The UFC Bouts We Need in 2020

So far, 2020 has already been stacked with potentially some of the greatest fights we have seen yet. We have already been graced with Conor McGregor’s triumphant return with a 40-second TKO against Donald Cerrone and, just recently, there was the controversial title defense of Jon Jones against Dominick Reyes. Later this year, some standouts include middleweight champion Israel Adesanya vs. number three contender Yoel Romero, women’s strawweight champion Zhang Weili vs. former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk, lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. number one contender Tony Ferguson (for the fifth time now), and a rematch between former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas vs. former champion Jessica Andrade. However, there are a few more fights that would sell 2020 as one of the best years in the UFC.

First off, addressing the elephant in the room, we need a rematch between Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes. I was also among those who thought that Reyes gave Jones a good run for his money. I saw the fight as being three rounds in Reyes’ favor with Jones getting the other two. However, the questionable decisions by the judges scoring the contest led to a nearly unified cry for Reyes to get his chance to prove himself again. Both Reyes and Jones themselves have stated that they are open to that possibility. This event, along with perhaps some proper judging improvements, will be able to give the fans what they want.

The second title bout for UFC 247, Valentina Shevchenko vs. Katlyn Chookagian, was less controversial and much more definite in its outcome. We saw Shevchenko dominate Chookagian into a third-round TKO, keeping her on top of the competition. However, most fans pretty much already knew what the outcome would be. We all know just how much of a powerhouse Shevchenko is in the flyweight division (who doesn’t remember the devastating head kick to Jessica Eye), and, to me, she deserves to be challenged by someone outside her comfort zone. Enter, Amanda Nunes: the reigning bantamweight and featherweight champion and quite possibly the best female GOAT in UFC history. A Shevchenko vs. Nunes bout needs to happen, and this wouldn’t be the first time they have faced off. Them fighting has happened twice before: in UFC 196 and UFC 215. Both of these fights had the two go all five rounds, and twice the wins have gone to Nunes, although the second win was due to a controversial split decision. Now seeing where the two are at, they have been showcasing their skills to the highest degree with title defense after title defense. I would say it’s about time that a champion goes against another winner. I think that Shevchenko should go for the bantamweight title since, that way, both their weights can meet in the middle. In the beginning, people would be hard-pressed to root for anyone other than Nunes, but now, I am genuinely debating with myself over who’s going to come out on top. However, having Shevchenko take the two-division champion title away from Nunes would be very exciting indeed. The Lioness has had her moment in the spotlight. Perhaps it’s time she bit the Bullet.

The third dream match would have to be Chan Sung Jung, a.k.a. The Korean Zombie vs. Alexander Volkanovski, the featherweight champ. Back in December of 2019, TKZ made the last UFC event of 2019 quite the memorable one by securing the TKO over Frankie Edgar in the first round. During his post-fight interview, Chan made his message clear in English, “I. Want. Volkanovski.”

Given that Volkanovski became champion over Max Holloway just one week before that fight, seeing him get called out that early made me eager to see how this would play out. I would say that both fighters match each other’s skills and are sure to entertain. TKZ has always been a fan-favorite due to the power in his punches, sharp fight IQ, and the blessing of a strong chin. For Volkanovski, he’s been exponentially growing in popularity for his ability to always be in control of the octagon, both in striking and on the ground. Chan has tried for the title once before, but with where he is now, I am sure that he is more than ready, and I believe that Volkanovski will be waiting for him.

Lastly, another bout that would genuinely seal the deal for 2020 would be contender two vs. contender three of the featherweight division, Brian Ortega vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov. Both of these guys are fan-favorites and for a good reason. While Ortega has been with the UFC for some time now, Zabit is one of the newer fighters who have made a permanent impression. The fighter from Dagestan has been known for his wild and aggressive tactics while making good use of head movement and counters, with Ortega being recognized for his ability to always keep the pressure on the opponent and not being afraid to go from stand-up to ground fighting. Given that Ortega was initially supposed to fight The Korean Zombie rather than Frankie Edgar, but suffered a partial ACL tear, we’re all eager to see him fight again. 

The UFC has been growing in popularity faster than we have ever even before. So far, 2020 is already stacked, with others I didn’t mention before, like Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Kevin Lee vs. Charles Oliveira. Although I am very grateful that we are getting these fights and am very much looking forward to them, my wishlist set here would please the majority of the UFC community and pave the way for new prospects going forward.