The UFC was trying to keep fans smiling by continuing to put on events as the rest of the sports world went dark because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the UFC has finally decided to stand down and cancel the next three fight nights that were scheduled to take place: UFC on ESPN+ 29, UFC on ESPN 8 and UFC on ESPN+ 30.
UFC president Dana White insisted that the fight that everyone wants to see, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson, is still taking place on April 18, but there is some doubt.
Regardless, here are some exciting UFC matchups to look forward to once the organization can put on events again.
Middleweight contenders Darren Till (18-2) and Robert Whittaker (20-5) will fight Aug.15 in Dublin.
Till vs. Whittaker is good enough to headline a UFC pay-per-view. This fight will be Whittaker’s first fight back since losing his title and Till is continuing to climb his way up to a title shot against champion Israel Adesanya. This matchup will most likely determine the number one contender in the middleweight division.
Lightweight contender Dustin Poirier (25- 6) returns for the first time since his loss to Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 last September. He will fight Dan Hooker (20- 8) in San Diego on May 16.
UFC matchmakers are on fire, as this is another great fight. Hooker just won a very close fight against Paul Felder and is getting his wish to fight Poirier. A win for either fighter will get them closer to a title shot, but a loss will be detrimental and send them tumbling down the rankings.
Light heavyweight contenders Magomed Ankalaev (14-1) and Ion Cutelaba (15-5) were rebooked for UFC 249, which takes place April 18, after the very controversial and probably the worst stoppage to a UFC fight of all time. The fight world is very glad that this fight got rebooked as fast as Cutelaba got screwed. The rematch will be heated, which always adds another layer to the fight.
Featherweight contenders Bryce Mitchell (12-0) and Charles Rosa (12-3) fight May 2 in Oklahoma City. This will be a step up in competition for Mitchell as he is very close to superstardom. He won his last fight via twister, which is one of the rarest submissions to pull off, and then ripped a memorable promo about camo shorts. Mitchell has the potential to be the “redneck” Diaz brother.
On the same card and same division, Ryan Hall (7-1) will fight Ricardo Lamas (19-7).
Hall has been saying in interviews that everyone is turning down fights against him. Well, Lamas has accepted his challenge. Lamas is a great fighter and he will bring the fight. This is a perfect opponent for Hall to finally get him into the division’s top tier.
Women’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes (18-4) returns against Felicia Spencer (8-1) at UFC 250 in Sao Paulo on May 9.
Nunes has yet to defend the 145-pound title since knocking out Cris Cyborg. Spencer lost to Cyborg last year but she will bring a great ground game into the fight versus Nunes. Spencer will have fought Cyborg and the best women’s fighter of all time in a year’s time — very impressive.
Heavyweight contenders Curtis Blaydes (13-2) and Alexander Volkov (31-7) will be fighting June 20 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
If it wasn’t for knockout artist Francis Ngannou, Blaydes would have probably fought for a title and become a champion already. Blaydes is going to be a problem in the heavyweight division for many years to come, as he keeps getting better and better with every fight.
Bantamweight contenders Marlon Moraes (23-6-1) and Petr Yan (14-1) will be fighting in UFC Kazakhstan on June 13.
Yan should probably be fighting for the title against Henry Cejudo, but here we are. This is a fantastic match up which will hopefully be a standup war. If Yan wins, he should be the number one contender and if Moraes wins, he’ll just need one more good win to get back to the title.