For the first time in awhile, the UFC will display a complete card on Saturday night with UFC 223. Headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Max Holloway, the UFC has taken heat for a lack of super fights since the temporary (and possibly permanent) departure of superstar Conor McGregor. With that, here are three fights the UFC needs to give the fans before the end of the calendar year:
Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
This fight has been widely spoken of since the 2017 year, as both men have taken the lightweight division by storm. With the recent outburst involving McGregor and the UFC 223 Media Day, this could very well be detrimental to his career.
Based on previous rumors, McGregor offered to fill in for Tony Ferguson after he pulled out with six days to go until UFC 223. Based on a lack of preparation on behalf of the UFC in terms of marketing, it’s said that Dana White shut the idea down almost immediately. After White officially stripped McGregor of his lightweight title, he went onto reek havoc at the Media Day, which resulted in the removal of Artem Lobov from the card.
Eventually, these two forces are going to meet within the octagon. Despite the legal trouble McGregor has landed himself into, there is no defusing the tension between these two until a fight occurs. While White claims that McGregor will lose fans and his legacy over this incident, I believe it only fuels the feud even more.
Demetrious Johnson vs TJ Dillashaw
This is a scenario that is constantly overlooked, but could generate a lot of revenue for the UFC. While one of the men would need to transition weight classes (likely Dillashaw), this needs to be a match for the UFC community to enjoy.
After his victory over Cody Garbrandt, Dillashaw took it upon himself to call out Johnson for the Flyweight Championship. While Johnson hasn’t been within the octagon since October of 2017, he is rightfully ranked as the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
In reality, Johnson doesn’t have any “real” threats to oppose him in the Flyweight division, so this bout would easily be considered his biggest challenge yet. On the other hand, if Dillashaw came out with this victory by the end of 2018, how can you not consider him one of the best three pound-for-pound fighters?
Brian Ortega vs Max Holloway
For the third fight, this could easily be swapped with a bout involving Nate Diaz, Daniel Cormier, or even Tyron Woodley, but this has all the components to emerge as explosive. While Holloway currently holds the Featherweight title, Ortega has been just as dominant in the division.
With 15 takedowns between the two of them, both Holloway and Ortega have the potential to build themselves as one of the most dominant fighters in the UFC. While Holloway is currently involved in UFC 223, there shouldn’t be an issue setting this up towards the end of the calendar year.
According to further rumors, both of these men were offered Tony Ferguson’s position in UFC 223, and both winded up accepting. In result, White elected to move forward with Holloway instead of Ortega, which could emerge as the perfect buildup between the two for a further date in the octagon.