UFC 230 Has Some Great Fights Announced, But Still Lacking The Main Event
UFC 230 has it all. It’s at Madison Square Garden. The co-main event features the long-awaited return of Nate Diaz who is fighting the soaring Dustin Poirier. Six of the top ten middleweights are also on the card. Yep, the card pretty much has everything. That is…except for the main event.
There are some intriguing matchups that could be the main event for the already stacked card. Some of these may be a reach, but the UFC has less than two months until the event, so an announcement should be expected any day now.
1. Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson
Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson fought back at UFC 165 in what many consider the best light heavyweight title fight of all time and one of the greatest fights in UFC history. Jones won the fight via unanimous decision.
Jones (22-1-1) is currently facing a possible suspension from USADA for failing a drug test following his title fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 214. Rumors are swirling Jones may not be suspended for failing the drug test and he could fight by the end of the year. And it just so happens UFC 230 is taking place on November 3rd.
Jones grew up in New York and would be a huge draw for the area and for pay-per-view buys.
Since losing to Jones, Gustafsson (18-4) has won three of five including two straight. Like Jones, he is a tall, lengthy fighter who likes to keep the fight standing. Even though their first fight was over five years ago, hardcore MMA fans remember the great show both fighters put on that night and would love to see it again.
The only problem with booking this fight as the main event is that this would mean the card would lack a title fight which is something the UFC doesn’t like to do on pay-per-views. They can always make this an interim title fight, something the UFC has been doing a lot of lately.
2. Tyron Woodley vs Colby Covington
Tyron Woodley just fought this past Saturday night when he defeated Darren Till via second-round submission, but the welterweight champion said he’s ready for a quick turnaround. Woodley mentioned he would be ready to return for UFC 230, since the card does need a main event.
Woodley (19-3-1) took minimal damage on Saturday and it was his first time fighting in over a year. He looked fresh and should be able to return to the cage in November against his former training partner, Colby Covington.
Covington (14-1) won the interim welterweight championship at UFC 225 when he defeated Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision. The UFC asked Covington for a quick turn around to fight at UFC 228, but Convington was healing from his fight with dos Anjos and was unable to return so quickly. Convington was stripped of his interim belt, but UFC President Dana White is saying he will be the next challenger for Woodley.
3. TJ Dillashaw vs Henry Cejudo
Holding two belts at the same time is all the rage now. Conor McGregor did it in 2016 with the featherweight and lightweight titles. Daniel Cormier is currently holding both the light heavyweight belt and the heavyweight belt. So why wouldn’t flyweight champion Henry Cejudo or bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw want to get in on the action?
Both men have expressed interest in fighting one another. The question is will Dillashaw go down to 125 lbs or will Cejudo go up to 135 lbs?
This is a fight the UFC has to make to bring eyes to the lighter divisions. Both fighters want the fight, all that’s waiting is for the UFC to set the date.
4. Valentina Shevchenko vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Valentina Shevchenko was supposed to fight in the co-main event at UFC 228, but then-champion Nicco Montaño was taken to the hospital after weight cutting issues. The UFC stripped Montaño of her title, leaving the title vacant.
With the woman’s flyweight division so new, it makes sense for two established names like Shevchenko and former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk to fight. Jedrzejczyk (15-2) lost twice to current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. Therefore, the chances of her getting a third shot at the champ are slim to none. There are other contenders at the weight class that can challenge Namajunas.
So it makes sense for Jedrzejczyk to move up to 125 lbs and fight Shevchenko (15-3) for the vacant title.
5. Nate Diaz vs Dustin Poirier
But wait…aren’t these two fighting in the co-main event? If worse comes to worse, move these guys to the main event and pick one of the middleweight fights to be the new co-main event. The problem with this solution is the same as having Jones-Gustafsson headline…it’s not a title fight. Just like with Jones-Gustaffson, this could be an interim title.
By the time this card takes place, McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov would have fought. So the winner of that fight could fight the winner of Diaz-Poirier. McGregor or Nurmagomedov can be at the event and get in the octagon with the winner and help put in a good promo for their next fight.