We’re officially two weeks away from UFC 200, and the card is positively stacked. As MMAJunkies has suggested, it might be one the most impressive cards in the company’s history. A strong claim, but one that’s pretty hard to argue against. And yet, so much of the focus remains on Brock Lesnar and how getting him on the card “saved” the event. At least, this was a favorite argument among certain fight fans after the implosion of the planned Connor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz rematch.
This sentiment just isn’t reflected by the card overall. UFC 200 was always destined to be a night of great fights to look forward to; it’s just that McGregor and Diaz won’t be part of the historic event. It’s also worth noting that for all the hype, there’s a good chance that Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt might not be the matchup everyone’s talking about for weeks after UFC 200 goes down.
In fact, there are a few other fighters UFC fans should have a close eye on. It’s possible we may witness a significant breakout moment for at least one person at UFC 200.
It would make no sense to discuss the UFC 200 card and not mention the main event of the event: Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier. There’s no way this is going to be a dull fight. These two men hate each other and have one of the most volatile rivalries in MMA history.
Whenever these Cormier and Jones are around each other, there’s always a concern about violence. And that’s outside of the Octagon! A chance to cause as much pain to a bitter rival as possible in pursuit of the undisputed light heavyweight title must feel like Christmas in July.
This will be the fight that helps determine if Jon Jones is still the champion he was before being stripped of his title. The last time these two men met, the final result was decided by the judges.
There’s a good chance that neither men will want that in the rematch, and both Jon Jones and Daniel Cornier will be looking to finish early. Even if their fight once again put in the hands of UFC judges, there’s good reason to expect stunning finishes elsewhere on the UFC 200 card.
Jose Aldo will meet Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight title, and it’s a fight with far-reaching implications. Conor McGregor was forced to vacate the title in his pursuit of face-saving revenge against Nate Diaz. Edgar’s manager Ali Abdelaziz previously called out McGregor, claiming the Irishman was dodging his client.
“When history speaks for McGregor he was a UFC champion who hand-picked his opponents and chose guys out of shape to fight him and he ducked Frankie.”
Frankie faces off against a man who was unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of the fasting KO in UFC history.
It was a defining moment in Conor’s UFC career, but the event has no doubt haunted Aldo. Both men have something to prove in a division dominated by the charismatic Conor McGregor. Whether it’s revenge or a desire to be taken seriously, the individual agendas could lead to a particularly explosive match. McGregor will likely have an eye on the fight as well assuming he actually intends to regain his belt at some point.
If McGregor beats Diaz at UFC 202, he could decide to pursue fights at a higher weight class and see no immediate need to drop back to 145. Still, there are hungry, promising fighters in the featherweight division; the Aldo vs. Edgar bout is just a pleasant reminder of this fact.
Speaking of fights with future implications, the third woman’s bantamweight champion in under a year will be risking her title at UFC 200. The Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes fight has the potential for the hugest amount of fallout. As previously discussed by the Inquisitr, if Tate loses, we’ll have three former women’s bantamweight champions awaiting a rematch. Things are made more problematic by UFC president Dana White, who has thus far only guaranteed Ronda Rousey’s right to an immediate rematch, throwing Holly Holm completely under the bus.
There’s no telling what direction the division may go in should Miesha fail to hold onto the belt. Nunes is a promising up-and-comer who isn’t to be underestimated. The women’s bantamweight belt has changed hands under shocking circumstances thus far. Who’s to say we might not see another stunning scenario in two weeks?
For those not watching the UFC 200 PPV main fight card, they can still catch some of the action on Fox Sports 1, starting at 8 p.m. The Joe Lauzon vs. Diego Sanchez will of particular interest, with Lauzon already admitting caution.
“Diego is willing to exchange no matter where he is. When he takes you down, he’s trying to end your life. On the feet, he’s trying to end your life. He’s very aggressive. He’s got a good chin and no matter how much you hit him, he keeps on coming.”
Both men are formidable in their own right, and the matchup is just more validation of what an exciting night of fights UFC 200 promises fans.
Is there a particular fight you’re excited about? Are you really only watching UFC 200 for Brock Lesnar? Share your thoughts and fight predictions below!
[Photo courtesy of Don Feria/AP Images for WWE]