Jeremy Stephens had a knockout, saturday leaving viewers speechless. Immediately after he got on the microphone and stated his claim for a title shot.
After beating the fourth ranked featherweight, Josh Emmett, he now takes that spot. This leaves the featherweight champ, Max Holloway, Jose Aldo (1), Frankie Edgar (2), and Brian Ortega (3) in front of him.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed, the UFC 222 co-main event bout between Ortega and Edgar is expected to be a title eliminator for the next shot at Max Holloway.
Holloway has two victories over former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. Edgar and Ortega’s bout is taking place this saturday, eliminating two of the top four contenders in the division. Leaving saturday’s winner and Stephens (4) as the next true title contenders.
Stephens, who is coming off of back to back main event knockout victories also holds a knockout victory over former lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos.
Stephens stated that he is willing to fight again if he doesn’t get a title shot in a timely fashion. With Holloways next fight still to be scheduled, it’s likely that Stephens will take another fight.
In November 2016, Stephens lost a close split decision to Frankie Edgar.
Immediately after the loss, Stephens followed that up by knocking out a talented, rising prospect, Doo Ho Choi. Stephens ran to the cage where Brian Ortega was sitting ringside and called him out for a fight. Ortega turned down the verbal proposal, quickly. “Im waiting for a title shot.” Said Ortega.
Could a loss for Ortega or Edgar on saturday mean a fight with Stephens next?
Holloway has been very consistent lately, earning two consecutive finishes over Aldo, a TKO over former lightweight champ, Anthony Pettis, and a submission over jiu jitsu blackbelt, Cub Swanson.
Holloway was unable to finish Stephens in their bout, however both fighters have made improvements in every fight since. With Holloway and Stephens both having finishes over former lightweight champions, this potential rematch between two primarily standup fighters would be exciting to watch.