TOPIC: As of this morning, we now know UFC has signed Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez for UFC 205. What if UFC hadn’t been able to get Conor McGregor for UFC 205? What should they have booked as a main event to ensure it was as big a show as possible (assume Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones are unavailable)?
The following is the third of three batches of MMATorch writers responding to this topic…
FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch columnist
Well, the big catch would be Georges St. Pierre. I’m sure they’d like to wait until a Canadian show to have him return, but GSP’s return would be the biggest thing if McGregor can’t fight. If that doesn’t happen, though, the remaining options are limited because the UFC would have to employ a mob mentality to make the show huge. They would have to throw on at least a couple of big fights because there are no other huge fights to put on the card. Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero is a big fight that’s already on the card, but if the UFC wants to makes this a huge event, they need to put a couple more big fights on there. UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is expected to defend her title against Karolina Kowalkiewicz and UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley is slated to fight Stephen Thompson. Those are big fights, but if they want something truly huge, they need to try to get GSP or tell UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier to fight Anthony Johnson. They need something big.
CHRISTOPHER KING, MMATorch contributor
If the UFC can’t get Conor on the card, and I’m presuming they will not, I think that they have to get GSP on the card. Personally I am not all that interested in seeing GSP vs. Nick Diaz 2. However, I realize I am in the minority and it will help sell the card and possibly make it one of the top four cards ever.
NICK GRINUPS, MMATorch columnist
With UFC 205 being only a month and a half away, I do think options are limited for the UFC. They already have two title fights lined up, but I do believe Nick Diaz would be a great draw for NYC. He has a very big fan base and, with the help of his little brother Nathan, the Diaz brothers are more famous than ever. If the UFC cannot get Nick Diaz, look out for the UFC brass to try to put a super fight together with two veterans to try to get the blood pumping.
ABRAHAM RUVALCABA, MMATorch columnist
I think the UFC should try and break their record of multiple title fights in one night. Joanna is already booked and at this time Woodley vs. Wonderboy is all but confirmed. Throw in Alvarez vs. Khabib. Then hope Daniel Cormier wants to fight Rumble Johnson or Dominic Cruz is up to fight Cody Garbrandt or T.J. Dilashaw. A four title fight UFC card would be more than enough to produce a great New York debut.
BRYAN KERN, MMATorch contributor
Disclaimer. This answer is strictly based on a numbers and revenue standpoint for the UFC. I am a huge fan of many, if not all of the announced match-ups minus the Donald Cerrone vs. Kelvin Gastelum fight.
First off, the UFC not having Conor McGregor at 205 is worse then not having him at UFC 200. This card deserves to be one of the biggest cards if not the biggest of all time. The history in MSG alone warrants that. The anticipation is off the charts and they’ve only announced a handful of bouts. The UFC doesnt have Brock Lesnar to come in and save this card leaving Conor the only real option. Who they put against McGregor is the real question. Apparently we’re going to get Eddie Alvarez vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 206. So, do they match McGregor against Jose Aldo? GSP vs. McGregor would be a fun fight, but it seems as though it’s too late to book that. The only viable option outside of Aldo or GSP is the trilogy fight with Diaz, but I don’t see that happening either.
Without McGregor, the card is doomed. The timetable to have GSP return by then is only getting smaller and, realistically, that was a long shot to begin with. Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey are M.I.A., so forget that. What else is there? I mean, you could maybe do Cain Velasquez vs. Stipe Miocic for the Heavyweight Title, but it’d be a quick turn around for the champ and, even then, it isn’t going to draw the numbers other fights could.
It’s already known that were getting Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz for the Women’s Strawweight Title and Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson for the Welterweight belt, but is that enough? I don’t think so. In order to really draw in the numbers like they want to, they’re going to need to have two big title fights at the top of that marquee or have one big name and that name is Conor McGregor. Plain and simple.
• Dominick Cruz vs. T.J Dillashaw 2 (Bantamweight Title)
• Stipe Miocic vs. Cain Velasquez (Heavyweight Title)
• GSP v. Silva
NOW CHECK OUT BATCH 2 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.)