UFC Could Return to Action as Early as May 9
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The UFC news wheel never stops turning.
Just days after Dana White informed the world that UFC 249 was to be canceled and all future events will be postponed indefinitely, the UFC president announced that he is already working on rebooking some of those canceled fights.
Dana White has been very vocal about his belief that the UFC will be the first major sporting institution that will return to a full schedule.
Following his interview last week with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in which White announced the UFC 249 cancellation, White announced Tuesday that the UFC is already looking to host their return card on May 9.
Where Will the Event Be Held?
White told news outlet Variety that the UFC Apex in Las Vegas will host the event and all future events for the foreseeable future.
Despite the fact that the state of Nevada is still under a stay-at-home order, the UFC president seems to believe that certain restrictions will be lifted as we get closer to the end of April.
This would need to include Nevada reinstating fight licenses to athletes after suspending them all late last month.
Should Nevada not work out, there is still hope for the UFC as the state of Florida announced early this week a litany of new businesses that are now deemed essential.
One of which companies is World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
The WWE and UFC have been known to work together in the past and if the WWE can get passage in the state of Florida than there can be no doubt that Florida will be looked at as a possible location for future UFC events if the state of Nevada remains under quarantine.
What Will the Main Card Look Like?
Dana White has made it clear that the next UFC card will be one of its best.
For starters, the updated UFC 249 main event of Tony Ferguson versus Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title is still expected to headline the next UFC card (whether it be May 9 or not).
The fight has fans of combat sports clamoring as they are both known as no-nonsense, performance-bonus hungry, entertaining fighters. A fight taking place in May would line up for the expected late August/early September return of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to face the winner.
But that’s not all.
Reports suggest that the interim lightweight title fight isn’t the only title fight that the organization is working on.
The co-main event of this dream card would see double-champion Amanda Nunes defend her featherweight title for the first time since winning it from Cris Cyborg.
Since winning the featherweight title, Nunes has defended her bantamweight championship twice. She beat Holly Holm via TKO and, most recently, defeated Germain de Randamie via unanimous decision. She is on a 10-fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since 2014.
Her opponent would be number-one featherweight contender Felicia Spencer, who is coming off of a first-round TKO win earlier this year over Zarah Fairn Dos Santos. This will be Spencer’s first title shot in the UFC. She is a former Invicta FC featherweight champion, dropping the title to sign with the UFC in 2019.
Going for the hattrick, the UFC also appears to be working on a bantamweight title fight between Henry Cejudo (UFC’s other double-champ) and former champion Dominick Cruz, who would be making a long-anticipated return.
The king of cringe, Henry Cejudo, has won his last five fights in the octagon, most recently defending his bantamweight title against Marlon Moraes, whom he beat via third-round TKO last June.
He was to be stripped of his flyweight title following a fight between Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo. However, Figueiredo missed weight and, despite winning, was ineligible to win the title. Cejudo remains double-champ for the time being.
Dominick Cruz has been the victim of countless injuries over the past several years and has spent much of his time recently in the UFC broadcast booth.
The former UFC and WEC bantamweight champion hasn’t fought since losing his bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt in 2016. That loss snapped a 13-fight winning streak for Cruz.
Most Title Fights Ever on One Card?
This mega-card could become the first event in UFC history to boast four title fights.
It is believed that a heavyweight tilt between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (rebooked twice already) could take place on the card.
It is well known that the heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, a firefighter when not fighting in the cage, is focused on life as a first-responder amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and looks nowhere close to stepping into the octagon in the near future.
When he does, many anticipate him to face Daniel Cormier for the third fight of their trilogy.
That leaves the heavyweight division in a sort-of limbo and Jairzinho Rozenstruik was quoted by MMA Fighting, saying “What’s better than to fight for a title in a big match? It’s already a big match, and if you put in the title, it’s going to be more interesting for both of us.”
This, of course, may not come to fruition as the UFC seem set to have Ferguson and Gaethje headline the card. The heaviest weight class will always be the main event card when it comes to title fights.
Therefore an interim title fight between Ngannou and Rozenstruik would be deemed the main event. Crazier things have happened, though.
What Else Can We Expect on May 9?
Another bold fight rumored for the card is a lightweight battle between former champion Anthony Pettis and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Pettis is coming off of back-to-back losses to Nate Diaz and Carlos Ferreira. Donald Cerrone is, of course, coming off of a first-round TKO loss to Conor McGregor.
Another former champion is likely to return to the octagon for this spectacle as well as Fabricio Verdum has served his suspension for PEDs and is likely to go up against heavyweight submission specialist Aleksei Oleynik.
A heavyweight bout between Greg Hardy and Yorgan de Castro as well as a featherweight bout between Jeremy Stephens and Calvin Kattar are both expected to be rescheduled for this event as well.