The UFC Top Fights to Look out for in 2016
2015 was a bumper year in the Ultimate Fighting Championships and 2016 should be even better. With UFC 200 just around the corner, fighters moving weight divisions to challenge for second titles and big names returning to reclaim their spot. The year ahead has all the hallmarks of another recording-breaking period in the sport. Let’s take a closer look at some of the scheduled and potential head to heads of the fight calendar.
Fabricio Werdum vs Cain Velasquez II
The first fight between UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Fabricio Werdum was another one of those wow moments in the sport. Werdum has been in or around the top contender ranks for much of his lengthy career. In more recent years a much-improved fighter has emerged when compared to the ground specialist who was viciously KO’d by Junior Dos Santos. With Werdum’s overall game seeming to have come on leaps and bounds.
But coming up against the phenom heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez. Many had Velasquez once again dispensing with yet another challenger decisively. But it wasn’t to be and Werdum was the man who turned it on in Mexico City. It’s going to be very interesting indeed to see a focused Cain back at sea level trying to regain that crown.
Conor McGregor vs Rafael Dos Anjos
In a few short years, Conor McGregor has become one of the biggest stars in the sport’s history. Going from a first-round stoppage of Marcus Brimage in April 2013. To knocking out P4P featherweight champion Jose Aldo Junior in 13 seconds at UFC 194. McGregor’s rise to the top has been nothing short of meteoric.
Now facing yet another champion, but this time in a new weight division, for a whole new shiny belt. The current lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos believes in his won words that this fight is “easy money” and has vowed to finish the Irishman in a brutal fashion. We only have to wait until March 5th to find out whether he is right or wrong.
Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones
The UFC has tentatively pencilled in a light heavyweight matchup between Daniel Cormier and former champ Jon Jones for the fist ever card in New York’s Madison Square Gardens. Jones who was stripped of the title will be looking to start where he finished when he last faced Cormier, winning a unanimous decision victory at UFC 182.
How will Jones look on his return is anyone’s guess. But if his interviews and social media posts are anything to go by. History may look back on Jones’s run-in with the law as having been a positive turning point in the life and career of many peoples p4p number one.
Cormier will be looking to solidify himself as the undisputed light heavyweight king by dispensing with the Jon Jones demons of yesteryear. Always supremely confident, Cormier feels that he is now in a much better position to deal with Jones once the two eventually meet in the not too distant future.
Nick Diaz vs “Only big money fights….”
When Nick Diaz once again tested positive for cannabis following his fight against Anderson Silva. Most were unprepared for the severity of the penalty he would receive for his non-performance enhancing rule break. Following a public outcry and a petition that made it all the way to the White House. The Nevada State Athletic Commission saw the light and reduced his ban down to 18 months. Meaning he would once again be eligible to compete after July 2016.
The career of Nick Diaz has been that of an on-off love affair with the sport. Stating many times that he does not in fact like fighting, but it’s something he is rather good at and it pays him well. Look for the Stockton bad boy to return for a big-money fight later on in the year, but against whom is still an unknown. Actually rumour has it there’s a certain Irishman eluding to a potential welterweight move?
Conor McGregor vs Frankie Edgar
Seems like Frankie Edgar just can’t catch a break. Having been led to believe that he was next in line to face Conor McGregor for the featherweight strap. Edgar was once again pushed to the side as the UFC went with the potentially historic challenge at lightweight and Rafael Dos Anjos.
Regardless of what happens in that fight, McGregor will still retain his featherweight title and should defend against Edgar later on this year. That is unless of course he does stay true to his word and make a challenge at welterweight. Would the UFC go for a three-weight division champ? It’s doubtful unless he did in fact vacate at featherweight and once again pull the rug from underneath awaiting Edgar.
Who knows right, but 2016 sure does look like it’s going to be another crazy and huge year in MMA. So buckle your seat belts ladies and gents and prepare for another wild ride.