Robert Whittaker – Jared Cannonier added to UFC 254

Earlier this week, UFC President Dana White was interviewed by ESPN and he stated that a fight between Robert Whittaker (21-5) and Jared Cannonier (13-4) would make sense.

He talked about how it’s hard to distinguish a number one contender between the two men. They both are deserving of the next title shot. Well, it’s been announced that the two men are going to fight to determine who is the number one contender.

UFC 254 will determine number one contender

It’s a quick fight announcement for the former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Whittaker is coming off of a close decision win over Darren Till last Saturday at UFC Fight Island 3.

Since dropping down to middleweight back in 2014, Whittaker has been at the very top. He’s gone 10-1 and captured the UFC‘s middleweight title. The only slip up came when he lost the title by knockout to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243.

Whittaker desperately wants to get that fight back. Adesanya has a tall mountain to climb in front of him at UFC 252 in Paulo Costa, but if Izzy and Whittaker both win expect the rematch in 2021.

Much like Whittaker, Cannonier has also seen a career resurgence once he changed weight classes. Cannonier suffered back-to-back losses against top light heavyweight contenders forcing him to move down to middleweight.

Once he moved down, Cannonier has looked sensational. He’s fought three times against and finished every opponent. His hit list includes David Branch, Anderson Silva, and Jack Hermansson.

I’m pumped for this fight. Both men are extremely talented and have elite striking skills. I love this fight because it will determine a true number one contender in the UFC‘s middleweight division.

Darren Till tore his MCL at UFC Fight Island 3

Top UFC middleweight Darren Till suffered a tear of his MCL in his fight with Robert Whittaker last weekend at UFC Fight Island 3.

During the middle rounds, Till could be heard telling his corner that his knee was gone. He told his corner that he had no bounce. Till said in the post-fight press conference that he believe he tore his ACL.

Till’s head coach told ESPN today that The Gorilla tore his MCL. “Torn MCL, doctors are amazed he was able to stand up for the last three rounds. . . He is in a cast for six weeks then we’ll reassess, hopefully it will start to knit while immobilized,” Till’s coach said.

What’s next for the UFC’s Till?

The fight at UFC Fight Island 3 was razor close with Whittaker. It’s pretty astonishing how well Till fought considering he couldn’t really plant much on that knee.

Till fought fantastic and I actually scored the fight for Till including giving him the final two rounds. Even in a loss, Till proved that he is one of the very best in the UFC‘s middleweight division.

Obviously it’s going to take some time for Till to heal. We don’t have an exact timeline on when he’s coming back. Once he returns, there are a couple of options that I have in mind for his next contest.

One option is he could fight the winner of Edmen Shahbazyan and Derek Brunson who fight this weekend. Another option is he could fight the winner of the Yoel Romero – Uriah Hall matchup that takes place later in August.

If those are not options for the UFC another great option would be fighting the loser of the Adesanya – Costa title fight in September. No matter what, Till needs a top level opponent whenever he’s healthy and ready to go. Who do you think the Gorilla should fight next?

Four fights to make after UFC Fight Island 3

UFC, Dana White

The UFC hosted it’s fourth and final event from Final Island last night, and the card completely delivered from top to bottom. After the card was over, it’s always time to start pondering what’s next. Here are four fights that should be made following last night.

Robert Whittaker vs Winner of Adesanya/Costa

This is one of the easier ones when you think about it. The former UFC middleweight champion looked very impressive last night defeating world class striker, Darren Till.

Whittaker was hurt very early in the fight, but went on to win three of the next four rounds on his way to a unanimous decision. Whittaker improved to 10-1 since moving to the middleweight division.

Bobby Knuckles lost his title to Israel Adesanya back in October of last year at UFC 243. Getting a win over a guy like Till puts him right back in the top contender status.

If you look at the middleweight division, there really is not another fight for Whittaker. I expect Bobby Knuckles to sit back and watch the September title fight with Adesanya and Paulo Costa.

Whoever wins that fight will likely get a fight with Whittaker in early 2021 or even perhaps by the end of this year.

Fabricio Werdum vs Ryan Bader

I know you might be thinking, “Why is a Bellator matchup in a UFC article?” Well it’s no secret that last night was the last fight on Fabricio Werdum‘s current contract.

The former champion has made it known that he’s interested in moving on from the UFC. The logical next step for Werdum would be to move to Bellator.

Bellator has a history of pushing UFC vets straight to the top when they jump ship. I expect Werdum to get the same treatment given his resume. The heavyweight division in Bellator is not very strong.

With that, Werdum could go right into a title shot in Bellator. He poses some interesting problems for Ryan Bader. If the Werdum that fought last night shows up, it’s not out of the question that he becomes the Bellator heavyweight champion this year.

Carla Esparza vs Jessica Andrade

Carla Esparza was able to capture her fourth consecutive win last night at UFC Fight Island 3 defeating Marina Rodriguez. With that win, Esparza looks to be ready to challenge one of the divisions best.

