Tag Archives: Alexander Gustafsson

UFC London: Blaydes vs Aspinall – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to London’s O2 Arena for the second time this year for a stacked card, headlined by a heavyweight duel between top five big-men Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall.

We’ll also see the likes of Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann, Mason Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, Paul Craig and Muhammad Mokaev competing in an event sure to provide plenty of fireworks.

Last week at UFC Long Island we went 8/12 with three perfect picks, moving us up to 685/1032 (64.34%) with 284 perfect picks (42.77%). You can check out our full history of picks here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card now.

Paul Craig (16-4-1) vs Volkan Oezdemir (17-6) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Big time scrap between supreme grappler and powerhouse striker opens up this main card. Craig has won his last four in a row and is unbeaten in six, with all five wins coming via finish. Oezdemir has lost his last two in a row, getting slept by Jiri Prochazka at UFC 251 before dropping a decision to Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 267 most recently.

Craig is an absolute beast when it comes to the jiu-jitsu game, with an incredible aggressive guard and unorthdox submission skills. Oezdemir is a poor grappler, but he earned his “No Time” nickname from putting people’s lights out quickly and with one punch. This honestly depends on how generous the referee is feeling, because Craig often likes to take a bunch of strikes on the ground before wrapping in a submission when his opponent gets excited.

Oezdemir is powerful enough to put him out early though, and his takedown defence is solid enough to keep this standing. But Craig tends to be incredibly aggressive with his grappling and if he gets into a position of strength on the ground then Oezdemir will be in trouble. It’ll be very exciting, but I expect Craig to have the fans behind him and grab another amazing submission win.
PICK – Paul Craig via Submission, Round 1

Molly McCann (12-4) vs Hannah Goldy (6-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The owner of the knockout of the year so far is Molly McCann and that’s undisputed. McCann earned a stunning spinning back elbow to beat Luana Carolina last time out to make it back-to-back wins, while Goldy got her first UFC win with a first round armbar over Emily Whitmire last time out.

McCann is a boxer who was once a national champion and had the shortest reach in the entire UFC, meaning she had to learn to use her grappling and wrestling skills to close the distance. That was until Goldy signed, and she now is the owner of the shortest reach in the UFC. Goldy is a decent striker too but prefers to grind her opponents against the cage and try to be physical. She’s in trouble here though.

“Meatball” isn’t the biggest puncher in the world, but she’s incredibly aggressive and her pressure is relentless throughout 15 minutes. Her ability to get back to her feet will suit her here and using her reach and boxing skills she should be able to control this fight for the most part to earn yet another win, although a finish is pretty unlikely on this occasion.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

Nikita Krylov (27-9) vs Alexander Gustafsson (18-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A big time light heavyweight scrap between two highly experienced fighters. Krylov has lost three of his last four fights but all against elite competition, with Glover Teixeira, Magomed Ankalaev and Paul Craig all beating him soundly. He did claim a win over Johnny Walker in the middle of that run though. Gustafsson was once considered one of the best 205 pounders to never win gold when he retired, but since coming back he’s not had fun. He’s lost his comeback fight at heavyweight when Fabricio Werdum submitted him at UFC Fight Island 3.

Krylov is a brilliantly powerful puncher, but he’s also a solid grappler with good wrestling and top control. Gustafsson on the other hand is more of a boxer with great combinations and hand speed, although he’s shown his wrestling capabilities too – becoming the first man to ever take down Jon Jones. That said though, he’s five years out since his last win in the octagon.

Granted two years of that he was out of competition, but he’s 0-3 in his last 3 and he’s been beaten handily in all of those fights. In his prime I would expect Gustafsson to be able to string everything together and probably even claim a knockout. But this version of Gustafsson is slower and less durable and Krylov has been in there for a while against the very best, so I expect him to land another big win for his record.
PICK – Nikita Krylov via Decision

Paddy Pimblett (18-3) vs Jordan Leavitt (10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The people’s main event in the lightweight division as “The Baddy” makes his return the O2. Pimblett has gone 2-0 in the UFC so far, knocking out Luigi Vendramini before submitting Kazulu Vargas last time out. Leavitt is 3-1 in the UFC, winning two in a row with a submission over Matt Sayles and then a decision against Trey Ogden.

