UFC200 will take place on July 9th at the brand new 20,000 capacity T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and it is certain to be the biggest show in the promotions history. The UFC has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings and with MMA officially the fastest growing sport in the world, Dana White and his match-makers will be eager to capitalise on the wealth of superstars they now have on their roster to set a new PPV record for the company. Speculation has been rife but no fights have officially been announced as yet, so here is the list of fights that I feel would make UFC200 the best yet:
Conor McGregor (c) vs Frankie Edgar for the UFC featherweight title
The UFC couldn’t possibly stage their biggest show of all time without one of their biggest stars of all time. Conor McGregor may have lost his first UFC fight recently but that was at welterweight, two divisions (25lbs) above his natural weight class. Regardless, the Irishman feels he let both himself and the fans down after being submitted by Diaz and his desperate to get back inside the Octagon. McGregor’s next fight will be to defend his featherweight crown but the question is against who? Jose Aldo remained undefeated in 10 years and was the only featherweight champion the UFC had ever known before he losing the belt to Conor and in any normal circumstances an immediate re-match would be a no-brainer. But this is not any normal circumstance, it’s the biggest show in the UFC’s history and the fans should get what the fans want – Conor McGregor vs the former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
Robbie Lawler (c) vs Georges St-Pierre
GSP’s return to the UFC is more a pipe-dream than a probability however MMA fans the world over are desperate to see arguably the greatest athlete and champion the UFC has ever had compete once again inside the Octagon. It may have been almost 3 years since the former welterweight champion vacated his title but his appearance cage side at UFC 196 has fuelled speculation that a return is imminent. Robbie Lawler has proven to be a great champion and has given fans some of the best action in welterweight history; he has faced and beaten some of the best in the division, but he has never fought GSP. This fight would be epic.
Rafael dos Anjos (c) vs Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title
Rafael dos Anjos has been on an absolute tear in the lightweight division racking up victories over guys such as Anthony Pettis, Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone, however the last man to beat the current champ was Khabib. The Russian Sambo fighter has an unblemished record of 22 wins and is considered by many to be the most dangerous man in the division. A win against Tony Ferguson on April 16th should guarantee Khabib the next title shot.
Meisha Tate (c) vs Ronda Rousey
The world was shocked when the seemingly invincible Ronda Rousey was totally destroyed by Holly Holm earlier this year, but bizarrely not too many were shocked that Meisha defeated Holm to win the title at UFC196. Tate has fought Ronda twice in the past and lost on both occasions, however the last time they met inside the Octagon I thought Tate exposed Ronda’s biggest weakness – her dislike of getting hit on the face. Tate was picking Ronda off with striking but lost when she tried to take the fight to the ground as that’s where Ronda does her finest work. Moreover, Tate now has the benefit of watching back how Holly handled Rousey and may look to adopt a similar strategy. That said, Rousey is wounded animal having lost the title she cherished so much and that could make her even more dangerous than before. This contest would be a thrilling end to a trilogy of fights.
Jon Jones vs Ben Rothwell or Junior dos Santos
Jon Jones is considered the pound for pound best fighter in all of MMA and is on his way to becoming the greatest ever light heavyweight champion in UFC history if he can take the belt back from Daniel Cormier at UFC 197. Jones is huge for a light heavyweight and many feel that a move to the heavyweight division is inevitable. Ben Rothwell and Junior dos Santos are scheduled to meet at UFC Fight Night Zagreb next month and the winner of this fight would make for a tremendous test for Jones at heavyweight. Personally, I think Jones will beat DC and look to beat Conor McGregor in the race to become the first ever two-division UFC champion of the world.
Phillip ‘CM Punk’ Brooks vs Mickey Gall
Former WWE superstar CM Punk made headlines in late 2014 when the UFC announced he had joined their ranks despite having never competed in a professional MMA contest. Dana White would afford Punk some time to train with a top MMA gym before affording him a debut but almost a year and a half later we have still to see him step onto the canvas. Mickey Gall found fame on Dana’s reality show ‘Dana White Looking for a Fight’ when he called out CM Punk after winning only his second pro MMA fight. Dana seemed keen on the idea and if CM Punk is not in a position to fight in what should be the greatest card the UFC has ever assembled then he should probably cut his losses and walk away from the sport.