The UFC is gearing up to kickoff their 2024 schedule and by all indications, this year is going to be absolutely massive. We already know that Conor McGregor will be returning at International Fight Week in June to take on Michael Chandler. We also know that April 13th will play host to the historic UFC 300 in Las Vegas.
There are already some massive title fights that are booked for the first quarter of this year. We know that Sean O’Malley will defend his title in March against Chito Vera in a rematch. Ilia Topuria will get his chance to dethrone Alexander Volkanovski in February. In just a couple of weeks, we will see the huge grudge match between middleweight champ Sean Strickland and top contender Dricus Du Plessis when they headline UFC 297 in Toronto.
So many great title fights booked, but there are even more that will be coming throughout the year. With that, I decided to think about some dream title fights that I would love to see this year. Whether they actually happen or not is irrelevant, but these are three title fights that I would love to see the UFC pull off this year.
UFC Dream Title Fights
Jon Jones – Tom Aspinall
No disrespect to the heavyweight GOAT Stipe Miocic (20-4), but he’s not the guy I want facing Jon Jones (27-1, 1 NC). Jon Jones is the current heavyweight champion and he’s out after tearing his pec just a couple of weeks prior to his heavyweight title fight against Stipe Miocic at UFC 295.
When Jones went out with an injury, the promotion pulled Miocic from the card and added an interim title fight with Tom Aspinall (14-3) and Sergei Pavlovich (18-2). The two men who were looked at as arguably the most dangerous contenders in the heavyweight division.
In their fight, both men came out swinging and it was Aspinall with his speed and technique that put Pavlovich down in the first round to become interim UFC champion. A lot of people immediately were asking for Aspinall – Jones, but Dana White has been firm that Jones – Miocic will proceed when Jones is healthy.
I understand it’s the fight that has to happen in the eyes of the promotion. The GOAT versus the heavyweight GOAT and two men who mean so much to the history of the promotion. However, if you’re asking me and I’m sure most fans, they’d prefer to see Jones take on the young lion in Tom Aspinall.
Now, depending on when the UFC books Jones – Miocic, we still might get this dream matchup in 2024. My assumption is that Aspinall will defend the interim title this year and Jones – Miocic will happen. If both of those fights happen sometime in the middle of the year, I’d love to see Jones – Aspinall close out 2024 for all the marbles.
Alex Pereira – Israel Adesanya 3
Last April at UFC 287, Israel Adesanya (24-3) exercised his demons when he was able to knockout Alex Pereira (9-2) to regain the middleweight title. It was their fourth bout in combat sports and their second MMA matchup. Pereira had stopped Adesanya in November 2022 to capture the middleweight gold and move to 3-0 at the time against Adesanya.
Following the April matchup, Adesanya lost to Sean Strickland and decided to take a break from MMA. However, he’s indicated that he’s likely going to return this year, he just wanted time off. Alex Pereira moved up to light heavyweight and defeated Jan Blachowicz which earned him a shot against Jiri Prochazka for the vacant light heavyweight title.
Pereira scored a second round knockout to win the UFC light heavyweight title. Pereira is now on the short list of fighters who have won titles in two weight classes. With Adesanya and Pereira being 1-1 in MMA, I feel like a third fight has to happen. Ideally, it would be at 205 for the light heavyweight title. If Adesanya wins, he’d also join the list of two-division champions and once and for all, have the upper hand on Pereira.
However, if Pereira were to win, he’d retain his UFC title and prove once and for all that he’s the better man in combat sports.
Islam Makhachev – Leon Edwards
The next matchup would be the classic champion versus champion matchup with one man seeking to become a double-champ. In this case, the champion seeking it would be Islam Makhachev (25-1) and the man trying to hold onto his title would be welterweight champ Leon Edwards (22-3).
Both of these men rank at the very top of the P4P list in the UFC and both men have very tough roads ahead of them before this title fight could materialize. For Makhachev, he likely has two title defenses he’ll have to make before this fight could happen and those would be against current BMF Justin Gaethje and former champ Charles Oliveira.
Those are going to be two extremely tough fights for Islam. However, if he’s able to defeat Gaethje and then Oliveira for a second time, it would solidify his greatness and it would bring him to the proper spot ready to challenge for a second title.
Leon Edwards has expressed interest in fighting at middleweight for a second time, but I don’t see that happening this year. After defeating Colby Covington last month, Edwards is likely fighting Belal Muhammad at UFC 300. Should he get by Muhammad, he’s likely going to face his toughest challenge to date in Shavkat Rakhmonov.
Should Edwards get by both of those matchups, him and Makhachev might have the two top spots in the P4P rankings. Both men would have arguments for champ-champ fights, but I think the UFC would give the fight to Makhachev first because of his star power.