Five MMA fights Brett Okamoto wants to see in 2019

MMA


Goodbye, 2018. It’s been real. Thanks for the memories. We’ll never forget you, and stuff.

Hello, 2019!

There’s something intoxicating about that fresh calendar smell, isn’t there? Last year treated us to some great fights, no doubt, but it’s 2019 now, baby. And we’re looking ahead.

So, in that spirit, here are the five fights I’d love to see in 2019.

So, I don’t love my chances of seeing this one. St-Pierre says he isn’t interested, and that’s fine. If he never fights again, no problem. He did it all.

But if he does fight in 2019 (and he has left that possibility wide open), this is the one, guys. The Chosen One, if you will.

I’ve wanted this fight for over a year. The greatest welterweight of all time versus the guy trying to be the greatest welterweight of all time. The idea of St-Pierre vacating a belt in 2013, walking away from the sport entirely and then returning immediately to welterweight greatness — it gives me the feels.

St-Pierre has talked, repeatedly, about legacy. It’s pretty obvious at this point he wants lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, and I get that. But personally I think a win over Woodley, who has established himself as the man at 170 pounds, would do more for St-Pierre’s legacy than a win over Nurmagomedov would. Think about it, Georges. Please?

Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey never fought a second time. Please don’t let that happen to Nunes and Cyborg.

I mean, how does Cyborg respond to what happened to her last week? What changes does she make? What happens when a hammer turns into a nail? What’s it like trying to undo that? Don’t you want answers to these questions?!

Let’s not just move on from what happened. It’s a big freaking deal! Let’s talk about it and shine a giant spotlight on the rematch.

Honestly, you know what I like most about this one? It’s that these two bring out the best in each other. And frankly, we need that right now.

McGregor hasn’t won a fight in two years, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d think he has transitioned into a full-time whiskey spokesperson. Diaz hasn’t seen the inside of a cage since these two last fought, in August 2016.

These are two guys who need a reason to fight — one that goes beyond money or titles — and they’ve always provided that to each other. This was always the rivalry we wanted, but now it’s the one we need. We need to see peak McGregor. Peak Diaz. And at this point, the only way that may happen is if you combine the two.

I’m ready for the third and final chapter.

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1:37

Henry Cejudo tells Ariel Helwani that he’ll take a fight with TJ Dillashaw at either 125 or 135, but at 125 he’s confident he’ll win via knockout.

Oh hey, look at that. This one’s already on the books! Not only that, it’s the first main event on the UFC’s 2019 schedule.

Haters will say I’m just being a company man here, promoting the fight that’s headlining the UFC’s first event on ESPN (Jan. 19, only on ESPN+, to be exact). But go back and look at the fight I most wanted to see in 2018. It was Dillashaw vs. then-flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.

I’m just really, really fascinated by Dillashaw going down in weight. It’s something we’ve never seen before. I think Dillashaw is one of the most entertaining fighters in the world to watch, and I think Cejudo presents him with a lot of challenges.

It’s also impossible not to find intrigue in this whole “the fate of the flyweight division hangs in the balance” storyline. I cannot wait to see this fight.

No. 1: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson

Answer: A rib injury, blood in Ferguson’s lungs, a weight-cut hospitalization and a freak knee injury caused by a wayward studio cable.

Yes, Okamoto?

“What are the reasons for canceling Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson?”

Nailed it.

The UFC has booked this fight in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and it still hasn’t happened. Dana White swore at one point that he’d never try to book it again. But I still need to see it! And I don’t believe in curses! This is the year, you guys. I’ve got a good feeling about this.



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