Tag Archives: Nick Diaz

UFC 266: Volkanovski vs Ortega – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Jonathan Pearce def Omar Morales via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (3:31)

Slow start to the fight for Pearce as Morales keeps the distance well in the opening minute and lands some nice low kicks. Pearce struggling to close the distance and Morales lets fly with some big strikes that just miss on the counter. Beautiful left hand from Morales followed by a big low kick but Pearce rushes him and goes for a takedown from the clinch, but Morales is able to get back up instantly and clinch up against the cage again. Pearce tries to drag him back down before a big trip gets him into top position, but Morales has the underhook and is able to sweep and get on top. Pearce holds on and then lands another big takedown, but Morales throws some big elbows and eventually gets back to the feet. More clinching against the cage as the round ends. Pearce didn’t do much damage but he controlled the ground game for the majority of the round, so 10-9 Pearce.

Fast start from Pearce this time as he ducks under a wild right hook and goes for the takedown immediately. Morales defends it well against the cage but Pearce is relentless with it and eventually gets him down and takes his back. Pearce slides off and Morales looks for a d’arce choke but he rolls and loses the grip, so Pearce gets up and gets on Morales’ back again. Morales is tired and Pearce has a body triangle, but Morales almost gives up full mount. Pearce landing some strikes on the ground and eventually sinks in a choke. Morales refuses to tap but passes out and the referee stops it! Big win for JSP!

Matthew Semelsberger def Martin Sano Jr via Knockout, Round 1 (0:15)

GOODNIGHT. Semelsberger throws out a couple of feeler shots, then lands a steaming right straight on the chin and Sano is out cold. Semelsberger lands one more while he’s down and this one is over.

Nick Maximov def Cody Brundage via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Fun start from both guys as Brundage opens with a few strikes and knee, while Maximov shoots for a takedown but sees it get defended. Maximov lands two big strikes and Brundage starts throwing hard leg kicks to see him off. Maximov shoots in for a takedown and immediately transitions to the back, but Brundage defending well using a kimura grip and gets back to his feet. Maximov shoots in for another takedown and this time steps over Brundage to avoid the kimura defence and he ends up in a really positive position on top. Short strikes and Brundage just holding tight for the final 30 seconds. Maximov lands some heavy strikes and Brundage rushes back up to end the round. 10-9 Maximov.

Brundage goes in for an early takedown on Maximov but he reverses the position and ends up on top himself. Maximov takes the back and starts landing some nice ground and pound and then sinks his hooks in and takes Brundage’s back. Brundage starts working his way back up to the feet and eats a big knee, before he spins out and looks for a guillotine submission. Maximov pops his head out and is in full guard on top. He takes the back again and is looking for a choke. Brundage fights the hands and escapes but Maximov keeps his position on the back for the remainder of the round. 20-18 Maximov.

Final round and once again Maximov goes for a takedown to hold Brundage down but he defends it well. Nice right hand from Brundage changes Maximov’s balance and drops him. Maximov controlling the exchanges but Brundage now throwing big elbows from the bottom and Maximov is hurt. Some big strikes land on the ground and he ends up on top landing big strikes, but Maximov grabs a single leg and survives it. He gets back on top and holds the position for the rest of the round to hopefully secure a win. 29-28 Maximov.

Jalin Turner def Uros Medic via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1 (4:01)

Turner starts the fight by taking the centre and flicking out a jab, then landing a nice left hand down the middle. Medic responds with two hard low kicks and then a high kick that lands, but Turner catches the leg high and takes Medic down into side control. Medic tries to sweep and roll through but Turner does well to keep full guard position. Medic pushes his way back to the feet but Turner follows him up and hurts him with a nasty body shot. Turner pouring on the pressure with strikes and body shots and he puts Medic down. He piles on more strikes, Medic turns to his knees, Turner synches up a choke and Medic taps! What a performance!

PRELIMS

Taila Santos def Roxanne Modafferi via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Fast start to this one on the feet from Santos, who lands some big hooks clean early on in some exchanges. Santos charges with strikes, clinches up and then secures a takedown with a trip inside the first 90 seconds. Santos teeing off with elbows and body strikes on the ground but Modafferi is working for an armbar off her back. Santos lands a big elbow strike to escape and goes back into full guard before Modafferi works her way back to her feet against the cage. Modafferi switches positions and lands some nice knees to the body, before Santos trips her again and takes back to the mat. Modafferi pops back up and looks to take Santos down against the cage but she defends well and lands some heavy knees to the body to close out the round. 10-9 Santos.

Modafferi comes out swinging in the second round and both women connect with big shots early, before Santos has a kick caught and Modafferi takes her towards the cage. Santos defends well but Modafferi staying patient and consistent with the pressure. Santos lands a huge right hook that wobbles Modafferi and Santos charges into her and takes her down to the mat. Modafferi’s eye is swollen and cut bad as Santos lands another big ground and pound strike before wearing on her from top position. Santos takes the back of Modafferi but she works her way back up to the feet against the cage, but Santos takes her straight back down again. Santos controls the position for the final minute and takes this round too. 20-18.

