The UFC’s first event in New York City is finally set to go down on November 12, 2016 when the long-awaited UFC 205 pay-per-view (PPV) card hits the airwaves.
While it’s too early for the promotion to make any fights official for the big-time card, you can expect the biggest names in the game to be in ‘The Big Apple’ for the colossal event.
There’s little doubting that the promotion wants to have both Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey involved if possible, and there are also some New York-born stars that they definitely want involved as well.
So how about we help Dana White and UFC brass out and start fantasy booking what could be the biggest card of the year? Here are the best matches to make for UFC 205 from Madison Square Garden.
- 1 5. Chris Weidman vs Yoel Romero
- 2 4. Georges St-Pierre vs Nick Diaz II
- 3 3. Ronda Rousey vs winner of Miesha Tate vs Amanda Nunes:
- 4 2. Winner of Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones (UFC 200) vs winner of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson vs Glover Teixiera:
- 5 1. Conor McGregor vs Winner Of Jose Aldo vs Frankie Edgar:
5. Chris Weidman vs Yoel Romero
Though he lost out on his middleweight title rematch opportunity against Luke Rockhold due to a recent injury after dropping the title in his first professional defeat in his career at UFC 194, Chris Weidman has the opportunity to bounce back after an unfortunate neck ailment that forced him out of UFC 199.
‘The All American’ could possibly be ready for one of the biggest cards on the UFC’s calendar this year with it’s first event in Weidman’s homes state of New York, as the former champion is from nearby Baldwin.
A fitting opponent for the hometown hero could be Yoel Romero, who is currently serving a six-month suspension for violating USADA’s anti-doping policy and might be ready to clash with the former champ in November.
Romero (12-1) was last seen in the Octagon at UFC 194 as well where he got the better end of a split decision over Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza in Las Vegas.
Weidman (13-1) is coming off of the aforementioned first loss of his professional MMA career, when he was finished in the fourth round by now-champion Rockhold. Weidman was set to rematch Rockhold for the title at UFC 199; however, an unfortunate neck injury forced ‘The All American’ out of the highly anticipated bout.
A bout between Romero and Weidman would be huge, and could potentially set up the next contender for the 185-pound title.
4. Georges St-Pierre vs Nick Diaz II
“Where you at Georges?!”
With speculation running rampant on the potential return of Georges St-Pierre this year, what better show for ‘GSP’ to make his long-awaited comeback than UFC’s first event at Madison Square Garden? And who better to share the Octagon with than his long-time rival Nick Diaz?
St-Pierre and Diaz met before in the main event of UFC 158, where we saw the Canadian successfully retain his welterweight title and take home a unanimous decision victory over the Stockton native.
St-Pierre (25-2) last competed inside the octagon against Johnny Hendricks at UFC 167, where ‘GSP’ took home a controversial split decision win to retain his welterweight title. The Canadian legend would later vacate the title nearly a month later, temporarily retiring from the sport he once dominated.
Diaz (26-9(2)) comes off a unanimous decision defeat to Anderson Silva last January at UFC 183, that was later ruled a no-contest after ‘The Spider’ tested positive for a banned substance.
Diaz also tested positive for marijuana following the bout, exceeding the legal limit thus resulting in his original five-year suspension from the sport. Diaz would then appeal the ridiculously lengthy suspension, having it reduced to just 18 months.
What better way for the two legends of the sport to return than in arguably the biggest card of the year in New York City close to “GSP’s” home in Montreal, Quebec?
3. Ronda Rousey vs winner of Miesha Tate vs Amanda Nunes:
Since Ronda Rousey was last seen having her dreams of an undefeated career head kicked away by now-former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm last year, ‘The Rowdy One’ has been rumored to be targeting a November return in NYC.
If this is truly the case, UFC President Dana White has stated that upon her return, Rousey will be given an immediate title rematch against whomever the titleholder is at the time. This sets the table for a bout between Rousey and the winner of the women’s bantamweight title match between champion Miesha Tate and challenger Amanda Nunes at July 9’s UFC 200.
Tate (18-5) is coming off of the biggest win of her career, when he came back to choke out Holm in the fifth round of their UFC 196 title bout and win the first UFC championship of her career. ‘Cupcake’ is set to make her first title defense against No. 4-Ranked Amanda Nunes.
