With UFC 257’s main event now official, we can look ahead to the options available for UFC 258, the second pay-per-view of 2021 from the promotion.
UFC 258 is set to take place on February 13, but does not yet have a location or venue. It does though, have a couple of official fights. Chris Weidman and Uriah Hall will fight for the second time next year, while Maycee Barber returns from a torn ACL to face Alexa Grasso as well.
There’s also been a reported bout for the main event, which we’ll get to. But as we know in MMA, lots of things can change between reported bouts and when the fighters are walking to the Octagon. For more recent examples, look at what’s happened regarding the main events of UFC 255 and UFC 256.
Luckily for the promotion, there are plenty of interesting and entertaining options available for UFC 258. So, given those options, and their recent PPV main event changes, who could feature in the main event of the UFC’s second PPV of 2021?
Generally speaking, the UFC prefers to have a belt or two atop their pay-per-views. So, we can rule out several champions who have competed recently and are therefore unlikely to step in the cage again in a few months.
That is, unless your Deiveson Figueiredo. After defending his flyweight belt at UFC 255, he’ll return just a few weeks later at UFC 256 to take on Brandon Moreno, who also secured a victory at November’s PPV. Surely this means either wouldn’t be ready to go again in February… right?
We’ll rule out fellow flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko, who also defended her belt at UFC 255, while the promotion figures out which contender she’ll fight next. Either way, it’s unlikely Shevchenko’s next bout will main event a PPV.
Although it’s not for a belt, as of now, the main event of UFC 257 is set. The rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier is kicking off the promotion’s PPV slate for 2021, and according to Dana White, could lead to a future bout with the retired/not-retired UFC lightweight champ(?) Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Initially set for UFC 251, and again for UFC 256 in December, Kamaru Usman’s welterweight title defense against Gilbert Burns is now being targeted for UFC 258 in February.
Ultimate marcou Kamaru Usman x Gilbert Durinho para o dia 13 de fevereiro. Lutadores aguardam apenas os contratos para oficializar a luta. #feedmma
— Raphael Marinho (@raphamarinho) November 17, 2020
As we’ve learned in MMA over the years, and has been emphasized this year, a reported fight is anything but official. Even official fights feel iffy nowadays. It’s nice to see the promotion sticking with the match-up, and hopefully we can get Usman-Burns in the cage sometime soon, regardless of whether or not it’s at UFC 258.
If the UFC wants to move another title fight that was reported for UFC 256 to UFC 258, they could use Amanda Nunes’ bout with Megan Anderson for their main event. There’s also talk of a potential trilogy bout between Nunes and Shevchenko, but White sounded more interested in bouts with Jessica Andrade, or strawweight champion Zhang Weili, for Shevchenko following UFC 255.
Speaking of Zhang, we could be seeing her next title defense in early-2021, too. She last fought in March of this year, and a match-up with former champ Rose Namajunas awaits. Would it main event a PPV? Probably not. But it’s a hell of a fight no matter where on the card it is.
The last of the three scrapped title fights from UFC 256, the bantamweight bout between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling, could feature at UFC 258. There aren’t a lot of details around the circumstances of the cancellation, so it’s a hard maybe right now. Should an interim belt need to be involved, Cory Sandhagen is around. And, come early-2021, former two-time champion TJ Dillashaw is eligible to return to action.
Now that Holloway-Kattar is official, we can assume we’ll be getting Alexander Volkanovski-Brian Ortega for the UFC featherweight title next year. That’s cool. Volkanovski hasn’t fought since July, while Ortega made his long-awaited return in October. February might be a little too soon, but don’t be surprised if we get this match-up in the first half of 2021.
If the UFC wants to put on the biggest fight possible at UFC 258, following McGregor-Poirier 2 at UFC 257, the proposed champion versus champion bout between 185-pound title-holder Israel Adesanya and light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz is the right call. They both last fought at UFC 253 in September, and sound interested in the match-up.
While those things are true, Izzy-Jan still feels somewhat unlikely. But, with a look at the other options in their divisions, maybe that feeling is unfounded. Were they to avoid the “superfight”, a relatively quick rematch with Robert Whittaker awaits Adesanya. For Blachowicz, a match-up with veteran Glover Teixeira. Eh.
There’s also whatever is going on at heavyweight. Whether it’s Jon Jones, or Francis Ngannou, all-time great Stipe Miocic will have another chance to cement his legacy as UFC heavyweight champ next year. As of now, it sounds like the promotion has other plans in mind for UFC 258, but these match-ups are well worth waiting for.
There are several options available for UFC 258, and much of the first-half of 2021, when it comes to UFC PPV main events. Thanks to some scrapped bouts at the end of this year, we’ll (hopefully) be treated to some incredible title-fights next year, the first of which could be at UFC 258 in February. Usman-Burns is the leader in the clubhouse at the moment, but with this list of available champs, don’t be surprised if there’s some changes at some point.