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5 big-name fighters who could return to the UFC in 2018

The UFC are in dire need of bankable stars right now, and these five could return in 2018 to change the promotion's fortunes.

ANALYST
Feature 08 Feb 2018, 22:05 IST
9.10K

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The initial few UFC shows of 2018 are now out of the way, and we haven’t really been given anything spectacular just yet. With injuries sidelining both Middleweight champ Robert Whittaker and Featherweight champ Max Holloway, we’ve seen two major PPV cards take a hit.

With the promotion crying out for big stars now – particularly after Ronda Rousey’s retirement and move to WWE – they may well be forced to turn to some big names who haven’t fought in a while to bring in the big buy-rates in the upcoming months. Here are five big-name fighters who could return to the Octagon in 2018.


#1 CM Punk

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Only a crazy person would try to argue that former WWE superstar CM Punk is a great MMA fighter – he took a one-sided beating in his only UFC appearance to date – but he certainly draws eyeballs.

His lone UFC appearance came at UFC 203, a show that drew a respectable 450,000 buys despite not having any other big names (to casual fans at least) on the card, but when he lost to the inexperienced Mickey Gall, it was expected that his UFC career was over.

Apparently, that isn’t the case. We haven’t really heard a peep from Punk since that fight in September 2016, and even though he’s reportedly still with Duke Roufus’s camp, Dana White was always negative on a potential UFC return.

More recently though he’s said he’s willing to give Punk another fight, and with the announcement that UFC 225 will take place in Chicago – Punk’s hometown - on June 9th, it looks more likely that we’ll see him in the cage again.

Current reports have Punk lined up to fight Michael ‘The Truth’ Jackson, the MMA photographer/reporter turned fighter who debuted in the UFC in 2016 with a loss to the same man who beat Punk in Mickey Gall.

Jackson is clearly a step down from Gall and with a record of 0-1, could be a beatable opponent for Punk. Although his first fight was embarrassing for all parties, the former WWE champion might have some drawing power yet, which means the UFC are likely to take a risk with him.

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