Nunes (12-4) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Valentina Shevchenko in December at UFC 196, the same card Tate won her title on, via unanimous decision. Nunes is currently on a three-fight win-streak and is looking to capture the first championship of her MMA career at UFC 200.
Rousey (12-1) just suffered the first loss of her MMA career against Holm at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia, when she was finished with a head kick in the second round. Rousey went into a deep depression following the loss, staying out of the public eye for quite some time after the upset defeat.
Though Rousey and Tate have met twice before with Rousey submitting Tate both time via armbar, Tate now contains far more confidence than their previous two meetings and is rejuvenated since winning her first UFC title.
While Nunes would be a new test for Rousey, the event will certainly do huge numbers with her name on the bill regardless of who stands across the cage from the returning ‘Rowdy’.
2. Winner of Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones (UFC 200) vs winner of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson vs Glover Teixiera:
Jon Jones made his long-awaited octagon return against Ovince St-Preux at UFC 197, taking home a unanimous decision victory and the UFC interim light heavyweight title.
Jones was originally set to rematch current champion Daniel Cormier for the title he never lost but was stripped of his title and suspended from the UFC after a hit-and-run incident; however, ‘DC’ was forced off the card with a leg injury sustained in training camp.
Now Jones and ‘DC’ are set to meet in the main event of UFC 200, in order to unify the two titles and declare an undisputed 205-pound king. One man who has been left in the dust among the rubble of the Jones vs. DC rivalry, however, is No. 2-Ranked Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson.
Johnson (21-5) comes off of two KO finishes over the likes of Jimi Manuwa and Ryan Bader since losing his title bout against now-champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 187 for Jones’ vacated title, where ‘Rumble’ and ‘Bones’ were originally scheduled to meet.
Jones has never legitimately lost in his career, having only one blemish in the loss column of his professional record after being disqualified for the use of illegal elbows against Matt Hamill in 2009.
Cormier (17-1) also only has one loss on his record, but that loss came at the hands of Jones, who beat the Olympian via unanimous decision at UFC 182 in January of last year.
Johnson has been in the cage with Cormier before and was choked out by ‘DC’ in the third round of their title bout, but he has never been inside the cage with the lengthy and unorthodox striker that is Jones.
”Rumble’ possesses game-changing power that can sleep any man in the 205-pound division, and if he is able to defeat Glover Teixeira in the co-main event of July 23’s UFC on FOX 20 from Chicago, Illinois, he should earn one more championship bout.
If he can then land one of those clean on ‘DC’ or Jones in New York, the roof might blow off of Madison Square Garden on November 12th.
1. Conor McGregor vs Winner Of Jose Aldo vs Frankie Edgar:
Conor McGregor took out the longtime king of the UFC featherweight division Aldo at UFC 194 in 13 seconds with a perfectly placed counter left hand.
Since then, McGregor was handed his first UFC career loss after being submitted by Nate Diaz via rear-naked choke at UFC 196 in early March. But with his rematch opposite Diaz having infamously fallen through, it looks like it is time for ‘Notorious’ to cut back down to 145 pounds and finally defend his title.
The top contender for a shot at McGregor will be decided in an interim featherweight title bout between No. 1-ranked Jose Aldo and No. 2-ranked Frankie Edgar at UFC 200.
Aldo (25-2) is coming off of the first loss of his UFC career and the first defeat in his MMA career in over ten years. Before suffering his 13-second KO loss in December, Aldo was undefeated in his UFC tenure, including a unanimous decision victory over his upcoming opponent Edgar.
Edgar (20-4-1) has been on a tear as of late, riding a five-fight win-streak, including most recently a first round KO victory over No. 3-ranked Chad Mendes. Edgar has finished three of his past five bouts and is looking to get past Aldo to finally go after the real featherweight title once more in his hometown of New York.
While a rematch against Aldo would be a treat for fans who feel cheated from their first 13-second encounter, a bout against Edgar could be arguably the toughest fight of his career given ‘The Answer’s’ world-class wrestling and black belt in jiu-jitsu.
Alongside the likes of Rousey, ‘GSP’, Jones, and Diaz, McGregor main eventing UFC 205 with his first title defense could do some groundbreaking numbers in the UFC’s first event in Madison Square Garden.