BS Meter for Latest UFC Fight Rumors and Speculation

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2022

BS Meter for Latest UFC Fight Rumors and Speculation

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    All of a sudden, UFC fans have some time on their hands.

    Six days past the year's first pay-per-view extravaganza in southern California and eight days ahead of its next televised show in Las Vegas, Octagonal die-hards can look at the bigger picture.

    Who'll fight next? What titles will be at stake? Will any non-MMA stars climb into the cage?

    Which can only mean one thing: It's BS Meter time!

    The B/R combat sports team got together to scan the up-to-the-minute rumors in order to apply a tag indicating how close each suggestion is to happening.

    Read on to see what we came up with, and let us know how we did with a line or two in the comments.

Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Chandler

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Eighteen months ago, this was a marquee fight.

    These days, it seems a bit more like a consolation prize.

    But just because they're on respective three- and two-match losing streaks and failed in two bids for UFC hardware, it doesn't mean a duel between lightweights Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler wouldn't be a banger.

    They've got 12 performance bonuses between them and, even in the midst of a dual slump, they remain among the most recognizable and popular fighters in the promotion.

    UFC czar Dana White suggested in an ESPN interview (h/t MMA Fighting) that a bout between Ferguson and Chandler is being discussed for later in 2022 but has not been signed.

    If you ask our opinion, we'd go ahead and discuss something else.

    Though they both retain name value from the glory days, nothing that Ferguson has shown recently indicates he's still anywhere near the seventh-best 155-pound fighter in the world. It wouldn't be nearly the fight that the career street cred implies, and it's our guess that White and Co. will eventually choose another route.

    BS Meter: BS

    It might sound fun to you. But it wouldn't be for El Cucuy.

Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    It almost makes too much sense.

    Jon Jones is frequently listed among the best fighters in UFC history and he's been out of the cage for nearly two full years, with much of that time spent working into a new body for a rise to heavyweight.

    Francis Ngannou is a dominant champion in the promotion's big-man division, meaning a would-be bout with Jones would presumably be among the biggest single events in MMA history.

    But all of a sudden, it's not looking quite as sensible.

    Ngannou just emerged from a title defense against Cyril Gane with a badly injured right knee, not to mention a vendetta with the company after suggesting he'll not fight again on his current contract.

    He'll be free of the UFC in one year and might spend most of all of that on the sidelines is surgery and rehab is needed to heal the damaged leg. And given Jones' already prolonged stretch of inactivity, it wouldn't be prudent for the ex-light heavyweight king to wait around for the Predator to get himself right.

    Translation: Don't hold your breath.

    BS Meter: BS

    Ngannou won't be around. Jones can't wait around. Expect something to foul up the works.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Jake Paul

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    CHANDAN KHANNA/Getty Images

    Speaking of titillating possibilities, this one may take the cake.

    Even purists, though perhaps through held noses, have to admit that YouTube stalwart Jake Paul moved the combat sports needle unlike nearly anyone in 2021.

    And it's essentially beyond debate that retired Dagestani matrix Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the most fearsome competitors the UFC has ever known.

    So, as ridiculous as it sounds, the idea of them somehow getting together is compelling.

    Paul floated the idea of crossing over to the cage and fighting in Khabib's Eagle FC promotion, but only if the owner himself would be his first opponent.

    That sounds ridiculous, too, based on the level of damage the ex-champ would instantly inflict, but the guess is that the novelty level is so tangible that the parties would find some way to tailor the rules to prevent Paul's permanent incapacitation.

    BS Meter: Not BS

    White is so filled with enmity for Paul that the UFC probably stays at arm's length, but who knows? Maybe he can bite his tongue long enough to get in on the action, too.Β Β 

Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno IV

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    Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

    They've fought three times, spending parts of 13 rounds together in the last 13 months.

    So now that Brazilian dynamo Deiveson Figueiredo has regained supremacy at 125 pounds, it wouldn't be at all unfair for him to embrace the idea of seeing people other than Brandon Moreno going forward.

    It's been a particularly brutal 63 minutes for Moreno as well, but it'd be equally sensible for him to want to regain his mojo elsewhere before trying to re-ascend the flyweight mountain.

    But come on, their series is 1-1-1 after three fights.

    Which means, in reality, there are no other choices.

    Figueiredo floated the idea of a fourth bout with Moreno in Mexico while talking to Joe Rogan on Saturday night, and Moreno certainly seemed interested even while suggesting the slate should be 2-0-1.

    Other contenders may be getting impatient. But none have a back story that equals the rivalry.

    BS Meter: Not BS

    Instant rematches aren't always the UFC's thing. But given that these two have already met for three straight fights, it's not at all silly to suggest it'll be happening again before anyone else intervenes.

Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes

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    Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

    OK, we saved the most likely one for last.

    Given the enormity of the upset that Julianna Pena executed in stopping consensus GOAT Amanda Nunes and taking her bantamweight title, it's hard to imagine a rematch wouldn't be next for both.

    Nunes wants it.

    And though she's gone through some recent turmoil with a gym change, there's been no indication she doesn't crave the belt and wouldn't be the favorite when a second fight is booked.

    And Pena wants it, too.Β She's excited to prove that her upset wasn't a fluke and that she belongs permanently among the upper echelon of combative women.

    The only thing to decide seems to be when and where.Β 

    One locale, at least to Pena, is on the no-fly list: Nunes' native Brazil.

    "No thanks," she said of that as a destination for a springtime card (h/t MMA Fighting).

    BS Meter: Not BS

    It's either the champ-champ regaining her status, or the upset queen proving her point. Regardless of how you think it'll go if it happens, it'll happen.