It’s fair to say that while sport was pretty much on hold across much of 2020 Dana White did a pretty good job of keeping us all entertained with some excellent bouts and some big announcements for the early stages of 2021.
In January we’ll see Conor McGregor’s return to the octagon against Dustin Poirier, but what are the other major fights we want to see across the early stages of 2021 and indeed the remainder of the year?
We run down the bouts we’d like to see White put together as fans start to make their way back into arenas…
Conor McGregor v Khabib Nurmagomedov
Conor McGregor is a heavy favourite to get through the Dustin Poirier fight on January 24 and a win will see plenty of fans want to see him renew that rivalry he has with Khabib.
According to the updated UFC fight odds, he’s 2/5 to win the fight, Most online sports books are offering guaranteed odds and on the markets with longer odds they are offering bonus bets. For those not signed up to a sports book, there are also bonus bets on this fight with the sign up and first deposit bonus. Also, this fight last time around had some crazy in-play betting odds. Of course, McGregor’s unpredictable by nature so in-play bets could see a swing either way, as proved against Khabib back in 2018.
Controversy follows him, and that will certainly be the case if he does beat Poirier and go on to fight the 32-year-old Russian.
Khabib has also beaten Poirier since the McGregor fight, as well as enjoying a second round submission over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 and we could be all set for an early 2021 rematch.
The first fight may have been a little one sided, but it will be another high profile event and McGregor’s win over Donald Cerrone back in January did suggest he’s got that bit of fire in his belly to come back strongly. January 24 will be a big indicator as to whether that’s true and a win could see the oddsmakers having the pair fairly evenly split.
Stipe Miocic v Jon Jones
Jon Jones is believed to be stepping up to the heavyweight division after dominating the light heavyweight division for the last decade. There are a number of different opponents being rumoured for him, and he’ll want some big fights to secure his legacy as a true pound-for-pound warrior.
One such name is Brock Lesnar, and it would certainly be a big PPV bout, but the fight we’d most like to see is him throwing himself in the deep end against Stipe Miocic.
The current heavyweight champion would be a real match for Jones and with both having an athletic style it could prove a real firecracker. While Miocic would perhaps be favourite with the bookmakers, being more comfortable in the division and with the extra weight, both would have a good chance of winning, and what better way for Jones to enter the division than with a crack at the title.
It’s unsure as to when Miocic will next fight but a win would see him defend the title for a record five times. That would add further interest to the Jones fight, although Francis Ngannou, who Miocic has already defended his title against with a decision win, is also rumoured to be interested in a part II.
Alexander Volkanovski v Henry Cejudo
There are some big fights expected in the featherweight division across 2021 and one we’d love to see is Alexander Volkanovski defend his title against Henry Cejudo, who would have to come out of retirement to try and win a belt in a third different division.
Cejudo has worked his way up from flyweight and would prove a decent encounter for Volkanovski with Triple C even publicly asking for this fight to be made. It would be a mega fight if it did happen, with Cejudo beating Dominick Cruz back in May in a stunning technical knockout to defend the Bantamweight Championship belt.
He’d perhaps be favourite stepping up the weight class too, but either way it would be a real tear up and one that could be the very best in what will be an excellent year in the featherweight division.