. McGregor is the money fight.
Donald Cerrone and Michael Johnson: Cowboy finds himself in a tough situation after this crushing defeat. Eight-fight winning streak gone in just over a minute. It has to hurt, for sure. With that being said, he's still a top contender and beats most other lightweights. A fight with Johnson, who also lost on this card, would be a great rebound fight for him, but also a chance for "The Menace" to finally crack into the top five at 155 pounds.
Alistair Overeem: At 35, Overeem doesn't have all the time in the world left to make one more run for the UFC belt. The organization should give him the title shot because he's still a draw in the heavyweight division and ultimately deserves it. Fabricio Werdum faces Cain Velasquez in a rematch in February, and I wouldn't be opposed whatsoever to "The Reem" getting the winner of that fight.
Junior dos Santos: There really isn't a clear option for Dos Santos at this point. There are a few pivotal heavyweight matchups coming up and he could fight the loser of any of them, but nothing completely stands out. The loser of Josh Barnett vs. Ben Rothwell (UFC on FOX 18) would be a fun fight, or a rematch with Werdum if he loses his championship to Velasquez.
Nate Diaz: Again, Diaz's next fight depends on McGregor's next fight. If the Irishman remains at featherweight, I'd like to see Diaz against the winner of Anthony Pettis vs. Eddie Alvarez (UFC Fight Night 81) in a No. 1 contenders bout. However, if McGregor's next fight will be against the 155-pound champ, sign me up for a war with Ferguson.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz: Well, we have a new contender in the women's strawweight division. How far Kowalkiewicz will go is a question I cannot answer at this point, but nonetheless, a win over a top ten opponent in her debut is massive. There are definitely multiple options for her, but a fight with Michelle Waterson or Joanne Calderwood makes the most sense to me.
Randa Markos: Despite now owning a 1-2 record under the UFC banner, Markos is still a marketable fighter in Canada. I'm not so sure she's ever going to challenge for a belt or anything like that, but she's still a talent in the 115-pound division. A rebound fight with Maryna Moroz would be awesome.