Where does Benoit Saint-Denis go after knockout loss at UFC 299?

MMA: UFC 299- Saint Denis vs Poirier
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 299, we saw an absolute war in the lightweight division. Former interim champion Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (30-8) was taking on surging top contender Benoit Saint-Denis (13-2).

Many including myself were surprised when this fight got announced. Saint-Denis lost his UFC debut but had won and finished five opponents in a row allowing him to climb into the rankings. Dustin Poirier had only fought the best of the best over the past few years. It seemed odd that he would take a fight like this considering how dangerous Saint-Denis is and where he sat in the rankings.

Nevertheless, The Diamond was willing to risk his spot because he saw danger in Saint-Denis and that excites him as a fighter. When the fight on Saturday started, we saw why Saint-Denis was a danger to Poirier. In the first round, Saint-Denis suffocated Poirier with pressure and grappling. The pace was unreal and you could tell it was an adjustment for Poirier.

In the second round, Saint-Denis went right back on the pressure and even got a takedown which led to him mounting Poirier. Things looked great for Saint-Denis, but then Poirier forced a scramble to get up. Once they were striking, you could see the difference between the two.

Saint-Denis relies on pressure and volume to throw his opponents off in the pocket. However, with a fighter the caliber of the former UFC interim champion, he’s comfortable in there and keeps everything tight. With that, he was able to perfectly find the chin of Saint-Denis and rock him. After initially rocking him, he landed a beautiful right counter that put his lights out ending the winning streak for Saint-Denis at UFC 299.

What’s next after UFC 299?

Yes, Benoit Saint-Denis took the loss on Saturday night. However, I don’t think he lost a thing on Saturday in terms of his spot. In fact, despite the knockout loss, I think he proved that he can hang with the best of the best in the lightweight division. When the rankings came out this week, Saint-Denis actually moved up a spot.

So, what should the UFC do with him after this latest performance? There are a couple of matchups that I find really intriguing. One matchup is against fellow ranked contender Dan Hooker. We know how Dan Hooker thrives in a war and Hooker is ranked just above Saint-Denis in the rankings. I think these two would put on a helluva fight.

Another one to watch is at UFC 300, Jalin Turner is fighting Renato Moicano. Turner is one spot ahead of Saint-Denis in the rankings while Moicano is two spots below. Whoever wins that fight could be another opponent to watch for Saint-Denis. Either way, expect a ranked opponent and expect an exciting fight.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: