TOPIC: If UFC can’t get Conor McGregor for UFC 205, what should they book as a main event to ensure it’s as big a show as possible (assume Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones are unavailable)?
The following is the second of three batches of MMATorch writers responding to this topic…
D.R. WEBSTER, MMATorch contributor
If UFC 205 has no Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, or Jon Jones on the card, I would have the Stipe Miocic vs. Fabricio Werdum rematch for the UFC Heavyweight Title with Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title as the co-main event. Those fights are two massive fights for two of the biggest belts in the company. Throw in a hometown boy like Chris Weidman on the card also and it would be a memorable way to debut at MSG. Of course, the GSP rumors have been swirling this year and without McGregor, Rousey, or Jones, maybe they will want to go with a tried and true draw like him. However, the card would be fine without him with these big fights and then he could perhaps be saved for a event in Canada for his big return instead.
MICHAEL HISCOE, MMATorch contributor
If the UFC can’t close a deal with Conor McGregor for UFC 205, I would suggest they book a Light Heavyweight Title fight between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson. Madison Square Garden has been home to some of the heaviest-hitting boxers of all time and has a rich boxing history. UFC can co-opt some of this history and sell this show as the new era of championship fighting in New York City. UFC has no heavier a hitter right now than Anthony Johnson, and the clips of him devastating Glover Teixeira will sell the fight well and could get some attention of the mainstream New York media who may not be aware of his previous loss to Cormier. I don’t think this fight would be even in the same stratosphere as a McGregor fight when it comes to selling pay-per-views, but it could be the best of a group of limited options, should McGregor not be on the show.
ADAM TINDAL, MMATorch contributor
If Conor is not booked for 205 and Rousey and Jones are unavailable then there’s only one real option remaining… Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson is just that. I can’t even imagine what must go through the mind of such a person who runs up against the Boy they call Wonder and is unable to take him down. For Woodley’s sake, he will have a better chance of doing that than the rest of us, yet I worry for him should he find that he can’t. The chances of him outstriking Thompson are far and few between. Wonderboy’s measure of distance and timing is more like a sixth sense that the current champ will never crack. I remember when Thompson became the only guy to take out Robert Whittaker with strikes, which is highly impressive considering the tear that guy is currently on. Then taking into account that Thompson barely broke a sweat against Rory MacDonald and I’m convinced that he is now the uncrowned champion.
MATTHEW PETERSON, MMATorch contributor
Conor McGregor would have been the best case scenario for UFC 205, but it doesn’t appear that will come to pass. Eddie Alvarez or Daniel Cormier are the next best option, and Alvarez has continued to express his desire to headline the card. Cormier has stated he wants to wait until December to fight Anthony Johnson, meaning that he is likely out as an option. The rumor is that Khabib Nurmagomedov could face Alvarez, but Khabib hasn’t competed against a top level opponent since 2014. To draw any sort of big number, the best option would be to pull Donald Cerrone from his fight with Kelvin Gastelum and give him the Lightweight Title fight against Alvarez. Cerrone is on a roll at Welterweight and already has a victory over Alvarez, giving the fight the leverage that it needs. Even though such a fight is a long-shot at this point, Alvarez vs. Cerrone is the direction I would travel.
MATT OCOCHARD, MMATorch contributor
If the card remains as is with Woodley and Thompson sitting as the main event, the card is already fairly stacked. Having two championship fights and big names such as Donald Cerrone, Frankie Edgar, Rashad Evans, and Miesha Tate on the undercard certainly gives the PPV a big show feel to it. If they are looking for another title fight for the card, throw on Alvarez vs. Nurmagomedov as the co-main or third fight on the main card. Although we should all hope that McGregor gets added in some way, shape, or form and breaks some more PPV records.
NOW CHECK OUT BATCH 1 OF THIS ROUNDTABLE TOPIC: What can UFC realistically do to make 205 in NYC a truly special event? What main event options do they have? Diaz? GSP?
(MMATorch features the Roundtable feature providing a variety of opinions and perspectives on hot topics in the world MMA.)