Happy July Motherfuckers (Nate Diaz voice). If you recall, I was and still am pissed off at the UFC for the month of June that they presented to us. What a shitty month of fights. While there were plenty of UFC events and a Bellator PPV, there weren’t many notable stories or impactful changes aside from Max Holloway becoming everyone’s new favorite Champion and BJ Penn and Fedor getting retired. Oh, and Bellator getting buried 6 feet deep thanks to a lackluster event and Scott Coker being a shithead (R.I.P. Bellator MMA). So, now that we’ve had a month to focus on our families, jobs, and other obligations let’s use July to rekindle our MMA fanship. There are so many, so so many great fights in July. Hard to talk about them all but here are the top 10 fights in July. My ranking system is based by both excitement and actual impact to the UFC as a whole.
10. Michael Johnson vs. Justin Gaethje
This is the main event of the Ultimate fighter finale so it’s a free fight. That is good news in of itself. The other good news is both of these guys love to throw hands and we should be in for a slugfest. It’s also always enjoyable to watch Michael Johnson get his mouth punched shut.
9. Jim Miller vs. Anthony Pettis
This should be an exciting fight, but more importantly this could be the last time we see Anthony Pettis in a UFC cage. In my opinion, as hard as it is to say, Anthony Pettis should be cut if he loses this fight. Losing 5 of your last 6 fights no matter your popularity is grounds for termination. Let’s pray for Anthony!
8. Chris Weidman vs. Kelvin Gastelum
UFC Fight Night on July 22nd is free. Again, good news. This time though there is only one fight worth watching on the entire card. Weidman is fighting for his career, and Gastelum is fighting to prove he can make weight and stay off the weed. This is an extremely exciting, high level fight that helps make up for the shittiness of the card.
7. Jimi Manuwa vs. Volkan Oezdemir
UFC 214 is in the top 5 cards I’ve ever seen on paper. We don’t know the results yet of course, but man there are 5-6 fights on this card that could make this list. Manuwa vs. Oezdemir is probably the 3rd best fight on the card! This fight will also solidify who gets the 205 title shot after Gustafsson fights the winner of Jones/Cormier.
6. Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia
I was honestly thinking of keeping this fight off of the list but the implications are just too much and they far outweigh the excitement. This is not only for the Welterweight strap, but also to see which lucky winner gets to lose to GSP in his return. I think Woodley is in trouble in this one even with his great wrestling.
5. Fabricio Werdum vs. Alistair Overeem
Another number 1 contender fight. Wow. July just doesn’t quit! The opposite styles of these two fighters makes it such an intriguing matchup. Lately Werdum doesn’t mind standing, but we know where he really wants this fight. That, along with Ubereem always being willing to trade punches and Uberknees makes me excited to see this one.
4. Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko
The Bantamweight title fight, headlining a great card that is UFC 213 would be ranked higher if it wasn’t in the women’s division. That, and this is a rematch so like most second editions it probably won’t live up to the hype. Amanda Nunes is probably the most popular woman fighter, and when she loses in this one it may be the end of WMMA.
3. Donald Cerrone vs. Robbie Lawler
The cancelled UFC 213 fight has now been re-booked for UFC 214. I said it once, and I’ll say it again. UFC 214 is now the best card in UFC history. Whether this fight lasts 20 seconds, or all 3 rounds I think we all know it’s going to be a slugfest between two great american warriors. I hope it’s 3 rounds of madness, but as my wife says, I anticipate just a few short minutes of action.
2. Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero
The only thing missing from this fight is that it’s for the interim Middleweight belt and not the undisputed belt. Bisping is holding on that for dear life while also probably praying that Whittaker wins this fight. Man, I can’t imagine the violence that will take place in the co-main event of UFC 213. Unfortunately, I’m also convinced that Romero is going to do something stupid to jeopardize this fight before, during, or after (If Yoel Romero was an Animal, He’d be a Cheatah!).
1. Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones
he fight we’ve been waiting for is almost here. The Main event of UFC 214 has so many story lines it’s impossible to mention them all. The most important two in my opinion are; Win, lose, or draw DC is likely going to retire. That, and if Jon Jones wins he cements himself as the greatest fighter of all time.
Honorable Mentions: Cyborg vs. Evinger, Sterling vs. Barao, Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio, & the TUF championship fight.