Derrick Lewis becomes heavyweight knockout king at UFC Vegas 6

There have been so many knockout artist in the history of the UFC’s heavyweight division. You’ve had guys like Junior Dos Santos, Shane Carwin, Francis Ngannou, Cain Velasquez, and many more.

At UFC Vegas 6, The Black Beast, Derrick Lewis (23-7, 1), surpassed all of those men when he knocked out Alexey Oleynik (59-15-1) in the second round of their main event contest.

What’s next for the UFC’s heavyweight knockout king?

Derrick Lewis has truly been one of the better heavyweights in the UFC over the last five years. Most people think about his personality and his exciting fighting style, but the man has been extremely good and consistent.

Since October of 2015, Lewis has gone 12-3 in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Eight of those wins coming via stoppage. Outside of Francis Ngannou, there might not be a harder puncher in the heavyweight division.

At UFC Vegas 6, the fight started slow for Lewis. Despite having top position at times in the first round, Lewis clearly lost the first round to Oleynik. The grappling was not doing him any favors early on.

Lewis came out like a wild man to start the second round. A flying knee which transitioned to a beautiful right hand floored Oleynik. A few massive shots later and Herb Dean called the fight.

For Lewis, it was his third straight win inside the octagon. Lewis said he wants to drop about 10-15 pounds before he fights again, but he’s hoping to fight in December.

The question becomes, who is next for Lewis? There are a couple of options that could be next. The UFC could have him fight Curtis Blaydes. He could also potentially fight the winner of the Junior Dos Santos – Jairzinho Rozenstruik fight.

Ngannou – Lewis 2?

One interesting possibility I want to throw out is Francis Ngannou. While it’s not interesting in the sense of them fighting, it’s interesting in that it could be a fight for the UFC‘s vacant heavyweight title.

Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic might both retire after UFC 252. Cormier has said it’s for sure his last fight, but there are rumors that Stipe walks away as well. I can’t see the UFC giving Blaydes a third fight with Ngannou, who is the clear number one contender.

Lewis holds a win over Ngannou. If the promotion needs a fight for the vacant heavyweight title, I think Lewis – Ngannou 2 could be a strong possibility.

UFC: Per Dana White, Jon Jones isn’t being stripped of his title anytime soon

UFC, Jon Jones

One of the biggest stars in the UFC has been very vocal about his thoughts on fighter pay since the promotion kicked things off back in May.

The light heavyweight champion and current pound-for-pound number one fighter, Jon Jones, has been in a public spat with the promotion. Jones has said that he would sit out as long as it took to get paid what he wants.

With that line of thinking, many have wondered if this would prompt the UFC to strip Jon Jones of his title. However, Dana White said in an interview with Barstool that the promotion is not planning on that.

“The last time he said ‘I’m not fighting,’ he’s not fighting, so we’re feeling this thing out. When it’s time for him to fight, we’ll see,” White told Barstool. When asked about stripping him, White replied, “Not as of yet, no.”

The UFC & Jones current position

It is a very delicate situation between Jones and the UFC. Jones was very active staring in December of 2019. After all of the suspensions and issues, Jones fought and won four times over the course of 14 months.

After Francis Ngannou knocked out Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds at UFC 249, Jones and Ngannou started angling for a fight. Generalities were spoken in terms of financial figures, and the UFC had no interest in bumping Jones’ pay.

White came out and said that Jones was requesting Deontay Wilder money to fight Ngannou. This is a claim that Jones quickly refuted.

All of this drama between Jones and White came back in late May/early June. Since then, it’s been very quiet on this front. White did say he believes that they will resolve the issue.

The UFC has been cranking out cards, and I believe that they have the rest of the year figured out. The rest of 2020 may not included Jones or Conor McGregor. White guaranteed McGregor wouldn’t fight and it doesn’t appear as if Jones will fight either.

Time will tell what’s going to happen in this situation. I still believe that they will get this resolved in the end. Not sure if Jones will return to the light heavyweight division or if he’ll move up, but rest assured, Jon Jones will fight again in the UFC someday.

 

Alexander Volkov – Walt Harris booked for UFC 254

Alexander Volkov, UFC

UFC 254 has added a big time heavyweight clash featuring two guys in the top ten as Alexander Volkov (31-8) will be taking on Walt Harris (13-8).

