These days of the UFC are much different than any other time in the company’s short history. A lot of people can take credit for the change in time including the new ownership in WME. Ultimately, the new age of MMA has become the “money fights” or “super fights”. A couple factors such as Conor McGregor making massive money, for MMA standards, with this method has led to fighters following his footsteps as well as, WME just purchasing the UFC for 4.2 billion dollars and they need to find a way to make sure they get a return on their investment. These are some super fights we could possibly see in the future.
Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz
Before everyone starts flipping out, I know and I agree. Tony Ferguson should be and I believe will be the next fight for Conor McGregor. It is time for Conor to fight the true #1 contender and I believe Conor knows that. There has not been another MMA fighter who has always known the proper step to take next in their career like Conor. With that being said, the Conor vs Nate fight will never go away. That trilogy fight will always be there and always will be a huge sell. Now if Conor is to face Tony Ferguson next, win or lose he can fight Nate after for a huge “money fight”. If Conor skips the Ferguson fight to fight Nate and happens to lose the Tony Ferguson fight will not be there anymore and neither will the belt. Quite frankly, Nate Diaz vs Tony Ferguson would be an awesome fight, but just is not going to do the same Pay per view buys that a Conor McGregor vs Tony Ferguson fight would do. In conclusion, I think it is smartest for all parties involved (Conor and UFC) to do the Tony Ferguson fight first to restore order in the lightweight division, which could still probably do 1.5 million pay per view buys and then do the Nate Diaz trilogy “money fight” that could eclipse the two million mark.
Demetrious Johnson vs Bantamweight Champ
After Demetrious Johnson’s record-breaking title defense, I think everyone wants to see how he would match up with the best Bantamweights in the world. What is an interesting caveat to this is that both of these guys have openly said they would drop down to 125 pounds to fight Demetrious. Whether this future fight with one of these two guys happens at 125, 135 or even a catchweight fight of 135 pounds it is a fight everyone would be intrigued about. Will it happen, I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. After the fight, Demetrious had mentioned how he thought the winner between Henry Cejudo and Sergio Pettis would be the rightful next contender. There were rumors that came out via the San Francisco Chronicle that Cejudo had suffered a broken ankle escaping the California wildfires, but MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani reported that Cejudo just suffered burns and should be able to compete come UFC 218 in Detroit. Depending on how things play out, I believe that Demetrious will fight the winner of this fight, while the winner of Cody Garbrandt/ TJ Dillashaw may do another title defense against the Dominick Cruz/Jimmie Rivera winner, but after each division gets sorted out I feel the UFC will push for the super fight between Demetrious Johnson and whoever is the Bantamweight champion.
Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier
Right now with the possible long-term drug suspension looming for Jon Jones who was going to make the move to heavyweight, I would love to see Cormier move up to heavyweight and make this fight! At light heavyweight Cormier has nothing else left to prove. Sure, he could face a rising Volkan Oezdemir, but what does that do for his legacy. For Cormier to cement himself as one of the best clean fighters this sport has ever seen a win over Stipe would be exactly what the doctor ordered. Cormier is no stranger to the heavyweight division and tends to walk around at about 230 pounds if not heavier. Come fight nice Stipe Miocic usually weighs about 240-245 pounds. In Cormier’s career, he has won multiple fights in heavyweight division over top level competition such as Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, and Josh Barnett.
For Miocic, this may be the name he needs on his resume as heavyweight champ to launch him into the general public’s eyes. Miocic has now already beaten Fabricio Werdum, Allistair Overeem, and Junior Dos Santos, which are all the top contenders in the heavyweight division. The only people that he already has not beaten would be Francis Ngannou if he is able to get by Overeem, and Cain Velasquez if Cain is able to get healthy. With Cain being teammates with Cormier I think that is the only possible roadblock in making this fight. If Cain continues to stay sidelined though there a real possibility of Stipe and Cormier squaring off. In my opinion, this fight makes a lot of sense from both camps.
Whether as a fan you like it or not, “money fights” or super fights are the new way of matchmaking in the UFC. I think all three of these fights are legit fights that not only the general public will be interested in, but also the die-hard fans of the UFC. Will they happen, who knows, but they do all make some sense and I could realistically see them all being made in the future.