2020 is finally over, and for a lot of people, it was a very terrible one. RIP Kobe and all that passed too soon. Whilst the world was thrown into chaos, Dana White stood out amongst the lot and set the bar for the sporting world. Dana and the UFC delivered incredible UFC fights time and time again, and we definitely need to congratulate all the fighters. 2020 ended with a bang, the retirement of the Greatest of all time, and the release of several fighters that moved on to various other organizations.
2021 is finally here and although we have 3 weeks of no UFC, the first event of the year is sure to deliver. Let us take a look below at potential UFC fights to make, and look forward to in 2021.
Khabib vs. Conor/GSP tops the list of most exciting UFC fights
Khabib closed his extremely hyped match with Justin Gaetjhe with an impressive submission. The match lived up to expectations, but it was far from the war most people wanted. There was a big shocker though when Khabib announced that he would be retiring on 29-0. Since then, there have been talks of a possible 30th fight but opponents for that historic fight fall to two legendary men. Conor McGregor and Georges St Pierre. A lot of people would love to see a Conor Vs Khabib 2 rematch – there have been discussions about how well an unmotivated and uninspired Conor did in that first match, but for the most part, it was a one-sided beatdown.
Conor has since been gunning for a rematch with Khabib, and returns to open 2021 as he did last year. Most fans and pundits agree that the match between Conor and Poirier should be for the Lightweight title, or the interim title at the very least. For now, Khabib still retains his champion status. The other name, probably one of the greatest ever is GSP. Khabib and GSP have both been fans of each other for a long time, and both have expressed interest in fighting each other.
However, it should note that GSP last fought in 2017 when he faced Bisping to win the middleweight title. Should GSP decide to return, it should note that GSP hasn’t been active in the octagon for 4 years and he is currently turning 40. Khabib on the other hand is 31 and has been active a lot more. Either way, the stardom status of both fighters would make for a high profiled battle.
When Conor faces Poirier later this month, the winner would probably be paired in a number one contender match with Michael Chandler or Charles Oliveira. Whichever way the lightweight division goes this year, there are plenty of exciting fights to look forward to in the division.
Israel Adesanya vs. Jon Jones could potentially be one of the greatest UFC fights ever
Izzy has torn through the ranks of the middleweight division, faced all who stood in front of him and disposed of them with sublime skill, striking, finesse and confidence. Much like a young Jon Jones, Izzy however displays exceptional striking. The manner in which he disposed of Paulo Costa earlier on in the year was incredible to say the least, and a continuous twitter war between Izzy and Jones sparked interest in a potential super fight between the two that got fans mouths watering.
Jon Jones has repeatedly welcomed Izzy to fight him at Light Heavyweight but following the retirement of DC, has since decided to move to Heavyweight. More on that division later. Izzy has followed and jumped to Light Heavyweight where he will fight new LHW king Jan blachowicz in a Champ vs Champ match later in March 2021. Izzy aims to become the fastest fighter to be crowned Champ Champ, and has no problem moving to Heavyweight to fight Jones.
One thing is certain, both fighters dislike each other, and fans love a grudge match. Think back to the greatest UFC Fights from Silva vs. Sonnen, to Ortiz vs. Liddel. These fights bring hype and history. Jones vs. Izzy will be an exceptional match of skill, speed, finesse,and tactics. Izzy being the faster, more skilled striker, Jones is the better wrestler and overall better defensive fighter. Should this fight happen though, it could be towards the later part of 2021 and that’s a long wait.
Jon Jones intends on taking on the Heavyweight division
Jon Jones is the UFC’s public enemy no. 2 (after Conor of course). Through controversial wins, drug problems, and personal issues, Jones has still reigned supreme in the octagon. There haven’t been many that could defeat him convincingly and so with the LHW chapter over, Jones now aims to take on the Heavyweight division. Jones sat back and watched the Stipe vs. DC trilogy fight closely and has been convinced that he has the skill, speed, and ability to take on their contenders.
Early last year there were talks of Jones fighting Francis Ngannou in a Heavyweight super fight. Ngannou agreed to the fight, but Jones supposedly had issues with the payout. Following his win over DC, Stipe is now cued to fight Ngannou for a second time sometime in the spring, and Jones is in line to face the winner. There are many interesting battles in Heavyweight, but Stipe has wiped out all contenders. So, should he ride out the power strikes of Ngannou, all roads lead to Stipe vs Jones some time in the middle of the year.
