There are certain fights and matchups that we want to see. But these fights are not necessarily in the UFC’s pipeline because of one thing or another. But in a perfect world, here are five UFC bouts that need to happen this year:
1. Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones for the UFC Heavyweight championship
We know the bad blood that exists between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. These two have a history of a press conference brawl and have fought twice with Jones beating DC twice. But Jones’ failed drug tests have prompted doubters to say that Jon beat DC because he was juiced. Cormier has moved on from Jones after he won the UFC heavyweight title with a stunning knockout of Stipe Miocic. Cormier says he is going to retire this year but there is no confirmation yet. DC is looking for a big payday against Brock Lesnar but I’m not sure if that fight is even happening. The longer it drags, the more Lesnar is losing relevance. In a perfect world, DC must five Stipe a rematch but I’m not sure he wants to run that fight back. Jones has said he won’t challenge Cormier at heavyweight but given that Bones has cleaned up the light heavyweight division, there is no more logical fight to make at 205. One of these days Jones will have to move up. Let’s hope that when he does, DC isn’t retired yet.
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson for the UFC lightweight championship
Some fights aren’t meant to be. This one is a weird matchup because it had been booked four times in the past and each time, one of the two had to pull out due to injury. This year looked like it could be the year with the two 100% healthy, or at least we thought so. Ferguson is currently in the news because of a supposed mental issue that caused his wife to file a restraining order against El Cucuy. It’s sad, really. Ferguson is one of the baddest fighters in the planet and if there is one fighter out there who could potentially challenge Khabib, it’s him. Not only does Ferguson have one of the best stand up games in the business, he also has an elite ground game which could counter ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Nurmagomedov’s incredible wrestling. I’d love to see what happens when these two grapple on the ground. First things first though. Tony Ferguson must conquer his personal demons first. Then we can talk about this fight later this year perhaps.
3. T.J. Dillashaw vs Max Holloway, superfight
Ever since his first reign as champion, T.J. Dillashaw had talked about a super fight with Demetrious Johnson. But DJ never moved up in weight to challenge Dillashaw and that fight never happened. It doesn’t appear that it’s going to happen ever, with Johnson being traded to Asia’s One Fighting Championships. Dillashaw recently moved “down” in weight to challenge Henry Cejudo for the flyweight title. DIllashaw got crushed in less than a round. Maybe that was the wrong superfight to take because most superfights had the fighter from the lower weight class moving up in weight rather than the other way around. Prior to fighting Cejudo, Dillashaw talked about being a three-division champion and possibly taking on Max Holloway at featherweight. Now that looks like the better superfight to make right there. Dillashaw and Holloway are two of the best strikers in the business. Both have knockout power and both have exciting styles. This would be a blast but you have to stop Max from moving up first. Last year, Blessed was supposed to fight Khabib when Ferguson got hurt. The commission disallowed the fight and hopefully, Max stays at featherweight until this superfight between two champion can be made.
4. Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 3
Is it time for this already? I think so. After Nate Diaz submitted Conor McGregor in a stunning upset at UFC 196 to hand the brash Irishman his first UFC loss, the UFC immediately booked a rematch between the two. McGregor won the rematch via close and maybe debatable decision but even if it was a clear win for the Notorious, their head to head still stands at 1-1. We need a grudge fight to decide who is better. The UFC didn’t book the third fight immediately and instead put the two in different paths. Diaz hasn’t fought since losing the rematch at UFC 202 but UFC President Dana White has teased that he is “ready’ for the return of the brothers from Stockton, California. Diaz is a huge draw and we know McGregor is the company’s top cash cow. We’ve been waiting for this fight for a couple of years now. It’s time to make it happen Uncle Dana.
5. Amanda Nunes vs Holly Holm
Amanda Nunes proved her worth when she knocked out Cris Cyborg to win the UFC featherweight title. Nunes is also the UFC bantamweight title holder and Holm is the #3 ranked contender so I’m not sure why this fight isn’t booked yet. If they want to fight at featherweight, Holm can also move up to featherweight and in fact, she fought for the inaugural UFC featherweight belt. Holm is a multiple time boxing world champion so no one can question here striking. Nunes? We know what she did to Ronda. We know how she dismantled Cyborg. The Lioness is one of the biggest punchers in women’s MMA. She also has elite striking skills. This one won’t be lacking excitement because both women love to trade punches. Whether it’s at bantamweight or featherweight, this is the women’s fight to see.