Heading into 2021, the Welterweight division is arguably the most exciting in the UFC. With several title contenders and rising young fighters, here are seven fights that Dana White and the matchmakers should make in 2021.
Kamaru Usman v Gilbert Burns
This fight is the obvious match to make at welterweight. After beating Tyron Woodley back in May, Gilbert Burns set himself up to get the next shot at welterweight gold. With Usman coming off of a win over Jorge Masvidal, this fight should happen early in 2021. UFC 258 in February could be a targeted date, with UFC 257 and UFC 259 already having booked title fights. Burns, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, should be a tough test for Kamaru Usman, who has defended his belt twice.
Nate Diaz v Jorge Masvidal II
I’m all in favor of a BMF title rematch! Jorge Masvidal has been called out by Stephen Thompson, Colby Covington, and Leon Edwards in the past two weeks, but his next opponent should be Nate Diaz. A ton of hype led up to their first fight, but Diaz suffered a cut above his eye that led to a doctor’s stoppage. Diaz hasn’t fought since their bout in November of 2019, and his next fight should be a BMF rematch.
Stephen Thompson v Colby Covington
Stephen Thomson against Colby Covington would set up the perfect good guy vs. bad guy matchup. After Thompson defeated Geoff Neal in dominating fashion, he made it clear that he no longer wants to play gatekeeper for a young fighter in the future. With Colby Covington coming off a win over Tyron Woodley, this fight’s winner could fight the winner of Burns v Usman for the Welterweight gold.
Leon Edwards v Neil Magny
With Khamzat Chimaev out for their January 20 match, Leon Edwards is looking for someone to step in on short notice. Ninth-ranked Neil Magny seems like the perfect candidate. Magny went 3-0 in 2020, most recently beating Robbie Lawler in late August. Edwards hasn’t fought since July of 2019, as he had fights rescheduled on multiple occasions in 2020. Magny is set to face Michael Chiesa on January 20th, but this could bump him up to the main event.
Khamzat Chimaev v Michael Chiesa
One may argue that Khamzat Chimaev should stick to Middleweight instead of cutting to welterweight. However, let’s say that Chimaev stays at welterweight and takes a fight later in the year after he recovers from COVID-19 complications. Michael Chiesa could be the ideal opponent. Chiesa is coming off a win against Rafael Dos Anjos but hasn’t fought since January of 2020. Hypothetically, if Magny gets the chance to face Edwards, that would leave Chiesa without a fight. Once Chimaev is healthy, this is the match to make.
Vicente Luque v Tyron Woodley
Tyron Woodley may get cut by the promotion before getting another opportunity to fight. However, if he does get another chance, it should be against Vicente Luque. Luque is coming off a win against Randy Brown in August and is ranked tenth in the Welterweight division. For Woodley, this fight would be to prove he can still fight, while this would help Luque in the rankings if he can get a win.
Donald Cerrone v Khaos Williams
Hopefully, Donald Cerrone, the UFC record-holder with 23 wins, can get another fight. There are rumors of him possibly running it back with Niko Price in March, but a battle against Khaos Williams could make more sense. Williams broke onto the scene with two knockouts in under 30 seconds; however, he is coming off a loss to Michael Pereira. For Cerrone, this fight would prove that he still belongs in the promotion, while it would act as a step up in competition for Williams.
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