Entering 2021, one of the hottest names in the UFC‘s lightweight division was Diego Ferreira (17-4). Ferreira entered the year having won six fights in a row including a finish over former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
In his career, Ferreira had only been defeated by Dustin Poirier and Beneil Dariush. That alone showed people just how good Ferreira was. Back in February, he had his first UFC appearance of the year.
He took on Beneil Dariush in a rematch. Unfortunately for Ferreira, their second fight went a lot like their first. Dariush was able to get the better of the grappling and ended up winning a decision.
Ferreira took the fight and in the first round on Saturday, he looked very good. He was able to hurt Gillespie and get the better of some of the exchanges. However, by the second round, Gillespie started to break him.
One thing leading into last weekend is the fact that Ferreira missed weight by over four pounds. A horrific miss heading into UFC Vegas 26. Ultimately in the second round, Gillespie got the TKO victory. So Ferreira had to give up 30% of his purse and he suffered a TKO loss.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 26?
As mentioned, Ferreira rode into the year on the highest of highs. Had he defeated Dariush in February, he could’ve been in the co-headlining spot against Tony Ferguson this weekend at UFC 262.
Instead, Ferreira has lost two in a row and now he’s on the verge of falling out of the UFC’s top fifteen. With that, what should the promotion do with him next? Well for that, I look to UFC 263.
At UFC 263, there’s a lightweight contest between Drew Dober (23-10) and Brad Riddell (9-1). I think a fight with Ferreira and either the winner or the loser makes a lot of sense given their status in the division.
Another fight that could make sense for Ferreira is a matchup with Al Iaquinta (14-6-1). Iaquinta hasn’t fought since 2019, but he’s in a similar spot as Ferreira. Perhaps that’s a matchup the UFC could look at next.