Santos takes the centre to start the final round and is looking to counter Modafferi with strikes. Modafferi steps forward and lands a couple of strikes but Santos responds with two hard straights of her own. Santos lands two huge hooks and Modafferi sits down on her butt, before Santos launches on to her and starts controlling position again. Santos landing some big elbow strikes from the top and Modafferi looks completely outclassed right now. Santos advances to side control with a cradle, then switches to take her back. Santos going for a choke but Modafferi fighting against it before Santos lets her back up on the feet. 90 seconds left and Modafferi still coming forward but Santos is landing her jab at will. Modafferi goes for a clinch against the cage but Santos throws her over her hip to end the round on top. 30-27, dominant.

Chris Daukaus def Shamil Abdurakhimov via Knockout, Round 2 (1:23)

Feeling out process to open up this fight as Daukaus just misses with an uppercut. Abdurakhimov hits a nice body shot and then goes for a spinning body kick as Daukaus throws a big right hand and both just miss. Abdurakhimov getting comfortable now and landing shots, with two big left hands catching Daukaus. Abdurakhimov goes to spin and Daukaus throws a leg kick at the same time which drops him. He gets back to the feet and Daukaus is head-hunting a little, but Abdurakhimov doing well to counter and keep him from landing flush. Daukaus steps forward and lands a huge left hook that drops him! He jumps on him for the finish and lands huge elbows and strikes but runs out of time. 10-9 Daukaus.

Daukaus steps forward early but Abdurakhimov is using his experience to slow the fight all the way down as he tries to recover. Big combination from Daukaus lands and Abdurakhimov is hurt! Daukaus comes forward and lands a huge right hook that drops him again! He goes for the finish and lands two huge elbows before the referee steps in and ends it! Huge knockout from Daukaus!

Dan Hooker def Nasrat Haqparast via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Slow start to the bout as Hooker takes the centre early on and starts cutting the cage off early on as Haqparast circles the outside. Hooker looks for a few straight rights and body kicks, and Haqparast explodes with a big left hand that just misses. Hooker throwing some body kicks and still controlling the centre, with Haqparast still just circling on the outside and looking to explode. More of the same as we enter the final minute, where Haqparast just misses with a one-two before Hooker goes for a takedown against the cage. Haqparast defends it well as Hooker releases it, lands a one-two with a knee just as the buzzer goes. 10-9 Hooker.

Lots of kicks in the second round from Hooker as he pushes the pace and tries to attack more. Hooker goes for a takedown against the cage and throws some nice knees in the clinch against the cage, but Haqparast defending the takedown attempt well. Hooker lands a knee that knocks the mouthpiece out of Haqparast’s mouth but he’s not hurt. Hooker starting to clinch and throw knees a lot more now with Haqparast on the outside. Clinch against the cage and Hooker lands a nice body shot then right hand and he’s starting to land a lot more now. Big right hand from Hooker and then he clinches and slams Haqparast down to the mat. Hooker into side control and he’s landing knees to the body to close out the round. 20-18 Hooker.

Haqparast starts the third round with two big strikes that land nice on the chin but Hooker eats them and responds with an accidental low blow. Haqparast now coming forward and landed a big right hand again. Both guys exchange body kicks and then Hooker changes levels perfectly and secures a takedown. Hooker goes straight into side control and is landing some short shots on the ground while controlling the position. Hooker landing plenty of short strikes and then transitions to the back and lands some nice shots. Haqparast bursts back up but Hooker immediately level changes and gets the fight back down to the ground. Hooker controls the position for the rest of the round and lands some good ground and pound to end the fight. Impressive performance from Hooker. 30-27.

Merab Dvalishvili def Marlon Moraes via Knockout, Round 2 (4:25)

Very fun start as Moraes takes the centre and starts throwing strikes and kicks out early. Two hard low kicks land and Merab didn’t like those, and he throws some hard hooks and goes wild. Moraes returns fire but Merab catches his leg and takes him down. Moraes gets back up quickly and separates well then lands some heavy strikes. Moraes lands a huge left hook that rocks Merab and goes for the finish! Some huge left hooks land heavy and Merab is literally running away across the cage to get away. Moraes follows him across and throws some big strikes that makes Merab stumble! Merab manages to shoot for a takedown and clinches against the cage, gets Moraes down and survives. Now he’s controlling the top position and he’s raining down punches from top position! Moraes is in big trouble but the buzzer goes! What a crazy round. I have no idea how to score it.

Merab comes out fired up for the second round and Moraes is still struggling. Merab launches forward with an overhand right that hurts Moraes immediately and he takes him down straight away. More huge ground and pound strikes from Merab and Moraes is in absolute agony getting pummelled. Merab keeps it going with powerful elbows and strikes and Moraes is finished. This fight could be stopped at any moment. Merab keeps going with punishing strikes and the referee FINALLY steps in. What a performance from Merab!

