Fight fans were treated to fantastic UFC fights and events in 2021, and 2022 could be just as big.
There are already some big match-ups scheduled for the first quarter of 2022, including a heavyweight title fight between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane at UFC 270, as well as a middleweight championship tilt featuring Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker at UFC 271.
And there are a ton of potential dream fights that could happen this year. Well, Heavy.com has compiled a list of our top-four dream UFC fights for 2022.
Continue reading to see the list:
Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones
Although former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has had his controversy outside of the Octagon, he still remains one of the biggest names in the sport and is regarded by many as the greatest MMA fighter of all time. He hasn’t fought in nearly two years and is currently preparing to make his heavyweight debut.
“Bones” has said on several occasions that wants an instant-title fight and is planning on returning to the Octagon this year. And on paper, heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou versus Jones is possibly the most compelling fight the UFC can make.
“The Predator” is viewed by many as the fiercest fighter on the roster, with lethal power and a physical presence rivaled by few. Jones is as versatile of a fighter as they come with a world-class fighting IQ.
Now, two major things need to happen for this championship fight to come to fruition in 2022. Ngannou is set to fight interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 270 on January 22, and will need to pick up a win over his former teammate. And, of course, Jones needs to decide to come back to fighting this year to challenge for the heavyweight belt.
But if these two things line up, Ngannou vs. Jones could potentially be the biggest heavyweight fight in UFC history.
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Conor McGregor vs. Tony Ferguson
Conor McGregor is the biggest name in MMA history. He’s in charge of several of the biggest pay-per-views in UFC history, and although he suffered a broken leg in July 2021, he’s been clear that he plans to return to the Octagon in 2022.
“Notorious” is 0-2 in his last two bouts, suffering back-to-back defeats to Dustin Poirier in 2021. When the Irishman decides to return, he’ll likely look to fight another marketable name that is also relevant in the rankings, or at least, in the eyes of fight fans.
Enter Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson was long heralded as the “boogeyman” of the lightweight division, building a 12-fight win streak in the UFC while also picking up the interim 155-pound title in 2017. Although “El Cucuy” is on a three-fight losing streak, he’s one of the most notable figures in the lighter weight divisions and has a rivalry with McGregor stemming years.
It’s only felt inevitable that the two would meet in the Octagon at some point. And with Ferguson turning 38 in February, it seems like the time is now for the two to compete. Both men need a victory, and whoever comes out on top of the potential clash would earn a much-needed boost of competitive relevancy in the top of the 155-pound division.
Jose Aldo vs. Dominick Cruz
This one is for the longtime hardcore MMA fans.
Jose Aldo and Dominick Cruz have a lot in common. They were both the last champions of the World Extreme Cagefighting promotion’s featherweight and bantamweight divisions. Aldo was the featherweight king and Cruz was ruling bantamweight.
After the WEC merged with the UFC in 2010, they both became the inaugural UFC champion of their respective divisions. Fast forward more than a decade and Aldo and Cruz are both ranked within the top seven of the UFC’s bantamweight division.
Both fighters have suffered ups and downs in their UFC tenure and are no longer champions. However, they are both on a campaign for 135-pound gold and the time is now to match the MMA legends.
Aldo and Cruz are both on win streaks and with one more big victory, they could be knocking on the door of becoming a top contender.
But it would be much more than a divisional rankings fight. Aldo versus Cruz is a legacy battle. And it needs to happen in 2022 when their relevancy as a UFC elite is still very potent.
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Kamaru Usman vs. Khamzat Chimaev
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has firmly established himself as the king of his division, racking up several title defenses over the division’s best, including Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal.
At this point, it seems like “The Nigerian Nightmare” is nearly unstoppable. However, one of the most exciting potential challenges for the champion is Khamzat Chimaev. “Borz” is arguably the fastest rising star in the sport. Although he has several question marks surrounding him, like how skilled he truly is, one thing is for certain, he’s got a lot of hype behind him.
Chimaev (10-0) has managed to capture the MMA community’s attention in a way most fighters haven’t. He has a fantastic balance of personality, dominance and mystery. In his four UFC bouts, the fighter has only been hit with one significant strike and has taken out all his opponents within the first two rounds.
Borz has shown he has a powerful grappling game, which was highlighted in his last fight against Li Jingliang in October 2021, submitting the top-15 welterweight with a rear-naked choke. Further, he recently wrestled UFC middleweight Jack Hermansson in November 2021 and beat him by points.
Chimaev has also impressed on the feet, which makes him an exciting possible fight for Usman. Now, UFC president Dana White has been clear to the media that Chimaev won’t fight for the belt next. But, if he picks up a remarkable win against a top-10 opponent in his next outing, fans shouldn’t be surprised if Chimaev cuts to the front of the line to either receive a title shot or, at minimum, a No. 1 contender bout.
If Borz is successful in his next one or two fights, we could see him fighting The Nigerian Nightmare for the belt in late 2022, should Usman manage to keep his title.