You might have caught a glimpse of a stare-down between Connor McGregor and the champ, Jose Aldo. You might have seen McGregor or even heard him talking some shit, as he does. In fact, I'd bet as a UFC fan, you have seen plenty of McGregor and Aldo, but do you need reminding that this fight won't happen until July 12?
McGregor and Aldo, along with Dana White and the general UFC have embarked on a world tour to promote this fight and they are already balls deep in press conferences, stare-downs and general on stage mayhem. Given that both these fighters have strong international interest with Aldo hailing from the MMA heaven of Brazil and McGregor proudly representing Ireland, it only makes sense that they take the promotional tour around the world.
McGregor is a fighter with talent that matches his desires and hype, he's the perfect fighter to promote a fight with let alone a title fight as big as this one. Ever since McGregor jumped the cage and said howdy to Aldo in the crowd, this fight has been building and building but the constant hype has taken it to a slightly crazy levels. You really wonder how these two can conjure up such angst towards each other nearly every day, oh wait, it's not that hard because that's their job and they're embracing it exceptionally well.
While this fight is surrounded by hype and rightfully so, we must remember that it won't take place until July and there's a few fights that we need to enjoy before then. Merely waiting for Aldo vs McGregor will result in you overlooking some blockbusters that haven't had the same promotion run behind them. In saying that, you've got to respect the UFC for going all in on this fight, it's still pretty cool
As a UFC fan, it really is the best case scenario because there's just a whole lot of fights that should keep the UFC at the forefront of everyone's minds. On April 14 (NZ dates) you've got Gabriel Gonzaga taking on Mirko Cro Cop in a heavyweight clash which will take place in Poland.
That's followed up the next weekend with Lyoto Machida looking to get back on track against Luke Rockhold. Machida as we've seen time and time again is a lethal striker and move while Rockhold has won by submission in 54% of his fights so it'll be an interesting contest.
The weekend after that on April 27 you've got Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson taking on Kyoji Horiguchi. Johnson has looked exceptional in his run as champion and will be out to keep that standard very high while this card also features household names Anthony 'Rampage' Jackson and Michael Bisping who will fight Fabio Maldonado and CB Dollaway respectively.
May 11 has the fight that kiwis will be very keen to see with Stipe Miocic taking on our own beast Mark Hunt. Hunt is still in the mix for a title shot but as he gets older, it's only going to get harder and he has to start with Miocic who will pose a threat. Hunt's knockout power will be the key and hopefully for us he can dispatch of Miocic and get back in title contention. This fight will take place in Adelaide and will feature Robert Whittaker who, when he fought in Aotearoa said he's got some kiwi in him so we'll be all in behind him as well. He'll take on Brad Tavares who will be a big step up for Whittaker who will be out to make a statement and elevate himself as a UFC fighter. We've also got Dylan Andrews on the card as well, he's up against Brad Scott with Andrews having the superior record of 18-7-0, compared to Scott's 10-3-0.
They just keep on coming with Frankie Edgar and Uriah Faber headlining Fight Night in the Phillipines, that'll go down on May 18 and will showcase a plethora of Asian fighters.
A week later we have Jon Jones making his return after a few dramas in a huge fight against Anthony Johnson. This is probably the fight of the year despite all the fluff around the other fights with Jones being a freak and Johnson running through the light heavyweight division on his way to Jones. The card however is also going to be awesome with Chris Weidman defending his title against Vitor Belfort and the much hyped Khabib Nurmagodev up against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone who is steamrolling anyone in his path. This will probably be the card of the year and it's one to mark down on your calenders.
The month of June has Daniel Cormier vs Ryan Bader on June 7, the return of Cain Valesquez who will fight Fabricio Werdum for the heavyweight belt and Alex Gustafsson vs Glover Teixeira. Depending on Hunt's fight against Miocic, I'd keep an eye on this heavyweight title fight as it will have some meaning if Hunt can soundly beat Miocic.
Then and only then do we have McGregor vs Aldo. Take a breathe, enjoy the fights and don't look too far ahead because you'll miss some excellent action in the mean time.