The heaviest division in the UFC recently put its title on the line at UFC 220. Current champion, Stipe Miocic, took on scary knockout artist, Francis Ngannou in the night’s main event. Stipe dominated, winning by unanimous decision, and breaking the record for most consecutive title defenses in the heavyweight division with three. Now we look at what could possibly come next for the baddest man on the planet. Plus we take a look at possible match ups for the rest of the division that would make for exciting fights. Here are five fights that the UFC should consider putting together if given the chance in 2018. This is the UFC Heavyweight Wishlist for 2018.
#1: Stipe Miocic vs. Cain Velasquez
After Miocic’s destruction of top contender, Francis Ngannou this past Saturday, who’s next? The idea of light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, has come up multiple times. It would make for a champion vs. champion match up that fans would love to see. Now that fight will be taking place over the summer at UFC 226. If Miocic were to win a fight with Velasquez should be booked afterwards.
With that being said, Velasquez has made it clear that he is looking to return in 2018. He hasn’t fought since UFC 200 in 2016 when he TKO’d Travis Browne. Since then, he has been nursing some injuries. He was scheduled to fight Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207, but backed out due to back surgery. Velasquez held the title a few years ago and was the one that held the record that Stipe had broken. When Velasquez is healthy, he looks phenomenal and is a problem for any fighter he faces.
Miocic, on the other hand, has shown that he will never back down from a challenge. Ngannou came into their title fight with a lot of hype behind him. Many people were calling for an Ngannou knockout early. Stipe was able to weather the early storm, and from the first round on, used his wrestling to dominate the entire fight. Miocic out struck Ngannou 200-33 and was able to land six take downs en route to a 50-44 (x3) unanimous decision victory. The victory broke the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses at heavyweight. He has made it clear that no one will ever hold that belt again until he chooses to hang up the gloves.
Now with Miocic scheduled to take on Cormier, a win would set up a fight with Velasquez.
#2: Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis
This would be a very exciting fight between two powerful heavyweights that wouldn’t take the fight to the ground. Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou have also had some back and forth on social media as well. Both fighters were quick to say something negative to the other after each of their most recent losses.
Below is a video Lewis posted to his Twitter, seeming to make fun of Ngannou’s cardio with the treadmill.
— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) January 21, 2018
And below is a tweet from Ngannou, laughing at Lewis’ loss to 43 year old Mark Hunt.
Lewis said I win Arlovski because he's old with 37 but Mark Hunt 43 years old beat he like a baby 😂😂😂
— Francis NGannou (@francis_ngannou) June 11, 2017
Assuming Lewis can get a win at UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Medeiros in a few weeks, this fight should be made. Both fighters have lots of power in their hands and are not afraid to stand and trade with one another. They are both coming off losses, and if Lewis can get by Marcin Tybura, the UFC should look into booking this fight.
#3: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov
Alistair Overeem is coming off a devastating loss at the hands of the former title challenger, Ngannou, and may be taking some time off. When he returns, a fight against Russia’s Alexander Volkov would be an exciting one. Both fighters are skilled on the feet, but Alistair is one of the very best strikers at heavyweight ever.
Volkov is currently 3-0 since making his UFC debut. He holds wins over Timothy Johnson, Roy Nelson, and a recent TKO victory over Stefan Struve in September. He is the former Bellator heavyweight champion, and is looking to make a run at the UFC title. In order to do so, he will have to get past some of the top contenders, like Overeem.
Overeem has a record of 43-16 with one no contest. Overeem made his debut back in 2011, winning that fight by TKO over former champion, Brock Lesnar. His UFC record stands at 8-5 with one shot at the title. He came up short in that fight, losing by knockout to current champ, Stipe Miocic. After the loss to Ngannou, he has made it clear that he has no intention of retiring anytime soon.
In order for Overeem to show he’s worth staying towards the top of the rankings, a win over Volkov would prove that. As for Volkov, a win over Overeem could put him in position to challenge for the title later this year or early next year.
#4: Fabricio Werdum vs. Curtis Blaydes
With Velasquez probably getting the next title shot, Werdum will have to stay active to stay at the top. Werdum beat Velasquez a few years ago to win the heavyweight title. He then ended up losing it in his first defense against current champion, Miocic at UFC 198. He has been campaigning for another title shot ever since and is currently on a two fight winning streak. Those two wins have come against Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura. He will need to add at least one more notable win in order to get another title shot.
Curtis Blaydes is currently scheduled to face Mark Hunt at UFC 221 in a few weeeks. With a win over Hunt it could land him a top contender in his next outing. Blaydes is 3-1 in the UFC with one no contest. That one loss was to former title challenger, Francis Ngannou. His most recent, and most notable, win in the UFC was against Oleksiy Oliynyk at UFC 217.
If Blaydes can pick up a win in a couple of weeks, hopefully this fight can be booked at some point. A win would probably give Werdum the next title shot. A win for Blaydes would mean possibly one more win until he gets his title shot.
#5: Mark Hunt vs. Andrei Arlovski
Shockingly, this fight has never happened. Both fighters are veterans of the sport that will stand and trade. Hunt is still looking good at 43 years old, but Arlovski hasn’t been what we were once used to. Both men currently have a fight scheduled. Hunt is expected to face Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221, and Arlovkski is expected to face Stefan Struve at UFC 222.
The former UFC heavyweight champion has lost five of his last six. He recently picked up a win against Junior Albini at UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Pettis. The fight with Albini didn’t seem like much of a test, but a fight with Hunt would be different. This would tell us whether or not it is time for Arlovski to step away from the sport. If he can get past Struve in March, a fight with Hunt would be a fun one.
Hunt is coming off of a win against Derrick Lewis, who, at the time, was on a six fight winning streak. He won that fight by fourth round TKO. Hunt has faced many people during his time fighting, but somehow has not crossed paths with Arlovski.
If Arlovski defeats Struve, Hunt could still be facing Arlovski coming off a win or loss against Blaydes. If both fighters lose, we could see a double retirement fight of both men think their time is done.
In a heavyweight division that consists of most of the same people at the top, these are five fights that would be fun to see in 2018. Hopefully, depending on how some of these guys’ fights go, these match ups can be made.