Jon Jones (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

UFC Debut at Madison Square Garden: Who Gets the Spotlight?

For years, the UFC has been lobbying to hold an event in the great state of New York. In fact, as of this moment, New York is the only state that still hasn’t sanctioned MMA. That all could change if the UFC has its way. Mind you, this conversation has been had for many years, and year after year, fans and fighters alike are disappointed. Yet, with the change of the guard in the political realm, the UFC is closer than ever. The recent news had me wondering: what kind of card would the UFC build in order to celebrate this momentous occasion? What follows is one possible answer.

To start, Jon Jones needs to be in the main event. He has accomplished things at such a young age and would be the ideal candidate for the slot. The person standing across from Jones should be none other than Cain Velasquez. If Jones is successful in his title defense against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, there is really no other viable contender left at light heavyweight. Therefore, Jones would be moving up in weight to take on the current heavyweight champion. It may be a little crazy, but it would be the perfect fight for New York’s Madison Square Garden, the venue that was so long considered untouchable and the natural choice for the UFC’s debut in the state.

As far as the co-main event, it really is a no-brainer. “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey would finally meet Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. Fans have been clamoring to see this fight for years. Some feel that it is the one fight that Rousey needs to have to truly solidify herself as the greatest female mixed martial artist of all time. And really, what better place to hold the fight that everyone wants to see than under the lights at Madison Square Garden? Women’s MMA wasn’t even a part of the UFC three years ago. This is also a fight that could allow Rousey to walk away from the fight game and focus on acting, because she would have nothing left to prove.


What better fight to have lead into a monumental women’s fight than a hometown hero defending his belt? Better yet, try to think of the last time that an American middleweight champion took on another American? Give up? It’s been a while. The fight I am talking about is Chris “The All American” Weidman vs. Luke “The Dragon Slayer” Rockhold (nickname pending). This fight, between two very well-rounded fighters, would have such potential and would draw the New Yorkers in, whether they were fans or not. Obviously, Weidman has his work cut out for him against Vitor Belfort at UFC 187 and would have to make it out of that fight with his title intact.

The fourth fight on the main card would be a welterweight clash that would excite many fans: “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler defending his title against Georges “Rush” St-Pierre. This is a fight that has plenty of chances to become a reality if Lawler is victorious against rising star and St-Pierre training partner Rory MacDonald. It would be a chance for GSP to come back one last time and further cement his legacy against one of the strongest and most resilient opponents to date. On the other hand, Lawler has the chance to defeat arguably the greatest UFC welterweight champion that has ever competed.

The fifth and final fight on the main card was very difficult to decide on. Should it be the newly crowned lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos? Or maybe the surging bantamweight champion, T.J. Dillashaw? No. Instead, the choice would have to go to the featherweights. The final slot would pit the “Notorious” Conor McGregor against Frankie “The Answer” Edgar. Edgar, who is showing no signs of slowing down, is destined to be champion. He has defeated the likes of Charles Oliveira, B.J. Penn and Cub Swanson since a failed title bid against Jose Aldo back at UFC 156 in 2013. He will earn another title shot, and it’ll come against McGregor. That’s right: in this hypothetical world where the UFC gets its way, McGregor would be the champ. An Irish champion in New York probably wouldn’t hurt.

Now, these fights are contingent on a plethora of factors. Current champions have to either defend or lose their belts in the coming months. That being said, this would be an ideal lineup for such a historic event. The fight order is up for discussion, with the exception of the co-headliner and the main event. All of these fights could become more than just words on a computer screen, just like the idea of a UFC event in New York.