Ranking the Main Event Options for UFC 251

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2020

Ranking the Main Event Options for UFC 251

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    Steve Marcus/Getty Images

    Let's help make UFC 251 the best pay-per-view card in 2020.

    The event is scheduled for July 11 and will presumably be the company's first big pay-per-view event on Fight Island, though no details about that location have been released.

    Still, judging by how comparatively lackluster UFC 250 on June 6 looks, at least when compared to the stacked lineup the company offered May 9 at UFC 249, it might not be that bad of an idea to offer UFC President Dana White and his matchmakers a few suggestions about what that main event could be.

    Here are the five best main event options for UFC 251. Be sure to leave your ideas in the comments section.

5. Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2

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    This featherweight title rematch was the original main event for UFC 251.
    This featherweight title rematch was the original main event for UFC 251.Associated Press

    This featherweight title rematch was originally tabbed as the most likely headliner for UFC 251 when it was scheduled for June 6 in Perth, Australia, so it seems reasonable to at least put the Alexander Volkanovski-Max Holloway rematch on the list, even if there are several other higher-profile matches available.

    Volkanovski scored the upset win over Holloway at UFC 245 in December. The new champion's shockingly easy win ended Holloway's long reign atop the UFC's featherweight division and snapped the American's 14-fight win streak within the division. It was the 28-year-old's first loss at 145 pounds since 2013.

    But Holloway's prolonged excellence demands he gets another chance to reclaim the title. Volkanovski, meanwhile, stands to gain another huge feather in his cap if he can fell Holloway for the second time.

4. Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier 3

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    Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic have unfinished business.
    Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic have unfinished business.Associated Press

    Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier have unfinished business. The two are knotted and 1-1, and the rubber match is something that has to be completed before the heavyweight division can move on, which most importantly would see Francis Ngannou get another deserved crack at UFC gold.

    Miocic is the heavyweight champion, and it seems he's done enough in his career to be given the benefit of the doubt by the company when it comes to things like how soon he should be ready to fight amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    But since there's already been talk about stripping the champion, and given Cormier's popularity is presumably putting him in the driver's seat, maybe Miocic should just decide it's better to come back and get this third fight over with as soon as possible.

    Their previous fights were top-notch, and there's no reason to believe the third wouldn't be just as awesome.

3. Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz 2

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    A BMF title rematch between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz would be good news for fans.
    A BMF title rematch between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz would be good news for fans.Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Jorge Masvidal promised Nate Diaz a rematch after the disappointing ending of their original BMF title throwdown at UFC 244 in November, but both fighters seemingly moved in different directions after that.

    The BMF titleholder was supposed to be UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman's next challenger, but that fight never got booked even after being prematurely announced by White in January. Now it appears Masvidal and Diaz are angling for a BMF title rematch, and that's good news for fans of violent action.

    Masvidal-Diaz 2 would be a stunning headliner for UFC 251, and it would be an easy sell to fight fans during a difficult time.

2. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje

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    Fans would love to see Justin Gaethje against his biggest test yet in Khabib Nurmagomedov.
    Fans would love to see Justin Gaethje against his biggest test yet in Khabib Nurmagomedov.Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    The world waited a long time to see Khabib Nurmagomedov take on Tony Ferguson, but the universe again conspired against that idea. Justin Gaethje showed up to replace the lightweight champion on short notice at UFC 249 and smashed Ferguson's dreams into oblivion.

    But Ferguson's misfortune was Gaethje's coming-out party. After suffering back-to-back losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, the 31-year-old American modified his approach to become the top-notch fighter he is today.

    Suddenly, Gaethje is one of the biggest tests the undefeated Nurmagomedov could possibly face at 155, and the winner would be crowned undisputed champion of the deepest division in the sport.

    While it's not likely the The Eagle is going to be back inside the Octagon by July, if hope can live in our hearts for any one big fight, there's no better matchup to root for than Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje.

    Well, almost.

1. Conor McGregor vs. Anybody

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    Conor McGregor vs. Anybody would easily sell the most PPVs.
    Conor McGregor vs. Anybody would easily sell the most PPVs.John Locher/Associated Press

    Love him or hate him, Conor McGregor sells more pay-per-views than anybody else in the company, so having him fight anybody would be the best option for just about everyone involved with UFC 251.

    First, it would keep McGregor focused on training for actual fights rather than worrying about the kinds of fights he's been getting into over recent weeks on social media.

    Next, it would bring the most possible eyeballs to the UFC.

    Can you imagine McGregor somehow talking his way into a rematch against UFC lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov?

    Or brazenly deciding to accept UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman's challenge?

    Heck, even booking his trilogy fight against Nate Diaz would finish off one of the best rivalries in UFC history.

    McGregor loves to make history, so if UFC 251 turns out to be the first big event at Fight Island, there's no better choice to be the headliner.