UFC 303: What’s next for Joe Pyfer?

MMA: UFC 303 - Pyfer vs Barriault
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the featured prelim of UFC 303, we saw the return of a very hyped middleweight prospect. Joe Pyfer (13-3) made his return this past weekend off his first loss inside the octagon and he faced off against Marc-Andre Barriault (16-8).

There were a lot of questions surrounding Joe Pyfer ahead of the fight this past weekend. Pyfer had blitzed through his competition through his first three UFC bouts finishing all three before any fight saw the third round. That led him to a main event against Jack Hermansson back in February.

Pyfer started strong but couldn’t get Hermansson out in the first round. Then, it all went completely downhill. Pyfer was visibly tired and was getting oustruck by a grappler in Hermansson. Hermansson won a clear decision and that raised a lot of questions around how good Joe Pyfer really is.

He needed to make a massive statement on Saturday night to quiet that noise and that’s exactly what he did. Pyfer starched Barriault by knocking up out in 85 seconds. That’s exactly the kind of performance he needed to prove that the loss to Hermansson might’ve just been a really bad one-off.

What’s next after UFC 303?

Joe Pyfer made it clear what he wants after Saturday night. Pyfer called out Paul Craig for a matchup in the middleweight division. It’s a very good callout if you ask me because Pyfer would be a massive favorite. Craig is an all-or-nothing type of fighter. He’s either going to submit you or he’s likely going to get stopped.

With Pyfer’s power, he could easily knock Craig out in the first round. If the UFC wants to get him another winnable fight against a guy with name recognition and have it be a highlight reel knockout, Paul Craig is the choice. That said, there are other compelling matchups.

Chris Curtis could be an option and that would be a serious test for Pyfer. A guy like Andre Muniz could be another name to watch or hell, I definitely wouldn’t mind Pyfer taking on Shara Magomedov. That said, I think the UFC is more likely going to roll with the Craig callout.

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