How many true superfights have there been in UFC history? The answer is very, very, very few. I could probably throw in a few more verys, because there haven’t been many. The last superfight before Daniel Cormier and Anderson Silva that I can remember is BJ Penn vs. Georges St-Pierre at UFC 94. Quite simply, superfights don’t happen often. There’s more posturing and trash-talking between guys than any fights.
However, today’s MMA scene is quite different than it was six years ago. Today, more value is placed on the ability to sell a fight and we’ve seen guys talk their way into fights that they arguably don’t deserve. If there’s any time for one champion to call out another, or one returning star to look for a big payday, it’s 2016.
The list of circumstances leading up to a superfight is huge. Both guys likely have to have cleared out their division. Both guys can’t have a fight booked. Perhaps most importantly, both guys need to want to promote the fight. Rumors for these fights don’t come out of nowhere. Most often, one fighter pokes fun or insults another, and then the trash talk begins. Hopefully this era of MMA ushers in more superfights. So, let’s take a look at 15 potential UFC superfights and their chances of happening.
14 Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic - Chance Of Happening: 3%
This fight obviously all rests on Jon Jones coming back from all of his legal problems. If he can ever fix his personal problems, Jones can be the best fighter of all time. His resume speaks for itself. He’s beaten every challenger put in front of him and looked great doing so. People have been wondering if Jones would move up to Heavyweight for quite some time. He obviously has the proper frame to be a Heavyweight and could pack on 25 pounds of muscle.
As for Stipe Miocic, he’ll have to go on a long winning streak if he ever wants to face Jones. Miocic is going up against Alistair Overeem in a couple weeks, and after that, he’ll have to continue his winning ways until Jones returns. If Jones does, he’s got a ready-made fight at Heavyweight against a beast with a possible large winning streak. However, that’s a lot that needs to happen.
13 Michael Bisping vs. Daniel Cormier - Chance Of Happening: 3%
This is one fight that many people haven't mentioned when talking about potential superfights. I'm not surprised, because these two guys don't have any beef with each other, and they actually seem to get along well in the studio. Bisping is scheduled for a rematch with Dan Henderson at UFC 204 in October of this year. Provided Bisping gets past Henderson, he's got a murderers row of fighters waiting for a shot including Ronaldo Souza, Chris Weidman, and a rematch with Luke Rockhold. It's unlikely that Bisping will be able to clear out the division, but if he does, I would expect him to start chirping and calling out anybody for one more big payday.
As for Daniel Cormier, he's going to have a tough challenge against Glover Teixera or Anthony Johnson coming up soon, so he's booked for the time being. This fight might be the one that's least likely to happen.
12 Michael Bisping vs. Tyron Woodley - Chance Of Happening: 3%
This fight is another one that has a very small chance of happening. Like many others, there's just too many events that have to happen before any buzz could begin. First, Bisping has to beat Dan Henderson, and then beat Ronaldo Souza, Chris Weidman, and Luke Rockhold. Of course there will be other contenders that have win streaks going on as well. That's a lot to ask of "The Count."
As for Tyron Woodley, he's been trying to get a fight with Georges St-Pierre and a huge payday. Waiting in the wings is Stephen Thompson (the number one contender), the winner of Demian Maia/Carlos Condit, and a potential rematch with Robbie Lawler.
Both these divisions are full of killers and the champions will have their hands full with quite some time. Maybe in two years, if they're still somehow both champs, then we could talk about a superfight. But, MMA is too unpredictable and it's likely that at least one of them will lose their title before that.
11 Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier - Chance Of Happening: 5%
I just don't see this one happening anytime soon. Miocic has a tough fight coming up soon against Alistair Overeem. If Miocic gets past Overeem, then he's got a bunch of other contenders ready for a shot at him. Cain Velasquez and a rematch with Fabricio Werdum are two fights that would likely be made.
As for Cormier, he's sort of in limbo, with no clear contenders to fight. Glover Teixera and Anthony Johnson will be fighting this weekend, and the winner will likely become the number one contender, but after that, there really isn't anybody left for DC to fight. Jones won't be back for some time, if at all, and Cormier has already beaten Gustafsson, so who's left? Ovince Saint Preux? Yeesh. It's slim pickings at Light-heavyweight, so I guess there's chance that Cormier would move back to Heavyweight, but he doesn't need to prove anything.
