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5 UFC rematches that would be much bigger the second time around

Marlon Vera defeated Sean O'Malley at UFC 252
Marlon Vera defeated Sean O'Malley at UFC 252

Rivalries in the UFC can turn popular fighters into superstars in the sport. The likes of Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva and Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz boosted each fighter involved to a whole new level of popularity. For this to happen, a number of fights between the same opponents is what one would typically expect.

4 years ago today: Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz go to war in their rematch at UFC 202 https://t.co/XF5uqgDMi7

These situations typically lead to the rematch being even bigger than the first bout. Other times, two prospects meet early in their careers and then go on to become big stars. When they meet again after some time, the rematch is inevitably bigger as the fighters have gained populartity and there is naturally more attention.

Here are five UFC rematches that would be much bigger the second time around.


#5. Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje - UFC lightweight division

Gaethje and Poirier have a combined record of 10-4 since their first fight
Gaethje and Poirier have a combined record of 10-4 since their first fight

Justin Gaethje came up short in his second title fight recently when he was submitted in the first round by Charles Oliveira. He was previously submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov. Another man who has lost both his title fights against the same competitors is Dustin Poirier. Perhaps now is the time for these two to square off once again.

Apr14.2018Dustin Poirier puts an end to one of the wildest fights of the year,when he finishes Justin Gaethje in a classic https://t.co/qnVjcuo2KI

The first fight between the pair was a barnstormer that ultimately saw Poirier finish Gaethje back in 2018. However, at that point we had no idea how good either fighter was. The loss left Gaethje 1-2 in his UFC career, while Poirier also hadn't picked up the big wins he's known for today.

A rematch between the pair would be a much bigger deal this time around. Both fighters have established themselves as top five lightweights in the promotion and are much bigger stars than they were in 2018. With both men in need of a new challenge, perhaps this fight could be made sooner rather than later.

#4. Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards - UFC welterweight division

Usman and Edwards have a combined record of 22-0 (1 NC) since their first fight
Usman and Edwards have a combined record of 22-0 (1 NC) since their first fight

The UFC has made it clear that this is the fight they'd like to make for Kamaru Usman's next title defense. Leon Edwards has put on a lengthy winning streak, dating all the way back to his last fight with Usman and has established himself as the top contender in the division.

Dec19.2015Kamaru Usman earns his second victory inside the Octagon,when he defeats Leon Edwards by unanimous decision https://t.co/02WyETG7S3

Their first encounter was early in both fighters' careers and, in truth, did not produce the most entertaining bout. However, both men have progressed hugely since then and a battle between the top welterweights in the division would be a highly anticipated matchup.

This one would rank higher if it weren't for the fact that most MMA analysts are anticipating that the rematch will likely produce a similar fight to the first. However, if Edwards is able to avoid being smothered by Usman's wrestling, he'd have the advantage in a stand-up battle.


#3. Marlon Vera vs. Sean O'Malley II

O'Malley and Vera have a combined record of 6-1 since their first fight
O'Malley and Vera have a combined record of 6-1 since their first fight

Sean O'Malley has already been a big draw in the UFC for some time. The one loss he has suffered came at the hands of Marlon 'Chito' Vera, so naturally there would be significant interest in a rematch. On top of that, both men have improved significantly and become top contenders in the bantamweight division.

Aug15.2020Marlon Vera hands Sean O'Malley the first loss of his professional career,when he finishes him by TKO https://t.co/n3uWxr56Js

O'Malley has not lost since this defeat and has produced three bonus-winning finishes since that bout. Vera did suffer a loss to Jose Aldo but has now also put together a streak of three bonus-winning victories that have led to him entering the top 5 at bantamweight.

While this fight is likely not the next step for each competitor, a rematch at some point down the line does seem likely. The first bout between the pair did have a fair amount of hype, but both men have gotten better and become more popular since. A rematch would now be substantially bigger than their first encounter.

#2. Carla Esparza vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk - UFC women's strawweight division

Esparza and Jedrzejczyk have a combined record of 16-7 since their first fight
Esparza and Jedrzejczyk have a combined record of 16-7 since their first fight

These two female athletes fought for the UFC women's strawweight title back in March 2015. On that day, Carla Esparza came into the bout having just defeated Rose Namajunas to win the gold. However, Joanna Jedrzejczyk defeated her to become the new champion. Could history now be repeating itself?

March 14, 20153 years ago today, Joanna Jędrzejczyk defeated Carla Esparza via TKO due to punches at 4:17 of the 2nd round at UFC 185 to win the UFC Women’s Strawweight title. The win moved @joannamma to 9-0 & after winning the belt Joanna went on to defend the title 5 times. https://t.co/b2dOyCiZlY

Esparza recently defeated Namajunas for a second time to begin a second stint as the strawweight champion. Should Jedrzejczyk defeat Weili Zhang on June 11, she would become the No.1-contender to challenge for the title. Given all that's happened since their first fight, a rematch would inevitably be a bigger deal.

Since 2015, Jedrzejczyk became the longest-reigning champion in the division's history, and more recently, took part in the best women's MMA fight ever. Esparza has fought 12 times in the meantime and is now back atop the division. There is now a good chance we could get a highly anticipated rematch before too long.


#1. Conor McGregor vs. Max Holloway - UFC lightweight division

McGregor and Holloway have gone 24-7 since their first fight
McGregor and Holloway have gone 24-7 since their first fight

Few would have known when these men first fought back in August 2013, that they would go on to become two of the biggest stars the sport of MMA has ever seen. Both Conor McGregor and Max Holloway would go on to win the UFC featherweight championship, with the Irishman also winning the lightweight title.

🗓 6/4/2013Conor McGregor grinds out a unanimous decision win vs Max Holloway despite sustaining an early injury.Max was the only featherweight to go the distance with the Irishman. #Notor10us https://t.co/5IoMjYBACc

In their first fight, McGregor had a promotional record of 1-0 and Holloway's octagon record was 3-2. Those records now stand at 10-4 and 19-6 respectively, with both men taking on some of the biggest names in the sport. They are now true megastars in the sport and a rematch would be truly monumental.

This is a fight that wouldn't require a title on the line and it would still likely be the biggest PPV the UFC can put on that year. It is now a dream fight for MMA fans despite their first encounter flying somewhat under the radar. With both fighters being so popular, a rematch could well happen before the end of their careers.

Poll : Which fight is more likely to happen?

McGregor vs. Holloway II

Esparza vs. Jedrzejczyk II

53 votes

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Edited by Allan Mathew
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