There are a lot of exciting fights on the horizon in the UFC. The UFC hopes to rebound from a 2012 that saw many of their big fights scratched due to injuries. In fact, many of their biggest fighters were on the sidelines.
John Dodson vs. Demetrious Johnson
The flyweights don’t get the love they deserve. They have been boo’d, but I think they are exciting. Dodson vs. Johnson will be the fastest fight ever. I also think it is competitive. Dodson has some power. Johnson is really fast. I can’t wait for this one. Plus, it is free.
Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonaald
Obviously the bigger fight would have been Renan Barao vs. Dominick Cruz. This would be and will be a real super fight. However, a second ACL surgery has probably pushed that fight back into early 2014 and will force interim champion Renan Barao to fight. The fight will be against Michael McDonald. This fight is one that has been on fans’ radar for a while. These two guys may be the future of the 135 pound division.
Ronda Rousey vs. TBA
No one knows when, where or who, but Ronda Rousey’s UFC debut will be huge. I am also not sure how much buzz and excitement this will generate outside of the hardcore fans, but this is a big fight for many reasons. I believe it is a fight that will have big ramifications for women’s MMA for years to come. As for her opponent. My guess is that it will either be Liz Carmouche or Sara McMann. Personally, I love the McMann fight. I am not sure it is Rousey’s first fight, but the story of two Olympic medalist fighting is a good one. Wrestler vs. Judoka. I do not think a Miesha Tate fight is out of the realm of possibility either. Her name recognition in women’s MMA makes her appealing. Perhaps it could be someone else too. Marloes Coenen comes to mind. Sadly, the fight that everyone wants seems to be off the table, a super fight with Cris Cyborg. Speaking of women’s MMA, don’t be surprised if Gina Carano returns for one fight in the UFC.
Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo
This is a true super fight that may be going under the radar. While technically, this fight is not a fight pitting two current UFC champions against one another, it is as close as it gets to that. Edgar narrowly lost to Ben Henderson. Edgar could be competitive with anyone at 155. The logic is that he will be dominant at 145. The problem is that one of the most dominant fighters ever stands in hiw way; Jose Aldo. This really is a dream fight. It may be a coin toss. My prediction is that this fight doesn’t sell nearly the PPV buys that it should.
Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida
It isn’t everyone’s first choice for a fight, but it will do. Honestly, I liked the Dan Henderson vs. Jon Jones fight. However, this is a true top contender fight. It pits the power of Dan Henderson vs. the elusiveness of Lyoto Machida. This is a great, great light heavyweight match up.
Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen
It isn’t the most competitive fight on paper. In fact, I give Chael very little chance of winning. However, it will be fin to watch. Chael will talk up the fight. The build up will be intense through the Ultimate Fighter 17. Plus, Chael always brings it. Not to mention in Jones and Sonnen you have two of your bigger PPV draws.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Johnny Hendricks
My guess is that the Anderson Silva fight doesn’t happen yet. If it does, that would be HUGE. It would be the biggest fight ever. Period. However, if St. Pierre elects to stay at 170 and defend his belt again, there is a contender in waiting. No one has ever cemented the title of top contender as emphatically as Johnny Hendricks. KO wins of Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann and a win over Josh Koscheck. On top of that, there is an interesting style clash between Hendricks and St. Pierre. While GSP is often heralded as MMA’s best wrestler, Johnny Hendricks has the resume to argue that. A multiple time national champion wrestler. He could defend GSP’s take downs and maybe even take him down. Also, Hendricks has CRAZY one punch knockout power. He is a really threat to St. Pierre.
Others to look forward to: Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone, Glover Teixeira vs. Rampage Jackson, Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt, Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping, Antonio Roidrigo Nogueira vs. Fabricio Werdum.
There are a lot of fights that cannot be foreseen. For example, I envision Alistair Overeem vs. Junior Dos Santos/Cain Velasquez. However, Overeem has to get through Bigfoot Silva first. I am hoping for Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman, but Anderson’s next move is really up in the air. Jon Jones has a few exciting fights down the pipe after Chael Sonnen. He has the Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida winner. He could have Alexander Gustafsson if he beats Shogun. He could even have Daniel Cormier. That brings to mind the possibility of all the Strikeforce fighters coming over. Who does Gilbert Melendez fight first in the UFC? What about Luke Rockhold and Gegard Mousasi? How about a Nate Marquardt at welterweight? Could we even get excited to see Josh Barnett in the UFC? What about the return of Nick Diaz? There is potential that Bellator lightweight champ, Eddie Alvarez signs with the UFC. If He does, he becomes a top contender instantly.