With the news breaking earlier this week that Kamaru Usman was out of his expected title defence with number one contender Gilbert Burns, attention immediately turned to who would now headline the promotions last Pay-per-view of the year on December 12th. Here’s three fights that could fill in that slot and have the potential to be even more intriguing than the original bout.
Colby Covington vs Jorge Masvidal
In what has become one of the most heated rivalries in the sport over the last 18 months, former friends and training partners turned foes, Covington and Masvidal, are two of the biggest names in the game right now and have both enjoyed significant main stream exposure. Meaning despite no belt being on the line, this fight is still a PPV headliner. Masvidal’s career renaissance in 2019, stringing three stoppage wins together over top contenders in Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz earned him a short notice title fight against Usman, and with only a weeks notice didn’t disgrace himself in losing a clear decision to the champ. Covington recovered from his own unsuccessful attempt at the 170 lbs strap with a convincing win over former champion Tyron Woodley last month. With main stream interest, title implications and a brilliant mesh of styles, Covington vs Masvidal could be the perfect way to end 2020 for the company.
Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou
Having ended his trilogy with Daniel Cormier with a resounding unanimous decision win back in August, the next man in line for a crack at the heavyweight belt must be Francis Ngannou. The Cameroonian has put four quick KO’s together against some of the premier names in the division and seems even more powerful and destructive than two years ago when he first challenged Stipe. A nightmare 2018 saw Ngannou lose his air of invincibility in a failed attempt at the title, and then left fans bewildered with one of the worst fights of all time in a three round snooze-fest with fellow KO artist Derrick Lewis, losing back to back fights and making fans question his title prospects. With that firmly in the rear view mirror a heavyweight blockbuster rematch is exactly what fans need to end a tough year.
Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier
With The Notourious’ ‘season’ not exactly going to plan due in part to the onset of COVID 19, McGregor is still waiting for his second fight of the year following his forty second shellacking of Donald Cerrone back in January. With bizarre rumblings of fights with the 38 year old Diego Sanchez and boxing exploits with Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao, not to mention anther retirement and more brush ins with the law, the Irishman desperatey needs a fight date. Step up Dustin Poirier, fresh from a five round war with Dan Hooker, ‘The Diamond’ is the perfect opponent for McGregor right now and offers him the chance, with a win, to legitimately call himself the number one contender, and pushes him ever closer to a rematch with bitter rival Khabib Nurmagomedov. But Poirier is no pushover and has made significant improvements since they first fought back in 2014. To start and end 2020 with a Conor McGregor PPV would be very impressive under the current circumstances, and would be the perfect way for the company to see out 2020 in style.