The UFC has officially confirmed the next title fights at 185lbs and at 205lbs. UFC president Dana White confirmed late Wednesday evening that UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman will next defend his title against former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. As for UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, his opponent will be none other than Swedish superstar Alexander Gustafsson. Neither title fight has had a date revealed yet, but both fights are expected to happen before the year 2015 is up. As far as the Weidman vs. Rockhold matchup goes, this was a no brainer. Although Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza had a good case to get the title shot, Rockhold’s resume is stronger and with a recent submission win over Lyoto Machida, it only made sense for him to take on Weidman — who recently TKOed Vitor Belfort — in what should be a fabulous middleweight title fight. As for Cormier, him fighting Gustafsson next is a bit surprising. Most figured that Ryan Bader, who has won four fights in a row, would get the next title shot, but the UFC decided to go with Gustafsson instead despite the fact he is coming off of a first-round TKO loss to Anthony Johnson. But while Bader was more deserving based on merit, we all know this is a business and the fight between Cormier and Gustafsson is a bigger — and better — fight than Cormier against Bader would have been. As far as the odds go for both fights, each one is very tough to call. In the case of Weidman vs. Rockhold, you have two of the most complete mixed martial artists in the game going against one another. Because Weidman is the champ and due to his unblemished record, one would imagine he opens up as the favorite, but the line is expected to be fairly competitive, and it would not surprise me if it was close to a Pick ’em after the betting public got involved as Rockhold always gets a tremendous amount of respect from bettors. But I do believe Weidman deserves to at least open the favorite for this fight. As for Cormier vs. Gustafsson, it’s expected Cormier, the champ, opens up as the favorite, but this is no gimme fight for DC as Gustafsson is a seriously-good fighter and even though he lost to Johnson by knockout, he remains one of the elite 205lbers in the world. So look for DC to be the favorite, but like the Rockhold/Weidman fight, don’t be surprised if a solid amount of support comes behind Gustafsson in this fight. Both Cormier vs. Gustafsson and Rockhold vs. Weidman are tremendous matchups for fans to get excited for, and hopefully the UFC announces dates and venues for both fights soon so fans can get prepared for what should be two great fights.
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