Following the New York State Assembly’s decision to vote in favour of legalising and regulating professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the state, we’ve looked at the top five fights that should happen when the UFC heads to the Big Apple.
Madison Square Garden looks set to host the first UFC event in New York in more than 20 years, and there are some mouth-watering fights that could be put on the card.
5. Miesha Tate vs Ronda Rousey
It doesn’t matter that this will be the third time that Rousey and Tate face off, with Tate taking the women’s bantamweight title off Holly Holm, this is the match-up that Rousey has to make on her return.
How Rousey fairs when she gets back into the Octagon for the first time since her shock loss to Holm at UFC 193 will be a fascinating storyline on its own. How Tate looks to get the better of an opponent who has downed her twice previously adds to the intrigue.
Rousey is due to return to action in November, and with the UFC set to head to New York in November, the timing for this one could be perfect.
4. Georges St-Pierre vs Anderson Silva
St-Pierre hasn’t fought since November 2013, but that hasn’t stopped UFC fans everywhere dreaming of a return. A bout against fellow UFC legend Silva would be must-watch action.
GSP coming out of retirement would certainly bring in the crowds, with Canada a stone’s throw away and New York a second home to the 34-year-old, having the three-time former welterweight champion on the card would certainly make financial sense.
There would be few more fitting fights than one between two of the best, and most popular, fighters in UFC history.
3. Jon Jones vs Anthony Johnson
Should Jones down Daniel Cormier at UFC 197 on April 23 and regain his light heavyweight title then he would be a serious contender for a spot on the card in his home state.
While Jones now fights out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, he’s originally from upstate New York and would certainly bring in a crowd – although he would do so regardless of the venue.
If Jones does head to New York with a title belt, Johnson is the obvious contender, with ‘Rumble’ on a two-fight winning streak since losing to Cormier at UFC 187 in a battle for the title vacated by Jones who was suspended by the UFC after he was involved in a hit-and-run incident.
2. Conor McGregor vs Frankie Edgar
There is growing talk that McGregor’s next fight will be a rematch against Nate Diaz, who ended his unbeaten run when they met at UFC 196, but it’s a bout with Edgar that we would like to see.
The prospect of New Jersey-native Edgar facing off against McGregor in New York – where there is a large Irish population – is incredibly exciting.
McGregor may still be intent on proving he can win in multiple divisions, but in Edgar he has a legitimate challenger for his featherweight title who deserves a shot at the belt.
1. Chris Weidman vs Michael Bisping
Weidman deserves a spot on the New York card if for no other reason than the sheer amount of effort that he put into getting MMA back to New York, his home state.
What a great day! Stand up MMA fighters, ppl who train MMA, fans and everyone that supports us in NY! We are finally Legal! ?? #feelsgood
— Chris Weidman (@ChrisWeidmanUFC) March 23, 2016
The 31-year-old will be hoping to win back his middleweight title when he faces Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 in June, and should he do so then a match-up with Bisping looks on the cards, and New York is the perfect venue.
A fiery Briton against a New York local – it’s a promoter’s dream.