Like any combat sport, there are fights that fans of premier MMA promotion UFC want to see. Who do they want to see lock up at the octagon?
Khabib Nurmagomedov v Tony Ferguson
It sometimes feels like we may never see UFC’s two current top lightweights, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, face off. A bout between the pair has been cancelled on five separate occasions for one reason or another.
What that has done in the minds of MMA fans has created a desire and extra demand to see it. Russian cage fighter Khabib is a perfect 28-0 inside the octagon, while American counterpart Ferguson has lost just three times in as many bouts.
Unbeaten streaks in any sport bring a certain mystique with them. Since winning the vacant UFC lightweight championship in 2018, Khabib beat Irish MMA star Conor McGregor in a bout infamous for its post-match brawl and unified the division again with a submission victory over Dustin Poirier.
Ferguson’s record is far from flawless, but he has won his last 12 fights. It is to be hoped the bad luck that has dogged this match-up can finally be overcome somewhere down the road.
Kamaru Usman v Jorge Masvidal
At welterweight, meanwhile, Nigeria’s Kamaru Usman has made a rapid rise through the ranks. He won the division’s championship at UFC 235 from Tyron Woodley and has since made a successful defence of the belt against Colby Covington.
With victories over the top two contenders in the welterweight rankings, fans are looking for Usman to battle a new challenger. His MMA record stands at 16-1
Jorge Masvidal has seen his stock rise again with his controversial victory over Nate Diaz at UFC 244 when doctors stepped in and waved off the bout. Although a pro record of 35-13 is chequered, he won all three of his fights last year.
According to the UFC betting on a potential bout between them, Usman is an odds-on 2/5 favourite to win. However, you couldn’t discount the more experienced Masvidal at 15/8.
Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3
In order to know who the better man is, a trilogy of bouts between heavyweight pair Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier needs to be completed. Both MMA fighters have been the promotion’s top champion and each holds a victory over the other.
Cormier, who is the elder of the pair, struck early at UFC 226 with a first round KO. Miocic regained the heavyweight title from him at UFC 241, however, with a fourth round stoppage.
Both previous bouts have contained so-called eye pokes with Miocic the victim and that gives a third, decisive bout between the pair a nasty undercurrent. Cormier is now north of 40 and this is likely to be his final fight before retirement.
The bookies make Miocic favourite with youth on his side. He is also 19-3 in MMA. Cormier isn’t a big betting outsider, though, and is 22-2 (1) following a similarly heated feud with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.