Both Volkov and Harris fought in the first two months that the UFC was back in production. Both men lost their first fights of 2020. Harris and Volkov will be looking to use this contest as a bounce back to head towards to top five.

Big UFC heavyweight implications

The heavyweight division in the UFC is in an interesting state at the moment. Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic will conclude their trilogy for the heavyweight title in a couple of weeks at UFC 252.

Both men could walk away from the sport after UFC 252. Right behind them the division has a clear number one contender in Francis Ngannou. Ngannou has won four consecutive fights by first round knockout.

After Ngannou, there’s a wide open field of contenders. Two of those contenders are Harris and Volkov.

Walt Harris had one of the most difficult years anyone could go through over the last twelve months. He made his emotional return to the octagon back in May against Alistair Overeem.

Harris looked like he was going to close the show in the first, but a game Overeem survived. Harris began to tire and Overeem was able to get the finish in the second round. This fight is a big chance for Harris to right the ship.

Back in 2018, Volkov was perhaps a victory away from a UFC title shot. Actually, he was about 11 seconds away from a potential title shot. That’s when Derrick Lewis landed a massive bomb which knocked Volkov out after Volkov dominated the fight.

Volkov bounced back in 2019 with a win over Greg Hardy, but then fall short against Curtis Blaydes back in June. The Russian had some bright spots in the fight, but a steady wrestling onslaught was his downfall.

This fight is so much fun and it’s so interesting. Harris is a very fast starter who looks to finish the fight early while Volkov likes to use his shots to fatigue his opponents. I think a finish is likely in this fight. If it’s early, I expect Harris to win. Later rounds, I’m going with Volkov. It’s a fun one in the heavyweight division.

UFC: Is Ciryl Gane the next great UFC heavyweight?

The UFC‘s heavyweight division is in a very weird position. At the top of the division, you have two men (Stipe Miocic & Daniel Cormier) who are getting ready to fight for the third time for the heavyweight title. Neither man is guaranteed to fight again after their trilogy.

Behind them, you have the most terrifying heavyweight in the world, Francis Ngannou (15-3). After Ngannou, the water gets murky for the heavyweight division.

Sure you have a guy like Curtis Blaydes, but he’s already lost to Ngannou twice. After Blaydes, the rest of the division is not very strong. However, there is one contender who just broke into the UFC‘s top 15 that people should pay attention to. He’s also a teammate of Ngannou. That man is Ciryl Gane (6-0).

From Muay Thai to the UFC

Gane is a French heavyweight who got his combat sports start in Muay Thai. Gane went a perfect 7-0 in Muay Thai including winning a title before making a jump to MMA. One year after his professional MMA debut, Gane made his UFC debut in August of 2019.

Gane fought three times from August to December winning all three of his UFC appearances to vault him to the fifteenth ranking. Gane is a massive heavyweight standing 6’5 and weighing the maximum of 265 pounds. There’s no soft in his physique as he’s a solid 265 pounds.

“Bon Gamin” is extremely entertaining to watch. He’s such a high level striker, but he doesn’t throw with all his power a lot of the time. He fights in a traditional point fighting style where he mainly touches his opponents. However, when he sees the opening, he can uncork power shots that are capable of putting anyone to sleep in the UFC‘s heavyweight division.

Another contender is what the UFC needs

As mentioned early, Gane currently trains at the MMA Factory alongside Francis Ngannou. Gane believes that Ngannou is going to become the next UFC heavyweight champion. He acknowledged that this could create an interesting situation between the two men and the camp.

“It’s a sport… If we can avoid the situation it would be best, but if I had to fight Francis, I would do this,” Gane told Fox Sports last year.

Gane is someone who I think the UFC really needs for it’s heavyweight division. As mentioned, after Ngannou the division looks pretty weak. If Gane can develop into a star, there could be massive potential for a Gane/Ngannou fight one day. For now, Gane has a fight next month against top contender, Sergei Pavlovich (14-1). If Gane is able to get through Pavlovich, a top-ten opponent would be next for the Frenchman.

ESM’s Men’s UFC Pound-for-Pound rankings ahead of Saturday Night

One of the things that never seems to make sense to the world is the UFC rankings. If you go over to the UFC’s official rankings page, the pound for pound rankings make you scratch your head. At ESM, we have decided to throw our hat into the ring to create our own rankings that we will keep updated following every major UFC/MMA event.

