With only two more main events to be announced for 2022, UFC fans look forward to next year with much anticipation. The back half of 2022 has started with a bang with a schedule that promises to match the recent excitement. The two pay-per-view events with announced fights are looking to be the highlights of fight fans’ year.
However, many stars, including some of the new champions, sit without an announced upcoming fight. We have seen time and time again when fights fail to happen when they should’ve. Even Diaz vs. Ferguson looked like shells of former fighters when their primes lined up a few years earlier. With fighter ages rising and the calendar being near full, here are some possible match-ups I believe the UFC needs to capitalize on before it’s too late.
Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover Teixeira 2
This fight is rumored to be in the works for the last pay-per-view event this year: UFC 282. This is a fight that truly is on a clock. When the two fought for the first time in June, they delivered what many MMA fans call a top 3 fight of all time. There were back-and-forth moments, and Prochazka found an incredible submission in the final seconds. The rematch is a must.
The biggest reason this needs to be booked soon is that Glover is going to be 43 in a month. He won the belt at the age of 42 and delivered 2 high-level fights at that age. However, father time is undefeated, and delaying this rematch is only tempting his hand. Jiri is young, and so are all the other possible opponents he could fight instead. There will be plenty of time to see Prochazka vs. Blachowicz in the future, and I’m sure we will probably see the match-up a couple of times, but the UFC would be dumb not to capitalize on the guaranteed success that this rematch has and time is running out.
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa/Colby Covington
After all the drama of UFC 279, Khamzat Chimaev has been teasing moving up to 185 lbs full time. If this is indeed the case, Paulo Costa is the obvious choice. Outside of the trash talk between the two online, it would be an interesting match-up. Costa would be Khamzat’s biggest challenge to date, and stylistically, he may not have the advantage as Costa has proven himself against high-level wrestlers. Both have fought recently, walking away with minor damage unscathed in Chimaev’s case. Both could be fight-ready soon, and this match-up could happen sooner rather than later.
If Khamzat isn’t moving up, I’d advocate a match-up against Colby Covington. Though we aren’t fully sure when we should be expecting to see Covington, I believe that the elite wrestling of Covington would stylistically be an exciting fight with Khamzat. Regardless of who the UFC needs to capitalize on Khamzat’s ever-rising star power, pairing him up with a big name would be a huge match-up.