Edson Barboza pulled off an insane flying knee KO last week at UFC Fight Night 107. It came after Beneil Dariush was arguably winning the fight. Moments after, UFC commentator Brian Stann tweeted he would love to see a card with all lightweights.
You could do an entire card of just the 155lb division and get zero complaints for me. Unreal talent there
— Brian Stann (@BrianStann) March 12, 2017
Let’s go ahead and do this, ASAP. Let’s put it on for UFC 213 on July 8th. There are three events planned back to back that week with plenty of space to plug other weight classes. But that main pay per view card? Put the best possible lightweights out there to duke it out.
The lightweight division is log-jammed right now. With Conor McGregor out indefinitely and the interim title fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov falling apart at the last second, there is a growing list of contenders building up. You can take 10 of these top contenders and put them all together on one night to get a better picture of what the pecking order is.
As of right now, there are 13 lightweight bouts booked through July 7th.
So let’s propose the best possible fights for an all lightweight UFC 213 main card:
- Tony Ferguson vs. Nate Diaz (interim lightweight title)
- Michael Chiesa vs. Edson Barboza
- Beneil Dariush vs. Michael Johnson
- Kevin Lee vs. Evan Dunham
- Jim Miller vs. Gilbert Melendez
If some of those aren’t available by then, throw in one of these:
- David Teymur vs. Ross Pearson
- Lando Vannata vs. Paul Felder
- Leonardo Santos vs. Francisco Trinaldo
- Adriano Martins vs. Rustam Khabilov
- Islam Makhachev vs. Marcin Held
(Or any combination of these, really.)
Lightweight is such a stacked division that it is one of the few weight classes that spills over into having high-level fighters outside of the UFC. See Michael Chandler, Benson Henderson, Justin Gaethje, Jason High, Patricky Freire, Josh Thompson, etc.
And of those in the UFC, there are currently 11 lightweights that are on at least a three-fight win streak.
But wait, where’s Khabib in all of this? Well, Nurmagomedov doesn’t train or fight during Ramadan, which this year is between May 26 and June 25. It would not give him enough time to put a camp together between the end of Ramadan and our theoretical July 8th date.
In light of that and admitting that we’re in the era of interim titles and entertainment value, let’s make the headliner Ferguson vs. Diaz. They both get a big payday and PPV points. If either of them wins it cements them on top of the division and sets up either a fresh title unification bout with Ferguson against Conor or a crazy Diaz/McGregor trilogy fight with more on the line than previously before.
And there is a precedent for this.
Remember UFC 146? It had an all-heavyweight PPV main card. It gave us a crazy Stefan Struve armbar win, a young Stipe Miocic showing what he could do with his elbows, Junior Dos Santos retaining his belt against Frank Mir, and who can forget Cain Velasquez making the cage look like a murder scene after bloodying up Bigfoot Silva.
Alright, the plan is set. The only thing left now is to find a way to convince Sean Shelby, Mick Maynard and Dana White of this. Shouldn’t be a problem at all. Right?