MAIN CARD

Jessica Andrade def Cynthia Calvillo via Knockout, Round 1 (4:54)

Patient start from Andrade who takes the centre and immediately starts walking Calvillo down against the cage. Calvillo throws a few jabs out there and some kicks, then Andrade counters with a stiff right hand that wobbles Calvillo. Calvillo firing back with some jabs and nice strikes, but Andrade is eating them and answering back with powerful shots of her own and Calvillo is feeling them. Another clean right hand from Calvillo, but Andrade lands some chopping low kicks and follows up with some short right hands. Calvillo is landing good strikes but the power behind them is lacking. Andrade charges forward and lands some big right hands clean, then follows it with an uppercut that hurts Calvillo! Andrade goes for the finish and lands several strikes to the head and the referee steps in with five seconds to go in the round to end the fight! Big win from Andrade!

Curtis Blaydes def Jairzinho Rozenstruik via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Fun start to the fight as Blaydes takes the centre quickly and starts flicking out a jab. Rozenstruik immediately gets a left hand off to let Blaydes know he’s there, but Blaydes is showing lots of movement and bouncing around. Blaydes changes levels and gets the takedown with ease early on, and starts working for position with some good ground and pound strikes. Rozenstruik gets back to his feet slowly but then gets back to striking range. Blaydes has a speed advantage it seems so far and is dictating the pace of the fight with his jabs. Blaydes lands a hard low kick and Rozenstruik responds with a wild hook that hits Blaydes’ back as he turns away to escape. Round ends with a short exchange. 10-9 Blaydes.

Rozenstruik comes forward with a nice left hand early on but Blaydes back to using his jab and dictating the pace of the fight. Rozenstruik explodes with a combination but gets nowhere near Blaydes, who is just popping the jab and throwing out low kicks. Blaydes goes for a takedown but missed it and Rozenstruik just missed with an uppercut. Not much action in this round as we enter the final 90 seconds. Rozenstruik goes for a huge flying knee that connects and then lands a big one-two on Blaydes! Blaydes immediately changes levels and gets a takedown, then advances straight to half-guard to start opening some ground and pound and end the round. 20-18 Blaydes.

Final round and Blaydes keeping calm on the feet and dictating the range once again with his jab. A couple of low kicks and Rozenstruik comes back with a right hand that just misses. Blaydes lands two nice jabs and a left straight, then changes levels and secures the takedown once again. Rozenstruik tries to kick Blaydes off him, but Blaydes stays calm and goes straight back to the ground and lands some big ground and pound elbows. Blaydes dominating position from the top as Rozenstruik just can’t get up and the round comes to an end. Comfortable decision win for Blaydes here. 30-27.

Robbie Lawler def Nick Diaz via Knockout, Round 3 (0:44)

Fast start to the fight from Lawler as he comes forward and immediately starts throwing bombs and body shots to Diaz. Lawler much faster and looks much more physically strong, but Diaz throwing some nice combos down the middle too. Lawler still coming forward and trying to chop the legs but Diaz starting to land more strikes now. Diaz stringing together some beautiful combinations but Lawler eating them well and coming forward with some shots of his own. Some big body shots from Diaz landing but Lawler looks a lot more powerful. Could argue a 10-9 either way, but I’d go Diaz.

Fast start again from Lawler in the second round as he comes forward and looks to impose himself on Diaz. Nice elbow lands from Lawler and then a big body kick lands that hurts Diaz! Diaz steps away and Lawler throws a big leg kick, but Diaz responds again with some more beautiful boxing combinations including four left uppercuts in a row. Lawler goes back to the body and Diaz steps away again, but Lawler is right on top of him and in his face. Diaz not fading at all though and landing lots of strikes, although there isn’t much behind them. Lawler lands his left hand well and is hunting Diaz down, but eats a body kick. Diaz lands a big right hand but Lawler eats it and comes forward again with some more body work that has Diaz looking to move away as the round ends. 19-19.

Third round and Lawler coming out aggressive once again, pushing Diaz to the cage and throwing big bombs. Lawler lands a big body shot and follows it up with a big right hook that hurts Diaz! Diaz goes down to one knee, Lawler smashes him again on the chin and he falls to his back. Lawler tells him to get up and Diaz says he can’t continue so this one is over! Wow!

Valentina Shevchenko def Lauren Murphy via Knockout, Round 4 (4:00)

Tense start from both ladies in this one, with both women just feeling each other out for the opening minute. Shevchenko lands a nice body kick and then just misses with a left hand. Shevchenko goes for another kick and Murphy catches it and looks to clinch, but Shevchenko steps away and lands a right hand on the break. Shevchenko looking to land hard with her left hand but just missing, before a nice right hand and low kick combo followed by a spinning side kick to the body. Left hand followed by a low kick again by Shevchenko before a big right hand starts some swelling on Murphy’s eye. Head kick from Shevchenko lands, followed by a right hand and a takedown to close out the round. Dominant from the champ, 10-9.

More of the same to start the second round from Shevchenko as she starts to dominate the striking exchanges again. Shevchenko goes to engage in a takedown but Murphy reverses it and tries to get a takedown of her own, only for the champion to deny it and step away with a big left hand. Counter right hook from Shevchenko lands again before a solid body kick and another takedown from the champion. Shevchenko laying in half-guard and controlling the position for now, with Murphy just holding on to try and avoid too much damage. Shevchenko lands some big elbows from the top as the round comes to an end. 20-18.

