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5 bantamweight fights the UFC should consider

UFC 259 Blachowicz v Adesanya: Weigh-Ins
UFC 259 Blachowicz v Adesanya: Weigh-Ins

The UFC's bantamweight division has developed into one of the most exciting weight classes. The division is brimming with talent and could eventually surpass the lightweight division in terms of depth.

Former champions and legends Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar have moved down to 135lbs for an opportunity to add another UFC championship to their legacy. With such a deep division, every fight carries significant repercussions to the rankings and title picture.

With more states and countries easing COVID restrictions, high-profile fights in the division could be an attractive selling point. The UFC's top-ranked bantamweights could be relied on for pay-per-views or to main event upcoming ESPN cards. This list will look at 5 bantamweight fights the UFC should consider.


#5. 'Sugar' Sean O'Malley vs. 9th ranked bantamweight Pedro Munhoz

(Left) @sugaseanmma (Right) @pedromunhozmma
(Left) @sugaseanmma (Right) @pedromunhozmma

'Sugar' Sean O'Malley has become a fan-favorite since making his UFC debut on Dana White's Contender Series in 2017. O'Malley has been awarded with either a Fight of the Night or Performance of the Night bonus on 5 occasions. This is impressive considering O'Malley has only competed in 7 UFC fights. 'Sugar' is currently 6-1 in the UFC with his lone loss coming via TKO against Marlon Vera back in 2020. The UFC have received criticism for O'Malley's opponents as there is a noticeable discrepancy in skill level. This is apparent in betting odds for his fights as he is usually an overwhelming favorite. After defeating Kris Moutinho, it's clear that O'Malley is ready for a test against a top-10 bantamweight.

#UFC264 Closing Betting Odds via @CircaSports Kris Moutinho +610Sean O'Malley [email protected] ๐Ÿ’ต | #ESPNPlus

Pedro 'The Young Punisher' Munhoz would be the perfect opponent for O'Malley. The current No.9-ranked bantamweight has fought some of the division's best and proven he can compete in the top 10. Some of Munhoz's victories include a submission over Rob Font and a first-round knockout over former champion Cody Garbrandt.

O'Malley has generated plenty of attention for his fights, however, his resume lacks a ranked opponent. Defeating a fighter of Munhoz's caliber could line up 'Sugar' with the 135 elite.

๐Ÿ—ฃ PEDRO MUNHOZ! GOODNESS [email protected] is storming into Chicago after this FOTN. #UFC238 https://t.co/vipFQY5DzB

'The Young Punisher' is scheduled to fight former champion Dominick Cruz on December 11th at UFC 269. Munhoz's performance will dictate his standing in the division and could set the stage for a bout with O'Malley. A win over Cruz would be significant as it'd be his second win over a former bantamweight champion.

O'Malley-Munhoz has the potential to be an absolute war.

#4) Deiveson Figueiredo vs 4th-ranked bantamweight Rob Font

(Left) @rob_font (Right) @daico_deusdaguerra
(Left) @rob_font (Right) @daico_deusdaguerra

Another interesting bout that the UFC should consider is former UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo vs 4th-ranked bantamweight Rob Font. Figueiredo is currently scheduled to challenge UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno to complete their trilogy. Regardless of whether Figueiredo defeats Moreno or not, it would be interesting to see how he'd fare competing at bantamweight. If Figueiredo were to move to 135lbs, a bout against a top-5 ranked opponent would make sense. Rob Font definitely checks that box.

Taking both Font and Figueiredo's fighting styles into account, their bout could go either way. Itโ€™d be interesting to see how Figueiredo performs without having to cut an extra 10lbs. Not only does Figueiredo have devastating knockout power, but his submission skills are excellent.

Font is currently scheduled to fight former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at a Fight Night card on December 4th. However, Petr Yan is expected to get the next title shot after winning the interim-bantamweight championship at UFC 267. With that in mind, Font will likely want to remain active after his bout with Aldo. A bout with another former champion like Figueiredo could generate more interest and put him next in-line for a title-shot.


#3) Frankie Edgar vs former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz

(Left) @frankieedgar (Right) @dominickcruz
(Left) @frankieedgar (Right) @dominickcruz

For many years, the idea of Frankie 'The Answer' Edgar and Dominick Cruz fighting only seemed possible in a video game. However, Edgar was on the receiving end of back-to-back losses at featherweight, so he decided to move down to 135lbs. From the moment Edgar announced he'd be moving to bantamweight, many clamored for a dream fight with Cruz.