In looking at the logical next opponents for her, there are only two opponents that make sense from a divisional standpoint and that’s Tatiana Suarez and Jessica Andrade.

Suarez just finished Esparza two years ago so I can’t see the UFC making that fight. Andrade is coming off of a close loss to Rose Namajunas back at UFC 251.

This fight would pair two former champions against each other as both look to get back to the top. Andrade has lost two in a row, but they were to the two best women in the world. Esparza needs a win over someone like Andrade to prove she’s still one of the very best.

Khamzat Chimaev vs Top 15 UFC opponent

For all of the fighters that took part in Fight Island, the one that UFC fans should be the most excited about is Khamzat Chimaev. The guy is an absolute monster. His dominance can be illustrated with one tweet.

Chimaev resembles a larger version of the UFC’s lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“Borz” is a frightening matchup for anyone in the welterweight division. He’s so exciting because unlike some wrestlers who just take their opponents down, Chimaev is constantly looking to “Smash” his opponents.

Seeing how polished he is already, I would not be surprised to see him fast-tracked. Chimaev’s wrestling base can allow him to move quicker than some prospects would in the UFC.

Perhaps a good fight for Chimaev would be taking on the winner of next week’s Randy Brown – Vicente Luque fight. Either way, Chimaev is going to get a quick turnaround. I expect to see Borz fight one or even two more times before 2021.

 

UFC: Where does Kelvin Gastelum go from here?

Entering 2019, many people believed that Kelvin Gastelum (15-6, 1 NC) was near the top of the UFC‘s middleweight division.

Gastelum came into the year coming off of a knockout win over former champion Michael Bisping, and a win over Jacare Souza. Those wins led him to getting a interim title shot against Israel Adesanya.

The fight back at UFC 236 was an instant classic. Both men had big moments in the fight. Gastelum became the first man inside the UFC to make Adesanya look vulnerable.

In the final round of the fight, Adesanya made it clear that he was the better man. Gastelum fell in that fight, but his stock actually rose.

A fall from the top of the UFC’s middleweight division

Now we fast forward to our present time, and nobody believes that Gastelum is at the top of the UFC‘s middleweight division. After last Saturday, Gastelum is now 0-3 in his last three fights in the division.

Gastelum lost his fight to Adesanya then took on middleweight newcomer and former UFC welterweight title challenger, Darren Till.  Despite a split decision, I thought it was clear Till won the fight unanimously.

Gastelum took eight months off before showing up on Fight Island to fight Jack Hermansson. Gastelum talked about his mental struggles, but was confident he would dominate Hermansson. Hermansson went on to submit Gastelum in 78 seconds.

Gastelum is just getting ready to turn 29-years old, but where does he go from here? Gastelum is naturally a welterweight, but struggled mightily to make weight at 170.

After missing weight multiple times, Dana White forced Gastelum to move up. While his middleweight career started out well, he’s now just 3-4, 1 NC in the division.

I really think that Gastelum should evaluate what he wants to do moving forward. I think he could be one of the best welterweights in the world if he could show a little more discipline.

If Gastelum decides to stay in the UFC middleweight division, I’m not sure where he goes from here. Maybe he fights the loser of the Edmen Shahbazyan/Derek Brunson fight next? If not that, he’s going to have to take someone near the bottom of the top 15. Gastelum really needs to take a step back and evaluate the next steps in his career.

UFC: Major title fights will be coming back to Fight Island

UFC, Dana White

The UFC will be leaving Fight Island to return to the United States this week after a very successful first run in Abu Dhabi.

In speaking with The National, White detailed some of the bigger fights that he has in mind for the UFC‘s return to Abu Dhabi.

“Khabib will be the next…we’re talking about Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa, that fight is happening. Zhang Weili vs. Rose Namajunas is a possibility. All the massive, big fights with literally the champion vs. the No. 1 contender are all looking like Fight Island.”

UFC’s Fall Return

The UFC‘s fall return to Fight Island is going to be massive. I would expect that the first fight we will see booked is the middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya (19-0) and Paulo Costa (13-0).

The two undefeated fighters have a ton of heat between the two of them. Over the weekend, the fight was prematurely announced for September. However, Dana White said the fight is not official.

Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) will be making his return at some point against Justin Gaethje (22-2). The two men will unify the UFC‘s lightweight championship on Fight Island.

Zhang and Namajunas is another massive fight that will happen on Fight Island. There could also be additional title fights that will still be announced in the months to come for Fight Island in the fall.

The UFC will likely have to make most of their big fights on Fight Island with the way that the pandemic is going. The United States is a fluid country with the virus. As a result, I think the UFC might be setting up shop on Fight Island for most of 2020.

UFC: Israel Adesanya & Jorge Masvidal grace the cover of UFC 4

Today, EA Sports officially announced and released the trailer for the anticipated UFC 4 video game. The cover athletes have been discussed for a while, and EA Sports elected to have Jorge Masvidal (35-13) and Israel Adesanya (19-0) on the cover of this year’s release.