Shevchenko dominant again, landing her left hand and counter right hook at will essentially. Nasty body kick again and a spinning heel kick just misses. Shevchenko controlling every aspect of the fight so far, Murphy can’t get near her at all. Superman punch lands from the champion followed by a one-two and leg-kick combination again. At this point Murphy is just surviving and Shevchenko is having her way in a very one-sided affair. Murphy goes for a strike but Shevchenko changes levels and clinches against the cage to see out the round. 30-27.

Murphy trying to come forward a bit more but Shevchenko is just completely in control. Little slip from Shevchenko gets the crowd excited but she hops up and lands a big left hand down the pipe of Murphy. More kicks from Shevchenko as she starts upping the pressure a bit, and lands a nasty front kick to the face. Shevchenko lands a check right hook that wobbles Murphy and then a big head kick followed by a street-fighter like combo of strikes to the face as she goes for the finish! Murphy is still standing somehow and Shevchenko takes her down and starts looking for ground and pound with some nasty elbows and the referee steps in and ends it! As one-sided as they come!

Alexander Volkanovski def Brian Ortega via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-44)

Patient start from both guys as Volkanovski takes the centre of the cage and both guys flick out some jabs. Volkanovski lands a beautiful right hand but it’s countered by Ortega who lands one of his own. Volkanovski lands another right hand over the top which opens up a small cut above his eye. Ortega looking to step in with some jabs but Volkanovski keeping distance really well and then he landed a nice flush jab and big right hand too. Ortega lands a nice jab that opens up a small gash under Volkanovski’s eye, before slipping out of the way of two big strikes from the champion. Volkanovski stepping forward and starting to up the pace, but Ortega lands a nice counter left hand that wobbles Volkanovski. Jab from Ortega who then catches a kick and lands another left to close the round. Tough to score, but I’d go 10-9 Volk.

Very even fight so far as both men go blow for blow early in the second round. Ortega landing his jab well and the left hand behind it is landing on occasion too, while Volkanovski is closing the distance well and lands a big right hand clean himself. Volk throwing some leg kicks and Ortega fakes one in return but goes high instead and just misses. Volk steps in and throws some wild hooks and a big elbow, before looking to clinch up but Ortega immediately separates from him. Nice right hook from Ortega sends Volkanovski backwards but he responds with a heavy leg kick again. Volkanovski comes forward with a good combo but Ortega just staying at enough distance to not catch it flush. 20-18 Volkanovski.

Volkanovski starting well in this round and being a bit more aggressive with his striking and low kicks. Big right hand lands flush and Ortega eats it, then Volkanovski goes in for another but misses and they clash heads. Ortega looks unsteady and Volkanovski chopping at the leg, but Ortega fires back with a big combination that just misses. Volkanovski throws a leg kick that Ortega catches and he fires a left hand down the pipe that drops him! He jumps on a mounted guillotine and it’s tightttt but Volkanovski refuses to tap out! He pops his head out and escapes and gets back on top and starts landing bombs on an exhausted Ortega! Ortega throws up a triangle and locks it in and it’s tight again! Volkanovski once again refuses to tap and he pops out again and then gets back on top and rains down punches again but the buzzer goes! What a round!

The doctor allows Ortega to continue after a check and Volkanovski comes out hunting for him. Some big right hands land again and then Ortega goes for a takedown out of exhaustion. He trips Volkanovski and gets him down and looks for a guillotine again, but Volkanovski is safe and gets back on top to start raining down more ground and pound. Volkanovski is beating him up badly on the ground but Ortega is doing just enough to survive. Volkanovski lets him get back up but just misses with some big strikes as the round ends. 40-35 at a minimum to the champion.

Final round and Volkanovski staying patient in the centre again, but Ortega is in there giving it his all. Ortega goes for a takedown but Volkanovski defends it easy and lands a big right elbow. Ortega is coming forward with strikes and Volkanovski is backing up now, before Ortega lands a one-two and Volkanovski responds with a huge right hook. Big one-two from Ortega gets a nod of approval from Volkanovski. Both guys trading in the centre of the octagon as we enter the final minute of the fight. Ortega catches a kick and goes for a knee but misses. Final seconds and Ortega lands some huge strikes but Volkanovski is still standing as the buzzer goes and it’s all over. What a fight. Big win for the champion.

UFC 266: Volkanovski vs Ortega – Main card predictions

An absolutely stacked UFC card heads to Las Vegas this weekend as UFC 266 hosts two title fights and a huge return to the sport.

Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega will finally meet for the featherweight title in their rescheduled fight from UFC 260, with ‘T-City’ looking to fulfil his destiny of becoming the top dog at 145lbs.

In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko looks to continue on her path as one of the greatest mixed martial artists ever when she defends her flyweight crown for a sixth time against Lauren Murphy before the return of Nick Diaz to the UFC when he takes on Robbie Lawler and hopes to start something special with a win.

Last week at UFC Vegas 37 we went 9/13 with one perfect pick, moving us up to 411/646 (63.62%) with 178 perfect picks (43.31%). We’ll look to add to that and improve and after predicting the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card now.


