A couple of days ago we were informed of our epic UFC welterweight championship rematch between No. 2 ranked pound-for-pound fighter on the planet Kamaru Usman and No. 1 ranked welterweight contender Colby Covington.
That bout is set to headline UFC 268 on November 6, 2021, presumed to be at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
There has been another incredible bout just added to the event however, and that’s the lightweight bout we’ve all been waiting for, between No. 2 ranked Justin Gaethje and No. 4 ranked Michael Chandler.
Since Chandler lost to Charles Oliveira in May, this is all the MMA community has been asking for.
Gaethje hasn’t fought since his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October. This fight makes all the sense in the world to make next, here’s all the reasons:
For one, both of these men are coming off title fight defeats. Nurmagomedov retired after defeating Gaethje, leaving Chandler and Oliveira to fight for the vacant strap.
Not only are they both coming off title shots, but they were both finished in round two of those title fights, Gaethje via submission (triangle choke), and Chandler via TKO (punches).
Next is the fact that they both came over from different organizations.
Their UFC debuts were both long awaited, as they both fully developed in those organizations, Gaethje in WSOF and Chandler in Bellator, for years and years before coming over.
Gaethje is a six-time WSOF lightweight champion, and Chandler is a six-time Bellator lightweight champion.
Not to mention, both of these talents are finishers, knockout artists in particular.
Gaethje comes in with a record of 22-3, 19 of those victories coming via knockout. He actually has the same exact knockout ratio of Conor McGregor, while Chandler comes in with a record of 22-6, 14 of those victories coming via knockout.
These two are both in their primes and more dangerous than ever. Whoever comes out on top in this one may end up facing the winner of Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, and rightfully so. They can both defeat any active fighter on the planet on any given night at 155 lbs.
Now getting into the UFC 268 main event between the two best welterweights on the planet:
Usman defeated Covington via TKO (punches) at 4:10 of round five on December 14, 2019 to secure the first defense of his newly crowned UFC welterweight championship.
There were some controversies during the contest, such as Covington landing a body kick that was declared a low blow, as well as a good deal of fans believing the stoppage was unjust.
Nonetheless, they get to settle it on November 6, one week shy of 23 months later.
Usman has since defended his title three more times, first against Jorge Masvidal, then against Gilbert Burns, before rematching Masvidal due to the fact that the Cuban challenger had only six days notice for their first encounter.
His first fight with Masvidal showed him victorious via unanimous decision, winning the final four rounds of the bout, while his performance against Burns showed him TKO (punches) his former teammate in round three.
Then Usman KO’d (punch) Masvidal in round two of their rematch in April, quite surprisingly we might add.
Covington’s lone performance since then showed him maul former four-time UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and finish him in round five via TKO (injury).
It’s unfortunate we haven’t seen Covington fight at least once more before challenging Usman for the strap again.
We’ve seen such leaps and bounds of improvements in the champions game, leaps and bounds we haven’t seen from Covington because, well, his only fight since then was against Woodley in September of last year.
That being said, he is and has been the rightful No. 1 contender since their first fight ended.
We’ve only got two bouts lined up for UFC 268 thus far, but they’re two of the best and most important fights that can be made in the sport today! Who do you see coming out on top in each of them?
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.