Men’s Pound-For-Pound Rankings

  1. Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC)
  2. Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0)
  3. Israel Adesanya (19-0)
  4. Kamaru Usman (16-1)
  5. Stipe Miocic (19-3)
  6. Daniel Cormier (22-2, 1 NC)
  7. Alexander Volkanovski (21-1)
  8. Justin Gaethje (22-2)
  9. Conor McGregor (22-4)
  10. Francis Ngannou (15-3)

To me, Jon Jones is still the best to ever do it inside the octagon. In reality, the man is 28-0 just like Nurmagomedov but due to an elbow rule and a picogram, he’s got two blemishes on his record. Still when “Bones” is on his game, he’s the best in the world possessing elite skills in all aspects of MMA.

In comparison to the UFC‘s official rankings you’ll notice some differences. I personally left Dustin Poirier and Max Holloway outside of the top ten. Holloway is 1-2 in his last three fights which hurts his case. Poirier was a tough call, but I went with Gaethje and McGregor from that division. I think if Poirier were to rematch both men especially the new and improved Justin Gaethje, it could be a long night for him.

Francis Ngannou is the one who needs to be ranked higher in the UFC‘s rankings. The Predator is currently ranked 14th, but he belongs in the top ten. The most prolific knockout artist in UFC history is on a Mike Tyson like tear right now. His last four fights have gone a combined 2:42 against top heavyweight competition.

UFC 251’s Potential Impact

There are a couple of fights that will have an impact on the P4P UFC rankings this Saturday. The main event of the evening features Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal (35-13). Masvidal has won three fights in a row, but if he’s able to defeat Usman, he will finally launch into the top ten pound for pound rankings. Usman will likely hold in the fourth spot with a win on Saturday night.

Alexander Volkanovski can jump in the rankings even more if he’s able to defeat Holloway for a second time. The Australian has won 18 fights in a row including all eight of his UFC fights. If he’s able to retain his title on Saturday night and do it impressively, you could make the argument that he belongs in the top five.

Holloway could get back into the top ten if he’s able to regain his title. 2019 was not a great year for the former champion losing two fights. However, the Blessed Era can make an emphatic return if he’s able to dethrone Vokanovski on Saturday night. Fight Island definitely has the potential to shake up our UFC men’s pound for pound rankings.

UFC: Dana White on Curtis Blaydes; “How do you give him the title shot over Francis?”

UFC, Dana White

Curtis Blaydes talked a lot of smack leading up to UFC on ESPN 11, and the boss took note of everything that Blaydes was saying. Blaydes said that he planned on ragdolling his opponent, and made comments about how he should get the next title shot. Earlier this week, I wrote about how that would be an issue considering the fact that he’s lost twice to the top contender in the division, Francis Ngannou. Dana White took to the podium after the fight, and delivered a very direct quote to Blades: “You look stupid.”

UFC title shot isn’t in the cards for Blaydes right now

White pointed out the fact that his performance did not back up the smack that Blaydes had talked all week. White also mentioned the fact that he’s lost twice to Ngannou, so waiting for a title shot makes no sense.

“He gassed out after the third round. . . If I was him I wouldn’t wait, I’d stay active.” White said in his post-fight press conference. Blaydes does not strike me as a stupid human being. There is no way that even he could watch that performance, and make the assumption that he should be fighting for the UFC heavyweight title next. Nobody would want to see Curtis Blaydes fight for the title after his win over Volkov.

Winning + Excitement = Title Shot

If history has taught us anything about the UFC, it’s taught us that you not only have to win, but you have to be exciting to get a title shot. Blaydes had a lot going for him after his last few performances, but tonight was a devastating blow to his stock even in a win. If he would have came out and finished Volkov early, White would probably have said; “Yeah, I’d probably wait for the title shot.” Look at what Dana has been telling Conor McGregor over the last few months. However, Blaydes looked horrendous in victory, and White knows that his fan base has no interested in seeing him fight for the title anytime soon.