Jessica Andrade (21-9) vs Cynthia Calvillo (9-2-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fight at the top end of the women’s flyweight division opens up the main card here. Andrade is coming off the back of her nasty defeat against champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261, while Calvillo also lost her last fight against Kaitlyn Chookagian at UFC 255 last time out.

Andrade is a powerful wrestler who slams almost all her opponents at some point, and also has good striking to work her way inside too. Calvillo is a good wrestler in her own right, with some decent striking but plenty of control in the top position. Andrade seems to have found her best weight class now as has Calvillo and this is the type of fight that would usually determine a title contender.

Andrade has shown some cardio issues in the past, while Calvillo has gone a full five rounds before and still looked fresh. Her issues against Chookagian were more distance related than anything else and she won’t have those problems against the 5ft 1 Andrade. Andrade however is the more powerful fighter and when it comes to grappling I think she has the advantage too so I expect her to claim the win.
PICK – Jessica Andrade via Decision
BETTING TIP – Fight to go the distance @ 5/6 (Bet365)

Curtis Blaydes (14-3) vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A huge heavyweight contender fight between two guys looking to work their way towards title contention. Blaydes was on a tear until he ran into Derrick Lewis and got flattened at UFC Vegas 19, while Rozenstruik bounced back from a beating by Ciryl Gane to earn a KO win over Augusto Sakai last time out at UFC Vegas 28.

Blaydes’ style is the same in every fight and your chances of winning against him stand on whether or not you can stop his takedowns. He shoots in with power, holds you down in position and rains down huge elbows until you can’t take it anymore. Rozenstruik on the other hand is a kickboxer with legitimate one-punch power, just like Lewis had. Rozenstruik’s wrestling defence isn’t the best, but he can learn a lot from Blaydes’ last fight of how to defend the takedowns with his striking.

It comes down to whether or not Blaydes can land the takedown without having his lights turned out again, and I think he’ll correct his issues and blast double-leg his way to a unanimous decision win.
PICK – Curtis Blaydes via Decision
BETTING TIP – Blaydes via Decision @ 11/5 (Bet365)

Nick Diaz (26-9) vs Robbie Lawler (28-15) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Arguably the most anticipated fight on the card as Diaz makes his return after six years away to take on old rival ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler. These two met all the way back in 2004, with Diaz earning a KO win in the second round. Lawler is on a big decline right now, losing each of his last four fights with the most recent coming against Neil Magny at UFC Vegas 8.

Diaz is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with brilliant boxing and one of the deepest gas tanks in MMA, while Lawler is a powerful wrestler with a solid overhand left that can put people to sleep. This is an incredibly tough fight to call because we have no idea what Diaz has been up to in the gym for the last six years. We don’t know how he’ll react in the cage after so long away or how he’ll look in action.

The fans will be behind him, because they always are, and he has a knockout win against Lawler on his CV already. On the ground we know how talented he is, but Lawler has been far more active since and has the wrestling edge. It’s due to be a wild fight and it’s a guess either way, but I have to go with Diaz to make the perfect return.
PICK – Nick Diaz via Decision

Valentina Shevchenko (21-3) vs Lauren Murphy (15-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The first title fight of the night sees the ever-dominant Shevchenko take on the veteran Murphy in the co-main event. ‘Bullet’ has won seven in a row, with her only UFC defeats coming in razor close decisions to Amanda Nunes. Her last fight was a violent KO over Jessica Andrade at UFC 261. Murphy on the other hand is on a five-fight win streak, with her most recent win coming against Joanne Calderwood at UFC 263.

Shevchenko is an entirely complete MMA fighter with stunning striking, grappling and submission skills to go with excellent defence and a second-to-none fight IQ. Murphy is a boxer by trade with some good kickboxing skills too and some good clinch work with good grappling skills on the ground where necessary. Unfortunately for her, she’s just not on the same level as Shevchenko.

No matter where this fight goes, Shevchenko wins. It’s that simple. Unless something absolutely crazy happens, Shevchenko can pretty much pick how she wins this fight and I think she’ll use her striking to come out on top this time.
PICK – Valentina Shevchenko via Knockout, Round 3

Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) vs Brian Ortega (15-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

When the main event has the potential to be the fight of the night, you know it’s a good one. The featherweight title is on the line as Volkanovski looks to make it 20 wins in a row and 10-0 in the UFC, after wins over Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo and Max Holloway twice in his most recent bouts. Ortega took two years out after losing to Holloway and returned with a stunning performance against Korean Zombie at UFC Fight Island 6 to earn his title shot.

Volkanovski is a brilliant all-rounder, with powerful strikes in his hands and some top-tier wrestling to allow him to decide where the fight goes. Ortega is a submission specialist with other-worldly jiu-jitsu skills but the performance against TKZ showed that he has upped his striking to a whole new level too. His jab is sharp, he has good combinations and mixes in takedowns well too. Volkanovski will have to deal with that striking threat in a different way to how he did with Holloway, because the ground is Ortega’s world.

