Welcome to the first of twelve installments of the 2018 MMA year in review. In the series, we will look at the biggest stories and fights from each month and reflect on how things played out as the year went on.
1/8/2018 – A featherweight title fight between Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar was announced for UFC 222 set to take place in March.
1/9/2018 – Bellator announced that John McCarthy would be joining the commentary team after more than two decades as an MMA referee.
1/15/2018 – Dana White said that UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor would have to be stripped of his title when it appeared he wouldn’t be fighting any sooner than September.
1/17/2018 – UFC announced that Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov would fight at UFC 223 for a version of the lightweight championship but would not commit to whether it was Ferguson’s interim title or if McGregor would be stripped.
1/22/2018 – Daniel Cormier said that he planned to retire come March 20, 2019, his 40th birthday.
1/24/2018 – Nate Diaz teased a comeback with an Instagram post that read, “Sick of sitting around waiting for you fuckers to do shit there’s no excitement in this fight shit step your games up I’ll see u around May, June. Sincerely The Real Champ.”
How did things turn out?
The Holloway/Edgar fight never happened due to a Holloway injury. Instead, Edgar fought and lost to, Brian Ortega.
Conor McGregor was stripped of his title and it was awarded to Khabib Nurmagomedov who defeated Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 (more on that in a few days).
Cormier still has retirement plans, but he may have to push his date back if he wants to fight Brock Lesnar, who is committed to WWE until at least April.
Nate Diaz has yet to return.
Key fight results
Jeremy Stephens defeated Doo Ho Choi by second-round TKO at UFC St. Louis on Jan. 14.
UFC 220 on Jan. 20 saw Stipe Miocic retain his heavyweight title via unanimous decision over Francis Ngannou and Daniel Cormier defend his light heavyweight title via second-round TKO over Volkan Oezdemir.
Bellator 192 that same night had Rory MacDonald winning the welterweight championship from Douglas Lima and Chael Sonnen defeating Rampage Jackson in the first round of the heavyweight grand prix.
UFC on FOX 27 on Jan. 27 saw Jacare Souza beat Derek Brunson with a first round head kick KO.