Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg and 11 UFC Fights We All Want to See

By Kory Walker
Published on July 18, 2016
Ronda Rousey In UFC Fighting Ring

The UFC has become a superstar’s playground, with wins and losses meaning less and less in the face of stardom and big prize money. The return of Brock Lesnar and presence of the once great Anderson Silva proved that at UFC 200 recently, while even a Conor McGregor loss in his last fight was still must-see MMA TV.

Going forward, the UFC promises to be about huge matchups that will draw both ire and excitement out of a loyal fan base. That means some of those hyped battles that have either yet to come to fruition or are just begging for a second go around could finally commence.

But which ones should top the list? We break down our favorite UFC showdowns that we want to see in 2017 or sooner:

11. Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar II

Lesnar and Velasquez both proved in very different ways at UFC 200 that they’re both back. Lesnar merely returned and dominated Mark Hunt, while Cain Velasquez hushed health concerns by completely dismantling Travis Browne.

There is still worry about Velasquez’s ability to stay healthy, while no one knows for sure what a 37-year old Lesnar wants to do going forward with the UFC. There is even some mild concern with recent doping allegations coming up against Lesnar.

All that aside, this would be a massive UFC fight and it could potentially be one to decide the next title shot versus current heavyweight champ, Stipe Miocic. There is an argument that Lesnar is a part-time fighter and doesn’t even deserve a rematch with Velasquez, but he wasn’t 100% when that fight went down and even took Velasquez to the ground a few times.

There remains a possibility that if Lesnar can stay away from a striking game, he could beat Velasquez. Velasquez beating the powerful Lesnar twice, however, would cement his dominance over one of the better floor workers in the industry.

UFC fans simply love uber-hyped rematches, too, and with both fighters seemingly returning to form in July, this one has to be on a lot of fan’s minds.

10. Luke Rockhold vs. Chris Weidman II

Luke Rockhold just lost his title to Michael Bisping in surprising fashion, so it’s likely he soon gets a shot at getting it back. However, before or after he does, fans could start pining for a rematch between him and the guy he initially got his belt from – Chris Weidman.

Prior to getting absolutely destroyed by Rockhold, Weidman looked like one of the top UFC talents, ripping off 13 straight wins to start his UFC career. Weidman hasn’t fought since that brutal loss, but chances are he’d get up to get a second crack at Rockhold.

It’d be interesting to see if Weidman could turn the tables in a rematch, much like Bisping did in his second try at Rockhold earlier this summer. One thing’s for sure, though; the fans would love to see how it unfolds.

9. Conor McGregor vs. Frankie Edgar

McGregor vs. Edgar doesn’t carry the steam of a lot of other fights, but there’s little denying that Edgar would want (and deserves) a crack at the man known as Notorious.

Edgar is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the entire UFC and time and time again seems to survive even the most daunting matchup. In fact, his UFC career illustrates his “never give up” style, as he’s never been knocked out or submitted even once during his 25 pro fights.

Instead, Edgar has either flat out won or at least lasted to a Decision loss in every fight, going 20-5 in the process. Even McGregor can’t say that.

While McGregor would still likely get the win here, the fun part would be seeing if Notorious could land the first KO on Edgar ever, or f Edgar could put up enough of a fight to earn a Decision win, himself.

This fight wouldn’t be for a title and may not have much bearing on UFC rankings, but it’d certainly be one with two massive names that fans would love to see.

8. Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping III

Bisping is first slated to defend his title against aged rival Dan Henderson, a fight that doesn’t make this list simply because Bisping should be an overwhelming favorite.

A rematch with Rockhold would carry much more weight, seeing as it’d be the dramatic third meeting between the two fighters.

Rockhold had little trouble against Bisping the first time around, but he didn’t respect Bisping’s power and striking in a title defense this summer. Bisping won quickly and easily, further igniting an already brooding rivalry.

