After signature win at UFC Vegas 92, what’s next for Lerone Murphy?

MMA: UFC Fight Night - London - Murphy vs Culibao
Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 92, we saw a featherweight matchup with a ranking on the line. 12th ranked Edson Barboza (24-12) was looking to hold onto his spot in the rankings as he took on England’s Lerone Murphy (14-0-1).

Murphy was the betting favorite entering the fight, but I actually liked Edson Barboza in this matchup primarily off of his last matchup. In that fight, Barboza mixed up his striking and takedowns nicely against Sodiq Yusuff. Murphy didn’t have good takedown defense at all so I liked Barboza’s ability to mix and match his attacks.

Well, in the first round, Murphy dominated most of the striking with crisp jabs from the outside. Late in the first round, Barboza was on his back and nearly knocked Murphy out with an upkick. However, the end of the round saved Murphy at UFC Vegas 92.

From there, Murphy just went into cruise control. Outside of getting hit with some big leg kicks, Murphy put on a striking masterclass. It was actually Murphy who landed a couple of takedowns on Barboza and Barboza never tried to use his wrestling. The fight went all five rounds with Murphy winning a lopsided decision.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 92?

The UFC rankings come out tomorrow and I fully expect to see Murphy right around 11th or 12th in the rankings. With this win, he’s remained unbeaten in his professional career and inside the octagon, he has an impressive 6-0-1 record in seven fights.

The UFC returns to Manchester at the end of July and you have to imagine that Murphy would love to be on the card. He is the lone fighter on the roster that is actually from Manchester. However, I’m not sure if he’ll be ready for a matchup with such a quick turnaround.

Regardless, what should be next for Murphy? There’s a couple of very intriguing matchups. If you really want to challenge his full skills, Bryce Mitchell could be a great test. Mitchell is coming off a knockout loss to Josh Emmett, but he’s ranked 11th and would be a serious test for someone like Murphy.

If you want to give Murphy a more favorable matchup, the UFC could look at Josh Emmett. Emmett snapped his recent losing streak with that knockout win over Mitchell. Emmett is ranked seventh and with a win, Murphy would climb the rankings quickly.

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