Pimblett is a fine striker with good power and speed, but it’s his grappling and jiu-jitsu skills that really set him apart for many fans. Leavitt is a terrific grappler too, with excellent wrestling and strength and great idea for positioning for safety. Against someone like Pimblett, that will come in really handy as he is constantly looking to get the finish at the earliest possible opportunity.

With that said, Leavitt has a good chance of getting control early on when Pimblett is still going through the motions with the crowd and he’ll probably win the first round. But with a few tweaks, Pimblett should be able to land powerful strikes that could drop Leavitt and then sink in a choke to claim a third win and send the crowd wild.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 2

Jack Hermansson (22-7) vs Chris Curtis (29-8) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A short notice co-main event in this one, as Chris Curtis steps in for the injured Darren Till. Hermansson suffered defeats to Marvin Vettori and Sean Strickland in two of his last three fights, with a win over Edmen Shahbazyan coming in the middle of that. Curtis meanwhile has gone 3-0 in the UFC, KO’ing Phil Hawes at UFC 268 before KO’ing Brendan Allen (UFC Vegas 44) and then earning a decision over Rodolfo Vieira most recently.

Hermansson is a decent striker but his best fighting comes in the grappling on the mat, with great submissions and vicious ground and pound coming at the end of good wrestling takedowns. Curtis is a top level boxer with excellent low kicks, stunning power and really good takedown defence too. This is a real fairytale for Curtis, who has done nothing but impress in the UFC since his debut. This is a really, really tough fight to call.

Curtis is good enough to keep the fight standing and he’s got better striking without a doubt, but Hermansson is someone who uses his physicality well on his opponents as fights go on. With that said though, Curtis beat a better grappler about a month ago with his takedown defence and counter-striking so it’s hard to see how he doesn’t do it again.
PICK – Chris Curtis via Decision

Curtis Blaydes (16-3) vs Tom Aspinall (12-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Huge main event with potential title implications on the line in the heavyweight division headlines this card. Blaydes bounced back from a nasty KO loss to Derrick Lewis (UFC Vegas 19) by dominating Jairzinho Rozenstruik and then sleeping Chris Daukaus most recently. Aspinall is 5-0 in the UFC and absolutely dominated Alexander Volkov last time out via a straight arm lock in the first round at UFC London in March.

Blaydes is the best wrestler the heavyweight division has ever seen. He has a huge overhand right and a decent left jab, but everything is set up to change levels and take his opponent down to dominate from top position and land vicious ground and pound. Aspinall is one of the most well-rounded heavyweights we’ve seen, with incredible boxing and hand speed to go with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt too. He really is the total package. That makes this fight super hard to call.

Nobody has been able to stop Blaydes taking them down so far, and I don’t expect Aspinall to stuff a bunch of takedowns in this one either. But on his back he’s dangerous and on the feet he has an absolutely huge advantage with his boxing skills. Blaydes often doesn’t let his opponents up once he gets them down though, but we have seen him fade in five-round fights before when he’s forced to chain takedowns together through the fight. Aspinall has never been dragged into deep waters so we don’t know how he’ll cope, but we do know Blaydes has the capability of being put to sleep when entering for takedowns and Aspinall has the power and speed to counter quickly. Its hard, and I may be a bit bias, but I think Aspinall can get it done.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 4


UFC Fight Island: Whittaker vs Till – Main Card Predictions

As the UFC brings to an end the first edition of Fight Island, the middleweight division is hotting up. Former champion Robert Whittaker makes his return in his first bout since losing the belt as he takes on former welterweight title contender Darren Till in the main event.

Before that though, a stacked FIFTEEN fight card will see plenty of big fights and talented fighters enter the octagon. I’ll break down the main card here, and offer up my predictions for each fight.

Last time out for UFC Fight Island: Figueiredo vs Benavidez 2, I correctly predicted 6/10 winners on the night with just one of those completely correct (winner, round, method). I expect to do much better this time around and hope to improve on that record.

You can see my predictions for the prelims of this card here.

