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3 logical next opponents for Shane Burgos after his UFC 262 loss

Shane Burgos (left) and Sodiq Yusuff (right)
Shane Burgos (left) and Sodiq Yusuff (right)
SENIOR ANALYST

When Shane Burgos is in action, we're guaranteed entertainment. Win or lose, 'Hurricane' leaves everything in the cage and his fights are always strong candidates for a Fight of the Night bonus.

Since making his UFC debut in 2016, Burgos has gone on to beat the likes of Charles Rosa, Cub Swanson and Makwan Amirkhani. His three defeats in MMA have come against some of the UFC's best featherweights. Calvin Kattar painted the first blemish on the 30-year-old's record, before consecutive losses against Josh Emmett and, most recently, Edson Barboza pushed Burgos outside the 145-pound top-10.

Despite losing both, Burgos' last two octagon outings were by no means one-sided and brought him two FOTN bonuses. Having only just turned 30, the future remains bright for Shane Burgos.

UFC 262: Shane Burgos vs. Edson Barboza

Edson Barboza secured back-to-back featherweight wins at UFC 262 against Shane Burgos, and in doing so, provided us with one of the most bizarre knockouts in UFC history. After edging a competitive and entertaining fight through two rounds, Barboza landed a hard right hand in the final round.

Burgos' poker face was initially good and it appeared he had shaken off the strike. After a long delay, 'Hurricane' began to feel his body shutting down and he fell back into the side of the cage. Edson Barboza forced a stoppage with some hard shots to an unconscious Shane Burgos.

Having lost consecutive fights, what's next for Shane Burgos? After slipping out of the featherweight top-10, he'll be keen to rebound soon and start climbing up the rankings again.

With that said, here are three logical next opponents for Shane Burgos after his UFC 262 loss.


#3 Giga Chikadze

UFC Fight Night: Reyes v Prochazka Weigh-in
UFC Fight Night: Reyes v Prochazka Weigh-in

Imagine the striking battle this fight would bring us. For that reason alone, this matchup would be one of the more exciting matchups in the featherweight division.

Giga Chikadze is one of the leading men in the UFC's Georgian invasion. Since debuting in 2019, 'Ninja' has built an unbeaten 6-0 record in the promotion. A brutal head kick against Jamey Simmons last November firmly established his name as one to watch at 145-pounds.

At UFC Vegas 25, Chikadze secured a similarly brutal finish. With the return of the famed 'Giga Kick', the Georgian finished Cub Swanson inside the opening round with a hard body-shot and made his case for a big-name opponent next time out.

Having jumped into the top-10, Chikadze is probably looking for a higher-ranked opponent than Shane Burgos, but should one not be available, 'Hurricane' would be the biggest name on the Georgian's record and has fought some of the division's best. It would certainly be a step up for Chikadze and would re-affirm his status as a rising star.


#2 Bryce Mitchell

UFC 249 Mitchell v Rosa
UFC 249 Mitchell v Rosa

Despite being known for his impressive striking and memorable fights on the feet, Shane Burgos has the same number of submissions (five) as he does knockouts. If the UFC were to test him against a skilled grappler in his next fight, Bryce Mitchell is an intriguing name.

'Thug Nasty' has quickly grown into a fan-favorite during his three years in the UFC. His 5-0 start in the promotion has improved his unbeaten record in the sport to 14-0. With nine submission victories, going to the ground with the 26-year-old is a dangerous activity.

Against Matt Sayles in 2019, Mitchell pulled off just the second Twister in UFC history...

Mitchell currently sits 12th in the rankings, one place above Shane Burgos. There are a couple of options ahead of him that the UFC may prefer to pair him up with, but a fight against a former top-10 and a striker as dangerous as Burgos would provide Mitchell's greatest challenge yet.


#1 Sodiq Yusuff

UFC 241 Cormier v Miocic 2
UFC 241 Cormier v Miocic 2

This is the kind of fight Dana White could write the FOTN bonus cheques for before the card has even started. With both men coming off defeats and slipping out of the featherweight top-10, this matchup makes the most sense.

Since earning a UFC contract through Dana White's Contender Series, Sodiq Yusuff has been about as impressive as a prospect can be. Wins over Sheymon Moraes, Gabriel Benitez and Andre Fili pushed the Nigerian into the top-10 and to an 11-1 record.

A matchup against fellow future star Arnold Allen last month saw 'Super' suffer his first UFC defeat. Despite the loss, his potential as a future 145-pound contender remains clear.

With Yusuff's recent setback against Allen and Shane Burgos' loss to Edson Barboza last weekend, both men find themselves in need of a rebound win to re-establish themselves as top-10 featherweights. A battle between the two makes sense both stylistically and in the context of the division.


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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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