Four UFC stars that can capture the spotlight in the absence of McGregor and Rousey
The UFC has grown into the biggest MMA organisation on the planet in recent years, with its brilliant mix of entertainment and brutality inside the Octagon. Without a doubt, the face of the UFC is currently lightweight title holder and two-division champion Conor McGregor.
Former women’s bantamweight dominator Ronda Rousey was previously another superstar before tasting back-to-back defeats to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes. ‘The Notorious’ McGregor is presently preparing for a supposed boxing match-up with Floyd Mayweather Jr later this year, while Rousey has been quiet since being stopped by Nunes in December last year.
So, with both of the two leading pay-per-view stars seemingly out of action for some time, it’s up to many of the other stars to step up in their absence. Who could that be, though? There are plenty of top class fighters and entertainers on hand to capture audiences, so read on for five who could steal the UFC limelight.
After serving his last ban for a failed substance, Jones is set for his return on July 29th at UFC 214. It will, of course, be in a highly anticipated rematch against his long-standing foe and rival Daniel Cormier.
The latter currently holds the UFC light heavyweight belt and is the 2/1 outsider in the betting markets to successfully retain it with a victory over Jones. Both men collided at UFC 182 in January 2015, with Jones coming off the victor on that occasion, winning a unanimous decision in Las Vegas.
Their rivalry has boiled over of late and this looks set to be a pulsating scrap, one which could shoot Jones to further UFC superstardom with the victory. He was already a big star within the organisation, but a win in July will see his stock rocket even more in the absence of main male fighter McGregor.
At just 25 years of age, Garbrandt has showed plenty of maturity and an outstanding work ethic to get to the top of the pile in the men’s bantamweight division. The Ohio native rallied to title supremacy with an impressive points triumph over former dominant champion Dominick Cruz in December.
Garbrandt has all the attributes needed to become a sporting superstar and there are plenty of big name fights on the horizon for him in order to help boost his career even further in the coming years.
After dethroning Jose Aldo in Brazil, Holloway looks ready to take the UFC by storm. The Hawaiian fighter halted Aldo to become the featherweight champion and looks set to dominate at 145lbs.
He has not lost since being outpointed by McGregor in 2013, but he can take up the throne left since the Irishman moved up in weight.
Joanna J?drzejczyk With UFC Championship by KRK.TV (CC BY 3.0)
Probably the best active women’s fighter, and the one most likely to capture the mainstream spotlight, is Joanna Jedrzejczyk, as she continues her division dominance. The intimidating Polish fighter has reigned as strawweight champion since 2015 and has shown no signs of being stopped.
She has all the credentials to be an even bigger star of the UFC, as Rousey is away from the Octagon, having not been defeated in MMA so far in her career.