What a way to start UFC’s 2020 offering.
Conor McGregor dispatched of Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone inside 40 seconds in Las Vegas to kick-off UFC pay-per-views for the new decade in spectacular fashion, setting up a series of potential blockbuster fights during the rest of the year. We look ahead to some of the biggest here.
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Khabib Nurmagomedov v Tony Ferguson:
This one is not to be understated. It has the potential to be not only one of the biggest fights of the year, but one of the biggest of all time.
This is the fifth time that the two have agreed on a deal to fight, only for one or the other to pull out. So, the excitement for this one has literally been building for years.
As dominant as Nurmogomedov has been in the lightweight division, it has always been felt that if anybody has the style to beat him, it’s Ferguson. Unlike many of Khabib’s opponents, Ferguson will have no fear about being taken down and in-fact will probably enjoy launching his offence from the ground.
Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier III:
Undoubtedly one of the best pound-for-pound fighters to ever enter the UFC, Daniel Cormier is nearing the end of his legendary career. Having beaten Stipe Miocic to claim the Heavyweight title back in 2018, Cormier suffered a fourth-round knockout in the rematch as the dominant Stipe reclaimed his gold.
This is likely to be one of DCs final fights should it go ahead, and it would be great to see a legend such as this competing for the belt one last time and with one victory each, the winner of the third bout will lay a strong claim to being the best heavyweight of their generation.
Conor McGregor v Nate Diaz III:
This one has to happen. Simple as that.
The first fight needs no reminder, as Nate Diaz submitted McGregor to shock the MMA world. Despite the hype, the second fight exceeded expectations as the two men went to war over five rounds back in 2016, with McGregor prevailing on points.
When asked about the potential of a trilogy fight this year, McGregor said, “ Let’s go, Nathan. We’re always here.” Ever the astute businessman, McGregor is fully aware of the appeal of such a bout, and the money it would undoubtedly generate.
Henry Cejudo v Jose Aldo:
As one of few fighters to have held two UFC belts simultaneously, Henry Cejudo is another fighter who has a great claim to being the pound-for-pound king. Jose Aldo is definitely in the conversation too, having held the title at 145lbs for over five years.
These two are evenly matched, and on paper, this is a potential classic. Aldo has really had to rebuild his reputation since that fight against McGregor and would be keen to prove he can still mix it with the best in the world.
Jorge Masvidal v Kamaru Usman:
Kamaru Usman announced himself to the world with a dominant performance against Tyrone Woodley, to win his first Welterweight title, before defending against Colby Covington back in December 2019.
Jorge Masvidal is coming off the back of one of the most impressive runs in UFC history, having beaten Darren Till, Ben Askren (in five seconds) and Nate Diaz to place himself firmly in the Welterweight title picture.
A meeting between these two would be explosive. Masvidal loves a fight. Plain and simple. Whilst Usman has a more conventional fighting style, he’ll find it hard not to get drawn into a dogfight.