10 Conor McGregor vs Rafael Dos Anjos - Chance Of Happening: 8%
The talking for this fight was huge. This was going to be a true superfight. The irresistible force was about to meet the immovable object. But then Dos Anjos injured his foot and the fight was cancelled. Nate Diaz then got the opportunity of a lifetime and Dos Anjos was forgotten. Losing his Lightweight title to Eddie Alvarez certainly didn’t help. However, if anyone can get that title back, it’s Dos Anjos. He still has a great set of skills and can go on another streak towards the belt. It’s likely that if McGregor beats Nate Diaz on Saturday and wants to stay at 155 pounds, then his next fight will be for the Lightweight title. So, Dos Anjos needs to go on a winning streak tomorrow if he wants that big payday. There’s certainly a chance that this fight could happen, but it’s unlikely due to all the circumstances.
9 Dominick Cruz vs. Jose Aldo - Chance Of Happening 10%
There's a lot that needs to happen for this fight to take place. First, Aldo needs to regain the UFC Featherweight Championship, which can be done in a couple ways. First, if McGregor decides to move up to Lightweight or otherwise vacates the belt, it would likely go to Aldo, who is the Interim Champion. The second way would obviously be defeating McGregor in a rematch. If that happened, then there would likely be a rubber match scheduled between the two, prolonging this possible superfight.
As for Cruz, he just has to keep beating guys, whether it's Cody Garbrandt, Bryan Caraway, a rematch with T.J. Dillashaw, or somebody else. Although the Cruz/Aldo fight would be a barnburner, it's very unlikely to happen due to the amount of possibilities that could happen with Aldo. There's a lot of pieces that have to fall perfectly into place, and I believe that something will get in the way of this fight.
8 Demetrious Johnson vs. T.J. Dillashaw - Chance Of Happening: 10%
This fight probably would have been more likely to happen if TJ Dillashaw had defeated Dominick Cruz for the UFC Bantamweight title, but it’s still a fight that I would like to see. Dillashaw just defeated Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200 and doesn’t have a fight booked right now. Though he’s still in the title picture, it’s likely Dillashaw won’t get a title fight next. Dana White is probably looking towards Cody Garbrandt as the next contender at bantamweight, leaving Dillashaw with nothing to do for awhile.
Johnson will be fighting the winner of the next Ultimate Fighter, but after that, he really doesn’t have any more competition at flyweight. So he’s got nowhere to go but up. Even though it’s not a champion vs. champion fight, this is still two top-level superstars with top-level skills. It would be a war no matter where the fight goes.
7 Tyron Woodley vs. Nick Diaz - Chance Of Happening: 15%
This would be a fun battle, though it’s very unlikely to come to fruition. I almost guarantee that Nick Diaz thinks that Tyron Woodley is below him in drawing power (this is true). Also, does anybody want to see this fight when there are so many other viable options out there? Woodley has been linked to a potential superfight with Georges St-Pierre. Woodley likely believes that St-Pierre would get him a larger payday than Diaz, and I believe him.
Perhaps the trash talk from Diaz would be enough to sway people to order the fight. Diaz is already trying to stir the pot and has already posted a video of Woodley’s knockout loss to Nate Marquardt. The main obstacle to this fight happening is that Dana White has already said that Woodley will face Stephen Thompson next. However, we all know that White has changed his mind at the drop of a hat.
6 Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg - Chance Of Happening: 15%
This is probably the biggest superfight that could be made between two female fighters and everybody would be watching. Forget about a rematch with Holly Holm or Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey against Cris Cyborg would draw. These two have been jawing at each other for months, even years. The biggest obstacle to this fight is obviously Cyborg’s inability to get down to 135 pounds. As much as she tries, her body simply won’t let her drop the extra five pounds. Cyborg has competed at 140 pounds and recently clobbered Leslie Smith, so we know that a catchweight is possible. Rousey had said that Cyborg has to come to the Champ’s division. But since Rousey isn’t the champ anymore, that reason is no longer valid. However, this fight also depends on how long and successful Rousey’s acting career is. Lastly, I don’t think Rousey is going to come back for anything less than a title shot. So, there’s a lot of potential obstacles, but there's no doubt that it would sell.
5 Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Amanda Nunes - Chance Of Happening: 20%
Joanna Jedrzejczyk is in a great spot. She’s a dominant champion and looks to continue to be one for a very long time. She doesn’t have any fights lined up right now, but most likely will be looking across the octagon at Karolina Kowalkiewicz the next time she enters it. Amanda Nunes is coming off her destruction of Miesha Tate and doesn’t have any fights lined up. If Nunes can go on a winning streak similar to Jerdzejczyk, these two women will be able to make history. There has never been a women’s superfight in the UFC. These two would likely put on the best fight possible, as both have extremely fan-friendly styles and have had great highlight reel finishes. The only problem is that there isn’t a division for them to fight in. It’s unlikely that either of them will move 20 pounds in either direction, but 10 pounds is certainly possible. But first, they both have to work on completely clearing out their respective divisions.
