In 2021, ONE Championship made it known that they were open to a cross-promotion event with the UFC. The prospect of that event got the wheels spinning for fans dying to see a crossover event between the stars of the two organizations.
Mixed martial arts is a global phenomenon, and the immense depth of talent that exists in the sport is not exclusive to any one promotion. But there is little doubt that a meeting between two of the world’s most exciting MMA organizations would bring a new level of excitement to fans of the all-encompassing sport. With that in mind, below are five dream matchups we would love to see from a ONE vs. UFC event.
Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida vs. Francis Ngannou/Ciryl Gane
The UFC heavyweight world championship will become undisputed once again when Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane square off later this month. No matter who walks out of the Octagon as the champion that night, we would love to see them compete against Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida.
While he is not ONE’s heavyweight king – the title currently belongs to Arjan Bhullar – the stylistic match-up with the UFC’s top talent is too good to ignore. Both Ngannou and Gane prefer the action to be on their feet, whereas Almeida is a legend of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The striker-vs.-grappler match-up will always be an intriguing prospect. It is what MMA was built upon. So, it would be a dream to see two behemoths try to best each other with their contrasting skill sets.
Buchecha is still in the process of learning stand-up and improving his wrestling for mixed martial arts. Even still, through two professional bouts, he has looked sensational. Neither Ngannou nor Gane could match the brilliance of the Brazilian on the canvas, so no one can be certain of how this one would go, as Almeida continues to go from strength to strength in his new sport.
“The Dutch Knight” is a perfect 14-0 in his career and dominated Myanmar legend Aung La N Sang for both belts. The Dutchman has a long frame that makes him a monster inside the ONE Circle, and he utilizes his length to stay out of trouble on the feet and tie up his opponents on the mat.
Youth, height, reach, and athleticism are all on the side of De Ridder, and he would certainly offer the new UFC light heavyweight champion a solid challenge if they were to meet.
Thanh Le vs. Alexander Volkanovski
A meeting between the UFC and ONE featherweight world champions would be an enthralling display of dynamic striking. Both UFC’s Alexander Volkanovski and ONE’s Thanh Le have exhibited their exciting skill sets in their respective organizations, but doing it against one another would be a thrilling showcase for fans. Their distinctly different styles would turn the matchup into a mental chess game on the feet.
The X-factor may come down to their grappling, though. Volkanovski’s Greco-Roman background always gives him a base that he can rely on when in trouble, but Le’s ground game should not be overlooked. He has dutifully crafted his own style with the help of Ryan Hall and the Fifty/50 Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
Le’s quickness and power would make it an interesting evening for the Aussie champion. If the American connects with a clean shot, it could be lights out, which means this matchup would be electric to watch.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Brandon Moreno
When Demetrious Johnson left the UFC, many considered him the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist on the planet. And many fans and pundits felt he was still the rightful champion after a controversial decision loss to Henry Cejudo in his final UFC fight.
A return for Johnson, against Brandon Moreno, would see if the old dog could still run the yard. That said, the UFC flyweight champion would certainly not give up the chance to face the greatest of all time, and “Mighty Mouse” could solidify the young Mexican’s legacy.
Beyond the answers we would get regarding the legacy of the division, the stylistic matchup itself would be outstanding. Flyweights move at a breakneck pace, and these two could light the night while bringing more eyes to the division.
Shinya Aoki vs. Charles Oliveira
Shinya Aoki and Charles Oliveira are two of the greatest submission artists the sport has ever seen. So a prospective matchup between the Japanese legend and the UFC lightweight champion certainly makes this list.
To make it even more mouthwatering, both men happen to compete in the same weight division, and their respective records are intriguingly similar. Aoki has won by submission in 31 of his 47 victories, and Oliveira has won 20 of his 32 bouts by submission. 51 submission wins between the two tells the tale and almost guarantees a canvas-based barnburner.
A special grappling superfight between these two would make sense. ONE is known to do this on occasion, and Aoki has competed against other legends in these fun meetings before. If we could will it into existence, this would be on the docket for 2022.
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