As we enter the fall, let’s take a look ahead to the best scheduled matchups the UFC has to offer for the rest of 2018.
When looking at the best matchups left in 2018 you have to look at a few things, superstar power involved, fighter styles, and the potential for how good the fight can be. After looking at all that criteria, in no particular order, these are the best remaining matchups scheduled for the UFC in 2018.
3. UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor
It’s being hailed as the biggest fight in MMA history, and for good reason. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor has the perfect storm for the biggest fight of all time, as well as a fantastic fight in the cage. Legitimate fire and hatred from each side, two completely different styles, and two amazing fighters in the prime of their own careers.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is 26-0 as a professional fighter, having defeated the likes of Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, and Al Iaquinta, he’s one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. The world class wrestler from Dagestan, Russia, who wrestled bears growing up has a dominating top game and is arguably the best grappler in the history of the lightweight division. Having defeated Al Iaquinta at UFC 223, he’s the UFC lightweight champion but one other man has a claim to the title he never lost.
That man being the one and only Conor McGregor. McGregor hasn’t been in the octagon since UFC 205 where he dominated Eddie Alvarez en route to being the first duel weight champion in the UFC’s history. Since then he had one of the biggest fights in history against Floyd Mayweather last year where he lost via 10th round TKO, however he hasn’t stepped into the Octagon since 2016. Despite this, his starpower has not dampened and the fight with Khabib is likely to be one of the biggest fights of all time, and it also gives McGregor a legitimate chance to regain the title he never lost.
Who will win? Who knows. But the entire world will be watching.
2. UFC 230: Nate Diaz vs Dustin Poirier
The fan favorite from Stockton, California, is making his way back to the Octagon in New York City for one of the biggest cards of the year. Nate Diaz hasn’t been seen since his second fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in August of 2016 and seeing that McGregor is making his return, it only makes sense for Diaz to burst back on the scene as well. He also got matched with the perfect dance partner in the third-ranked lightweight in the world, Dustin Poirier.
Poirier hasn’t lost in his last five fights and has beaten the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Anthony Pettis. Despite being in the UFC for as long as he has, he’s just now hitting the prime of his career, and with a win over Diaz could set up a showdown with Khabib or a rematch with McGregor for the UFC lightweight strap. Meanwhile, Diaz lost his last time out in a super close fight against McGregor, but he’s won two of his last three and can get a shot against McGregor again, win or loss.
All the stars come out in New York for the UFC, and Diaz is just another example.
1. UFC 232: Cris Cyborg vs Amanda Nunes
Cris Cyborg versus the bantamweight division has reached it’s peak.
In a recent theme of superfights, we’re getting a fight that has the potential to be the best women’s MMA fight of all time. Amanda Nunes is on a tear and is making a case to be the best women’s bantamweight of all time, especially after defeating other contenders such as Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. She’s also the reigning bantamweight champion and has defended the belt three times, last defeating Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 in Brazil.
Cris Cyborg on the other hand has won 20 fights in a row and is the reigning featherweight champion. She won that title after defeating Tonya Evinger at UFC 214 and has defended it twice, against former bantamweight champion Holly Holm, and recently against Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222. Arguably the best women’s fighter of all time, Cyborg has only gotten better over the years and there hasn’t been a real challenge for her until now.