On Sunday afternoon, BJPENN.COM’s Chris Taylor reported that the UFC is targeting a pair of crucial welterweight contender bouts for the early phases of the New Year.
The first, Taylor reported, is expected to pit former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler against ever-dangerous karate stylist Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. The other is expected to pit recent UFC welterweight title challenger Darren Till against former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren, who recently signed with the UFC.
Needless to say, the first quarter of 2019 is looking like a red-hot stretch for the UFC welterweight division. With that fact in mind, it would great to see the UFC book a handful of other welterweight contender bouts in the same timeframe to really get the division moving and avoid another period of stagnancy like the one the division endured in early 2018.
With the final UFC fight cards of 2018 already nearing capacity, here are 3 welterweight scraps we’d like to see the promotion book in the early months of the New Year.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Leon Edwards
Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards are two of the only ranked welterweights that don’t currently have fights booked, and as luck would have it, they’ve recently swapped quite a bit of trash talk on Twitter. As such, the narrative for this matchup is essentially already written, and with Masvidal eyeing a return to the cage after his recent stint on reality television, the timing couldn’t be better.
Demian Maia vs. Sergio Moraes
BJJ ace Demian Maia remains one of the most dangerous fighters in the perilous UFC welterweight division, but in what seems to be the closing saga of his career, when he’s riding consecutive decision losses to wrestling specialists Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman, it’s getting a little difficult to determine what exactly to do with him. A matchup with Sergio Moraes, a similarly deadly BJJ practitioner who has recently been issuing respectful callouts of Maia seems like a great way to keep the long-time Brazilian contender busy in the twilight of his career.
Tyron Woodley vs. Colby Covington
For a time, it sounded like we’d see undisputed UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley battle interim welterweight champ Colby Covington in 2018. Unfortunately, that now seems impossible. With UFC 231 and 232 — the last UFC pay-per-views of the year — anchored with two title fights apiece, there just doesn’t seem to be any room for this epic grudge match on the 2018 calendar. So here’s hoping it headlines one of the first pay-per-views of 2019, such as the UFC’s Super Bowl Weekend card, which Covington has already named as his preferred setting for the fight.
What do you think of these potential welterweight matchups?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/5/2018.