Jorge Masvidal Vs. Colby Covington
Former friends turned enemies; this couldn’t have been a better storyline to an incredibly important fight. Not to mention two UFC fighters with huge following wanting the others head on a stake. Jorge Masvidal returned a new man, and street Jesus took 2019 by storm. The same year Colby put in an impressive performance vs current welterweight king Kamaru Usman. Colby decimated former champion Tyrone Woodley and has since called for UFC fights with Jorge Masvidal and a rematch with Kamaru Usman.
Usman however is booked to fight Gilbert Burns, so Colby and Masvidal are both free. That is the fight fans want, the fight the UFC wants, and the fight the division needs. Masvidal has also mentioned an interest in running a BMF fight with Nick Diaz again, but aside from hype and PPVs, it’s not a fight that makes any sense for the veteran. Another prospectus is a rematch with Wonderboy, which could potentially be a no.1 contender sometime later in the year. The best UFC fights to possibly make in 2021 could as well be Masvidal vs Covington as a potential number 1 contender for the title.
TJ Dillashaw vs. Everyone
UFC Fights with either Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Frankie Edgar, or Marlon Moraes is destined to be the fight of the year candidates for the return of the former Bantamweight king. Dillashaw will be eligible to compete in UFC Fights from January of 2021 having served his two-year U.S. Anti-Doping Agency suspension for erythropoietin (EPO). TJ is still a threat to everyone and he definitely wants his title back. Let’s break down his potential welcome back party poopers.
Marlon Moraes – Moraes put in an impressive performance to beat the King of Rio Jose Aldo but has since lost back-to-back. Moraes would want to return to the top of the pile and a fight with the former champion would be an ideal way for him to make a statement.
Frankie Edgar- a future Hall of Famer, Frankie Edgar has been a constant threat through various divisions and an impressive win in his bantamweight debut vs Pedro Munhoz showed that Edgar still has a lot to offer. Frankie vs Dillashaw would also be a must watch fight for fans and is likely to pull a huge ppv, especially if fans are still not allowed in the arena.
Dominick Cruz- In January 2016 Cruz and Dillashaw received the fight of the night for their bantamweight battle. Cruz took the decision victory that night, and a rematch would be the ideal way for TJ to return to the octagon. Revenge on his loss and showing the division that he still owns it would be a major statement. Dominick Cruz would still be hurting from his loss to Henry Cejudo and would want to further cement his legacy, and also put all doubts to rest in beating Dillashaw and moving towards another title opportunity. There are a lot of key UFC fights for Cruz in the division, and he aims to be injury-free in 2021.
Jose Aldo- A fight between Aldo and Dillashaw would’ve been laughed at a few years ago, but suddenly it is now more certain than a Nate Diaz return. Since his loss to McGregor, Aldo has lost 5 times. Incredible because he had lost once in 25 UFC fights before that. Many considered his career to be on the downslide but he showed an impressive outing in his fight against Marlon Vera. Peter Yan is a formidable opponent, and if TJ can produce an impressive fight against Aldo, perhaps Yan would take more notice of the former Bantamweight king.
Amanda Nunez vs. Valentina Shevchenko 3
Moving on to the women’s division, we can’t start anywhere else but with the GOAT. Champ Champ Amanda Nunes has simply decimated every contender set before her, and with an upcoming featherweight title fight against Megan Anderson set for March 2021, many fans wonder what’s left for the Lioness to accomplish. The closest UFC fights for her thus far has been Valentina Shevchenko but even after two attempts, Nunes has been unbeatable.
We could witness a potential retirement from the GOAT in 2021, but she would want to exit on a high note. Valentina could be set to face Jessica Andrade in what would be an exciting UFC fight.
Zhang Weili Vs. Rose Namajunas
There were rumors circling around that Thug Rose did not want the Zhang Weili match as she wasn’t interested in fighting for the title. Her coach however scrapped comments from Dana White and says that she most certainly does want to fight the Chinese superstar. Zhang Weili has torn through the women’s strawweight division and her most recent war with Joanna Jedrzejczyk won the fight of the year. Rose has been a renewed fighter and could bring an intriguing battle to Weili’s crown.
Another potential matchup could be Weili vs Jedrzejczyk 2, the first fight was incredible and many would welcome a rematch. Joanna however could be set to face Amanda Ribas. There are some exciting UFC fights to look forward to, and if 2020 was anything to go by, you can be sure that 2021 is going to be another incredible year for UFC fans.
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