Sports fans and experts alike are predicting 2022 to be a year of seismic proportions for MMA and UFC matches. There are already some big names set to go toe-to-toe: Beneil Dariush vs. Islam Makhachev, Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane… the list is exceptionally anticipatory.
Even with such a great UFC program ahead, there still are a few favorites that are on fans’ wish lists for 2022. The air is rife with excitement as both strawweight and heavyweight stars are preparing to return to their second home – the cage. Competitors like Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor aren’t shying away from some huge matches that could define their careers for 2022. Things are known to move at lightning speed in this particular sport, but it’s still early enough that there’s a ton of possibilities for the year ahead. One thing’s for sure, UFC fight odds for the year ahead look to have some expected contenders and some that may even surprise the most hardcore MMA fans.
Amanda Nunes II vs. Julianna Pena
A considerably climactic moment in MMA happened in 2021 at the UFC 269, the second-to-last event of the year, when the indomitable Amanda Nunes was beaten by Julianna Pena, who became the new bantamweight champion.
To say the world of MMA was incredulous would be an understatement, and many felt Pena still had not proven herself to be a better fighter. Nunes was (and still is) considered the queen of the bantamweight division and still holds the featherweight title, so many are gagging for a rematch. In the world of MMA, we can only wait and see what happens.
Petr Yan II vs. Aljamain Sterling
This would be one of the most anticipated match-ups should it happen. Although neither are very big stars, their bantamweight division is probably the finest weight class in MMA right now, not to mention they have a history that dates back to UFC 259.
Sterling challenged Yan for the bantamweight strap, but the match ended swiftly when Yan did a knee move that was not legal. After he was disqualified, the title was awarded to Sterling, but the fight didn’t do anything to prove who was the better opponent – an inconclusive ending that is begging for a rematch so that the bantamweight division can finally progress.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz
Undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in MMA, Mcgregor has come up against Diaz twice before – with Mcgregor winning both matches.
A third match would be the perfect trilogy that should happen soon – both fighters certainly aren’t ancient but they aren’t in the first bloom of youth either. Both are extremely wealthy, and both lost their last two fights, but even so, neither seems particularly eager to finish off what was started in 2016. Still, fans are clamoring for it – so let’s hope it happens.
Jon Jones vs. Anyone
Many consider Jones to be the best fighter in the history of MMA, but there have been a few occurrences that could cause people to forget that. The light heavyweight champion has long ruled that division, until February 2020 when there was a split decision win against Dominick Reyes.
Jones’plan was to move up to heavyweight to try and get a new belt, but he was inundated with legal issues soon after, including a disagreement with UFC over his contract.
A true talent, it would be a shame to see his career go up in smoke due to outside elements and not because of who he is as a fighter. At this point, it makes no difference who he is fighting, as long as he’s doing it.
Life may be full of ups and downs, and that’s certainly reflected in some of the wins and losses at UFC, but one thing is for sure. Much like life, we can expect a great year in MMA with lots of heartbreak, triumphs, and lessons.