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Earning wins in the UFC is certainly no easy task, but what comes next is often even more important: the post-fight callout.
So, after Saturday’s UFC 260 event in Las Vegas, who took advantage of their time on the mic?
See below for this week’s Callout Collection – and just how realistic each one is.
Wants to fight: [autotag]Ion Cutelaba[/autotag]
The callout: "I would like to face Ion Cutelaba next. That was the fight that was booked for my debut, it got canceled and I would like to finally face him." The reality: This is a smart callout. [autotag]Michal Oleksiejczuk[/autotag] hasn't yet managed to pick up the sort of wins he needs to start calling for ranked opposition, but in Cutelaba he's targeted an unranked 205er who has solid name value, but also has the sort of fighting style that will bring attention to a potential bout between the pair. Cutelaba is a heavy-handed one-shot KO artist, while Oleksiejczuk is more of a boxer. And, with both men hailing from Europe, a matchup between the pair on an upcoming "Fight Island" card might be just the ticket.
Wants to fight: [autotag]Antonina Shevchenko[/autotag]
The callout: "I’ve said in a couple of other interviews earlier that Valentina Shevchenko is the one that everybody is trying to get to. I got criticized the first time that I had my debut with the UFC. They were like, “Already calling out the champ”. I was like, “No, I didn’t”. I said within two years I want to be able to fight Valentina for that title. I’m still of that mindset and I’d like to beat her sister first." The reality: It seems kind of unfair that Antonina Shevchenko is being seen by some of her rivals as something as a gatekeeper for fighters looking to get the attention of the flyweight champion, but it's an approach that may well prove successful. [autotag]Miranda Maverick[/autotag] isn't operating at championship contender level just yet, but just two fights into her UFC career she's making excellent progress already. A bout against Antonina would represent a significant step up in competition and give Maverick the chance to show more of her stand-up skills against a natural striker. Victory over Antonina would see Maverick cross the threshold and move into a contender position, so the callout isn't just smart, it's a statement of intent as Maverick looks to make swift progress up the 125-pound ladder.
Wants to fight: [autotag]Nate Diaz[/autotag]
The callout: "I’m looking at the top of the division. I think a win like this over a former champion gives me a chance at those top 5 opponents. If nothing works out and Diaz wants to come back, I think that that’s a great fight. I would love to face Nate Diaz. I think his style is awesome, I’ve always enjoyed his style. I think it would be a great matchup." The reality: You can't blame him for shooting his shot, but I think even Vicente Luque knows he's not going to get a fight with Nate Diaz. At least, not right now. Diaz is currently out of the picture, but continues to get called out and talked about for a potential return. It was assumed a trilogy bout with Conor McGregor or a rematch with Jorge Masvidal would be the most likely next assignment for the Stockton native, but with McGregor set to face Dustin Poirier and Masvidal challenging Kamaru Usman again for the welterweight belt, Diaz remains without a dance partner. Luque is willing to step up, but I'm not convinced Diaz will want to return for anything other than a big pay-per-view main event clash. Luque also mentioned potential rematches with the likes of Stephen Thompson and Leon Edwards, and a bout with the former would appear to make the most sense in the current welterweight climate. Whether it makes sense for "Wonderboy," however, is another matter.
Wants to fight: [autotag]Jon Jones[/autotag]
The callout: "For my opinion, Jon Jones is the greatest of all time in mixed martial arts. Him moving up is going to be a good thing. He's a challenge I will take and it will be a very good thing on the resume. But this time he is the challenger. I am the champ. He's coming up, looking for me. So I'm ready anytime soon. Even summer, I will be here, ready to fight in July or August. Whenever they are ready, I'm ready. He said something, 'Show me the money.' Show the money and we'll go, baby! I'm here!" The reality: Not so much a callout as an acceptance of a challenge, [autotag]Francis Ngannou[/autotag] is clearly more than happy to welcome Jon Jones to the UFC heavyweight division. It's by a distance the biggest payday available to the Cameroonian and, from a fan-excitement perspective, it's arguably the biggest fight the UFC could make in any weight class in 2021. Jones will make sure he drives a hard bargain to get the best payday – and rightly so – but regardless of financial details, Ngannou wants to cement his position as the best heavyweight on the planet. He's just beaten the concensus greatest UFC heavyweight of all time. Why not try to take out the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport next?