Khamzat Chimaev (7-0) vs Rhys McKee (10-2-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

After a mesmerising debut just 10 days ago, Chimaev returns to the Octagon looking for his second win in his second weight division when he takes on Cage Warriors’ ‘Skeletor’. McKee is a solid striker with great jiu-jitsu and will definitely be able to put up more of a fight than John Phillips did. Chimaev though was so dominant against Phillips, a big middleweight, that it’s very hard to discount the size and strength difference. Chimaev has a rocket strapped to his back right now and another dominant win on Fight Island will only see his stock rise further.
PICK – Khamzat Chimaev via Submission, Round 1

Alex Oliveira (21-8-1, 2NC) vs Peter Sobotta (17-6-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Another potential fight of the night contender here, as ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira looks to make it back-to-back wins in 2020 against the returning Sobotta. The German hasn’t fought since 2018, when he was well beaten by Leon Edwards. Both fighters are technical strikers, with Oliveira loving a hard kick, but also both are more than comfortable on the ground. Sobotta is a better grappler than striker and will want the fight on the ground if he can be in control there and he could go for a submission. If Oliveira ends up in control, we’ll see big ground and pound strikes that could potentially set up submissions. Overall, Sobotta’s inactivity is likely going to cost him here and Oliveira should be able to sneak a win.
PICK – Alex Oliveira via Unanimous Decision

Paul Craig (12-4-1) vs Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-6) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Two wild submission artists who both struggle against fighters with real, genuine quality, this is a weird fight. Craig drew his last fight against Shogun, which many think he won, but before that he had exchanged between wins and losses since 2017. Antigulov had been a finishing machine until recently, where he now lost his last two by knockout. Antigulov has struggled to get through the first round previously and if he does this time he’ll start to fade. But his game plan is constantly to go for the takedown and Craig is so confident on his back that he likes to pull guard so he may not have his cardio tested in the end. This is really a ‘pick-em’ fight where nothing would surprise me, I’d avoid betting on this one.
PICK – Gadzhimurad Antigulov via Decision

Carla Esparza (16-6) vs Marina Rodriguez (12-0-2) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun women’s fight coming up where both have a severe disadvantage in the others comfort zone. Despite being only 5ft 1, Esparza loves to try and impose her wrestling game on her opponents while Rodriguez is a muay-thai fighter who throws vicious knees and elbows in the clinch. In both of Rodriguez’s draws she was ragdolled on the ground in 10-8 rounds and while Esparza isn’t as physically imposing as Calvillo she is good on the ground. If Esparza can get the takedown, Rodriguez will find it hard to get back up and will likely lose that round. I’m going to back Esparza to get enough takedowns and control enough on the floor to secure a decision win.
PICK – Carla Esparza via Unanimous Decision

Fabricio Werdum (23-9-1) vs Alexander Gustafsson (18-6) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Another weird fight on the card sees two all-time greats of the sport clash in the heavyweight division. Werdum has lost his last two, including being KO’d by Alexander Volkov while Gustafsson lost his last two by finish against Jon Jones and Anthony Smith. Werdum dominated on the ground against Oleinik in his last bout but was overwhelmed on the feet. If you’re going to get overwhelmed on the feet by Oleinik, then Gustafsson will probably murder you. If the fight hits the ground for whatever reason though, Werdum has a big advantage on the mat. Overall though, I think Gustafsson has too much of a striking advantage for Werdum and now that he’s at heavyweight he should have more power too.
PICK – Alexander Gustafsson via Knockout, Round 2

Mauricio Rua (26-11-1) vs Antonio Nogueira (23-9) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A fight that should probably be happening in Brazil if it’s happening at all, but the trilogy bout has arrived between ‘Shogun’ and ‘Minotouro’. Rua won the previous two bouts via decision but now I’ll be shocked if this goes the distance. Rua is 38 and Nogueira is 44, both are likely to retire by the end of the year. This is a fight for the nostalgia and it should end up in the same result. Nogueira has pop at the end of his shots but is slow and laboured now, while Rua is 4-1-1 in his last 6 bouts. The gas tank is nearly empty for both and both have shown that their chins are not what quite what they used to be anymore in recent times. Noguiera hasn’t fought for over a year and at this age I expect that to make a massive difference. Rua will land clean and end this one early.
PICK – Mauricio Rua via Knockout, Round 1