Overall, this is a super close fight and I won’t be surprised by whoever wins this fight. Ultimately though, I back Volkanovski to retain his title. He is able to mix it up well and his game-planning has been great in the past. He has the more well-rounded skillset for me and I think he’s physically stronger, so he’ll claim the close win.
PICK – Alexander Volkanovski via Decision

Nick Diaz’s return could be the start of something special

It will have been 2424 days since we’ve seen Nick Diaz in the octagon, or any type of official mixed martial arts bout for that matter, by the time UFC 266 rolls around.

The former Strikeforce welterweight champion hasn’t fought since UFC 183 in 2015, when he and Anderson Silva battled to a no-contest after both tested positive following the fight. That positive test, for marijuana, saw Diaz initially banned for five years before it was appealed and changed to 18 months.

After back and forth with the Nevada State Athletic Commission meant he couldn’t be in the corner of his brother Nate at UFC 196 and UFC 202, he is back and will fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 266 this weekend.

It’s 209 months since their first fight at UFC 247, 17 years ago. where Diaz shocked many by engaging in a stand-up war with ‘Ruthless’ and coming out victorious in a hugely impressive second-round knockout win.

Since then, their careers went on entirely different paths though. Lawler would go on to become the welterweight champion of the world, defeating Johnny Hendricks before defending the belt twice against Roy MacDonald and Carlos Condit.

Diaz eventually got cut from the UFC, before dominating in Strikeforce and then returning to the octagon, only to have a record of 1-2 1NC in his four fights against BJ Penn, Condit, Georges St-Pierre and Silva.

But in recent times, this rematch makes even more sense than it has at any point in their careers.

Nick Diaz arrives to the UFC 261 Weigh-In at at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 23, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida.

While Diaz has been away from the fight game competitively, Lawler has gone 3-5 including losing each of his last four bouts. His decline is well and truly in full flow and he’s not quite the fighter he once was, but those defeats all came to wrestlers who were able to eventually get him down and dominate him.

Diaz hasn’t been around for years, but it’s hard to imagine he will implement that tactic for the fight. He out-struck him all those years ago when he was deemed just a jiu-jitsu fighter, and his boxing only got better as the years went on.

If Diaz can claim a victory, then not only will it be a brilliant comeback story but it could be the start of something magical.

The chances of a potential title run are slim because Kamaru Usman is just that good and at the age of 38 Diaz is likely past his best, especially after missing so many years of competitive fighting. But there is great potential for some stunning fights that would get fans salivating and earn him a bucket load of cash.

The obvious shout would be against Jorge Masvidal, who beat up his little brother in the main event of UFC 242 to claim the BMF title. There were rumours back then of a potential fight between the two but now it could be a reality, and fans would absolutely eat it up.

Considering this fight will now be taking place at middleweight, there are options there too. Darren Till needs a fight after a second straight defeat and the trash talk that would take place beforehand would no doubt be legendary.

Diaz is a superstar, and he was one way before the sport of MMA took off the way it did in the last decade. He’s one of the most popular fighters of all time and his return is making waves as expected. A win only opens up more possibilities for him and the UFC to make waves across the world.

UFC 266: Two title fights and major return announced for September

The UFC have announced three huge fights for UFC 266 in September, including two huge title fights and the return of Nick Diaz.

Diaz, the older brother of fan favourite Nate, hasn’t fought since January 2015 when he took on the legendary Anderson Silva in the main event at UFC 183 in the Brazilian’s first fight back after breaking his leg against Chris Weidman.

We will also see Alexander Volkanovski finally defend his UFC featherweight title against Brian Ortega after their initial bout was cancelled in March when the champion tested positive for COVID-19 the week before the fight. Valentina Shevchenko will also defend her flyweight title, taking on Lauren Murphy in the co-main event.

Diaz’s fight against Silva initially ended with the former middleweight champion earning a decision win, but both men tested positive after the fight and were hit with USADA bans with the result overturned to a no contest.

Diaz was initially banned for five years for marijuana use, but upon appeal saw that reduce to 18 months. He has also served suspensions in that time for unpaid fines to the Nevada State Athletic Commission as well as for failure to report his whereabouts.

He and Lawler fought back at UFC 47 back in 2004, with Diaz winning via second round knockout. Lawler went on to become the reigning welterweight champion during his UFC career but is currently on a four-fight losing streak after defeats to Rafael Dos Anjos, Ben Askren, Colby Covington and most recently Neil Magny.

The fight will not be a main event but will be five rounds, just like his brother Nate’s bout against Leon Edwards at UFC 263 last month.

In the main event, Volkanovski looks to continue his unbeaten run in the UFC when he takes on ‘T-City’ Ortega in a featherweight title fight.

Once their March bout collapsed, both fighters agreed to take part in the new season of The Ultimate Fighter as coaches. The series finale is currently set for some time in August.

Volkanovski is coming off back-to-back decision wins over Max Holloway where he won the belt then defended it for the first time at UFC 251, while Ortega dismantled The Korean Zombie at UFC Fight Island 6 to earn himself a title shot.

As for Shevchenko, she has cemented herself as the most dominant women’s flyweight of all time and has defended her title five times including most recently against Jennifer Maia at UFC 255 and then Jessica Andrade at UFC 261.

