Fights to Make!? On a Monday!? Yes, that's the kind of craziness you're going to encounter on a UFC fight week that doesn't end until mid-day Sunday (for those of us in the states. But that doesn't mean you're going to miss out on the best fantasy fight booking article in the business, because I'm right here, putting the best potential fights together.
As is my way, I'll be doing my level best to copy the UFC's methodology of fight making. That means winners generally fight winners, losers generally fight losers, and similarly tenured UFC talent usually gets matched up against one another. When needs must, I'll try and get a little more creative, but generally the value for me is predictive, not just in putting together the craziest fights the UFC will never make. So, on that note, here are the fights to make:
Junior Dos Santos: Most of the options being bandied around for JDS right now involve rematches. Mark Hunt doesn't have a fight and is coming off a couple wins, Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic, both of whom JDS beat (or kinda beat in Stipe's case), are about to fight for the belt, and everyone else in the top of the division is kinda booked up. The UFC could play the Hunt fight back, if everyone just wants to kill time and make money, and Travis Browne would be a good fight if he can beat Cain Velasquez, but the best bet is probably the loser of Miocic/Werdum once that fight happens.
Ben Rothwell: I'd almost say that his journey to the top of the mountain has ended, but with his win over Alistair Overeem still hanging out there, he's a fighter very much in play at the top of 265. And with Alistair Overeem getting ready to face Andrei Arlovski in the near future, there's a very good chance that he'll be coming off a loss at just the right time to take on Rothwell. If Andrei wins, or that fight just can't get made, then Rothwell should get
the loser of Browne/Velasquez Travis Browne if he takes the likely loss off Velasquez (yeah I forgot Cain and Ben already fought, what of it?).
Derrick Lewis: He called out Roy Nelson, and that's a great fight to make. It's a great enough fight to make that I recommended it after his last win too. Other options would be the Antonio Silva/Stefan Struve winner (which feels downright cruel) or Ruslan Magomedov when he returns from injury.
Gabriel Gonzaga: Assuming he's not at the end of his UFC run (and I'm not all too sure of that) then the loser of Struve vs. Silva would be fine... I mean, any/all of them could be on the chopping block at any moment, but they haven't fought each other yet, so why not?
Francis Ngannou: It looks like the UFC has a super legit heavyweight prospect on their hands with Ngannou. So, the question is, do you fast track him up the ranks with a tough fight, or slow play him with a stylistic layup? I'm gonna lean toward the latter. You could match him up with Timothy Johnson, it'd be a good fight and dangerous. But I'm gonna say he should get Daniel Omielanczuk. It's an opponent made to make Ngannou look good and get him more cage time, which he desperately needs, rather than another big, brutish wrestler.
Timothy Johnson: Assuming Derrick Lewis is onto bigger things than Ruslan Magomedov, I think Magomedov would be a great fight for Johnson. A technical striker without the power to stop him easily could be a great way for him to continue to develop his skills and maybe even get another upset win. The winner of Walt Harris/Cody East would also be fine.
Jan Blachowicz: Unfortunately for Blachowicz, LHW is also pretty booked at the lower end right now. Still the UFC has yet to find a next fight for Ed Herman, and Blachowicz could be that guy. If he's not then the winner of O'Connell/Bosse would make sense once that fight's done.
Maryna Moroz: Moroz is slowly settling into an decent defined role in the strawweight division. She's not the powerhouse force she seemed when she blitzed Joanne Calderwood, nor is she as overwhelmed as she looked against Valerie Letourneau. She's an action fighter who still has a lot of development to do. As that's the case, why not fight fellow developing action fighter Bec Rawlings.
Zak Cummings: Cummings meet Jouban. Jouban meet Cummings. Lets book Alan Jouban vs. Zak Cummings. That would be a cool fight.
Mairbek Taisumov: Adriano Martins would be the easy answer and I can easily imagine the UFC making it, since they're both 5-1, unbooked, and coming off a win. But I'd really like to see the UFC start letting some of these rising vets with good records crack top 15 competition. To which I'm saying, give Taisumov the winner of Green vs. Poirier, or a shot at Evan Dunham if Dunham beats Leonardo Santos.
Lucas Martins: There are two fights that make good sense for Martins right now, either one would be a barn-burner so I'm not going to favor one over the other. Alex Caceres or Godofredo Pepey. Both are action grapplers and willing strikers who fight with a lot of aggression and would make Martins really work. Would be fun times either way.
Other Bouts: Blaydes vs. Danho, Tybura vs. Asker, Pokrajac vs. Boetsch, Stanciu vs. Jones-Lybarger, Dalby vs. Westcott, Perez vs. Tanaka, Entwistle vs. Sasaki, Hadzovic vs. Holtzman, Stasiak vs. Quinonez, Pejic vs. Briones, Whiteford vs. Kikuno, Cannonier vs. Wilson/Henrique da Silva winner, Asker vs. Tybura, Velickovic vs. Uda/Collier winner, Di Chirico vs. L. Guimaraes