UFC Rematches That We Need To See
Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm II
Perhaps the most infamous fight in the UFC's women division. A fight where the most dominant and most popular female fighter Ronda Rousey went to defend her title once again against boxing veteran and top contender Holly Holm in Melbourne, Australia at UFC 193 in a sold out arena. The oddmakers and general public thought this would be another walk in the park as Holm had been less than impressive in her first two UFC fights with decisions over Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau.
What happened in the actual fight is history as for the first time ever Ronda Rousey was not only challenged but absolutely dismantled by Holly Holm and ultimately finished by a headkick in the 2nd round. Holm left no doubt it was not a fluke win as she dominated from start to finish. People questioned whether Ronda was too confident and arrogant as pre-fight antics at the weigh-in over Holm and constantly being involved with movies and press distracted her.
While Holm demolished Rousey in the first fight, it is yet to be seen if the rematch would go the same. Many thought an immediate rematch would occur but Rousey took an indefinite leave from the sport and has yet to return. Holm went on to defend her title against Miesha Tate but ended up losing in the 5th round from a rear-naked choke. With Rousey return still not on the horizon and Holm not wanting to waste any time again and get back into title contention, she took a fight against Top 1- fighter, Valentina Shevchenko in a UFC on Fox Main Event, only to lose once again via decision. Now on a two fight skid, and not looking exactly impressive since her title victory, a rematch could potentially go another way or be more competitive.
In the fight itself, while Holm dominated the fight, there was still one or two moments which if worked on by Rousey and coming in one-hundred percent focus she could capitalize on and perhaps avenge her only loss in her career. In the fight, Rousey rushed like a bull and Holly fought like a matador, using Rousey's aggression against her, slipping her shots and countering almost every exchange initiated. A couple times in the fight, Rousey albeit wildly swinging at some points did catch Holm slightly and also even was able to close the distance and get a hold of her a couple times, including a takedown. While Rousey did not capitalize on any of those clinch exchanges, the fact she was still able to get there is still a positive. As shown in Holly's last two losses, she cannot initiate or dictate a fight's pace. Miesha and Valentina executed similar game plans in that they did not rush Holly and basically countered the counter-strike. Holm was not able to pull the trigger and initiate striking exchanges in the fight as she prefers the counter-striking style. If Rousey follows suits, she can get Holly out of her rhythm and perhaps have more chances to take the fight to the ground. That being said, no one knows either how Rousey will come back after her first loss, Holm could just have Rouseys number as well and have the perfect style to match-up against Ronda Rousey to defeat her once again. Also, despite dropping two fights back to back, Holm has still been active and fighting while Rousey would be coming off a long-lay off if Holm is her first fight back, if ever.
Conor McGregor vs Jose Aldo II
A fight that shook the MMA world almost as much Rousey vs Holm, the biggest fight of these two's careers and a fight that cemented Conor McGregor's place in stardom and popularity. Coming into this fight there was so much hype and split thoughts on Conor McGregor, whether he was actually tested or belonged up at the top or was just all talk. Coming into the McGregor was the interim champion after he beat Chad Mendes at UFC 189 when Aldo was forced out due to injury. Despite a win over the #2 Contender at Featherweight, McGregor critics said it was due to Chad coming in on two weeks notice. Leading up to the fight at UFC 194, plenty of antics occured between the two as McGregor kept up his trash talk trying to get into Aldo's head. Aldo was the only champion in UFC history as he was the inaugural champ and has not lost in 13 years. Considered one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, he was expected to beat or at least have a big competitive fight with McGregor, what happened no one expected. As soon as the fight started, Aldo came out aggressive and opened up with a combo only to be knocked-out by a counter left from McGregor in just 13 seconds.
Since their fight, McGregor was scheduled to fight then lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos at 155 for the belt at UF 196, RDA was forced to pull out due to injury. McGregor fought Nate Diaz on short notice and after controlling and dominating the first round, Nate Diaz turned the tides and put the pressure on McGregor constantly hitting him with his infamous 1-2 and stockton slap, eventually rocking Conor McGregor and choking him out in the second round. In the biggest rematch so far in the UFC at UFC 202, Conor McGregor fought a five round war against Nate Diaz in what was a highly contested back and forth bout where each fighter almost put the other away at different points in the fight. With Conor McGregor winning a narrow decision over Diaz, the trilogy fight has been put on the back-burner by Dana White. At UFC 200, with Conor scheduled to rematch Diaz, Jose Aldo had a rematch with Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight title. After feeling out the first round, the Jose Aldo of old came to fight and comfortably beat and dominated Frankie Edgar who was on a large win-streak over multiple Top 10 contenders in their division.
Since their respective wins, Aldo has been waiting for McGregor to come back down to 145 to defend his featherweight belt and to unify that and the interim title. With McGregor's uncertainty in coming back down as he eyes a title fight against lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, Aldo may find himself defending his title against new featherweight title contender Anthony Pettis or #3 contender Max Holloway who is on a 9 fight win-streak in the division.
No matter what happens next, a rematch is must-see between the two. The two biggest featherweights have to collide to see if Aldo can recover and be at his best once again or if McGregor is still the featherweight king. In the first fight, Aldo admitted the mind games got to him and that a rematch would be different. On the flip-side McGregor has moved up and still looked impressive, despite losing one fight to Nate Diaz. His power at 145 is unquestionable, knocking out Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo back to back, while also being large for the division. The weight-cut may prove to be an issue as McGregor while never missing weight, comes out very drawn out for weigh-ins and walking around near 170 lbs. In the rematch, an Aldo that remains calm and that showed up against Frankie Edgar can take the undisputed crown back. Dominating the former 155 champ with ease, Aldo can make a rematch much more competitive using his left kicks and evasiveness to chop down McGregor's movement and evade his power left hand.
McGregor on the other hand still has his power and ability to turn anyone's lights up, moving up to 170 lbs, McGregor's hands still gave Nate Diaz trouble and even dropped him a couple of times in the fight. McGregor has shown to evolve his game and even the fact he can game plan as in his rematch against Nate Diaz he was able to control the distance and keep Nate outside at first by adding leg kicks to his game and not rushing into and throwing all of his power into strikes in an effort to finish the fight as soon as possible. Also McGregor fights extremely long and has proven to keep fighters at the end of his range at 145. Aldo will need to execute his normal leg kicks and combos while avoiding Conor's exceptional counter boxing and counter left trying to close the distance and get in on McGregor to connect.
While a rematch seems almost unlikely in the near future with McGregor eyeing fighting at Madison Square Garden and becoming a two-division champ by fighting Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. Another loss at 155 though may very likely see McGregor dropping back down finally after potentially 3 fights outside of his division. If Conor relegates the title, Aldo's would automatically be the undisputed champion as he holds the interim title but questions would still held over Aldo's legitimacy, much like Daniel Cormier is, as they never beat the champion and became it by relinquishment of the title. The potential for Aldo to move up though and build his way to a fight against McGregor at 155 is not outside of the realm of possibility either as Aldo has mentioned in the past about the hard weight-cut, like McGregor, and potential plans to move-up, especially as his teammate Renan Barao has entered the featherweight division as well.
Hopefully we see a rematch soon between these two fighters at the top of their game and perhaps get the exciting and competitive 5 round fight many expected going into their first fight back at UFC 194.