STORYLINES: UFC 223
Featured Image Credit: Barclays Center
With UFC 223 being next on the UFC's calendar, we begin our coverage of it by touching some of the biggest storylines heading into the biggest PPV of the year so far.
1. Ferguson vs. Khabib attempt #103841
This is the fight I have been salivating over for what seems to be forever. Every time it has been scheduled, I have been extremely excited, just to have my hopes wished away by an injury or medical emergency. I am hesitantly positive that it will finally happen April 7, but I need to knock on wood now. The winner of this is potentially the "Undisputed" Lightweight champion, as it is rumored that current champ Conor McGregor will be stripped upon the beginning of this fight and not a second before. I have already expressed my frustration of the "conditional strippage" HERE on the podcast. Regardless, this fight is still fun as heck, with an immovable object against in unstoppable force, and I hope it happens and is everything people think it will be.
2. The Return of Joanna
This is not to disclaim Rose Namajunas in the slightest. She came into New York and upset the queen of the Strawweight division and did so spectacularly. Our very own Buju, Joanna aficionado, was silent for hours following the bout. But, I think the story here is how Joanna bounces back from this, her first professional loss. Will she come back stronger than ever and reclaim the belt, or will she succumb to the pressure and never quite be the same fighter again? That is a question that can only be answered when the octagon door is locked and these women duke it out.
3. Is it "Showtime?"
A fight that isn't getting much press in the leadup to the event is that of Anthony Pettis against Michael Chiesa. To me, this is the third most intriguing fight after the title fights, as it is a make-or-break fight for Pettis, not for his livelihood in the promotion, but rather his status in it. The former champion is looking to show he still has what it takes to be champion, and Chiesa is a very formidable opponent with crafty Jiu-Jitsu, so he will be no walk in the park. Pettis is going to have to show the MMA world that he has put his past issues in the past and is ready to come back and look like the guy who finished Gilbert Melendez, or the guy who landed the "Showtime" kick on Benson Henderson. If he doesn't, I find it hard to see a world where he's seen as elite ever again.
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