With Christmas just a few days away, I’m cutting it close for asking Santa for a present. But I was a very good boy this year, giving all you lovely readers winning UFC picks all year long, so I deserve a present. Actually, make that 11 presents. Here is my list of fights I want to see happen in each of the UFC’s weight classes in 2022. Now it’s in your hands Santa.
Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza
This one appears to actually be happening in 2022. Carla Esparza beat current champ Rose Namajunas in 2014 to become the UFC’s inaugural women’s 115-pound champ. Now she’s worked her way back up to #1 contender status and can try to best Namajunuas once more for the belt.
Manon Fiorot vs Taila Santos
Two streaking, up-and-coming women’s flyweights and superb strikers. Manon Fiorot has won all three of her UFC fights; Taila Santos has won four straight after dropping her big show debut. The winner continues on to the top of the division.
Aspen Ladd vs Miesha Tate
These two have been duking it out verbally, now let’s settle the beef in the cage. Former champ Miesha Tate has shown to have plenty left in the gas tank since her return, and Aspen Ladd needs a big scalp to add to her resume.
Kai Kara-France vs Askar Askarov
Kai Kara-France is perhaps the most dangerous striker in the flyweight division. Askar Askarov is perhaps the most dangerous grappler. A classic style vs style matchup. Winner gets a title shot.
Sean O’Malley vs Dominick Cruz
Phenom Sean O’Malley has been throwing shade on former champ Dominick Cruz recently. Put the two in the cage and see if elite striker O’Malley can handle the wizened veteran’s defense, footwork, and unique fighting style.
Giga Chikadze vs Max Holloway
Giga Chikadze is fighting on the first UFC card in 2022 and Max Holloway seems destined for another title shot, so this is dream matchmaking, not reality. These two striking with one another would be Fight of the Year worthy.
Mateusz Gamrot vs Tony Ferguson
Mateusz Gamrot has shown to be the real deal in the UFC, so let’s throw him in there with a big name on his way down, Tony Ferguson. It would be a highly entertaining grappling battle and would show if Gamrot is ready for the elite and if Ferguson has anything left.
Khamzat Chimaev vs Colby Covington
Both Khamzat Chimaev and Colby Covington are smothering grapplers and push a relentless pace. This would be Chimaev’s biggest test to date, with a win very likely propelling him into a title shot. Plus, I wouldn’t mind someone shutting Covington’s mouth up, which Chimaev surely is capable of.
Gerald Meerschaert vs Andre Muniz
Let’s put two of the best grapplers in the 185-pound class up against once another and see what happens. Andre Muniz is the superior and more powerful fighter of the two, but Gerald Meerschaert can never be counted out in a fight until the bell rings.
Glover Teixeira vs Jiri Prochazka
Here is another fight that appears likely to happen early in 2022. New champ Glover Teixeira’s first title defense could be his last, as Jiri Prochazka is an explosive, unorthodox striker. But old dog Teixeira has shown to have plenty of new tricks. Another fun style vs style matchup.
Derrick Lewis vs Tai Tuivasa
Derrick Lewis showed in his last fight that he is still among the elite, so let’s see if Tai Tuivasa can join him up there. Two chunky guys with big personalities throwing concussive blows in the cage is always a recipe for fun.