With UFC 228 in the books and no UFC 229 press conference in sight (reportedly taking place next Thursday) says Brett Okamoto, it’s only right to shift our attention to UFC 230. The stacked Madison Square Garden card is filled with enticing bouts, but it’s still missing a main event. Here are some options.
One of the most realistic match ups is probably TJ Dillashaw fighting Henry Cejudo. Both men expressed interest in fighting each other almost immediately following their victories at UFC 227 a month ago. The only problem is whether both men are being paid enough to make such a quick turnaround. Then the question becomes which weight class would the proposed bout take place. Cejudo clearly stated that he wanted to move up and attempt to enter champ champ status.
Dillashaw told Brendan Schaub he’s got his eye on the UFC flyweight title citing no clearcut #1 contender at bantamweight. Cejudo’s head coach, Eric Albarracin told Ariel Helwani after the title win that his pupil took a pay cut to fight Demetrious Johnson. If Cejudo moves up as a #1 contender, it’s fair to think he’d ask to get champion pay for his efforts.
Given the timeframe, Cejudo might want to fight at 135-lbs due to his previous weight cutting troubles. When asked when to expect Cejudo back, Albarracin told Helwani they are targeting December. He described November as being a fast turnaround. But it’s not too far from their preferred date. While the bout doesn’t sound as enticing as DJ vs. TJ, it’ll be nice way to get the super fight out of the way.
Problem is that the UFC had the opportunity to announce the UFC 230 main event during the UFC 228 broadcast, but didn’t mention it. Cejudo was even present at the event. Orlando Jimenez, a friend and possible training partner or trainer of Dominick Cruz posted a not so subtle photo on his Instagram claiming that Dominick Cruz and TJ Dillashaw will meet in December. You could chalk it up to Cruz’s friend trying to draw up interest for a rematch or perhaps the UFC is using Cruz as a negotiation tactic while attempting to book Cejudo-Dillashaw.
Another potential option just made itself available after Tyron Woodley defeated Darren Till via submission while taking no damage in the process. Well, he did say he hurt his thumb after landing a million punches on Till’s stone made dome. Surprised his elbow is in tact. When asked if he’d be willing to return to headline the MSG card, Woodley expressed interest. Colby Covington did the same but in a more controversial way
Woodley did state that he is looking to get paid after successfully defending his title for a fourth time so it’s not a given that the UFC is on board. Dana White has yet to address when the grudge match would take place.
It’s either these two options or perhaps wait on USADA to hand Jon Jones a light suspension of about 15 months long dating back to his failed drug test post-UFC 214, which is unlikely given that it’s his second offense.