Six Fights That Could Headline UFC 257 in January – McGregor vs. Poirier 2 and More
As the first card of 2021, UFC 257 is one we are all looking forward to right now.
Which is kind of crazy, given that we don’t know who will headline UFC 257. But the flip side of that coin is that we can speculate who will get the gig. And for the first time in what feels like an age, we have so many awesome fighters with spaces in their diaries. So many big, big fights that could be made without too much trouble.
Below, you will find six of the most likely main events for UFC 257 in January. Let’s start with a certain Mr. McGregor and his former rival from Louisiana.
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2
If you’re betting on McGregor vs. Poirier 2 to be confirmed as the UFC 257 headliner, there are a few things to take into consideration.
First, headline fights on UFC “numbered” events are usually reserved for championship matches. The bad news is that neither McGregor nor Poirier has a title, which means that the promotion would have to make an exception for this fight.
I guess the good news is that they have a history of making exceptions for the biggest MMA superstar of all time. The January 2020 event was headlined by “The Notorious” and Donald Cerrone, so there is proof that they can do it if they please.
But another potential hurdle is McGregor’s insistence on fighting in 2020. The Irishman responded to Poirier on Twitter in October, claiming that he had accepted terms for a rematch with the condition that it must happen this year.
Would he acquiesce and accept a headline slot in January 2021? I can’t see it being a massive problem. McGregor wants to fight, so providing he can hold out for a few more weeks, we might see a rematch of this 2014 fight headlining UFC 257.
That is unless the promotion decides to add McGregor vs. Poirier 2 to the headline of UFC 256. But among other things, that decision could cause problems with Amanda Nunes, who is co-headlining.
I’d say UFC 257 is a good bet for McGregor vs. Poirier 2.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz 2
Not everyone is keen to see this one. But according to comments made by Dana White in September, Masvidal vs. Diaz 2 is in the works.
The fight was mooted for a headline slot at UFC 256. However, Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns was penciled in. That fight has now been canceled, with Usman pulling out. Could the promotion decide to go with a rematch for the “BMF” title?
They could. Unless, of course, McGregor gets his wish and is slid in against Poirier for the main event. That could push Masvidal vs. Diaz 2 to UFC 257 in January, which would not be a bad move.
However, not everyone is into this fight. I mean, their first encounter at UFC 247 in November 2019 wasn’t that close. Masvidal is clearly the better fighter right now and should be targeting the top five fighters at 170-pounds. More on that later.
As for Diaz, he can count himself extremely lucky to be in the conversation at all. He has fought five times in five years and has a 3-2 record. The most important of his wins was, of course, against McGregor at UFC 196 in March 2016. The other two were against Anthony Pettis and Michael Johnson.
Although this would be a watchable fight, Masvidal would likely have too much for the Stockton kid. I’m sure there are better fights for all parties to look at.
Stipe Miocic vs. Jon Jones
Stipe solidified his status as the best heavyweight in UFC history by beating Daniel Cormier at UFC 252 in August.
The champ has a say in what he wants to do next, but it seems that his potential choice of opponent may not be in line with that of the promotion. Put simply, Francis Ngannou is clearly the number one contender, but Stipe would prefer a bout with recent heavyweight convert, Jon Jones.
A rematch with “The Predator” is something that Miocic isn’t reportedly keen on. But just because he doesn’t want to fight him does not mean that Dana White and co. will be happy to let that fight slide. However, there would be a lot more interest in a Miocic vs. Jones fight, so it all comes down to what is more financially viable.
It would be a shame to see Ngannou passed over, especially since he has been in red hot form since losing to Derrick Lewis at UFC 226. But Miocic vs. Jones would be awesome to watch. If Ngannou was happy to take another fight providing he was guaranteed to fight the winner of Miocic and Jones, surely that would be enough?
Colby Covington vs. Jorge Masvidal
I said I would pick back up with Masvidal, so here it is. Instead of fighting Nate Diaz for the right to retain the “BMF” title, why not opt for a scrap with former best friend turned archenemy, Colby Covington?
These two were tighter than a gnat’s butt in a sandstorm at one point. Both were part of America Top Team, where Masvidal took Covington under his wing and even gave him a place to stay. But upon Covington’s rise through the ranks, things fell apart.
In 2019, “Gamebred” claimed that the reason for the breakdown in his relationship with “Chaos” was down to his failure to pay coaches following his win over Rafael dos Anjos. This is something Covington disputes.
There appears to be genuine beef between these two. If not, they are much better actors than they are given credit for. Either way, this would make for one hell of a spectacle. And, of course, an intriguing fight.
Do you want to see Covington vs. Masvidal headline UFC 257?
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 3
Following a contentious split decision win in their rematch back in July, some believe that Volkanovski has something to prove against Holloway.
Others will point to the fact that he has two wins over “Blessed,” and that should be the end of the road for this rivalry. And while I still think it would be good to see a third fight between the world’s two best featherweights, I’m kind of on the fence when it comes to when and where it should happen.
I don’t hate Volkanovski vs. Holloway 3 at UFC 247. If it was made tomorrow, I would be looking forward to it. I’m just not sure what the 145-pound division has to gain from another immediate rematch between the two.
Holloway is one of my favorite fighters of all time. The guy exudes class and is a tremendous mixed martial artist. But perhaps he could try another fight at lightweight?
This one has a decent chance of happening, but I think we should give the champ a little breathing space to defend against another opponent first.
Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling
Cory Sandhagen’s incredible knockout of former #1 contender Marlon Moraes changed things up at 135-pounds.
But let’s be clear here — Yan vs. Sterling is the next fight to make in this division. The champ, Yan, vs. the grappling whiz, Sterling. What a bout this should be, right?
Well, let’s make it happen for UFC 257 in January. Both men seemingly want it, so what’s the hold-up? Providing Yan is satisfied and Sterling doesn’t price himself out of the fight, I can’t see there being many obstacles to overcome at all.
Of course, if negotiations fall through, Yan vs. Sadhagen would be another awesome fight for UFC 257. But let’s hope that this one gets penciled in, first.
And if not considered strong enough to be a headliner, I can easily see this fight being named as the co-main at UFC 257. But come on. This fight is more than worthy of main event status at any event.
Who Headlines UFC 257?
At the time of writing this, no details have been announced regarding the UFC 257 fight card. But I expect that to change in the next couple of weeks.
As for who headlines? It would probably be easier to say who won’t. As things are looking, the promotion is wondering what to do with Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns, which fell apart for a second time before being axed from UFC 256. Will it be arranged for January? Probably not.
I’ll take an educated guess and predict that Colby Covington vs. Jorge Masvidal headlines UFC 257 in January. And you know, I wouldn’t shed a single tear if that were to happen.
Of course, there are plenty more UFC events to come before we even get there. Check out the following posts for details on those, including my betting advice.