With UFC 300 right around the corner, fans have taken time to speculate on who will be announced to be a part of the promotion's major landmark event.
UFC president Dana White has dropped many hints towards the end of 2023 but has still yet to make an official announcement for the fight card. White has already announced the headlining title fights for all of the pay-per-view events leading up to UFC 300 as well as hinting that he is on the verge of booking a "super fight."
There are so many unknown factors surrounding UFC 300, but the options for the main event are thinning. Of the company's major stars, Israel Adesanya has already said he will be taking time away from the sport, Sean O'Malley has been booked for UFC 299, and Jon Jones' pectoral injury will likely hold him out until at least the summer of 2024. Islam Makhachev would have also been an option, but the card would likely take place at the end of Ramadan in early April 2024.
Barring an unpredictable fight announcement, it is seemingly increasingly likely that Conor McGregor is the favorite to headline the event. Though McGregor was initially intended to be a part of UFC 200 before getting pulled off of the card by White, having the sport's biggest star headline the UFC's biggest night to date would be a fitting result.
Even if McGregor does headline UFC 300, there are still many questions surrounding the rest of the card. Here are a few of the options, mapping out an ideal UFC 300 main card, starting with the pay-per-view opener.
Dustin Poirier vs. Nate Diaz
Nate Diaz making a return to the UFC would be difficult at this point, but not impossible. But if there is ever a perfect opportunity to do so, it would be on this card.
After the way Diaz left the UFC and publicly begged to be released, it is hard to see the two sides agreeing. Diaz would likely only agree to a one-fight contract if he is interested, but White and company would do everything they can to lock the Stockton native up for years to come. But hey, this is a dream card.
Say somehow Diaz does make his way back. Fans would go out of their minds for his return and the hype for UFC 300 would be through the roof. There is no bigger fight for Diaz than the Conor McGregor trilogy, but settling his beef with Dustin Poirier is one of the few fights that could also bring the Louisiana hot sauce enthusiast onto the card.
In terms of how the fight plays out, this one cannot be boring. Poirier likely wins, but it will be fun either way and the crowd will get just enough of the Nate Diaz dose that they desired. This fight would be a fantastic main card opener.
Manel Kape vs. Kai Kara-France
UFC 300 is a huge opportunity for the promotion to gain some new fans with the likelihood of first-time viewers on this event being high. With that comes a similar opportunity to create new stars for the future.
One of the UFC's favorite tactics to sell a fight is the bad blood angle, and the Kape vs. Kara-France rivalry is very underrated. The trash talk has even caused Kape to go toe-to-toe with Kara-France's teammate Israel Adesanya. This fight has to be re-made and both guys have star potential, giving the winner of this fight on this type of platform a huge reward.
Kape is currently booked to rematch Matheus Nicolau in January 2024, so this is a relatively quick turnaround, especially for the frequency in which he typically competes. But given the right selling points, the matchmakers could woo the former RIZIN champion onto the card.
Win or lose against Nicolau, the fight with Kara-France should still be made as soon as the former interim title challenger gets healthy. Put the two on UFC 300 and the winner could potentially get the next title shot.
Max Holloway vs. Aljamain Sterling
Whether fans like him or hate him, Aljamain Sterling has become more familiar with casual UFC fans who will tune in to watch him, even if it is to see him lose.
Max Holloway is already a household name and will draw a crowd regardless of who he is fighting. As he nears the end of his career, Holloway deserves to be on the 300 card, and facing Sterling could be the most interesting opponent he has had since the trilogy with Alexander Volkanovski.
Sterling already confirmed his move to featherweight and stated that he wants Holloway for his debut. The former bantamweight champion may not be who fans expect to be a part of UFC 300, but prior to his fight with Sean O'Malley, Sterling was getting praised as the greatest bantamweight of all time. A win over Holloway could change the perspective fans have about him.
If nothing else, the style clash is intriguing. The matchup likely will not be made, given the UFC's unwarranted disliking of Sterling, but a dream card is a dream card. If Ilia Topuria is able to beat Volkanovski at UFC 298, this fight should be a no-brainer no.1 contender fight.
Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 3
After everything Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya have been through together, what would be better than to settle their rivalry at UFC 300? It would certainly feel like a fairytale ending to their rivalry.
Technically, even if Adesanya wins, Pereira is still up on him all time. But the winner of this potential fight would be 2-1 against the other in MMA, and at some point, fans get fatigued of the same storyline matchup.
However, as previously mentioned, Adesanya stated he wants time away from the sport. Yet, he also stated prior to losing to Sean Strickland that he wanted to headline UFC 300. If he gets the right number — and enticed by a light heavyweight title shot against his arch enemy — he could put the gloves back on early.
Pereira's next opponent should be Jamahal Hill, but Hill's injury timeline is up in the air, opening the door for Adesanya. Hill has also gotten in legal trouble recently, and Pereira used his post-fight callout at UFC 295 to attempt to coax Adesanya into another title fight.
UFC 300 needs a title fight, so why not this one? The storyline is already there.
Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler
If everything lines up for Conor McGregor to headline UFC 300, he is going to be in the main event and his opponent should rightfully be Michael Chandler.
There is always the Nate Diaz trilogy looming, and he has somewhat unfinished business with Dustin Poirier, but the Chandler matchup has been circling McGregor since The Ultimate Fighter season 31. Not only does Chandler deserve the matchup, but there is so much available material for the UFC to use in the promotion of the fight.
McGregor, Chandler and Dana White have all taken turns teasing this fight being announced ever since the conclusion of TUF 31 and while it still may not happen, in an ideal scenario the UFC makes the right move and ends this chapter. The super fight that White has referenced could take this main event spot, but it appears more and more each passing day that McGregor will make the final walk of UFC 300.
Ending the night with a non-title fight would be different, especially with a title fight in the co-main event, but the way the card placement works out caps the day off perfectly. McGregor and Chandler, while not for a belt, have no possible way of ending in a boring fashion. The fight likely ends by violent knockout, finishing the night off with a crescendo.