2021 seems to be the year in which the UFC will try to top their historical 2020. They started off the year by announcing that they are going back to Fight Island for a three card event week. The first of the three cards is set to debut on ABC for the first time ever. Then you have a midweek card on the Wednesday after that! I cannot think of the last time in which the UFC had a midweek card. Lastly, it will conclude with another Saturday card which is the return of Conor McGregor.
For starters, the move to ABC is a HUGE deal. We will see if the company continues to work with ABC, as we see the ESPN-ABC connection when it comes to basketball. Obviously the UFC has a deal with ESPN, so this is just an extension of that. But this is a big deal for the sport, and if you recall the beginning of the promotion being labeled as ‘human cockfighting’. It was banned from most states, and would not be shown on national television due to it’s violent nature.
Eventually, these things changed and you see the reach in which this promotion is taking the sport. UFC is not the only MMA promotion in the world, but it feels like that due to the dominance in which they have been exhibiting throughout the past 20 years. I just want to say congratulations to the company and hopefully they continue to grow and expand the sport globally so more people can see it.
Starting off the year with 3 fully scheduled cards in the beginning of the new decade is madness. After going silent for the past month with their last card being on December 19, 2020, this is a big deal. Fans would have been satisfied with three events in the first three weeks, let alone all in the same week. The cards are headlined by huge names and have a bunch of international fighters who are able to fight at Fight Island. This leads me into the next thing I noticed. The UFC has been able to create international superstars.
These international stars will be able to carry the sport far more than any basic promotion will be able to. They have champions from all different types of nationalities, and they are huge in their respective countries. Once the world opens back up, the UFC will be back to doing fight cards in their backyards to sell them out and show the country that being an MMA athlete is something that can be achieved from any background or upbringing. This will be huge for the youth who have seen the world come to a stop and may have even lost their jobs due to it. That one kid who needs to figure out a way to feed his family will be able to look at martial arts as a way out, and they will be reminded of that once they start doing international venues again.
Lastly, there are huge superfights that are rumored for this year. You have Israel Adesanya vs Jon Jones which is possibly the biggest fight the company can make. It has been rumored that these fighters are only one or two fights away from this coming to fruition. Also, a Conor vs Khabib rematch will easily break records as it is potentially the biggest rematch in combat sports to make. Along with Jorge Masvidal fighting against almost anyone will be a huge international fight, and it gives the company a great base to start planning the upcoming year. I expect some HUGE moves from the UFC in 2021.