UFC: Curtis Blaydes’ planning on waiting for a title shot if he wins Saturday, but he could be waiting a while

Curtis Blaydes, UFC

There is no question that UFC heavyweight, Curtis Blaydes (13-2, 1 NC), is one of the best heavyweights in the world. Blaydes is currently ranked as the third best heavyweight in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Since joining the UFC back in 2016, Blaydes has a very good record of 8-2 with one no contest. Blaydes is going up against the fifth ranked heavyweight this Saturday night in Alexander Volkov (31-7). Blaydes told MMA Junkie if he beats Volkov, he will likely try to sit out until he gets a title shot, but is that smart?

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division

The UFC‘s heavyweight division is in a very weird spot at the moment. Current champion, Stipe Miocic, is scheduled to conclude his trilogy with former champion, Daniel Cormier on August 15th. Cormier has publicly said that this would be his last fight win or lose. One has to wonder what the future would hold for Miocic if he was to win. The champion will turn 38-years-old four days after the title fight with Cormier. If he’s able to beat Cormier, what’s left for him at heavyweight? There is only one true number one contender right now, and Miocic has already defeated him. That number one contender is the frightening, Francis Ngannou. Is the risk of fighting Ngannou worth the reward for Miocic if he’s able to beat Cormier for a second time? The UFC could be looking at a situation where both Miocic and Cormier walk away from the sport after UFC 252. The only man that I could see either guy fighting after the August 15th title fight is Jon Jones.

The Ngannou Problem

If Ngannou is the number one contender and Blaydes is right behind him, Blaydes should just wait to see what happens after August 15th right? I mean if both men retire, Blaydes would have to get the title shot against Ngannou for the vacant heavyweight title, right? Here’s the issue with that. Blaydes has lost twice to Ngannou already, and neither fight was close. In-fact, Blaydes didn’t even last one minute the last time they fought. Even if Blaydes beats Volkov which would be his fourth win in a row, I’m not sure the UFC would be jumping at the chance to book him and Ngannou for the vacant heavyweight title if the 8/15 winner retires. The likely scenario would be that the UFC would throw a lot more money at Jon Jones to make the superfight with Ngannou happen for the heavyweight title, leaving Blaydes on the sidelines.

Blaydes’ Dilemma

Another intriguing possibility to fight Ngannou if the title was to become vacant is Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. I wrote about that being a potential superfight that the UFC could put together this year. Of course, Johnson wouldn’t have the heavyweight resume that Blaydes has, but that fight would sell a lot more, and the UFC is a business at the end of the day. I get where Blaydes is coming from in saying that he wants to wait for a UFC title shot if he wins on Saturday. Unfortunately his two losses to the current number one contender really puts him behind the eight-ball in the title shot pecking order. I think it’s going to be a long time before Blaydes gets a UFC title shot with the way things currently stand.

UFC: Realistic Super Fights to Make

There has been a lot of craziness going on in the UFC with people calling for super fights, and others like Jon Jones saying they will walk away until he gets compensated for a super fight. With all these discussions going on, I started thinking about the UFC and super fights that could be made. Right now, the sports world is still not back to normal, but the UFC is pushing forward with events. The UFC will eventually bring fans back to the arena and when they do, there are several realistic options for super fights. Let’s breakdown some of the fights that the UFC could make to earn large paydays for the company and the fighters who are seeking a fat check.

Francis Ngannou vs Anthony Johnson

For this first one, I wanted to target a fight that could realistically come together quickly. This could be a fight that comes together before fans are even back in the stands. You might question this fight at first, but once you think about it, it starts to make sense. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) hasn’t fought in over three years since he lost to Daniel Cormier for the second time at UFC 210. Johnson announced after the fight that he would be stepping away from the sport to pursue other avenues. The decision came as a shock to everyone because Rumble was peaking in his career. He was coming off of a five-year stretch where he went 12-2 with nine knockouts. The only man to defeat him was Cormier, who did it twice. When Rumble was knocking people out, it was scary to watch. His knockouts over Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, and Jimi Manuwa were impressive, to say the least. Rumble announced late last year that he would be returning to the UFC, but he said he hadn’t decided which division he would compete in. He originally said that he intended to compete at heavyweight, but he suggested that he might try to drop down to 205 for another run at the light heavyweight title. I think he should come back to the heavyweight division to stand across the octagon from someone possibly even more terrifying.

