Dana White and his UFC matchmakers do an incredible job at putting together a truly diverse mixture of MMA bouts throughout the year, but as 2022 approaches, which fighter’s do we want to see run it back?
Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou – The Rubber Match
A trilogy fight between former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and the current UFC champion Francis Ngannou should’ve been created almost instantly after Ohio’s own dropped his title.
Of course, we understand the UFC usually ignores an instant rematch when devastating knockouts are involved. Still, we cannot discredit Stipe Miocic in deserving the right to challenge for the belt he once broke records against.
Miocic is widely regarded as the greatest UFC heavyweight fighter in the sport’s history. Having defended the heavyweight championship on four occasions, he broke the record for most successful heavyweight title fights, including the longest defending streak for good measure. In addition, he has more fight-night bonus awards than any other UFC heavyweight in history (9).
Denying Miocic an opportunity to reclaim heavyweight gold would be criminal. He doesn’t require a win or two, he’s already proved his worth amongst the elite, and if the championship changes hands, the disclaimer doesn’t alter – give this man his chance at redemption.
There aren’t many martial artists who enter a fight with Francis Ngannou as the online sports betting favourite, but Miocic was expected to win on both occasions. It was just unfortunate that Ngannou’s punching power prevailed that night.
It may sound that I’m discrediting Ngannou; he deservingly fought his way back into title contention following his loss to Miocic at UFC 220. But the rematch at UFC 260 left us with an unfinished story; the rubber match is needed not just for Miocic but the UFC fanbase too.
Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko – The Trilogy
Another piece of matchmaking that deserves another runback is women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes.
Unquestionably, these two ladies are the greatest mixed martial artists on the planet, and a split decision loss for Shevchenko during the pairs rematch at UFC 215 isn’t an accepting end to this chapter.
UFC 196: McGregor vs Diaz played host to the first encounter between Shevchenko and Nunes, and yes, Nunes won the bout decisively via unanimous decision. The rematch was inevitable, and at UFC 215, a significant number of critics and fans weren’t completely sold on the Nunes win via decision.
In their respective divisions, both Nunes and Shevchenko continue to dominate all opposition put in front of them. They’re wiping out the competition, and finding opponents for each lady is evidently becoming difficult. If the UFC doesn’t create some fresh contenders soon, the third instalment of Shevchenko/Nunes will be all that remains on the table – and we’re here for it.
Nobody had given Amanda Nunes the challenge as Shevchenko did at UFC 215, and the same can be said in reverse.
One more time Mr White, given the closely fought bout last time out in addition to the rising success of each fighter, the third clash would undoubtedly draw a more considerable interest than ever.
Max Holloway vs Alexander Volkanovski III
With so many rematches taking place already, finding a suitable position for our number #3 spot was tricky. That was until I remembered Max Holloway was robbed during his featherweight championship rematch versus Alexander Volkanovski.
Let’s be clear; Holloway won the first two rounds of the rematch. Still, we cannot undermine the efforts of Volkanovski because he won the fight statistically, earning more significant strikes and strikes landed than Holloway. However, numbers cannot always dictate the fight’s winner, as media members resoundingly gave Holloway the nod.
There’s no need to whimper over spilt milk; Max Holloway will earn his #1 ranking in a rumoured bout versus Yair Rodriguez, and if the stars align, the trilogy bout between Volkanovski and Holloway will take place.
With that said, Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez shouldn’t be overlooked as the respective opponents of Volkanovski and Holloway. But, should both men become victorious in their scheduled fights, there isn’t another rematch more deserving of a UFC event in 2022 than Volkanovski vs Holloway.
UFC Rematches We Need In 2022: Honourable Mentions
Weili Zhang vs Rose Namajunas, Colby Covington vs Kamaru Usman, Nick Diaz vs Robbie Lawler, Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling, and Alexandre Pantoja vs Brandon Moreno have all been scheduled or rumoured. So, it’s safe to say; the UFC recognizes when a rematch is necessary. But to cap things off here’s an honourable list of rematches that could draw the interest of UFC fanatics.
Poirier vs McGregor 4 – Of course, certain critics will scream that McGregor doesn’t deserve it – and maybe he doesn’t. However, this is a money fight, and considering an injury that occurred during their third meeting at UFC 264, it only makes sense that McGregor will seek revenge.
Carla Esparza vs Rose Namajunas 2 – If Rose Namajunas is successful in her upcoming rematch with Weili Zhang, former women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza shouldn’t be ignored. Most believe that Esparza should be fighting for the championship at UFC 268, but I think it’s safe to believe that she’ll be next in line. Having already defeated Namajunas for the women’s Ultimate Fighter crown and the inaugural strawweight championship, Esparza will fancy her chances in the second meeting.