Monday 26 June 2017

UFC to #GOBIG with a world tour and titles a plenty

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor
Fergus Ryan

Fergus Ryan

The Ultimate Fighting Championship are gonna #GOBIG for the rest of 2015 and a little bit of 2016.

On Friday, September 4th the UFC will launch its new seasonal campaign, showcasing a series of ‘can’t-miss fights’ on its upcoming live event schedule.

Given the sport of Mixed Martial Arts is active 52 weeks of the year with no off season, the UFC has attempted to break up their schedule by launching a series of events under a #hashtag or artificial season.

 This time last year #TheTimeIsNow brought us to the end of 2014. This year began with #WelcomeToTheShow. Now we have #GOBIG.

In keeping with the previous seasonal announcements there will be a media event streamed live for free on ufc.com.

UFC President Dana White will be joined in Las Vegas by UFC champions Ronda Rousey, Daniel Cormier, Conor McGregor, Robbie Lawler, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rafael Dos Anjos, as well as top contenders Alexander Gustafsson, Carlos Condit, Luke Rockhold, Donald Cerrone, Dan Henderson, Holly Holm and Vitor Belfort will be among the more than 20 fighters participating in the launch event.

The complete list of fighters attending will be announced in the coming days.

The #GOBIG season will kick off with UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: BARNETT vs. NELSON on September 26th and will be brought to a close on January 2nd, 2016 with UFC® 195: ROUSEY vs. HOLM.

 Poland’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will also defend her title at UFC 195. Though no opponent has been announced it’s expected, if fit, to be Claudia Gaedhla. UFC 195 will be the first ever UFC event in which the main and co-main events feature women’s title defences.

Using the football analogy, #GOBIG is going to be very much a season of two halves.

The first half will be a globe-trotting, marketing led mainly about brand expansion. To be fair most of the cards are headlined by big name fighters but then filled out with local interest stories and lower to mid-tier fighters.

Read more: 'I'll fight him any day of the week' - UFC fighter says he would 'love' to take on Conor McGregor

While it would be easy to pick holes in these cards there’s two key points to remember.

Firstly, Irish MMA fans are probably most vocal in trying to get their local fighters on UFC Dublin cards. And, rightly so. You want to see one of your own in there on the biggest stage in the MMA world.

Secondly, you can’t Judge a fight card before a fist has been thrown. If you’re truly an MMA fan the most important thing is the UFC turn up and then that the fights provide some entertainment.

 It’s nice to see big name fighters but that doesn’t guarantee a good fight. It’s more important that regions outside the US get to see a UFC event live with some of their own warriors on the card.

The second half of the season, December and the last event on January 2nd 2016, is packed with championship fights in Las Vegas.

Undoubtedly, the feather in the seasons cap will be the weekend of December 11th and 12th. This date will host a special two-event weekend, featuring The Ultimate Fighter Finale (Friday, Dec. 11) and UFC 194 (Saturday, Dec. 12) featuring Jose Aldo v Conor McGregor in a featherweight unification title fight.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the #GOBIG schedule, main event fights and location:-

• UFC Fight Night: Josh Barnett Vs. Roy Nelson

o Sunday, September 27 at Saitama Arena in Tokyo, Japan

• UFC 192: Daniel Cormier Vs. Alexander Gustafsson (for the light-heavyweight title)

o Saturday, October 3 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas

• UFC Fight Night: Dustin Poirier Vs. Joe Duffy

o Saturday, October 24 at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland

• UFC Fight Night: Dan Henderson Vs. Vitor Belfort

o Saturday, November 7 at Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil

• UFC 193: Robbie Lawler Vs. Carlos Condit (for the welterweight title)

o Sunday, November 15 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia

• UFC Fight Night: Matt Brown Vs. Kelvin Gastelum

o Saturday, November 21 at Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico

• UFC Fight Night: Benson Henderson Vs. Thiago Alves

o Saturday, November 28 at Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, Korea

• The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor Vs. Team Faber Finale

o Chad Mendes Vs Frankie Edgar

o Friday, December 11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

• UFC® 194: Jose Aldo (c) Vs. Conor McGregor (ic) (unification fight of featherweight titles)

o Also featuring Chris Weidman Vs Luke Rockhold (for the middleweight title)

o Saturday, December 12 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

• UFC Fight Night®: Rafael Dos Anjos Vs. Donald Cerrone (for the lightweight title)

o Saturday, December 19 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

• UFC® 195: ROUSEY vs. HOLM

o Also featuring Joanna Jedrzejczyk Vs T.B.C. (for the straw-weight title)

o Saturday, January 2 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

Keep an eye on independent.ie for more stories on all these events.

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport