The new year means new MMA fights – full of thrill and excitement. 2022 proved to be an amazing year for the mixed martial arts world. We got a treat of a lifetime from some of the sport’s biggest superstars last year, and 2023 is projected to be even better.
Let’s face it, y’all! We all have a couple of dream fights we’d love to see in 2023, from hoping to see dormant legends return to the scene to watching fighters settle some scores. With that being said, we decided to collate a wishlist of some elite bouts we’d love to see go down this year.
We hope 2023 fulfills our fantasies. However, whether or not our wishes come true, one thing is sure: the MMA’s biggest promotions will deliver this year. So, without further ado, here’s our list of dream fights for 2023:
Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones
A championship fight between two all-time greats for the UFC heavyweight belt will be the ultimate dream bout. It will certainly go down as one of the hottest UFC stories if it pulls through.
Jon Jones is widely regarded as the greatest MMA fighter of all time, and to see him go against one of the scariest heavyweight champions in MMA history will be a precious gift in wonderland.
Yes, we understand that this fight doesn’t necessarily affect Jones’ status as the GOAT MMA fighter (depending on if you’re riding the GSP bandwagon). However, a victory against Ngannou will add some more ornaments to his heavily decorated legacy.
We mustn’t also fail to mention that the chances of us seeing this matchup is quite low for some legitimate reasons. The first one that comes to mind is Ngannou’s knee problems. He may not be the same Ngannou we know since he underwent knee surgery, which is quite understandable.
And let’s face it, too: Jones wasn’t facing strong competition at the tail end of his last UFC title run, so we’re not sure if he’s still that dude. He’s not participated in an MMA fight in three years. Does he still have that fire he once had?
These are some of the doubts surrounding both fighters, and we certainly won’t be able to answer them until these two square up in the ring. But questions such as these are what make the possibility of this matchup even more tantalizing.
It’d also be interesting to see what most online sports betting bookies have to say should this bout come to fruition. Hopefully, Ngannou resigns with the UFC, Jones fancies a return to pro-MMA, and the MMA gods grant us our utmost wish.
Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya (Rematch)
Arguably the best and most talked about fight in 2022: Alex Pereira defeats Israel Adesanya by TKO to claim the UFC middleweight title. It was Israel’s third title defense of the year, but Pereira was out to get him. Some may argue about the controversial nature of the fight, which is quite understandable given the questionable stoppage by the officials; you can’t but wish for a rematch for what some publications have deemed the most high-level striking bout in recent memory.
Adesanya is yet to win against Pereira in combat sports (Pereira is up 3-0), but who in his right mind will rule out a fourth meeting between the two? We know what Adesanya is capable of, and we saw him put on a show in their last meeting. He has defended his belt successfully five times (two of which came last year) and was so close to defending his belt by a unanimous decision late in the fifth round. The MMA world deserves a rematch, and we hope that happens in 2023.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz
This fight has been on many’s dream lists for years, and we all know why. It’s probably the biggest rivalry in the history of the sport that is yet to be settled. You can argue the McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov rivalry all you want, but the McGregor vs. Diaz rivalry is one for the history books. These fights rocked the Twitter world; you just had to be there.
It’s quite amazing to think that their last meeting was seven years ago; time flies.
Again, the chances of us seeing this rivalry come to life again are pretty slim. Diaz is no longer in contract with the UFC, but McGregor is still actively signed. Age is also a major factor as Diaz turns 38 this year and McGregor turns 35, which means the degree of fighting intensity may not be as it was seven years ago. The clock is ticking for this rivalry to be settled, and this year might be the final chance to make it happen.
We enjoyed seeing these two go at it in and out of the ring; the trash talk, fighting style, and celebrity involvement made it one hell of a rivalry.
This bout was a match made in MMA heaven, and we can’t help but rub our palms at the possibility of another meeting between these two elites. Somebody needs to make this happen this year!