4 Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis - Chance Of Happening: 20%
I remember a couple years ago when there were some initial rumblings about this fight and everybody was salivating over the striking display that would be shown. Sadly, both guys have lost battles and momentum since then, but I would be more than willing to see them fight anyway. Anthony Pettis has officially moved down to Featherweight and will challenge Charles Oliveira at UFC on Fox 21 on August 27th. At this point we'll see how the weight cut goes for Pettis and if Featherweight is a smart long-term move. Frankly, I think it's something Pettis should have done after losing to Rafael Dos Anjos, but at least he finally moved down.
As for Aldo, he needs to keep the interim belt and eventually get the true Featherweight title, whether it's from defeating McGregor or getting it back if McGregor vacates. As long as Aldo holds the belt, that Pettis/Aldo matchup is going to look fantastic. If Pettis beats Olivera in a couple weeks, look for him to go shooting up the division.
3 Chael Sonnen vs. Nick Diaz - Chance Of Happening: 25%
The first thing that springs to my mind when thinking about this fight is that the trash-talking will be monumental. I can't even imagine what these two will say to each other. Though neither of these guys have fought recently and have never been a UFC champion, fans will likely flock to the matchup. There's a huge community of Nick Diaz fans and an equally huge community of Chael Sonnen fans that can appreciate both guys' rabid approach to fighting. This is a win-win situation for the UFC.
Provided that neither of them get caught using banned substances, this is a perfect co-main event for a pay-per view with a title fight as the main event. These guys obviously aren't titleholders, so there's no risk of a champion looking bad. They'll help draw big numbers for a pay-per-view and will consequently make the UFC some big money.
2 Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva - Chance Of Happening: 25%
This would be the biggest superfight in MMA history and it's a shame that it wasn't contested when both of these guys were in their primes. Due to a multitude of reasons, these two were never able to agree on terms beneficial to both of them. However, with the news that St-Pierre is evidently interested in a fight with Tyron Woodley, this also opens up a possibility of a fight with Silva. Both guys don't have anything to prove anymore. Neither of them even have fights booked as well. There's no better time than the present and these two would still draw all sorts of money. If the UFC put them as the co-main event on a pay-per-view card, rest assured that the buyrate would be quite high. Even though both guys are past their primes, anyone who's an MMA fan would want to see this fight happen.
2. Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor - Chance OfHappening: 30%
This is one entry that has a fairly good chance of coming to fruition. First, Conor has to win his upcoming rematch against Nate Diaz on 8/20. That's step one. Otherwise, McGregor doesn't have any sort of leverage and likely won't be able to talk his way into a title shot. If McGregor can defeat Diaz, he'll likely abandon the Featherweight title and move up to Lightweight for a title fight, as I can't see the UFC holding up Featherweight any longer.
For Eddie Alvarez, he simply has to take care of Khabib Nurmagomedov whenever that fight gets announced. Alvarez has been talking some more smack towards McGregor recently,and likely realized that if he wants a big payday, he's going to have to start some beef. Recently, Dana White said that McGregor will be going back down to Featherweight after UFC 202 for what is presumably a rematch with Jose Aldo, but never say never.
1 Demetrious Johnson vs. Dominick Cruz - Chance Of Happening: 40%
Here's an entry that probably has the biggest chance of happening. Demetrious Johnson has beaten everybody that the UFC has put him up against at 125 pounds. Dominick Cruz has beaten everybody that the UFC has put him up against at 135 pounds. It's only natural that these two match up sooner rather than later. Yes, they fought before in 2011, but that was before Johnson evolved into the fighting machine he currently is. These men are perhaps the two most well-rounded fighters in the UFC today. Cruz will likely look towards a fight with Bryan Caraway or Cody Garbrandt (if he beats Takeya Mizugaki).
On the other hand, Johnson will be matched up with the winner of the next Ultimate Fighter. Honestly, I'd rather those plans get scrapped and we get Cruz vs Johnson II. It's time to strike while the iron is hot. It's frustrating to see superfights get passed over and this is a perfect opportunity to book a memorable fight that makes sense.