She will take on Lauren Murphy, who has worked her way up the rankings and put together a five-fight win streak with victories over Mara Romero Borella, Andrea Lee, Roxanne Modafferri at UFC Vegas 3, Liliya Shakirova at UFC 254 and Joanne Calderwood at UFC 263.

The card will take place on September 25th from Las Vegas, Nevada at the T-Mobile Arena.

Nick Diaz ‘wants a fight’ – who should he face?

Who would have thought that after that exciting five round fight with Anderson Silva way back in 2015, we’d never see Nick Diaz in the octagon ever again?

After back-to-back title fight defeats against Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre, Diaz moved up to 185lbs to take on the greatest of all-time and despite his trademark wind up tactics and excellent striking he was well beaten in the end.

Following the bout both fighters tested positive for banned substances and the fight was overturned to a no contest, but the result of a positive marijuana test for Diaz meant USADA banned him for life.

After an appeals process the ban was eventually cut to 18 months, before another 12 month suspension for failing to report his whereabouts to USADA meant that he was finally free to fight again in April 2018.

He announced at the end of last year that he was preparing for a comeback in early 2021, although UFC president Dana White was adamant he didn’t want to fight. Diaz completed a test weight-cut for the welterweight division and after UFC 261 White confirmed he was indeed looking to fight and the UFC were going to make it happen.

The press conference announcement led to an immediate question about potential opponents and when Khamzat Chimaev was mentioned, the boss confirmed it was a possibility.

Chimaev made a huge impression after winning three fights in 66 days last summer. He was set for a bout against Leon Edwards that could have potentially set up a title shot, but after dealing with COVID-19 and lingering issues afterwards the bout was cancelled three times and the UFC moved on from it.

A fight between Diaz and Chimaev would be of huge interest to the MMA world but also the status of the welterweight division. Both men have a huge reputation and while they’re at different points of their career a win would just as beneficial for each fighter.

Because of Chimaev’s standing in the company at the moment, Diaz could potentially use a win to leverage himself into the title conversation while Chimaev would have a huge name on his resumΓ© as he looks to run through the division too.

There are other names that are possibilities though, with the biggest arguably being the man who was KO’d in the UFC 261 main event – Jorge Masvidal.

The two had some words back and forth in the build up to Masvidal’s big fight against Nate Diaz, Nick’s brother, when the BMF title was created. Nate forever claimed that the real BMF in the MMA world was his brother Nick, so why not make that fight happen.

Masvidal will look to make big money in his next bout and needs a win after back-to-back losses to Kamaru Usman, while Nick will be keen to avenge his brother’s defeat and make a name for himself once again to prove that he still has it.

Should Masivdal prefer to fight someone nearer the top of the rankings instead, there is always the potential of a rematch against Robbie Lawler for Nick Diaz.

The two fought way back in 2004 at UFC 47 in a memorable fight that ended when Diaz got the knockout in the second round and their careers ran alongside each other. Lawler of course went on to win the welterweight title during his career while Diaz was suspended and now at the end of his career he has lost five of his last six fights.

It would be a way of seeing just where Diaz is at after so long away from the cage, and with two big names it would surely attract attention too.

An outside option could be Vicente Luque, who recently got a big win over former champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 260 with a first round submission. With the rest of the top of the division already booked up, this is arguably the biggest fight that Luque could get right now.

Colby Covington has already been confirmed as the next title challenger for Usman, while Gilbert Burns will fight Stephen Thompson at UFC 264 and Leon Edwards is fighting Nate Diaz at UFC 262.

Luque would provide a fun stylistic match up for the fans and would be a way for him to move into the upper echelons of the division with a big win, while Diaz would get to test himself against one of the top contenders to see where he really stands after so long away from competition.

It seems as though the UFC could look to move in the direction of Chimaev, but Masvidal could be the biggest fight to make. Regardless of what happens, it’s just great to see Nick Diaz back in the octagon.

Top 5 most disrespectful mid-fight UFC moments

When two men step in the cage to fight, there is usually more than just a win or a loss at stake for both men.

Whether it’s a title, pride or just respect, it’s always more than just the result that’s important. So when a fighter shows a level of disrespect in the cage it’s always a moment to remember.

After Max Holloway’s performance at UFC Fight Island 7 against Calvin Kattar, we took a look back in the time chamber at the top five most disrespectful mid-fight moments in UFC history.


5. Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez (UFC 205)

This was the ultimate Conor McGregor performance. If anyone ever asks you what all the hype was about, don’t bother showing the Jose Aldo knockout just show them this fight.

McGregor stepped up in a quest to become the first double champion in the companies history, after a gruesome double-header with Nate Diaz, to fight Eddie Alvarez in for the 155lbs lightweight title. McGregor turned in a masterful performance, knocking Alvarez down three times in the first round before a stoppage finish in the second.

But mid way through the second round, before the knockout, McGregor showed that he was levels clear of Alvarez on the feet by putting both hands behind his back and leaving his chin exposed as Alvarez stood in front of him. It was the ultimate show of disrespect and went unpunished as he claimed the belt just a few minutes later.


4. Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt (UFC 207)

Pre-injuries, it wasn’t a crazy opinion to have if you said Dominick Cruz was the greatest bantamweight of all time. So after coming out on top in his legendary rivalry with Urijah Faber, ‘No Love’ Cody Garbrandt emerged to avenge his mentors defeats.

In a bantamweight title fight at UFC 207, Gabrandt turned in a masterful five-round performance to claim the title from Cruz in a unanimous decision win but it was his antics during the fight that caught the eye most.

Garbrandt would slip shots and look in the opposite direction, started breakdancing mid-fight and just generally dominated the man who was considered the best ever in what still stands up as the best performance of his career to date. The fight was personal and ‘No Love’ rubbed salt in the wounds.


3. Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega (UFC 231)

This was supposed to be Max Holloway’s toughest test as UFC featherweight champion, with Brian Ortega the best jiu-jitsu technician he had ever come against.

Instead what we saw was a stand-up clinic from ‘Blessed’ as he beat the living hell out of Ortega for a full four rounds before the doctor stopped the fight. But what took place just minutes before was something never seen before.

Holloway stopped punching Ortega in the face for a few seconds, to help teach him how to block in the middle of the fight. He took his hands and moved them closer to face and threw a soft punch to show him the benefits, before touching gloves and getting back to it. Rude.


2. Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz (UFC 183)

The Diaz brothers are known as two of the more… outspoken members of the UFC roster over the last 20 years. This is probably the defining moment of either of their careers though when it comes to disrespect.

During a grudge match against the legendary Anderson Silva, Diaz had repeatedly jabbed at him during press conferences and interviews but got no reaction. When they finally stepped into the octagon, he upped the gamesmanship by a level almost immediately after the fight began though.

With Silva not really pressing the action in the opening 90 seconds, Diaz started trying to antagonise him. He literally lay on the ground as if he was sunbathing, he backed himself against the cage and invited Silva to come and fight and then stood still as Silva circled.

It turned into a five round war and as of this writing, was the last time we saw Diaz in the octagon.


1. Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar (UFC Fight Island 7)

The most recent display of disrespect but for me, the most disrespectful thing ever.

Holloway was paired up against Kattar for his first non-title fight since 2016, with Kattar stating that ‘Blessed’ was just a man in his way en route to a title shot. He claimed to be the best boxer in the UFC and said he’d be able to take Holloway’s record of never being knocked down before away from him.

The Hawaiian clearly took offence to the comments as he slaughtered Kattar to a 50-42, 50-42, 50-43 decision win at UFC Fight Island 7. But in the final round, after already battering Kattar to a pulp, he started talking to the commentators while still in the cage. He commented about the record breaking stats he’d put together, snapped a jab off and then slipped Kattar’s counter punches while walking backwards and not even looking at him.

It was incredible to watch, while being skilful and disrespectful at the same time. Max Holloway, take a bow.

Nick Diaz ‘Preparing For Comeback In Early 2021’

It’s nearly time for Stockton to get their second superstar brother in the MMA world.

After an 18 month suspension for marijuana following a defeat to Anderson Silva (was later overturned to a no-contest), Diaz was suspended for failing to keep USADA informed of his whereabouts. He was suspended for a year and has been eligible to compete once again since way back in April 2018.

His last win was even further back than that, when he beat BJ Penn 2011 in a fight of the night decision. Following that he was defeated by Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre in welterweight title fights before the Anderson Silva fight.

Since then his brother Nate has taken on the mantle of the family name and become a world star, mainly due to his memorable feud with Conor McGregor. Diaz was present for those fights, working as a cornerman and was even brought up by Conor in an attempt to rile Nate up.

Diaz is now looking to make a comeback, with his manager Kevin Mubenga telling ESPN that he will ‘100% return to fighting’ and is keeping a close eye on the 170lbs division with a return in early 2021 on the agenda.

When Nate took on Jorge Masvidal for the BMF title in November 2019, Masvidal’s win and subsequent comments drew Nick from the woodwork. He did an interview with ESPN and Ariel Helwani talking about his interest in fighting Masvidal for the BMF title to avenge his little brother’s loss. The fight never materialised and Nick went back into his hole, preparing and waiting.

With a rematch between Masvidal and Nate now in the works for January, it’s possible that Nick is waiting to see the outcome of that before he makes a final decision. If Masvidal wins, he’ll almost certainly make the move to make that fight finally happen. If baby brother Nate wins, Nick could have his eyes on Masvidal’s former teammate and friend Colby Covington.

Covington lost in his title fight to Kamaru Usman and will fight Tyron Woodley later this month to settle their long-running feud. Should be successful, Diaz could look to make a return against him following a run-in they had on Twitter earlier this year.

In all seriousness, Nick Diaz’s return would be a money fight for anyone who took it and the card would almost certainly do big numbers. Despite his inactivity, he remains one of the most popular fighters in the sport and at 37 years old he’s likely to have one more run in him considering the lack of damage he would have taken in the last decade.

Other options would be a title run, which means he’d have to go through the likes of Leon Edwards, Gilbert Burns or Stephen Thompson if he didn’t fight either Masvidal or Covington.

After so long out it would be great to see how he performed but one thing is for sure, he is more than ready to return and we all can’t wait to see it.

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 resumΓ© 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.