Here we go again? Fight fans are forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu right now. Earlier this year there was a furore over who would headline UFC 200 and now, with just seven weeks to go, fight fans are being kept in the dark about the main event destined for Madison Square Garden for UFC 205.
Earlier in the summer, safe money was on Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2 being the focal point of the promotions anniversary event, until eventually it was billed as Cormier vs. Jones 2 – then finally turned into Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes. The UFC have confined that a press conference in NYC next Tuesday Dana White will announce the full card for MSG – but who can wait another week?
Eddie Alvarez vs. McGregor for the 155lbs strap seems to be the most PPV fan-friendly logical choice for the Big Apple. The fighters themselves have made no secret this is the fight they both want too. But it seems the UFC has other ideas – taking UFC 206: Toronto bound Alvarez out of the picture. Last night on >UFC Tonight<, which airs on FOX Sports 1, Megan Olivi reported Alvarez had missed the contract deadline for a bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov, not Conor McGregor at UFC 205 and that fight is now being targeted for UFC 206 on December 10th.
So, who will McGregor fight? Will he even still feature on the landmark MSG card? If not, what fight will have the honour of topping the bill at UFC 205? You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so with that in mind here’s a couple of feasible headline fights the promotion could put together, as well as few that are a little outside the box.
Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo
It’s still possible to have McGregor headline the card but the only fight that makes sense would be for him to go back to 145lb and unify the featherweight championship with current interim champion Jose Aldo. They fought last December at UFC 189 and a rematch has been bubbling ever since McGregor’s 13-second knockout of the once untouchable Brazilian legend.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 3
Ok, so maybe it’s a little to early for this and we all have McGregor / Diaz fatigue at this point, but with the two proving to smash pretty much every recordable metric including the PPV box office then it would make sense to cash in on the rubber match at such an iconic venue. It would certainly be from left field, but it’s unlikely to be completely off the table.
Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey
Let’s face it, when Ronda Rousey finally decides to return to the Octagon it’s going to cause massive headlines both on Planet MMA and out there in the real world too! When you have one of the biggest draws in the sport on your roster and she’s fit and healthy, that is always an option. Still the most dominant champion in the UFC’s short lived women’s bantamweight division, her return would definitely be worthy of a main event slot in the media capital of the world.
Georges Saint Pierre vs. Anderson Silva
For years touted as MMA’s own version of Mayweather–Pacquiao and we thought it may never happen when GSP went into a self imposed retirement but with the former UFC welterweight champion back in the USADA testing pool he could be available. After all, if they can tweak the four-month requirement rule for Brock Lesnar they can tweak it for GSP too. Silva has also wanted the fight and at one point held his own press conference in Toronto no less asking for it. Two fan favourites, two former champions and two legends of the sport fighting for the first time – albeit five years late. That’s MSG worthy.
Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic
OK, so this one is the major outsider here due to the fact ‘Bones’ is still awaiting his NSAC hearing regarding a PED test failure in the summer. But with noises out of the former champ’s camp and the UFC exec offices of a ‘misunderstanding’ then stranger things have happened than ‘Bones’ coming back in his home state to take on the heavyweight champion – a fight both the challenger and Cleveland’s own Croatian sensation have both shown an interest in. Hey, we know this one is a bit nuts, but who could have guessed Brock would be back for UFC 200?