This year has been jam-packed with quality UFC action. We’ve seen championships change hands, a champion vs champion super fight, and some incredible knockouts.
As we head towards the halfway point of 2021, there are some exciting matchups scheduled for the upcoming UFC events. Now that fans are back at events, let’s hope that some of the UFC stars we’ve yet to see this year will return soon.
Here are 5 of the best UFC fighters yet to compete in 2021:
#5 Cody Garbrandt
The former UFC bantamweight champion has yet to step into the octagon in 2021. MMA fans have been eager to see who Garbradt will face after his highlight-reel knockout of Raphael Assuncao.
He was scheduled to drop down a weight class to challenge UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 255 but was forced to withdraw with a bicep injury.
Unfortunately, Garbrandt contracted Covid-19 last year and suffered long-term effects from the virus.
Thankfully, 'No Love' has recovered and is scheduled to face fellow bantamweight contender Rob Font at UFC Fight Night 188 on May 22nd.
#4 Colby Covington
Number one ranked UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington is yet to set foot in the octagon in 2021. He has not competed since stopping former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in the fifth round back in September 2020.
Many fans hoped to see 'Chaos' face former training partner and now bitter rival Jorge Masvidal in 2021. The UFC instead booked Masvidal for a rematch with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 261.
As of now, Covington is the odd man out in the welterweight division. Let’s hope we can see him in the octagon before the end of this year.
#3 Alexander Volkanovski
We have not yet seen UFC featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski fight in the octagon in 2021. The Australian fighter was scheduled to face Brian Ortega at UFC 260 in March. However, he contracted Covid-19 on arrival to Las Vegas and the fight was scrapped.
The UFC recently announced that Volkanovski and Ortega would be the coaches for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter show on ESPN +.
Once the show wraps, let’s hope the two coaches can meet in the octagon before the end of this year.
#2 Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Former strawweight queen, Joanna Jędrzejczyk has not competed since her legendary fight against Zhang Weili at UFC 248 in March 2020.
The Polish fighter deserved a lengthy break after her five-round war with the current UFC strawweight champion. Anyone who saw the fight will remember Joanna’s disfigured, swollen forehead.
It will be interesting to see who Joanna Jędrzejczyk will face when she chooses to return to the octagon. In an interview with MMAFighting, Jędrzejczyk said she wants to face the winner of Weili vs Namajunas.
#1 Jon Jones
Arguably the greatest UFC fighter in history, Jon Jones is easily the biggest name not to have competed in the octagon in 2021. The former UFC light heavyweight champion last fought at UFC 247 against Dominick Reyes.
Last year, Bones announced he was vacating the UFC light heavyweight title and moving up to heavyweight. It was expected he would face the winner of the Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou championship fight at UFC 260.
Sadly for MMA fans, Jones is engaged in a bitter public feud with the UFC and Dana White over his contract. Jones wants more money to face Ngannou while the UFC is refusing to budge.
We can only hope that Jones and the UFC can come to some sort of agreement so that we can finally see the super fight between 'Bones' and 'The Predator'.