Robert Whittaker (20-5) vs Darren Till (18-2-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The main event is a fight that everyone has been looking forward to and rightly so. A high level striking bout is almost certain to take place here and with five rounds on the clock should be a very fun one. Whittaker’s last fight was when he was destroyed by Israel Adesanya in their title fight, while Till’s last bout was an underwhelming win over Kelvin Gastelum in his middleweight debut. Whittaker has a wide stance and focuses a lot on kicks to maintain his distance, while Till uses his kickboxing background to stay out and then his footwork to steam in and land his big left hand. Whittaker seems to be very underrated because of the way he lost to Adesanya and it’s interesting to see for me. The Australian has powerful striking and excellent defence, something we saw against Yoel Romero. Till’s chin was touched by Woodley and Masvidal and if Whittaker lands in a similar fashion then the results could be the same. Whittaker himself has been prone to a big punch too recently though, as he was dropped 4 times in his last two fights. Till will pressure from the off but Whittaker is proven at this level and will be prepared for it. His pacing has been proven too since he’s done the five round haul many times. I think overall, Whittaker is just too well-rounded to fall into Till’s traps for his big left hand and while I think Till will land some big shots, Whittaker will do enough for the decision win.
PICK – Robert Whittaker via Unanimous Decision

Alexander Gustafsson Is Back And Hungry For Gold

After three failed title shots and then a humbling defeat to Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith, Alexander Gustafsson stepped away from the Octagon in June 2019.

He is arguably one of the best light-heavyweights in UFC history and yet he never won the big one. Despite many people believing he beat Jon Jones in their first fight, the record books say different. He then was humbled by Jones in the rematch and in between those bouts was humbled by Daniel Cormier. All three bouts were for the 205lbs strap and all three times he was on the losing side.

After he was tapped out by Smith last year in his hometown of Stockholm, Gustafsson took the mic and told the world that he obviously wasn’t good enough anymore and left his gloves in the cage stating “the show is over”.

Now though, he’s back – and he’s a heavyweight.

UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson v Smith : News Photo
Gustafsson retired last year, but he’s back this Saturday and moves up to heavyweight for his return.

After bulking up over this period away from the cage, Gustafsson has made the decision to return to fighting and will take on Fabricio Werdum in the co-main event of the final Fight Island card of the month.

He comes into the bout with a new found love for the sport and with an ageing opponent who is still full of quality, he has a big chance to make waves in his new division. A win over Werdum doesn’t put him into title contention or realistically anywhere close. The likes of Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Junior Dos Santos, Alexander Volkov, Derrick Lewis will all be ahead of him and even then they’re not considered to be in contention. But it gets him on the ladder.

His boxing style will undoubtedly cause problems for Werdum, who will want to get this fight on the ground as quickly as possible to avoid the power of the Swede. Gustafsson showed in his defeats to Jones and Smith that he’s not the best when it comes to the ground game, but he is more than capable of stopping it getting there with his defence.

If he can keep the agility and fleet-footedness that made him such a threat at 205lbs, he will likely be able to defeat Werdum and then look up the division. With Cormier due to retire, Miocic and Ngannou will lead the division going into the future. Since their names aren’t Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier, Gustafsson will fancy his chances if he manages to make his way back to a title fight for the UFC.

Top 10 Fighters To Never Win A UFC Title

So.. BT Sport caused a bit of a fuss, didn’t they?

Following on from the midweek Fight Island card, BT Sport compiled a list from each of their analysts of the best fighters to never win a UFC title. They discounted interim titles, which opened the door for several fighters but their picks caused backlash online.

British MMA legend Dan Hardy, who once fought Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title included names such as Kenny Florian and Jon Fitch, while Adam Catterall had Dan Henderson as No.1 on his list.

After seeing these lists and seeing obvious names left out, I felt obliged to compile my own list.

10. Alexander Gustafsson

UFC 232 Weigh-ins : News Photo

The big Swede in his prime was one of the best light-heavyweights we’ve ever seen in the UFC. His elite level boxing saw him KO plenty of opponents, while he was also the first man to ever successfully complete a takedown against Jon Jones. Gustafsson got three shots at the title during his tenure but unfortunately for him came up against two of the best mixed martial artists of all time. He controversially lost to Jon Jones in his first title fight, with many describing that bout as the best UFC title fight ever. He then took on Daniel Cormier following Jones’ stripping of the belt and was outwrestled by an Olympian to a decision loss. He got a final chance against Jones again when Cormier relinquished the 205lbs belt after winning the heavyweight title, but was outclassed and beaten in a TKO loss. In any other generation without Jones and DC around, I’m confident Gustafsson would have reigned supreme for a long time at 205.

