These are the fights that deserve to be in front of an audience.
One of the many adjustments that the UFC had to make in order to host events during a pandemic was the removal of the audience at events for the foreseeable future. The change has brought a very somber, silent energy to most events, making many wish for fans to once again be at events. In an interview with Fox Business, Dana White explained that advancements in COVID-19 tests would be necessary in order to have the fans return to the UFC’s events:
““The president told us on a call that they’re close to having this test where it’s a tab, like a tab of paper, and you lick it and it tells you whether you have it or not. If testing gets that good, I think that’s when you can start having fans come back again.”
With the lack of fans, there is no doubt that the always-tactical UFC has fights that they would prefer to happen when fans return, whether it be for the energy that fans bring to an arena or a live gate. With the world slowly starting to open businesses back up and attempt to return to normalcy, the return of fans to UFC events could be sooner than you think. These are three fights that we would want to see on the first UFC card with fans again.
These fights wouldn’t be the same without an actual live-audience
1.Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor 3
In their previous two fights against each other, Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor had crafted some of the most legendary moments in MMA. In their first meeting, Diaz pulled off an upset for the ages when he submitted McGregor in the second round, while it was McGregor who won a decision against Diaz in their next meeting, creating a 5-round masterpiece that is now regarded as one of the best fights ever.
A third meeting would be an absolutely perfect fight for audiences return to, as there isn’t a more fan-friendly fight that can be booked at the moment. The exciting styles of both fighters and the intense rivalry between them makes a great fight, one that fans are sure to attend once they are allowed to.
The fight also makes more sense to be put on while there is audience due to the fact that the fight would make much more if there was a live audience. In their previous two meetings, McGregor and Diaz’s fights have generated almost 16 million dollars in gate revenue. The kind of money that the trilogy fight would make from the gate would assist in paying both McGregor and Diaz what is required to actually put on the fight.
2. Paulo Costa vs. Israel Adesanya
Although middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s last fight was nothing to write home about, it is undeniable that the former kickboxer is a crowd-pleaser. With great fights against Kelvin Gastelum and Robert Whittaker, Adesanya has gained the admiration of the fans, and his numbers surely reflect that. Adesanya vs. Whittaker at UFC 243 set the record for attendance at a UFC event, with a staggering 57,127 people attending the event. A return to fans would be the perfect stage for the next Adesanya fight, especially considering who is presumed to be his next opponent.
For nearly a year now, Adesanya and number two middleweight contender Paulo Costa have been publicly engaging in one of the most hateful rivalries in MMA. With Costa finally looking fully recovered from an arm injury he suffered in his win against middleweight contender Yoel Romero, it is likely that the fight will be booked sooner rather than later. However, the UFC would be smart to place a fight as hyped up as this one on a card where they can have all the positives that fans bring to an arena, especially with the popularity Adesanya has garnered on his rise to stardom.
3. Jorge Masvidal vs. Colby Covington
With Colby Covington leaving training camp American Top Team officially, the fight between him and former teammate Jorge Masvidal finally seems like a possibility. The two welterweights have thrown insults at each other for nearly a year now, and a fight between the two would both satisfy fans and establish who is the more worthy challenger for current welterweight champ Kamaru Usman.
Fans would not only enhance the fight itself, but also the press conferences leading up to the fight. With Masvidal and Covington being regarded as two of the best quote-generating fighters in the UFC, the verbal confrontations between the two are sure to be just as interesting as the actual fight! A return to normal for the UFC would provide Covington vs. Masvidal the attention that it deserves, and hopefully the UFC will wait for the chance to allow the fans to see the event live.