So far, 2021 has felt like one of the most significant years for the Ultimate Fighting Championship since its inception in 1993.
A host of intriguing match-ups and enthralling bouts have seen mixed martial arts’ flagship promotion further its reach and strengthen its credibility in the eyes of many observers – as well as the credibility of the sport.
And while no fighter has yet matched the crossover status of Conor McGregor, athletes like Israel Adesanya, Jorge Masvidal and Khamzat Chimaev have continued to attract enough interest from fans of other sports to suggest that the UFC will soon have more genuine stars on its hands.
McGregor himself has been more active than in recent years, too, fighting more than once in a calendar year for the first time since 2016. The Irishman’s knockout loss to Dustin Poirier in January and defeat by the American in July – when McGregor suffered a broken leg that led to a doctor stoppage – have damaged the in-ring reputation of ‘Notorious’ but elevated Poirier greatly.
‘The Diamond’ might finally earn the right to call himself an undisputed UFC champion this month, with a lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira official for UFC 269 – the final PPV of the year.
Below is the UFC’s remaining schedule for 2021. The Independent’s key fights to look out for have been highlighted in bold.
Sunday 5 December – UFC Fight Night – UFC Apex, Las Vegas
Rob Font vs Jose Aldo (bantamweight)
Brad Riddell vs Rafael Fiziev (lightweight)
Clay Guida vs Leonardo Santos (lightweight)
Jimmy Crute vs Jamahal Hill (light heavyweight)
Brendan Allen vs Chris Curtis (middleweight)
Bryan Barberena vs Darian Weeks (welterweight)
Saturday 11 December – UFC 269 – T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Charles Oliveira (C) vs Dustin Poirier (lightweight title)
Amanda Nunes (C) vs Julianna Pena (women’s bantamweight title)
Geoff Neal vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (welterweight)
Kai Kara France vs Cody Garbrandt (flyweight)
Raulian Paiva vs Sean O’Malley (bantamweight)
Josh Emmett vs Dan Ige (featherweight)
Pedro Munhoz vs Dominick Cruz (bantamweight)
Augusto Sakai vs Tai Tuivasa (heavyweight)
Saturday 18 December – UFC Fight Night – UFC Apex, Las Vegas
Derrick Lewis vs Chris Daukaus (heavyweight)
Cub Swanson vs Darren Elkins (featherweight)
Charles Jourdain vs Andre Ewell (featherweight)
Justin Tafa vs Harry Hunsucker (heavyweight)