9. Alistair Overeem

UFC Fight Night: Weigh-ins : News Photo

A kickboxing legend, Overeem holds the record for most professional fights on his record before receiving a UFC title shot. His only opportunity came against Stipe Miocic in 2016 in his 57th fight, and he was viciously KO’d in the first round. That doesn’t take away from a stunning resumé that has seen the Dutchman take out legends like Brock Lesnar, Fabricio Werdum, Junior Dos Santos, Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Vitor Belfort and Frank Mir. He’s unlikely to ever get to the point of title recognition again now at the age of 40 but his career will go down as one of the best in MMA heavyweight history.

8. Joseph Benavidez

The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Benavidez v Cejudo : News Photo

The flyweight legend has been around in the UFC since before the division’s inception back in 2012. He competed for the inaugral title, being beaten by Demetrious Johnson before building his way back up for a rematch just over a year later. He was beaten again by ‘Mighty Mouse’, this time by knockout. He went on a run of 9 wins in his next 10 fights before receiving a third title shot earlier this year, for the strap vacated by Henry Cejudo. A headbutt saw him get cut wide open against Deiveson Figuereido and then quickly knocked-out, meaning he is 0-3 in title fights for the Flyweight belt. He was the last man to defeat Henry Cejudo prior to ‘Triple C’ retiring and will get another chance this weekend on Fight Island to finally claim UFC gold. For now though, he ranks on this list.

7. Jorge Masvidal

UFC 244: Masvidal v Diaz : News Photo

A to Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 means ‘Gamebred’ still has a place on this list. Street Jesus has gained mainstream notoriety in the last year and a half following a crazy run of viral moments, but he has been around for 17 years now. His record in the UFC is very good and he has beaten plenty of world class fighters during his time in the company. He’s obviously most known for his flying knee finish of undefeated Ben Askren, while he has KO’d Donal Cerrone, Darren Till and Nate Diaz too. But his all-round skillset is definitely underrated. He showed his wrestling skill in the defeat to Usman where he stuffed several takedowns, while he also has a submission win over Michael Chiesa. Masvidal is among the best to never win a belt but is on a mission to change that in the near future. If he never succeeds though, he will without doubt be one of the best to never hold a UFC championship.

6. Urijah Faber

UFC 199 Weigh-in : News Photo

The Bantamweight king, who never held Bantamweight gold in the UFC. ‘The California Kid’ came to the UFC having been dominant in the WEC 135lbs division, where he held the title and dominated the division. When he switched allegiances after Zuffa purchased the company, he challenged Dominick Cruz for the Bantamweight title as the last man to beat Cruz. He was defeated via decision and when Cruz had to relinquish the title due to persistent injuries, it was Faber who stepped up. In the bout for the vacant title, he was once again beaten though – this time by Renan Barao. Cruz eventually returned and reclaimed his title, which set up a trilogy fight between himself and Faber and the founder of Team Alpha Male once again fell at the final hurdle. Despite never winning the gold, Faber is recognised as one of the best Bantamweight’s of all time and thus deserves his place on this list.

5. Chad Mendes

UFC 189 Weigh-in : News Photo

Maybe a left-field shout, but Mendes for me is in a similar position to Alexander Gustafsson. In his generation had it not been for the best of all time reigning supreme, Mendes would have almost certainly had at least one reign with the championship. His first fight with Jose Aldo came after an 11-0 start to his career but he was knocked out by a brutal knee to the face at the end of the first round. He worked hard and went on another 5 fight win streak to earn a rematch where he took Aldo the full distance in the Fight of the Year in 2014. In that bout, he was outclassed once again but it was at a time where Aldo was literally seen as unbeatable. He’s also remembered for his short-notice fight with Conor McGregor in which he was knocked-out in the second round. What many forget though is that Mendes dominated the first and second round before that KO and with a full fight-camp, it’s very possible we would have seen a different outcome in that fight and the whole Conor McGregor era would have ended before it ever began. Mendes tainted his legacy by failing a drugs test towards the end of his career but he should be remembered for being the best Featherweight to never hold the belt.

