Cleveland, Ohio – This past weekend’s UFC 273 supercard gave us a few things. We had a contender match of the year between Chimayev and Gilbert Burns, two new potential title contenders to watch at Chimayev and Mackenzie Dern, and another superb pound in Alexander Volkanovsky.
Most importantly, UFC 273 has given us more anticipation for the MMA year that includes two more title fights at UFC 274 on May 7. The UFC event schedule is mostly booked out through mid-June. But this is only half of the year.
As for how to fill in the rest, we have some ideas. We present 12 fights we want to see in 2022, ranked in order of potential awesomeness.
12. Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera / Rob Font Winner
Rob Font and Marlon Vera will be facing each other at the end of this month, and they’re both hoping to position themselves for the final title shot. What is more likely is a future fight against a lower-ranking opponent, but one that could attract an audience. Enter “Sugar” Sean O’Malley. It’s time for “Sugar” Sean to rise in the competition after three straight wins. The Vera-Font winner gives us the perfect opportunity to see how good the “Sugar Show” really is.
11. Marina Rodriguez vs. Mackenzie Dern
This is the easiest matchmaking of this list. Mackenzie Dern’s win at UFC 273 helped cement the women’s strawweight division as one of the most competitive teams in the UFC. With champion Rose Namajunas set to defend Carlos Esparza and Zhang Weili taking on Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a rematch that may be the greatest battle in women’s MMA history, the showdown between Marina Rodriguez and Dern will keep the ball rolling in the division until the end of the season. public. Not to mention, Dern would be one of the most marketable UFC stars if she could keep winning.
10. Dustin Poirier vs. Colby Covington
If Poirier seemed more excited about a potential fight, he would rise to the top of this list. As it stands, he will rise to the occasion to face his former teammate that no one other than Kamaru Usman has been able to spot. However, Poirier is one of the sport’s most beloved fighters, while Covington may be the most hated. A fight against Nate Diaz or another showdown with Conor McGregor might be worth more money for Poirier. But a win over Covington would make him an international champion.
9. Max Holloway vs. Conor McGregor
Speaking of Conor McGregor… the Irishman has been calling up UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman recently, which sounds like a death wish. Never put the UFC title out of question for McGregor. He is still the most bankable sports star. But more likely (or more appropriately) MacGregor will get an enemy he’s seen before. That could mean we’ve finally seen a third fight with Nate Diaz, which probably should be on this list. But I’d go a different route and give McGregor a fight against Max Holloway, whom McGregor defeated in 2013. Holloway might be looking for a third title fight against Alexander Volkanovsky. But UFC president Dana White doesn’t seem to be on top of that idea. MacGregor gives Holloway a nice payoff while Volkanovsky waits to beat someone else. There’s a chance that McGregor – who takes three losses in four fights – won’t be in Holloway anymore. But if MacGregor has anything to do with it, it could be a war of protest.
8. Cyril Jean vs. Tai Toivasa
This is not what Tai Toivasa wants. But that would probably be his best path to the title. It looks like former UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic wouldn’t settle for anything less than another crack in the title. So, Toivasa will have to face Cyril Jean, who will lose to current champion Francis Ngannou. With Ngannou out of action (and possibly the UFC), everyone is scrambling for a temporary title. There are four fighters and two battles that will get us there (more on the other shortly).
7. Jose Aldo vs Dominic Cruz
Two of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts history. What do you not like? Dominic Cruz and Jose Aldo are finally in the same weight class in the bantamweight division. The beauty of the fight between the two is that they are still very close when it comes to the title picture.
6. Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Cara France
Despite the war of words between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno, we’re sure to secure a fourth UFC Flyweight Championship which we all assumed was a imposed result weeks ago. However, if you fail, there is another option. Both of them described Kai Kara France as their next battle. It bears the title Figueiredo. Moreno and France for the position of the number one contender makes perfect sense and it would be a one-on-one fight.
5. Peter Yan vs. T.J. Delashaw
Few people expected Peter Jan to get an L in a rematch with Aljamain Sterling at UFC 272. But here we are. Yan needs a tough fight to work his way back up to the division and TJ Dillashaw fits the bill. With all due respect to Sterling, many people think these two are the most talented fighters in the bantam weight anyway. After an injury, Dilacho might choose someone less aggressive like, say, Jose Aldo. But Yan Delachau would be the fight to see him.
4. Brian Ortega vs. Calvin Kathar
Both Brian Ortega and Calvin Kathar are in a state of uncertainty. They ranked high in the featherweight, but neither of them are likely to claim the title anytime soon. This listing is not for title matches. It’s about the battles we want to see. Ortega and Train are two warriors who will give them everything they have. This has a Battle of the Year competitor written all over it.
3. Kamaru Othman vs. Khamza Shemayev
Chimaev gave us a classic moment in his fight with Gilbert Burns at UFC 273. However, I’m still not sure how cool Chimaev really is. The UFC is not with the promotion leaning toward a fight between Chimaev and the next Colby Covington. Logical. But it is better to hit the iron while it is hot. Chemayev’s fight with Burns is fresh on everyone’s mind as Camaro Usman needs someone to defend his welterweight title against him.
2. Alexander Volkanovsky vs. Henry Segudo
I’m not against seeing UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovsky against Max Holloway for the third time. But former double-division champion Henry Cejudo is reported to be back on the USADA test suite with Volkanovsky on his mind. Volkanovsky provoked his movements on the rise. But a victory over Sejudo would be a huge stamp on his resume. For Cejudo, the appeal is simple – to become the first three-division champion in UFC history. It is a battle with historical repercussions.
1. Step Musick vs. Jon Jones
Of course, this would be the best option. Enough with this nonsense already. Jon Jones says he will be ready to debut as a heavyweight this summer. And with Frances Ngannou out for who knows how long, a fight against Jones would give Stipe Miocic what he’s wanted since losing to Ngannou – a key shot. Miocic vs. Jones will be the greatest UFC heavyweight in history against the greatest light heavyweight of all time. It will be the provisional heavyweight title. Let’s get it done.