Is there anyone more terrifying in the UFC right now than Francis Ngannou (15-3)? Ngannou lost his way with two lackluster performances a couple of years ago, but since then, he’s fought four times with none of those fights going more than 90 seconds. Ngannou has rattled off four consecutive knockouts against Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Last month, Ngannou took on the undefeated, Rozenstruik in a matchup that was much anticipated. Rozenstruik called Ngannou out, and Francis made him aware that calling him out was a mistake. Ngannou destroyed the previously unbeaten Rozenstruik in just 20 seconds. I think it’s safe to say that Ngannou is the hardest hitter that the UFC has ever seen. It’s remarkable to say, but he reminds me of a prime Mike Tyson when he fights. Right now, Ngannou is left without a dance partner. There was some back and forth with him and Jon Jones, but that fight does not look like it’s going to materialize. Ngannou should be fighting for the title, but Cormier and champion, Stipe Miocic are in the process of negotiating the conclusion to their trilogy. Ngannou needs someone to fight, and Rumble Johnson needs a big name for his return. Sign me up right now for two of the most prolific knockout artists in UFC history going head to head. Whoever wins the fight would be first in line to fight for the title after Cormier and Miocic fight. You know this fight will not go to the ground and you have to believe that someone would be going to sleep. It’s a fight that gets my heart racing just thinking about it.

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko 3

Normally you wouldn’t consider a trilogy fight where one fighter is 2-0 in the series to be a super fight, but this isn’t your normal circumstance. The two best female fighters in the world are Amanda Nunes (19-4) and Valentina Shevchenko (19-3). I completely disagree with the UFC’s women’s P4P rankings where they moved strawweight champion, Weili Zhang, ahead of Shevchenko. No disrespect to Zhang, but she doesn’t have the resume to be ranked ahead of Shevchenko. Shevchenko has looked invincible since the UFC created the flyweight division. She is 5-0 and not a single one of those fights was even remotely competitive. Shevchenko is truly the full package with no weaknesses in her game. Her last loss came as UFC 215 to Amanda Nunes. I believe that Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time, but I believe that Shevchenko won the last fight between the two of them.

Since 2015, the only person to make Amanda Nunes look mortal is Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes has put together a resume that puts her easily in the top spot to be the greatest female fighter of all time. If you think of the all-time greats in women’s MMA, she’s beaten them. When you think of the most famous names in women’s MMA, you think of Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Miesha Tate, and Holly Holm. Well, Nunes beat all four of those women and none of them made it to the second round. She is the only woman in UFC history to hold a belt in two weight classes at the same time. The only real challenge she’s had was that fight against Shevchenko. These two women are just operating on an entirely different level. Nunes is fighting Felicia Spencer this Saturday at UFC 250 and once Shevchenko recovers from her injury, she will likely be facing off with Joanne Calderwood. I don’t see either challenger posing a threat to the two champions. Assuming they both get through those fights victorious, I think you should pair them up again. If you look at the rankings, there is no one in those weight classes who will give them trouble, and the toughest women in their divisions have already been defeated by them. The only fight that would make sense is pairing these two back up for a massive fight in terms of legacy. Shevchenko does have the opportunity for a second champion versus champion fight in the future with Zhang, but I think Zhang needs to fight Rose Namajunas and perhaps another fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk before she moves up to 125 to challenge “Bullet”.

Jon Jones vs Israel Adesanya

This is the matchup that you dream about when you think about super fights. Two undefeated champions facing off with some heat between the two of them. There is no question that these two men do not like each other, and this fight would be massive for UFC fans all over the world. Israel Adesanya (19-0) burst onto the UFC just two years ago, but he’s already blossomed into one of the biggest stars in the sport. Sporting a perfect 19-0 record, Adesanya has defeated Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, Yoel Romero, and Anderson Silva in the last 17 months. The Nigerian native has dazzled fans with his flashy striking style and his confident personality. Adesanya has a little work to do in his own division before moving up to 205, but “The Last Stylebender” already has a time frame for his move. Adesanya will fight the undefeated, Paulo Costa (13-0), at some point this year. If Adesanya gets through Costa, his last fight before a move up would likely be a rematch with Robert Whittaker or a fight with Darren Till depending on who wins their fight in July. Adesanya says that he wants to come after Jon Jones in 2021.

