The excitement surrounding UFC 262 has just gone through the roof.
Initially, the clash between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler for the vacant UFC lightweight title – in addition to many other exciting fights – made this card a must-see one. And as though that wasn’t enough, the UFC has now revealed that UFC 262 will feature the return of Nate Diaz.
The Oliveira vs. Chandler matchup will serve as the UFC 262 main event, whereas Nate Diaz will return in the co-main event to face top-tier welterweight Leon Edwards. On that note, today, we take a look at three more fights to add to the main card to make UFC 262 the event of the year.
#3 Sean O’Malley vs. Dominick Cruz could steal the show at UFC 262
Sean O’Malley is coming off a huge third-round KO win over Thomas Almeida at UFC 260 (March 27th, 2021). Meanwhile, former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz’s last fight was a split decision win over Casey Kenney at UFC 259 (March 6th, 2021).
Both UFC bantamweight stars have expressed interest in facing one another.
During the ESPN MMA UFC 260 post-fight show, Chael Sonnen revealed that Dominick Cruz had texted him after the event and expressed interest in fighting Sean O’Malley. Sonnen and Michael Bisping concurred that it’d be a great matchup –
“I believe Dominick Cruz just heard our piece and told me to throw his name into the O’Malley mix,” Chael Sonnen stated.
“Dominick Cruz vs. Sean O’Malley, take my money, please,” Michael Bisping said.
Moreover, Sean O’Malley appeared on The Pat McAfee Show and revealed that he’d like to fight Cruz on the UFC 264 fight card in July 2021. This card is purportedly going to be headlined by the blockbuster Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier trilogy fight. O’Malley said –
“The second after you fight the next question is – Who’s next? I heard Dominick Cruz texted Chael Sonnen saying he wants that fight. So, I don’t know if Chael got a prank text from a fake Dom, or if that’s real. That’s a potential matchup.”
UFC 264 will shape up down the line, but O’Malley and Cruz would be better suited to face off sooner rather than later. Adding this fight to UFC 262 would be best for all parties concerned.
#2 Alexander Volkov vs. Ciryl Gane is a clash of UFC heavyweight elites that will add to UFC 262’s allure
Alexander Volkov’s last fight was a second-round TKO win over Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Volkov (February 6th, 2021). On the other hand, Ciryl Gane’s most recent fight was a unanimous decision win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Gane (February 27th, 2021).
Volkov and Gane are likely one more win away from a shot at the UFC heavyweight title. And with current UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou said to be facing either Jon Jones or Derrick Lewis next, Volkov vs. Gane would be a great matchup to make.
Both Volkov and Gane could add to the allure of an already stacked UFC 262 fight card, with the winner getting enough time to prepare for a future UFC heavyweight title shot in late-2021 or early-2022. Volkov vs. Gane is an excellent heavyweight clash for UFC 262.
#1 Amanda Nunes could defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title against Julianna Pena at UFC 262
Amanda Nunes’ first-round submission win over Megan Anderson in their UFC women’s featherweight title fight at UFC 259 was followed by talks of her possibly making a quick turnaround.
Nunes hasn’t defended her UFC women’s bantamweight title since 2019, and her bantamweight rival Julianna Pena has been strongly lobbying for a shot at the belt.
In the aftermath of UFC 259, UFC president Dana White revealed that Pena had constantly been texting the UFC for a fight against Nunes. White stated –
"Julianna Pena has been texting all of us all night, she's been busy tonight. Yeah, we could do that (On booking Pena next against Amanda Nunes for the women's bantamweight title)."
Pena last fought and defeated Sara McMann via third-round submission at UFC 257 (January 24th, 2021), whereas Nunes’ win over Anderson came at UFC 259 (March 6th, 2021). Pena has had adequate time to recover from her back-and-forth fight against McMann, while Nunes barely took any damage against Anderson.
Furthermore, the grudge match angle between Nunes and Pena – both of whom have been engaged in an intense war of words against one another – makes it the ideal fight to be added to UFC 262.
When will UFC 262 take place?
The UFC 262 fight card will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on May 15th, 2021.