2018 was a big year for the UFC, but with stars like Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez all ready to return to active competition, and champions like Max Holloway and Khabib Nurmagomedov becoming ever more popular, 2019 could be even bigger.
In fact, the UFC is in a position to book some pretty epic super fights in the New Year, any number of which could helm blockbuster pay-per-view cards.
Without further ado, here are five super fights the UFC could conceivably make in the year 2019, featuring names like Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Jon Jones.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor 2
This will not be a popular choice, given the way Khabib Nurmagomedov handled Conor McGregor when they fought at UFC 229 in October, but the money on table might make it an inevitability.
The outcome of the pair’s first fight wouldn’t typically warrant an immediate rematch, but this is still the most lucrative fight the UFC can put together. Both fighters are massive, international stars, and their is plenty of lingering heat between them. All the ingredients for a blockbuster rematch are there.
Though Tony Ferguson undeniably deserves the next shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov, the potential profits produced an immediate Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor rematch could force the UFC’s hand. Don’t be surprised if we get this fight in the New Year.
Max Holloway vs. Tony Ferguson
If Tony Ferguson is robbed of his long-awaited opportunity to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov — whether it’s because of Conor McGregor or other factors — a solid consolation prize for him could be a fight with featherweight champion Max Holloway.
Holloway has long floated the idea of a move up to the lightweight division, and UFC President Dana White seems very keen on the idea too. When examining the options for the Hawaiian champion’s first fight at 155 pounds, few look better on paper than a fight with the destructive Ferguson.
Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 3
Whether it’s at heavyweight or light heavyweight, it seems very possible that we could see arch rivals Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones fight again in the New Year.
Much like Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, they represent the two halves of a fiery rivalry that will always sell tickets and pay-per-views. And with Jon Jones set to return at UFC 232, and Daniel Cormier targeting retirement in March, the time for a trilogy fight might be now or never.
This, of course, all seems to hinge on Jon Jones getting by Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, which is far from a certainty.
Jon Jones vs. Cain Velasquez
If, for one reason or another, we don’t get to see Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier fight one last time, a fight between Jones and long-time Cormier training partner Cain Velasquez would be a solid backup plan.
Fans have been clamoring for a super fight between Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez for years, and as luck would have it, both will be making their long-awaited returns to the cage within the next few months.
Jones, as aforementioned, is set to return against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, while Cain Velasquez has recently been linked to a UFC Phoenix showdown with Francis Ngannou. If both former champions win their next fights, it would be great to see them sharing the cage together in the second half of 2019.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson
A fight between a champion and a number-one-contender wouldn’t normally be considered a super fight, but given how many times the UFC has tried and failed to put this fight together, it would be exactly that.
In order for this to be made, the UFC will have to pass on the bottomless goldmine that is a Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor rematch, but if the promotion has a shred of matchmaking integrity left, they’ll do it.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are perhaps the two most dominant fighters in the history of the UFC lightweight division, and they’ve been on a collision course for years. Provided Nurmagomedov can be enticed to take this fight in place of an ultra-lucrative showdown with McGregor or Georges St-Pierre or even Floyd Mayweather, 2019 might just be the year we finally see it happen.
Do you think we’ll see these fights in the New Year?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/23/2018.