This instant classic of a rubber match would possibly mark another changing of a title, while it’d also give one of these fighters major bragging rights. Rockhold would probably enter as the favorite again due to his powerful striking, but Bisping has proven he’s not to be taken lightly.

This matchup wouldn’t be taken lightly by fans, either, especially if Bisping holds onto the belt long enough to make it a title match.

7. Cain Velasquez vs. Stipe Miocic

Cain Velasquez might make more money in a rematch with Brock Lesnar, but this is the fight he really wants: a shot at the UFC heavyweight belt.

Velasquez has held that prize in the past, but health woes robbed him of dominance. He’s back in top form after demolishing Travis Browne at UFC 200, however, and it’s only a matter of time before the UFC drums up hype for his next crack at the title belt.

Miocic will first have to survive Alistair Overeem if he wants to defend his title against Velasquez, but this showdown could be absolutely massive if its comes to fruition.

6. Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo II

The first fight between McGregor and Aldo was insanely hyped, as many saw Notorious as the best pound for pound fighter in the MMA, yet Aldo entered the title match without a loss since 2006.

The fight ended in just 13 seconds, as Aldo charged too quickly into a prepared McGregor, who took him down immediately.

That was it. All that hype and a UFC mega fight died right before our eyes.

There is a fierce rivalry growing here, though. Aldo desperately wants another crack at McGregor and there is a sense of true hatred coming from both sides.

McGregor fueled that animosity in Aldo’s last fight, as he stood up from within the crowd and watched:

That told us McGregor hasn’t forgotten about Aldo or his desire to get a rematch. It sounds like McGregor is more than willing, and could be out on a mission to prove that his quick win wasn’t of the fluke variety.

5. Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm II

As big as a Rowdy vs. Cyborg clash will be, we probably need to prepare for a rematch with Holly Holm first. Whether it’s after Rousey gets her title back or Holm is the one she ultimately has to go through to make it happen, this is a match Rousey desperately wants (and probably needs) to show everyone she’s back and can get past someone with a superior skill-set.

Holm truly man-handled Rousey in their showdown last year, ending a dominant performance with a kick takedown and punches to the face. The loss left Rousey uber shocked and ended up taking her out of the Octagon for what ultimately will be a year-long absence.

Rousey’s mind-set and confidence were completely shot in the process and her undefeated run officially came to an end. Holm’s elite striking and stand-up defense exploited Rousey’s average stand-up game and made an invincible UFC entity looked very beatable.

Rousey can still beat Holm with the right training and approach. For one, she can’t just stand up and exchange blows with Holm. Holm is far too skilled as a boxer and can utilize leg kicks at a high level, as well. Rousey’s game is in the takedown and submission and if she accepts that and works to her strength, she should have a decent chance of taking Holm out.

We’ve seen Holm fall victim to this strategy (she lost her title belt thanks to a choke out by Miesha Tate) and few are better at finishing matches that way than Rousey.

Regardless of how this rematch wraps up, however, the intensity around it will be insane. Hopefully it’s not Rousey’s first fight back in the Octagon, but if it is, it’d be about as hyped as a UFC battle can get.

4. Jon Jones vs. A Long List

Daniel Cormier’s fighting style really isn’t one for the books, yet his would-be title fight against Jon Jones at UFC 200 was still hyped up to be one of the best headlining acts in UFC history.

It wasn’t to be due to yet another failed drug test for Jones, who could now be facing a lengthy ban from professional MMA fighting. Considering the tirade Dana White went on following the news, too, it wouldn’t even be crazy to imagine this being the end of the road for the great fighter:

Jon Jones would exit the UFC as one of the best pound-for-pound athletes the organization has ever seen, while he also had so much damage to inflict with an impressive 22-1 record. Jones also hadn’t lost since 2009 and looked ready to completely take over the light heavyweight class.

It wasn’t to be, but wounds can heal and it still remains very possible that Jon Jones could make another comeback down the road. It all depends on his suspension, how the UFC feels about trusting him again and whether the 28-year old will be willing to work his way back up to a title shot.