New features for UFC 4

The video game trailer shows backyard fighting which is how “Gamebred” got his start. Seemingly players would be able to play in backyard brawls with Masvidal as well as the late Kimbo Slice. The addition of the backyard game play is just one of many new features in the game.

In addition to that, Adesanya can be seen in a game mode that mimics the last air bender series to go along with his nickname. It’s very apparent that the UFC and EA Sports have vastly expanded the UFC video game series that is due to come out on August 14. There are also some faces in this year’s game that are not familiar to the octagon.

On top of the new modes, UFC 4 will also incorporate the two heavyweight boxing champions of the world, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen boxing characters in the UFC game as Mike Tyson was a playable character in the previous game. The game has been highly anticipated by fans around the world, and they will be able to play on all platforms starting August 14th. You can view the trailer in it’s entirety below.

 

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: Israel Adesanya & Paulo Costa rumored to be next coaches on The Ultimate Fighter

The UFC‘s popular reality show will be making it’s return after a few years off in 2020, and they are coming out of the gate strong when it comes to coaches. Earlier this week, Paulo Costa (13-0) said that he has signed his contract to fight middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (19-0). Dana White had previously mentioned that the two were a possibility to coach the Ultimate Fighter, but Joe Rogan added fuel to that fire on Friday.

History of the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter

The UFC has always done a great job at putting bitter rivals as coaches on the Ultimate Fighter. Some of the greatest rivalries of all time have been featured on this show including: Chuck Liddell/Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans/Rampage Jackson, TJ Dillashaw/Cody Garbrandt, Ronda Rousey/Miesha Tate, and many more. The coaching stints just build the tension leading up to anticipated matchups.

There are not many fights that are more anticipated in 2020 than Paulo Costa taking on Israel Adesanya. If the UFC throws these two in as the coaches of the Ultimate Fighter, you are just going to see the tension build more and more. This fight is a massive fight for a number of different reasons, and the two men do not like each other. Costa was thrown out of UFC 248 earlier this year after trying to go after Adesanya.

Big Rivalry = Big Draw

The UFC is in a complete win-win with this matchup. If they are the coaches of TUF, their popularity will continue to grow. Adesanya is already approaching superstar level, but if Costa defeats him, Costa could surpass all Adesanya’s done in one fight. To me this is a fight to determine the next superstar of the UFC. Both undefeated fighters, two fighters who hate each other, and two fighters whose feud is about to be on full display for the viewing public.

UFC: Paulo Costa says Israel Adesanya contract is signed

One of the more anticipated UFC title fight of 2020 looks like it’s getting closer to having a date. Top UFC middleweight contender, Paulo Costa (13-0), announced that the contract has been signed for his title fight against champion, Israel Adesanya (19-0).

Costa’s Rise

Paulo Costa has looked like a one man wrecking crew since he joined the UFC in 2017. Costa has gone 5-0 with four knockouts including finishes over Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall. However, it was Costa’s last fight that told the world just how good he was. “Borrachinha” went head-to-head against the middleweight division’s boogieman, Yoel Romero. Costa went right after Romero with a pace that was hard to match. Costa went right into the fire with arguably the scariest guy in the division, and he came out victorious. His performance was the polar opposite of Adesanya’s against Romero. After that fight, it was clear that Costa was the top contender in the division. However, injuries have delayed his UFC title fight.

The age of Stylebender

Since making his UFC debut back in February of 2018, Israel Adesanya has gone 8-0, looking incredibly impressive along the way. “The Last Sytlebender” reminds many of former middleweight great, Anderson Silva (who Adesanya holds a win over). Despite being undefeated, many doubted Adesanya when he fought former champion, Robert Whittaker. Adesanya put on the performance of his career stopping Whittaker in the second round of their title fight. Adesanya defended his title earlier this year against Yoel Romero in a fight that drew a ton of criticism. While Costa showed no fear in going into a fire fight with Romero, Adesanya played it safe striking from distance. There was a lack of action, and a lot of boos. Romero is the kind of fighter who waits to explode, while Adesanya is a counter-striker. It resulted in a horrific fight. However, the Adesanya/Costa fight is a matchup guaranteed to generate fireworks.

Who will be UFC middleweight king?

It’s rare that you get a title fight like this in MMA. The clear two top guys in the division, going head-to-head for the title while being undefeated. This fight has a Jon Jones/Daniel Cormier feel to it. Now, the fight has not been officially announced, but I would put my money that this fight will likely take place in October. The UFC is planning on Daniel Cormier/Stipe Miocic for their big August show while Khabib/Gaethje is tentatively scheduled for September. The likely next slot will be the October PPV. I cannot wait for this fight to come together. Costa is not the kind of guy who is going to sit back like Romero did against Adesanya, and an ultra aggressive challenger is just the kind of opponent that will allow Izzy to shine. It’s a fascinating clash of styles, and I can’t wait to see who will walk out as the undisputed middleweight king.

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.