There are five fights we need to see on BT Sport in 2023 as part of the UFC Fights on BT Sport series BT Sport is going to broadcast five incredible super fights over the next 12 months in the UFC.
London’s O2 Arena
Did British MMA have its best year ever in 2022? It is quite possible.
At UFC 278, Leon Edwards stunned Kamaru Usman in stunning fashion, becoming the welterweight king at long last. In addition, our best young talent was elevated into genuine stars of the British MMA world on two exceptional nights at London’s O2 Arena.
With Tom Aspinall, Arnold Allen, Muhammad Mokaev, Paddy Pimblett, and Molly McCann, the Brits made the most of this year’s opportunity in the limelight. A new generation of superstars is about to emerge in the UFC, as new world champions have been crowned in almost every weight division.
With a number of monster fights already announced for UFC 284, including Islam Makhachev versus Alexander Volkanovski for the lightweight title, the UFC Fights schedule for next year is beginning to take shape.
Is there anything else you can look forward to this year in terms of superfights?
Read on and let us know if you agree with our list of the five biggest fights on BT Sport in 2023!
Fights Between Jon Jones vs Francis Ngannou
Good things come to those who wait. Boys, we’ve been waiting for this one for a long time! After Jon Jones narrowly defeated Dominick Reyes in February 2020 to defend his 205lb title, it won’t be long before we pass the milestone of his two-year absence from the sport.
At 35, Jones has been steadfast in refusing to make a return to the UFC Fights until revised financial terms are negotiated, but that seems to be getting closer. Even the possibility of Jones fighting at UFC 282 this year failed to materialise, leaving his comeback uncertain.
Francis Ngannou will soon recover from a serious knee injury that has sidelined him for almost the entire year, which may be a silver lining to his extended absence.
Welcome Jones in Heavyweight
With his imposing size and devastating knockout power, the 36-year-old is many fight fans’ dream opponent to welcome Jones into the heavyweight division.
A dominant five-round decision victory over Ciryl Gane on his last appearance showed his continued evolution as a mixed martial artist despite his advancing years, as he won five of his last six fights by stoppage.
It has been no secret that The Predator wants a better contract with the UFC during his absence from competition.
There is still no resolution to that situation, but the promise of a Jon Jones fight in 2023 could be enough to facilitate negotiations.
A Big Match Conor McGregor vs Michael Chandler
There is nothing more exciting than watching Conor McGregor fight. Despite his 34-year-old age, the Irishman remains by far the biggest star in the sport. It has been almost three years since The Notorious won a fight against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 despite being stopped twice by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier.
In 2023, when he returns from injury, McGregor is expected to set the box office ablaze once again. At UFC 264 in July 2021, McGregor sustained a gruesome compound fracture to his lower leg and has been recovering ever since.
It has however been reported that the Dubliner is preparing to return to British MMA, and that Michael Chandler would be the perfect dance partner to welcome him back.
A breathless ‘kill or be killed’ style of fighting makes Chandler one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC Fights.
The 36-year-old’s 2-3 record since coming over from Bellator does not seem too impressive at first glance, but the fighter has faced Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, and Dustin Poirier during that time.
This fight may not happen, but if it does, it will stand out from the rest as the biggest of the year.
Henry Cejudo vs Aljamain Sterling
A potential bout between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo has not been discussed much since Sterling announced this month that he would face Cejudo in March 2023.
This fight will be Sterling’s first since his strange win over TJ Dillashaw, which didn’t turn out to be the statement win he anticipated.
In the end, Sterling’s dominating display in the second round finally ended the fight after it was revealed Dillashaw, who had dislocated his shoulder multiple times during the fight, had carried a serious injury into the Octagon.
From Sterling’s DQ win over Petr Yan to his controversial split decision win in the rematch, his reign as bantamweight champion now includes three undesirable wins.
Henry Cejudo takes the stage.
Dillashaw would get the perfect opportunity to strengthen his championship credentials and prove his credentials as a bantamweight contender by taking down the former two-weight world champion and Olympic gold medalist.
His last fight was at UFC 249 in May 2020 during which he won the bantamweight title at the expense of Dominick Cruz.
While Triple C hopes to compete one day in the 135lb weight class, he has made sure to remain relevant in the 135lb mix.
Early next year, it appears that the much-anticipated showdown against Sterling is fast approaching.
Let’s hope for the best!
Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards
In August, Leon Edwards stunned the world by capturing the welterweight title from Kamaru Usman at UFC 278, providing British fight fans with the feel-good moment of the year. The champion was down on the scorecards and looking uninspired in the fifth round when Edwards delivered a stunning head kick that laid him flat on his back.
Edwards became Britain’s second ever UFC champion, following in the footsteps of our own Michael Bisping. During the first meeting between the two men back in 2015, The Nigerian Nightmare won, levelling the rivalry between Edwards and Usman to 1-1.
Until he came across Edwards again, Usman ruled the 170 lb division in the UFC in the most dominant manner.
The manner in which he lost and the legacy he was building provide more than compelling reasons to run this fight back immediately, and they could top the UFC 286 bill in London next March.
Despite this, rumours suggest Usman could be out until late 2023 because of a hand injury. We hope Edwards keeps his belt in the meantime so this brilliant rivalry can come to an end in a pivotal trilogy fight.
Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira
It was only for the purpose of fighting Israel Adesanya that Alex Pereira joined the UFC Fights.
In the seven consecutive title fights he had at 185lbs before facing Pereira, Adesanya had defeated nearly every top contender – twice.
Former kickboxer Alex Pereira was teamed up with the Kiwi king in the UFC’s effort to give The Last Stylebender some fresh competition, which would continue the long-running feud the Brazilian had already won 2-0 over the Kiwi.
Pereira became a surprise UFC champion after knocking out Adesanya in the fifth round following a barnburner at UFC 281.
In the aftermath of the defeat, Adesanya confirmed his intention to fight in a rematch that had already been approved by the UFC for some time.
Yes, me and him [Pereira]. In November, Adesanya told The MMA Hour that the fight would be for the belt.
“I’ll talk to Dana [White, UFC president] at some point but Mick [Maynard, UFC vice-president of talent relations], he’s cool, Mick already knows what’s next.”