But that’s the beauty of a Jon Jones return. No matter who he faces or what is (or isn’t) on the line, his next fight will be must-see MMA television. So will the fight after that and on and on until the guy is no longer viewed as one of the elite UFC talents.

Whether it’s the long awaited rematch with Daniel Cormier or someone else, everyone will be on the edge or their seat for Jon “Bones” Jones to hit the mat again.

3. Georges St-Pierre vs. Robbie Lawler

This would be a huge fight, as Lawler is the current UFC welterweight champ and Georges St-Pierre personally relinquished it back in 2013 when he opted to step away from the Octagon.

As a former titleholder, Georges St-Pierre figures to get the first shot at taking down Lawler, seeing as no one actually beat him to take the belt. However, Georges St-Pierre has had injury issues and at age 35, may now feel like it’s too late for a comeback.

That being said, there have been rumors about a Georges St-Pierre return for the past few years and 35 doesn’t seem like too bold of a number for a big comeback.

Lawler is set to continue defending his belt and also has proven to be one of the nastiest MMA fighters in the industry. He’d be quite the challenge for a likely rusty Georges St-Pierre, but it’s certainly worth noting Georges St-Pierre has just two losses in his impressive UFC career and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2007.

He retired a champion and if you ask Lawler, he’s likely to stay retired:

Still, this would be a huge showdown for three reasons: it’d mark the return of the great Georges St-Pierre, we’d get to see a huge first-ever UFC clash and a title would be on the line.

2. Ronda Rousey vs. Cristiane Justino

Talk of a Rowdy vs. Cyborg clash has been going on ever since Rousey rose to stardom, but questions about steroids and weight class have overshadowed what would be one of the most epic UFC battles ever.

There is no denying the allure of this matchup has been clouded by Rousey’s first ever Octagon defeat, but her initial return promises to be a title match and then the UFC will undoubtedly try to capitalize on her regaining her footing.

That is, of course, if she in fact does just that. A Rousey return that ends with one or more losses would naturally kill her MMA stock, but if she can come back with a fiery fury, a future matchup with the beastly Justino could be just what the MMA gods ordered.

There is no love lost between these two, as Rousey doesn’t respect Justino for her past steroid abuse and has demanded that, as the champion at the time, she shouldn’t be the one to conform to her opponent’s weight class. Should Rousey reclaim the women’s bantamweight belt and Cyborg make the weight, the UFC would arguably do all it could to make this matchup work. From there, the fireworks would begin.

Still, we may have a long way to go before this fight happens (as if we haven’t waited long enough).

For one, Rousey’s return has been delayed due to a knee surgery and we can’t know for sure when she will return. When she does, UFC showrunner Dana White has stated she will get the first shot at getting her title back.

That could mean a huge showdown with the feisty Amanda Nunes, who just stole the belt from Miesha Tate. Then again, Nunes could lose the belt again before that match ever gets set up. Still, as big as Rousey’s first crack at her old belt will be, it’ll be tough to top an eventual showdown with Cyborg.

1. Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko

Is this really the most anticipated fight? Probably not when you look at age, talent, skill-set and upside. But on sheer name recognition, no set of fighters comes close.

Lesnar is a ground fighter with weak striking, while Fedor is a former legend that looks like a complete shell of what he used to be. That being said, he’s probably the most dominant MMA fighter – at least of the modern era – and he was once one of the most ferocious and instinctive fighters we have ever seen.

This actually could be an ugly fight that, once it goes down, we’ll all regret it happened at all. However, these guys carry major power just with their names and history and a showdown has been talked about ever since Lesnar made his UFC debut.

Will it ever happen? Probably not, but Lesnar is a self-proclaimed prize fighter and Fedor’s recent action at least suggests he’d be interested in something bigger if the price is right.

Love/hate our favorite UFC fights? Got some of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!

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