So, in no particular order he we go:
Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa:
The champion is 18-0 and the contender is 13-0, so in this match-up, somebody’s “0” has got to go.
The champion Adesanya, a New Zealander by way of Nigeria has taken the division by storm! Boasting a Jon Jones type frame, but at middleweight – with speed and striking skills not seen since a prime Anderson Silva. So far his takedown defense has been outstanding, and his only tough fights have been against the aforementioned Silva, and an even tougher tilt against, Kelvin Gastelum. The question is, can he handle a very tough and determined power-puncher who is also a very good grappler? Will Costa, who normally likes to strike, decide to mix in some wrestling? Who has the better chin? Both are young but at 28-years-old Costa is slightly younger than the 30-year-old champion.
This is a fight we will almost definitely see later this year.
Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal:
The champion is a wrestling machine, with decent striking, and impressive cardio to boot. With a 17-1 record, he has not lost since 2013 and is on a fifteen-fight win-streak. At 32-years-of-age, he is three years younger than the challenger Masvidal, who holds a record of 35-13, and is on a three-fight win streak – stopping all opponents inside the distance, and has been victorious in six of his last eight fights, all against the high level competition.
On the surface, you could say this is a striker vs. grappler match, but that wouldn’t be giving either man enough credit for their balanced skillset. This comes down to how long Usman is willing to stand with Masvidal, and how much offense, ‘Gamebred’ will mount – knowing that he could be taken down at any time if he gets too aggressive with Usman. We do know there is bad blood here, and these two fearless warriors both feel this fight could be easy work, or at least that’s what they are saying.
This fight may or may not happen soon, depending on who is selected next for the Conor McGregor lottery, as well as Masvidal revealing he may be willing to drop to lightweight to fight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Weili Zhang:
Dream match here with champ vs. champ, and if it happens – it would no doubt be at 125-pounds. However, if that arrangement doesn’t materialize we may indeed see the fight down the line if the Chinese superstar decides to add some extra weight to her already muscular frame. In any case, the question would be if the power, speed and aggression would still be intact at a higher weight class, and my thought is the speed advantage if nothing else would be in favor of Zhang. She’s 30-years-old and boasts a 20-1 record, while Shevchenko is 31-years-old with an almost as impressive, 19-3 record earned against a higher level of competition. There Definitely would be fireworks if these two killers ever face each other. One thing we do know is Shevchenko won’t be dropping to strawweight.
This battle very well may never happen, and if it does, it will most likely be well into the new decade, which begins next year.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Amanda Nunes III:
This is a so-called rubber-match in the minds of many, who felt Shevchenko won at least one of her battles with ‘The Lioness’. However, in reality, Amanda Nunes is 2-0 versus the ‘Bullet’, and this would, without doubt, be for the women’s bantamweight championship. Amanda Nunes won’t be fighting at 125-pounds anytime soon unless she cuts off an ass cheek – as boxing champion, Claressa Shields told me when I asked her if fighting at 145-pounds would be realistic for her. As for age and record, they are nearly identical, with both women being 31-years-old and both having nineteen wins, but four losses for ‘The Lioness’ and just three, for ‘Bullet’.
The question here is, who has improved more since their two battles? Will fighting a weight class lower help Shevchenko, and make her faster – or will she feel weighed down carrying the extra weight? Both are amazing strikers, and skilled grapplers, with alpha female personalities, and supreme confidence, that much we know.
This great matchup could very well happen, and if so I would guess Shevchenko would retain her flyweight crown in the worst-case scenario. This makes it in an interesting prospect, as she goes in as a UFC champion, and will come out a UFC champion win or lose.
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Henry Cejudo:
This dream matchup would absolutely be the icing on the cake if the triple champion, Henry Cejudo should win. Yes I know, he’s no longer ‘ Triple C’, as he was stripped of his flyweight title. Nonetheless, if he were to get by Dominick Cruz, and defeat Volkanovski, he would be able to say he won an Olympic gold medal and UFC titles in three different weight classes. That would be enough to pretty much make him the G.O.A.T. – at least on many peoples list.
However, its easier said than done. Alexander ‘The Great”‘ looked extremely impressive in beating Max Holloway for the title late last year. He’s bigger than ‘The Messenger’, arguably better striker, and has pretty good wrestling chops, although far below this of Cejudo.
Cejudo is 34-years-old with an impressive 15-2 record, and Volkanovski is slightly younger at 31-years-old and boasts a 21-1 record with an impressive eighteen-fight win-streak.
This amazing battle is also one that may never happen, as both champs have at least a small handful of worthy contenders to deal with. If it does happen it won’t be this year in my opinion.