Jon Jones (26-1-1) is in a little bit of a weird spot. Widely considered the greatest MMA fighter of all-time, Jones is currently in a contract dispute with the UFC. Jones’ last three fights didn’t sell extremely well, and Jones didn’t give fans a reason to want to tune in. Jones has almost looked like he’s just been going through the motions in his last couple of fights. When he came back and won the title against Alexander Gustafsson, Jones had that killer instinct. He finished Gustafsson and made a statement in doing so. Since then he’s had okay decision victories over Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Dominick Reyes. The Santos fight was a split decision, and a lot of people believed he lost the fight to Reyes. Jones seems to be the victim of fighting to his competition level. When he doesn’t see someone as a major threat, he just goes through the motions in the fight. Jones had been asking for a fight with UFC heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou, which led to this contract dispute. Jones wants to get paid more, and he probably should get paid more. However, from the UFC’s perspective, they are looking at a guy who hasn’t sold well in his last few outings which doesn’t give them the incentive to pay Jones more. Jones has said he would vacate the title due to all of this, and if he goes through with that, this super fight kind of goes out the window. This fight would need to be for the light heavyweight title, but if Jones leaves the UFC for a while, the steam behind this super fight goes with him. I think the UFC will work things out with Jones and he will defend his title towards the end of the year. Assuming Jones gets through that fight victorious, he can wait for Adesanya. If both guys take care of business, the UFC should look to book Adesanya/Jones for the light heavyweight title at International Fight Week next July at the newly built Allegiant Stadium which holds over 60,000 fans.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor 2

Did you think there’d be a super fight list without the biggest draw in the history of the sport? Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Conor McGregor (22-4) are the two highest-paid fighters in the UFC. They are global stars who sell at the highest level and they hate each other. Khabib Nurmagomedov is arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world. The man is an absolute animal who has never really been challenged in his 28 fights which sounds insane. Nurmagomedov has mauled every man that has stepped across the cage from him, and his last two performances have been his best showings so far. Last September, Nurmagomedov fought Dustin Poirier for the undisputed lightweight championship. Poirier had captured the interim lightweight title, and came into the fight with an incredible amount of momentum coming off wins against Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway. Many people thought Poirier would give Nurmagomedov trouble, but there was no trouble at all. There were a couple of times where Poirier threatened Khabib, but for the most part, it was a one-sided mauling. Prior to that fight, Nurmagomedov faced off against the famous Irishman at UFC 229. Nurmagomedov dominated that fight even rocking McGregor on the feet. Khabib would go on to submit McGregor in the fourth round. Afterwards, a brawl broke out which saw “The Eagle” attack McGregor’s corner, and Nurmagomedov’s corner attacked McGregor. There is just too much there between the two men to not run the fight back. The one hurdle standing in the way at the moment would be interim champion, Justin Gaethje. Gaethje and Nurmagomedov are scheduled to fight later in the summer to early in the fall.

Conor McGregor is the biggest star in UFC history and there’s not really a close second. McGregor soared to fame and became the first fighter in UFC history to hold a belt in two weight classes simultaneously. After he destroyed Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight title at UFC 205, McGregor jumped to the world of boxing to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match which netted McGregor a $100 million payday. After the Mayweather fight, many wondered if McGregor would ever return to the sport of MMA. The UFC stripped him of both of his titles and the divisions moved on. Nurmagomedov won the lightweight title while McGregor sat on the sidelines. McGregor would make headlines for his actions outside the octagon which included attacking a bus that held the lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov. There was so much heat between the two men leading up to their fight at UFC 229. Following the loss, McGregor stepped away from the sport for another lengthy layoff. Throughout 2019, McGregor seemed to be getting back to his roots. He was starting to get his personal life in order, and he seemed to be dedicating himself back to the sport that made him a superstar. It was announced that McGregor would return against Donald Cerrone back in January. McGregor never looked better, destroying Cowboy Cerrone in just 40 seconds. There is no question as to what is the biggest fight the UFC can possibly make. No disrespect to Justin Gaethje, but the biggest fight the UFC can make is Conor McGregor getting his second chance at the undisputed champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Obviously, Gaethje will get the next shot as the interim champion, but I can promise you that the UFC front office will be praying for a Nurmagomedov victory. A Nurmagomedov/McGregor rematch for the UFC lightweight championship would be the biggest fight in the history of the sport.