Following the trash-talking fueled UFC Unstoppable Press Conference last month, title fights are in no short supply in the cards leading up to UFC 200.
Seven out of the ten champions are putting their belts on the line, with two interim belts being offered up as well. Check out our list for the top 5 upcoming title fights that cannot be missed below:READ MORE: Inflation Relief Coming To Millions Of Californians, But Critics Say It's Only A Short-Term Solution
5. Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux
Even though UFC 197 was originally headlined with a bout between Jon Jones (21-1) and Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux (19-7) has all the makings for an exciting fight. Sure, a fight between Jones and Saint Preux lacks the animosity that Jones and Cormier had, but UFC 197 marks something fans have been waiting to see for over a year.
That’s the return of the Pound for Pound king. Jones has been MIA since his hit-and-run scandal last year which resulted in his title being stripped and suspended indefinitely from the UFC roster. Now Jones is back and in the best shape of his life thanks to an intense power lifting regimen and more importantly he’s sober.
Saint Preux, currently ranked #6 in the division has the conditioning and stamina that can give Jones a run for his money in a 5 round fight. Jones and Saint Preux will be fighting for the Interim Light Heavyweight title while current champion Daniel Cormier is out with an injury.
UFC 197 will take place Saturday, April 23rd, 10PM/ 7PM ETPT.
4. Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber III
Dominick Cruz (21-1) and Urijah Faber (33-8) have been in a war of words (and fists) since their first bout in 2007. Faber, The California Kid, took that fight with a first round submission, handing The Dominator, Cruz his one and only loss in his professional career.
Cruz and Faber II was a different story with Cruz winning via unanimous decision in a 5 round battle for the Bantamweight belt in 2011. Much like Jones and Cormier, Cruz and Faber have been throwing insults at each other for the better part of a decade.
Adding to their rich history, the two were also opposing coaches on the reality tv show, The Ultimate Fighter Season 15. Cruz, now back in the octagon after being sidelined due to multiple injuries from 2012 to 2015, has fought his way back to the Bantamweight belt which he was forced to vacate during his absence.
Faber, now 36 years old will fight in his 11th career title fight and 42nd fight overall. Will Cruz be able to use his footwork to pullout another victory and win the trilogy? Or will the Faber, the Sacramento native, finally be able to get his hands on the UFC Bantamweight title that has eluded him since 2011?
UFC 199 will take place Saturday, June 4th, 10PM/ 7PM ETPT.
3. Luke Rockhold vs. Chris Weidman II
In 2013, Chris Weidman (13-1) shocked the world by knocking out Anderson Silva and claiming the UFC Middleweight belt for himself. Weidman continued to have success in 3 title defenses and was determined to keep his undefeated record.
That was until Luke Rockhold (15-2) entered the picture. Rockhold and Weidman began throwing verbal jabs at each other as soon as their first bout was announced for UFC 194 back in December. Rockhold walked away with a dominating victory via 4th round knockout.READ MORE: 1 Dead In Sonoma Co. Brushfire As Heat Wave Grips Much Of California
So why the immediate title rematch for a fight that was finished in a lopsided fashion? It has been stated that both Weidman and Rockhold’s health was not 100% going into their first fight.
Rockhold fought with a staph infection and Weidman fought with a fractured foot. Weidman feels that the fight would have gone his way had he been injury free. “The All-American” Weidman will try to take the Middleweight belt back from Rockhold when the two headline UFC 199.
UFC 199 will take place Saturday, June 4th, 10PM/ 7PM ETPT.
2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha II
Women’s Strawweight is the newest division in the UFC and Joanna Jedrzejczyk has proved to be a worthy champion boasting an undefeated record of 11-0. Claudia Gadelha and Joanna duked it out back in 2014, with Joanna winning in a razor-thin split decision.
Since their first bout, Joanna claimed the Strawweight belt from Carla Esparza in UFC 185 and has successfully defended it twice. Gadelha has been furiously campaigning for another go at Joanna, making it well known that she felt she beat Joanna during their first bout.
Now that the two women are the new head coaches on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter Season 23, it does not appear that the two have buried the hatchet. Joanna and Gadelha almost had harsh words for each other during the UFC Unstoppable Press Conference, which almost lead to an on-stage brawl during their press conference face off.
Gadelha has the edge in this fight when it comes to grappling and jiu-jitsu, with a 100% takedown defense rate. However, takedown defense may not be the most useful skill against the best striker in the division.
The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Team Joanna Vs. Team Claudia will take place Friday, July 8th.
1. Jose Aldo vs Frankie Edgar II
Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar will meet for the second time at UFC 200.
In 2013 the two fighters went the distance over 5 rounds with Aldo walking away with the victory via unanimous decision.
Edgar has been patiently waiting for an opportunity to avenge his loss to Aldo and has since beaten notable contenders such as B.J. Penn, Urijah Faber, and Chad Mendes.
Aldo is coming off a shocking defeat to Conor Mcgregor, surrendering the Featherweight belt. The 13-second knockout was Aldo’s first loss in nearly a decade and many fans called for an immediate rematch between the two. However, McGregor will face Nate Diaz on the same card as Aldo and Edgar.
Edgar has elite wrestling and cardio while Aldo brings pure knockout power and an impressive ground game. The winner between the two featherweights will determine who will become the Interim champion, and will likely be given an immediate title shot against McGregor.MORE NEWS: Man Arrested For Fatal Shooting At Sacramento Truck Stop
UFC 200 will take place Saturday, July 9th, 10PM/ 7PM ETPT.