5 UFC fighters ripe to be upset in 2020
Be it a young upstart decimating a legend, an old pro beating down father time or an unknown transitioning to superstar, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected in the UFC. Not even the best fighters can be protected from a bad night or a submission gone wrong and find their fortunes reversed. For these five fighters, looking into the crystal ball for 2020 may yield dire results that can rock the sport to its core.
Greg HardyThe troubled former Dallas Cowboy doesn’t have the discipline to compete in the deep heavyweight waters, and he’ll inch closer to defeat once he raises his competition. Hardy’s saving grace is that the UFC treats him more as a sideshow attraction than a competitor and is more than willing to inflate his record, as long as he drives numbers.
Conor McGregorWhen McGregor returns to the octagon, it’ll follow the same storyline for the post-Mayweather phase of his career. Whether it is to pay for his mounting legal issues or just a cash out, McGregor is coming back for the wrong reasons. This time McGregor might take a soft touch or two before he faces a capable foe, and it is at that point where it would be wise to place your bets on the underdog.
Zhang WeiliThere’s no doubt “Magnum” has the goods, but a competitive division stacked with talent means she’ll have to face formidable foes to keep her title. Though she may make a safe defense or two when the UFC makes its tours to China, there isn’t a lot of fluff in the strawweight division to keep her safe for repeated excursions to Chinese venues.
Jorge MasvidalMasvidal is jockeying for position to face McGregor at some point in 2020, but unless that fight happens next, it is hard to favor him against the welterweight elite. Unless Masvidal sits out for McGregor, it’s entirely possible he’ll take a loss in pursuit of a title.
Jon JonesDespite his self-destructive habits, Jones has remained untouchable and is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the UFC. The light heavyweight champion was lucky to get past Thiago Santos, who revealed he came into the fight still recovering from knee surgery. There’s little doubt Santos would be just as problematic in a rematch, and Dominic Reyes is also on the hunt.
Next year Jones must deal with the inevitability of Father Time, along with a worthy veteran or an upstart prospect ready to push him to his limit. “Bones” might break in 2020.