Best UFC fights to book in 2020: Jorge Masvidal should challenge Kamaru Usman for welterweight title

An ambitious 2020 UFC schedule was derailed in March by the global coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe. Three Fight Night events have been canceled already, and while UFC president Dana White insists the UFC 249 card and the title fight between lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will move forward as planned, it’s still uncertain how many more events will be taken down by this entirely unique situation.

A fight fan can dream, though, and the CBS Sports experts are doing just that. The UFC will ramp up operations again at some point, and there will be plenty of big fights to make both in the name of competition and for the sake of entertainment.

Let’s take a look at the five best fights to make for UFC matchmakers over the next calendar year that have not currently been booked.

Can’t get enough UFC? Subscribe to our podcast State of Combat with Brian Campbell where we break down everything you need to know in the Octagon, including our year-end awards show below.

1. Welterweight title — Kamaru Usman (c) vs. Jorge Masvidal

Jorge Masvidal has been around the fight game for a long time, but it took until 2019 for him to elevate past fan favorite and into the status of legitimate title contender. Masvidal’s 2019 was enough to earn him Fighter of the Year honors for CBS Sports, and now fans are left to dream about what could be next for the welterweight. And nothing makes as much sense as a potential showdown with welterweight champ Kamaru Usman.

Both Usman and Masvidal are coming off high-profile wins to close out their 2019 schedules. Usman’s 2019 started by winning the welterweight strap from Tyron Woodley and it closed by defending it against hated rival Colby Covington. Both fights showcased Usman’s relentless style, but stopping Covington in the fifth round was one of the biggest moments of the year for UFC. Masvidal had been on the shelf since November 2017 when he returned to knock out Darren Till in a thrilling March fight. Next up was Ben Askren in July — a fight that Masvidal won via flying-knee knockout in a startling 5 seconds. Having injected his career with new life, Masvidal was positioned across the cage from Nate Diaz for the “BMF” title in November. After three rounds of Masvidal dominance, the doctor stopped the fight due to a pair of cuts on Diaz’s face.

UFC has lucked into two compelling, exciting competitors being perfectly positioned for a showdown after high-profile victories, and that’s why Usman vs. Masvidal tops the CBS Sports list for fights to make in 2020.

2. Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic, heavyweights

Jon Jones’ life has gotten a lot more interesting at light heavyweight over his two most recent fights. First, he was pushed hard in a competitive fight with Thiago Santos which some felt Santos won despite suffering a torn MCL, PCL, ACL and meniscus. Then, Jones was pushed even closer to his first “true” loss when many felt Dominick Reyes had done enough to earn a decision win at UFC 247 in February. Even knowing that, it’s time for Jones to move to heavyweight. The move has seemed inevitable for years, but Jones has pushed back against the idea until very recently when he made it clear he had asked for a shot at the heavyweight champion but Miocic’s planned trilogy fight with Daniel Cormier was preventing it from happening. It could be perceived as running from a rematch with Reyes or Santos, but a heavyweight jump would be a legacy-cementing move.

3. Heavyweight title — Stipe Miocic (c) vs. Daniel Cormier III

As mentioned above, Cormier vs. Miocic III is already the plan, but without a set date and signed bout agreement, it is eligible for the list. These men have put on two very entertaining fights already while trading the UFC heavyweight championship back and forth. Cormier plans to retire after their third contest, win or lose, but the fight represents his chance to go out on top. Still, Miocic has been working to recover from eye surgery, and he and his camp have made the already planned third fight seem anything but a sure thing. It is still the best fight to make at heavyweight. Unless, that is, Jones moves to heavyweight and shakes things up.

4. Women’s bantamweight title — Amanda Nunes (c) vs. Valentina Shevchenko III

Nunes and Shevchenko have met twice already, with Nunes winning both fights. Those are the only two fights Shevchenko — current UFC women’s flyweight champ — has lost since 2010. Bantamweight and featherweight champ Nunes, meanwhile, has not lost since 2014 while establishing herself as the greatest female mixed martial artist of all time. With both women absolutely dominant and few challenges left in their respective divisions, why not run it back once again?

5. Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley, welterweights

Covington’s pro wrestling style “heel” approach to his personality can be exhausting at times, but he has incredible in-cage skills and legitimate bad blood with former welterweight champ Woodley. The men hate each other and things have been simmering for a long time. Welterweight is red-hot right now and Woodley was scheduled to face Leon Edwards in a now-canceled March showdown, but 2020 needs to see these two finally stand across from each other in the Octagon.

Honorable mentions: Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier III (heavyweight), Jon Jones vs. Israel Adesanya (light heavyweight), Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou (heavyweight), Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero (middleweight), Conor McGregor vs. Colby Covington (welterweight), Henry Cejudo vs. Petr Yan (bantamweight), Conor McGregor vs. Justin Gaethje (lightweight), Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas III (strawweight)

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *