14 UFC Fights We Want To See In 2018
2017 was not really a vintage year for the UFC. There were some memorable moments and superb contests, but it will not go down as a classic 12 months.
However, there are a whole pile of potentially sensational scraps in prospect for 2018, some are almost certain, some quite unlikely, but if half of these came off then it could be a fantastic year ahead.
Max Holloway vs Frankie Edgar
A tasty fight for the featherweight strap we were robbed of in 2017 thanks to an injury to Edgar, but there is no reason the UFC shouldn’t run that again this year.
Holloway has won 12 on the spin and is coming off two wins over featherweight legend Jose Aldo, so he would go in as clear favourite against Edgar, who has lost to Aldo twice. However, The Answer is always going to be a challenge for anyone and deserves another go at the belt.
Michael Bisping vs Vitor Belfort II
Who Michael Bisping will face in his farewell fight in London in March is a tough call for him and the UFC, but one that could end his career in style would be against old foe Vitor Belfort.
These two fought in 2013 and Belfort one thanks to a huge head kick, however, it was proved that the Brazilian was using TRT, which was later banned. Bisping blames Belfort for a problem with his eye which has remained since that bout.
The Count would love to avenge his defeat, as he did against Dan Henderson, and go out on a high.
Georges St-Pierre vs Ben Askren
There is really no need for GSP to fight for titles anymore, he should be in basically exhibition fights and one that would have MMA fans very excited, is a scrap with unbeaten, former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren.
Although the UFC welterweight champ (Tyron Woodley) wouldn’t be involved, this could legitimately decide the best 170lb fighter. GSP is arguably the greatest of all time, whilst Askren is 18-0 and a champion in two organisations. It would be an enthralling contest and a genuine challenge to GSP.
Tyron Woodley vs Colby Covington
Talking of Woodley, the welterweight ruler has not fought since July’s snooze-fest against Demian Maia and has no fight scheduled. There are a load of top contenders in the division that need to fight each other and this is how it should be resolved.
Colby Covington is not officially the number one contender, but his beef with Woodley on social media will make this scrap very entertaining. Covington has also won five on the spin and now stands at 13-1 after out-pointing Maia himself.
Both are ready to go and this should be scheduled as soon as possible.
Stephen Thompson vs Rafael Dos Anjos
The current UFC rankings have Thompson number one and Dos Anjos number two at welterweight. However, Covington is the more compelling fight, so, guess what, Thompson and Dos Anjos should go at it for the next shot at the gold.
Thompson certainly doesn’t deserve another crack at Woodley yet having failed to beat him twice in last three fights. If he can beat RDA, then he has a much better argument. The Brazilian would count himself unlucky to miss out on a shot now, but beat Wonderboy and he will be there.
Darren Till vs Robbie Lawler
Behind the top four contenders, the tastiest contest at welterweight may well be Robbie Lawler vs Darren Till. Lawler, the former champ who has lost two of his last three, whilst Till is the rising, unbeaten rising star in the division.
Lawler injured his knee in a December defeat to Dos Anjos, which could keep this one from happening next, but it would be a cracking scrap to see if Lawler is still at championship level and if Till has reached it yet.
Rico Verhoeven vs Any Heavyweight
The biggest heavyweight title fight in recent memory is about to happen as Stipe Miocic defends his belt against Francis Ngannou, but there is not denying that the division is very shallow. At the time of writing, Mark Hunt is ranked fifth, despite a record of 13-11-1.
New blood is needed and one exciting addition to the ranks could be the King of Kickboxing, Rico Verhoeven. The 28-year-old Dutchman is the Glory heavyweight champion and has defended his title six times, without defeat in the kickboxing ring since 2015.
He has only had one MMA match, winning a low level contest in October 2015, so he would have to start from the bottom, but he is deadly with fists and feet, so if he could develop a ground game then he could be a force. He has already called the names of Miocic and Ngannou, so he has the ambition – 2018 could be his year to make an impact in the UFC.
TJ Dillashaw vs Demetrious Johnson
Bantamweight champion Dillashaw says he can get down to 125lb to take on flyweight champ and pound-for-pound number one Johnson, and if he can, then this fight has to be made.
Mighty Mouse has been dominant at flyweight, but he is lacking credible challengers at that weight, but if the superb Dillashaw can drop 10lb then he fits the bill perfectly. It would be the biggest fight available at the lower weights and should be a must – if DJ wants it.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas II
The upset of 2017 saw Rose grab the women’s strawweight title from Joanna in stunning fashion, stopping her in one round. Such was the dominance of the victory a rematch is not guaranteed, but Joanna was such a dominant champ, she certainly deserves another go.
It is easily the biggest fight in the division and the two should get it on again as soon as possible.
Korean Zombie vs Yair Rodriguez
This is just a really fun fight at featherweight as both look to get into title contention by the end of the year. Both are brilliant to watch and it could be a fight of the year contender, if it was given the opportunity of being over five rounds.
Chan Sung Jung returned from four years out to knock out Dennis Bermudez last February and deserves a big fight. Rodriguez was being lined up for a title shot before his loss to Frankie Edgar last time out. The winner of this one would not be guaranteed a shot at the gold, but would put themselves very near the top of the list.
Kevin Lee vs Al Iaquinta
Another contest that does not directly affect a title picture but would be a delight for the fans would be Kevin Lee against Al Iaquinta at lightweight.
Fan-friendly styles and both with knockout power, we would be almost guaranteed an entertaining scrap, and the winner would not be far behind the biggest names in the division, the names we are about to come to.
Conor McGregor vs Tony Ferguson
Undoubtedly UFC fans want to see Conor McGregor back in the octagon as soon as possible, and the fight that makes most sense is the Irishman taking on interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson for the real belt.
Ferguson is a serious threat to the sport’s biggest star. He has won 10 on the bounce, not losing since 2012 and will certainly be able to test out McGregor’s questionable stamina in the later rounds.
McGregor would earn an awful lot of respect for coming out and taking the fight he should do as lightweight champ. Win and he secures his place near the pinnacle of the pound-for-pound list.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson / Conor McGregor
Very much deserving of a shot at lightweight gold is the terrifying Russian, Khabib Nurmagomedov who took his record to 25-0 in December in impressive style against Edson Barboza.
He can knock you out, submit you and he can certainly outlast you and has not looked like being beaten in his UFC career which dates back to January 2012.
If McGregor is not to return, or not for a while, then Khabib should take on Ferguson for the gold. If Ferguson and McGregor fight, then Khabib can wait it out and take on the winner. Whatever the combination of fights, they will be excellent.
Georges St-Pierre vs Conor McGregor
The likelihood of Conor McGregor fighting three times in 2018 is next to none, but if he chooses to let the lightweight title slide, then his other option is a super-fight against GSP.
There would be no belts on the line and it would most likely be at welterweight, but it would be the biggest fight in the history of the sport. The greatest ever against the current biggest star really could not be matched by any other scrap Dana White could put on. The lightweight belt should take priority for McGregor but he could leave that to Khabib and Tony and take on Georges in a fight for the ages.
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