With the vacant flyweight title bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk now official for UFC 231, UFC 230’s headliner options have gotten even more limited.
Despite it’s inching closer and closer, the November 3 Madison Square Garden event that is UFC 230 is still lacking its big main event headliner. Tickets go on sale this Wednesday, so an announcement is due at any time now.
But what could it possibly be? Well, there are really only five options left.
5. Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones 3
The former light heavyweight king Jon “Bones” Jones is eligible to return to action on October 28. What perfect timing that is…
The big rumor since UFC 230 started to creep closer with no headliner announced has been that of Jones making his comeback at the big event. Now that’s become a real possibility.
Regardless of what UFC president Dana White says, which is that Jones “100 percent” will not be fighting at the event, we know the bossman isn’t always doing his best honest Abe impression.
With no announcement coming at yesterday’s big UFC 229 press conference, maybe he is actually telling the truth this time. But that’s a risky bet to take.
As for Daniel Cormier, the current light heavyweight and heavyweight king, he has an inevitable date with Brock Lesnar for his heavyweight crown early next year. However, the double champ has made it clear that he is still interested in defending his light heavyweight title before that goes down.
But after hearing the news, he doesn’t sound all too interested in a third go around with his former rival.
4. Tyron Woodley vs Colby Covington
It was the fight that should have headlined UFC 228. Instead, due to Colby Covington needing of time to recover after his interim title-winning performance over Rafael Dos Anjos in June, Darren Till took his spot against the reigning champ, Tyron Woodley.
Woodley would go on to score perhaps his most impressive win to date as he thoroughly dominated Till over the course of two rounds before finding a d’arce choke to force the tap.
The rivalry has built itself and has been brewing for years now. With Woodley coming out completely unscathed against Till after only being hit a surprising one time, he is ready and open to the possibility of getting right back in there to try and silence the man known as “Chaos”.
When speaking with media yesterday, White did say that this fight was a possibility but it feels a little bit hard to imagine him rewarding Woodley after the way he’s talked about him recently as well as in the past. Think back to how he spoke of Demetrious Johnson a few months ago…
Regardless, the fighters are down and ready for it. It’s what makes sense in the division, there’s bad blood. Why not?
*Update: This fight is no longer an option as Woodley requires hand surgery.
3. TJ Dillashaw vs Henry Cejudo
We’re currently living in the “big money” or the “super fight” era and the fighters are beginning to realize it too.
Directly after Henry Cejudo’s historic win over the previously mentioned former flyweight champion “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, he got on the mic and made it clear that he wants to challenge for the bantamweight title next to try and get two belts.
Prior to Cejudo’s coronation, the bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw had already been campaigning for a super fight with the then champion in Johnson. So he was always ready for this type of fight and he still is now. And both have seemingly been hinting at it being in the works in all of their recent appearances as well.
Whether it’s right to make it next or not is a different discussion…but options are limited, the UFC loves this kind of fight in 2018 and these two want to make it happen too so it’s a lot more likely than some may think.
2. Dustin Poirier vs Nate Diaz
The highly anticipated return of Nate Diaz as he looks to halt Dustin Poirier’s momentum is already happening on the card one way or another.
The bout is currently set as the evening’s co-main event but assuming that the UFC really is scrambling to get something else done before tickets go on sale, they very well may just say “screw it” and bump this fight to the top billing.
In the end, a lot of people probably wouldn’t be mad about it. Of course, bigger fights and title fights are always more fun but this matchup is great as is and potentially two extra rounds aren’t something to be upset about.
1. Alexander Gustafsson vs Jon Jones 2
As mentioned with No. 5, “Uncle Dana” isn’t exactly fooling anyone when it comes to Jones’ inevitable return. He says the man still needs to get in shape and won’t be back until next year…although we’ve seen the videos of Jones training. Albeit in his garage…
Anyway, one of his toughest opponents, Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson is also in need of a fight as he lost out on his matchup with Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 227 due to Oezdemir suffering an injury in training.
Perfectly enough, since the very fresh Jones news, Gustafsson has been reported to be available and ready if needed for UFC 230 and even stated that he is happy to welcome his former adversary back to the Octagon.
The first fight was an all-time classic, some think the wrong man won, there’s just no going wrong here with this matchup.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/21/2018