By the way, Dominick Cruz vs. Jose Aldo is the fight to make. WEC royalty. Dominick Cruz vs. Frankie Edgar is your Plan B. Gotta be one of those. Please.
The fight to make is Frankie Edgar vs Dominick Cruz. #UFCVegas7

Frankie Edgar is one of the most durable fighters in UFC history. His lightweight battles with rival Gray Maynard are among the greatest fights in the promotion's history and helped cement Edgar's legacy.

Despite always being undersized at 155, Edgar ended up dethroning lightweight kingpin BJ Penn to become the champion.

Now at 135, 'The Answer' is 1-1 at bantamweight and a win over Marlon Vera next month could set-up a bout with Cruz.

Dominick Cruz is arguably the greatest bantamweight of all-time. A former two-time champion, some of Cruz's most notable victories include Urijah Faber, Demetrious Johnson and T.J. Dillashaw. Cruz snapped his two-fight losing streak earlier this year when he defeated Casey Kenney by split-decision. Although Cruz has dealt with long layoffs, he has proven that he's capable of competing with the division's top fighters. The former champion is scheduled to fight Pedro Munhoz at UFC 269. This is significant because it will be the first year since 2016 that Cruz has competed in multiple fights.

#2) Jose Aldo vs former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw

(Left) @josealdojunior (Right) @tjdillashaw
(Left) @josealdojunior (Right) @tjdillashaw

A dream bout at 135 the UFC must consider booking is between former featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw.

Jose Aldo is lighting fast โšก๐Ÿ˜ฑ https://t.co/HDAkHjvFkA

For years, Aldo had been considered one of the greatest fighters of all-time. Aldo's 18-fight winning streak from 2005 to 2015 was one of the most spectacular runs in the sport. Aldo was dominant from his days in the WEC and carried that over to the UFC. 'Junior' was an extremely difficult puzzle to solve as he had superior striking and excellent takedown defense. Aldo's lethal kicks slowed his opponents down and the pressure he'd apply was usually too much to handle.

After a loss to current-UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, Aldo decided to hit the refresh button on his career. Aldo didn't get off to the best start in his new weight-class. He lost a controversial split-decision to Marlon Moraes and took a brutal beating from Petr Yan. However, Aldo has since picked up two unanimous decision wins over Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz.

#e_RadioUS Jose Aldo wants to fight TJ Dillashaw after #UFC265 win vs. Pedro Munhoz | ESPN MMA e-radio.us/jose-aldo-wantโ€ฆ https://t.co/PGKfCZSRLW

T.J. Dillashaw has had an incredible career in his own right. The former bantamweight champion looked like he hadn't lost a step after serving his two-year USADA suspension. Dillashaw defeated #3 ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen by split-decision this past July and set himself up for another title-shot. If Aldo gets past Rob Font in December, a bout with Dillashaw would make the most sense. A bout between two former champions would be entertaining for all MMA fans.


#1) Petr Yan vs UFC bantamweight champion Aljamin Sterling 2

UFC 259 Blachowicz v Adesanya: Weigh-Ins
UFC 259 Blachowicz v Adesanya: Weigh-Ins

Topping this list of bantamweight fights the UFC should consider is the rematch between Aljamin Sterling and Petr Yan. With Yan's recent win over Sandhagen, it's clear there is no other direction to go than a rematch between Yan and Sterling.

The pair's first bout ended in controversy as Sterling received an illegal knee and was unable to continue.

The illegal knee took place in the fourth-round after Sterling had been in a downed position. As a result, Yan was disqualified and Sterling was crowned the new UFC bantamweight champion.

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It's important to note that Yan was ahead on the scorecards as two judges had him winning two rounds. Prior to the illegal knee, Yan was in control of the fourth round and was overall dominating the fight.

#UFC259 Official Scorecard: Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMasterMMA)All Tonight's Scorecards: ufc.com/news/ufc-259-oโ€ฆ https://t.co/CXTbMvmWsM

The rematch was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 267. However, Sterling was forced to withdraw from the bout and was replaced by Cory Sandhagen. Now that Yan is interim-bantamweight champion, it'd be an absolute crime if the rematch didn't happen.

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Edited by Genci Papraniku
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