In the coming weeks, MMA fans will be overloaded as the UFC holds four major events in December featuring some of its biggest stars. Three titles will be on the line: José Aldo defends his featherweight crown against interim champion Conor McGregor and Chris Weidman puts his middleweight belt on the line against surging Luke Rockhold, both at UFC 194, while a week later Rafael dos Anjos looks to defend his lightweight belt for the first time when he goes up against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC on Fox 17. Two of these three fights could provide the first sparks for a future rivalry and a UFC dream match-up.
Here’s a bold prediction: The victorious fighter in the featherweight title contest at UFC 194 will not defend the belt. Aldo will retire if he defeats McGregor, and McGregor already has schemes on a move up to lightweight.
Enter our dream match-up.
If the aforementioned Cerrone is successful in obtaining his first UFC title, the wheels are in motion to pair the “Cowboy” up against McGregor.
Cerrone vs. McGregor has fireworks written all over it. The two already feuded at the UFC’s “Go Big” press conference earlier this year and obviously would love the chance to meet inside the cage. The best part about it is the fact that it’s entirely possible for McGregor to move up and for Cerrone to take out dos Anjos. The UFC really needs another big marquee fight after the fall of Rousey a few weeks ago, and this could be it. It’s a win-win for each division, each fighter and, of course, the fans.
Cerrone has been on a tear as of late. To put it into perspective, Cerrone has racked up eight wins in arguably the UFC’s most crowded division with five of those eight victories coming by way of finishes. Cerrone has taken out the likes of Evan Dunham, Adriano Martins, Edson Barboza, Jim Miller, Myles Jury, Benson Henderson and John Makdessi. His last loss came to dos Anjos in August 2013. Cerrone certainly has earned his title shot, and it couldn’t have come against a better foe. Cerrone has really evolved into a fighter who is champion material. He is a household name already, and his name would only grow with a title belt strapped around his waist.
Meanwhile, McGregor is currently on a five-fight UFC winning streak and has finished all but one of his opponents, the lone wolf being Max Holloway. It has been stated many a time that McGregor was given tailored fights in order to skyrocket him to the top of the division for a showdown with Aldo. While he silenced some doubters with his most recent TKO victory over Chad Mendes, many still feel McGregor had the upper hand after Mendes took the fight on two weeks’ notice. The Irishman’s brash attitude and unorthodox fighting style will be a new challenge for Aldo, but, as we have seen before, the Brazilian is quite capable of adapting and evolving.
Does McGregor have the tools to dethrone Aldo, a champion who hasn’t lost a fight in over a decade? Will McGregor topple a fighter who has defeated Urijah Faber (twice), Mendes (twice), Frankie Edgar, Kenny Florian and Cub Swanson, just to name a few? No. However, there weren’t many people that believed Holly Holm was going to shock the world and defeat Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, but it happened. Many didn’t believe Robbie Lawler would have the career resurgence that he has had. It happened. It’s entirely possible that the UFC could have a set of new champions coming into the new year with a McGregor victory over Aldo and a Cerrone upset over dos Anjos. That’s why the time is now for the UFC to start prepping the world for Cerrone vs. McGregor at UFC 200.
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