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4/19/16: Top Possible Fights For UFC’s Madison Square Garden Debut
With the UFC finally coming to New York with a major November 12 pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden, today I look at my top five realistically possible fights for that event. Send in your thoughts on what the UFC should book for the Nov. 12 event to MMATorchEditor@gmail.com!
5. Rafael dos Anjos vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov: With the Russian contender out for the summer due to his observance of Ramadan, this lightweight rematch won’t happen until the fall. What better spot than in support on the massive New York debut? Dos Anjos is defending the title on UFC Fight Pass in July, and as they’re not going to be booked in a pay-per-view headliner, they’d be fantastic support to stack the event as much as possible. It’s just a great lightweight fight regardless of its location, but it’d be a highly beneficial bout for this event.
4. Ronda Rousey’s return: It’s almost a certainty Ronda Rousey fights on this card, and the UFC wants her there very much. While the fight would be at its apex with a rematch against Holly Holm, the booking of Miesha Tate-Amanda Nunes almost certainly precludes that from happening. While the Miesha Tate trilogy bout brings intrigue for Rousey’s return, a fresh matchup in Nunes could be intriguing in its own right, with the rematches against Holm and Tate then to come in 2017. Regardless, Rousey returning brings along its own storyline no matter who she’s in the cage against, and her being on this card should be a no-brainer.
3. Jon Jones vs. Anthony Johnson: I’m running under the assumption that Jones is fighting two more times in 2016, and that he defeats both Ovince Saint Preux this weekend and Daniel Cormier at some point this summer. Cormier’s made it no secret that he’s not looking to wait until November to fight again, and he’s also not keen on fighting Jones in New York. Both of those factors make a UFC 200 or UFC 201 slot for that rematch most likely, and if Jones beats both of those fighters, the fight with “Rumble” is one of the last remaining light heavyweight matchups needed before he moves on. Let’s see it in his home state to send him off to heavyweight.
2. Georges St-Pierre vs. Anybody: It really seems like Georges St-Pierre wants to fight again. It also really seems like it’s not going to happen at UFC 200. If negotiations push things past UFC 200, there’s no other better place for that fight than UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Whether it’s a title fight with Robbie Lawler (or, whomever wrests it from him over the summer), a fight with Anderson Silva, or a fight against any other fighter on the roster, the return of one of the UFC’s greatest ever fighters after a three year hiatus would be massive.
1. Conor McGregor vs. Frankie Edgar/Jose Aldo: Whether Conor McGregor succeeds or fails against Nate Diaz in their rematch at UFC 200, him defending his Featherweight Title against the Edgar-Aldo winner from that same event is the singular fight to make on this New York debut, and that’s especially the case if it’s Edgar. That’s a fight that needs to happen if Edgar can get past Aldo, and if McGregor has plans to remain a champion. The hopes of a dual title run at featherweight and lightweight are behind him with the divisions starting to move on, and the Diaz rematch is personal to him. Beyond that, he’s got the title at 145 lbs, and should be defending it against the top contender. In the fall of 2016, that will be either the man he took the title from, or the man who has done nothing but earn title fights without them coming to fruition.
[Photo (c) Gary A. Vasquez via USA Today Sports]
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