4. Nick Diaz

UFC 183: Silva v Diaz : News Photo

The Stockton gangster is far more remembered for his antics outside of the cage than inside of it, but that doesn’t depreciate his skill and ability. The older brother to Nate, Diaz won the Strikeforce and EliteXC welterweight titles before the UFC bought them out. He entered the UFC and beat BJ Penn, before losing to Carlos Condit for the interim welterweight title. He then lost to champion Georges St-Pierre in a title bout before his infamous no contest against Anderson Silva. That was his last fight in the company after USADA banned him for five years for marijuana use and it will always be a question of ‘what if’ for Nick Diaz. His record shows however that he is among the best to do it at welterweight and he can count himself mightily unlucky that he never got to be champion in the UFC at 170lbs.

3. Dustin Poirier

UFC 242: Weigh-ins : News Photo

Two divisions, one title shot and yet he’s never held the gold in the UFC. He started off in the featherweight division and amassed an impressive record of 8-3 at 145lbs before deciding to move up to lightweight. Since his step up in weight and competition, Poirier has lost just twice in 13 fights with impressive knockout wins over the likes of Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje. He held the interim title belt after beating Max Holloway, but was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his only UFC title shot to date last September. He is the best pure boxer in the 155lbs division and has knockout power for days but his ground game is also underrated. 7 submission wins in his career prove that his ground game is up there with the best too and and in any other generation of fighters he’d likely be at the top of the mountain. He just happened to be around in the most stacked division of all time with some of the best fighters of all time. He has time to get there but it’s a tough ask so for now, he has to make do with a place on this list.

2. Yoel Romero

UFC 213 & TUF Finale Open Workouts : News Photo

The Soldier of God. Yoel Romero. How has he never won a UFC title? The Cuban wrestling machine amassed a record of 8-0 when he entered the UFC including wins of Lyoto Machida, Jacare Souza and Chris Weidman. It led him to a UFC title shot against Robert Whittaker, where he lost via a unanimous decision in a close fought fight. He then fought Luke Rockhold for the interim belt, only to miss weight and be ineligible. That didn’t stop him knocking Rockhold out cold and earning a rematch with Whittaker later that year. He then missed weight for that bout too, meaning he was ineligible to win the belt even if he beat the New Zealander and he very nearly did. In another clash that went the full 25 minutes, many believe Romero won the fight where he knocked Whittaker down twice and caused plenty of problems. He had a third title shot against Israel Adesanya earlier this year but really fumbled his chance at the title when he basically refused to strike first, allowing Adesanya to throw leg kicks and get a decision win in one of the most underwhelming fights of both their careers. Romero is now 43 and after fluffing his chance against Adesanya will likely never get another chance to win the belt. A real shame for one of the best to do it at 185lbs.

1. Tony Ferguson

UFC 229: Ferguson v Pettis : News Photo

Not only the best to never win the belt, but he’s never even had a shot at the undisputed belt in his career. ‘El Cucuy’ is one of the most feared fighters ever, dominating the 155lbs division ever since he joined the UFC back in 2011 by winning The Ultimate Fighter. After losing to Michael Johnson in 2012, Ferguson went on a 12-fight win streak, defeating the likes of Donal Cerrone, Edson Barboza, Gleison Tibau, Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis and Rafael Dos Anjos. He won the interim title when he beat Lee, but never got his earned shot at the undisputed belt as he got injured during fight week. The rise of Conor McGregor didn’t help him, as the Irishman ventured outside of the UFC while being the champion. He continued to win though and was ready for his shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and cancelled that arranged bout for a fifth time. He took on Justin Gaethje on short notice and lost by knockout, meaning he lost his title shot and undefeated streak in a bout he didn’t need to take. He now needs to rebuild to get back into title contention. Much like Dustin Poirier, he has time to do it but with the division as stacked as it is don’t bet against the two of them needing to fight each other on the way to a shot at the top of the mountain. A fearsome striker and dangerous grappler, Ferguson is one of the most complete fighters of all-time and it will be a tragedy if he never gets the opportunity to become undisputed lightweight champion.

Do you agree with my list? Let me know if you think I’ve missed anyone out too.