Searching for the Ideal UFC 200 Headliner

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UFC 200 will be a big event, one that is sure to rake in a big gate. With the recently announced headliner—a rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz—LWOS MMA Dept has deliberated and come up with seven alternatives that would have been excellent UFC 200 headliners.

Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael Dos Anjos

Jason Burgos
With UFC 200 fast approaching, and the rematch between McGregor and Diaz having been announced as its headliner, I come to you with an alternative. For this historic show, the top billing should read—UFC 200: Lawler vs. Dos Anjos.

You only turn 200 once and the UFC has to make it memorable. The best way to do that is with a superfight. Current title-holders Fabricio Werdum, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold and Dominick Cruz all have scheduled bouts that will preclude them from taking part in UFC 200. Demetrious Johnson has cleaned out his division but isn’t enticed enough to leave it. While the aforementioned Mr. McGregor is doing everything other than fight in his weight-class. However, champions  Dos Anjos and Lawler, have an open dance card.

The superfight between two division champs is a rare thing in MMA. We got close at UFC 196 until Dos Anjos came up limp, and before that we haven’t seen it since Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn battled for pound-for-pound supremacy at UFC 94, in January of 2009. This special occasion deserves a special fight, and a throw down between two champions, and the sixth and seventh UFC ranked pound-for-pound fighters (further symmetry between the two) is a match made in Joe Silva heaven.

Frankie Edgar vs. Conor McGregor

Aaron Weinbaum
For me, this was a fight that should have taken place back in August 2015, at UFC 189 when Jose Aldo pulled out. Instead, we ended up seeing Chad Mendes get taken out in two rounds. Frankie Edgar was in better shape at the time than Mendes, who was in the woods when he got the call. In essence, the featherweight title is being held in limbo for the bigger money fights. A true MMA fan wants to see a champion defend his belt against the best in their division. In other words, Edgar. Let’s settle once and for all who the best featherweight on the planet is. Edgar vs. Aldo just for the interim just doesn’t have the same luster.

Jon Jones vs. Fabricio Werdum

Jonathan Lau
With champions jumping weight classes to challenge heavier counterparts, the term superfight gets tossed around freely nowadays. Jon Jones making the trip up past 205 pounds to face Werdum however, fits the bill more accurately than any other potential superfight. Jones, personal struggles aside, has wrought havoc in the light-heavyweight division, putting away every top contender placed in front of him. Werdum, the man who ended Fedor Emelianenko’s decade-long win streak, has improved his striking by leaps and bounds, reinventing himself as more than a world champion grappler. Jones is the light-heavyweight division’s premier striker; he often utilizes unorthodox maneuvers in tandem with rudimentary techniques to confuse, and then punish, his opponents. On the ground, Jones is far from a slouch, absolutely manhandling Cormier, an Olympic wrestler, whenever he saw fit in their first bout. While not as adept at striking as Jones, Werdum is still not to be underestimated on the feet. He outclassed Travis Browne over five rounds, and in the clinch, does some of his best work. Werdum’s outstanding jiu-jitsu pedigree ensures his advantage in that facet of the bout, and guarantees that regardless of where the fight goes, it’ll be entertaining.

Cris Cyborg vs Ronda Rousey

Max Hammer
Cris Cyborg is the most terrifying fighter in women’s MMA. With 13 of her 15 wins by knockout, she delivers devastating punching power and possesses elite grappling skills. After knocking out her previous five opponents in Invicta FC, she’s more than deserving of the headline slot versus Ronda Rousey at UFC 200.

The first U.S. woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo, Rousey finished her first six opponents in the UFC octagon before surrendering her title to former champion Holly Holm. She is unquestionably the most dominant female fighter in the UFC to date, making her the best choice to face Cyborg in an epic battle between the fiercest female fighters to compete in the sport of MMA. Reports have surfaced recently where claims were made that Rousey has turned down fights vs. Cyborg.

Jon Jones vs Anthony Johnson

Barkev Sivazlian
In UFC history, few champions have been able to completely clear out their division. Over the course of his reign as UFC light heavyweight kingpin, Jones has not only beaten everyone that has stood across from him but has won in such a dominating fashion. Outside of rematches scenarios with fighters such as Cormier and Alexander Gustafson, there is one challenge that still looms out there in Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Once linked to fight at UFC 187, Jones and Johnson seem to be on a collision course and are destined to throw hands with each other. This matchup is interesting in a number of different ways because Johnson posses something that Jones has yet to face: devastating, one-punch knockout power. By booking this fight for the heavily anticipated UFC 200 PPV, it would be the fight to solidify Jones’ resume in the division and perhaps his last bout at 205lbs.

Georges St.-Pierre vs. Robbie Lawler

Matt Creed
Though just a couple of years ago, I would have opined for Anderson Silva/GSP, I believe the time for that fight to happen has passed, at least for now, so should “Rush” make his long-awaited return to the octagon at UFC 200, the fight to make is against current divisional kingpin, Lawler. Given that Silva has lost his last four, failed a drug-test, and is seemingly well past his prime at age 40; Johny Hendrix is battling his appetite, and was recently outclassed by “Wonderboy” leaving him out of contention; and the next best in the division in Rory Macdonald said he would never fight St.Pierre, not many other names in weight classes above nor below, save maybe Dos Anjos, offer the same dangerous intrigue that GSP would get in a Lawler fight.

Jon Jones vs. Luke Rockhold

Sean Couch
It’s very rare these days that we get a fight between two champions truly in the prime of their careers, but a superfight between Jones and Luke Rockhold would be an absolute dream match.  Jones is clearly one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet (if not the best), and Rockhold has completely demolished the middleweight division en route to the title.  Both men are excellent standup fighters, both have very high level jiu-jitsu and the two aren’t that far off in size.  Rockhold is just one inch shorter than Jones and has big wins over guys that have fought at 205, including Keith Jardine, Tim Boetsch, Michael Bisping and former 205 champ Lyoto Machida.

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