At long last, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is finally coming to New York after a longheld ban on sanctioned professional mixed martial arts in the state.
New York governor Anthony Cuomo signed a bill into law in April that legalized MMA, the final state to do so.
Better late than never.
The UFC will celebrate by bringing arguably the grandest card in mixed martial arts history to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12.
The top of the UFC 205 event will feature three title fights, an extreme rarity for the UFC. Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez will defend his belt against featherweight champion Conor McGregor, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will put his title on the line against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will attempt to defend her title against fellow Polish striker Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
History could be made as Irish superstar McGregor will look to become the first UFC fighter to hold two championship titles at the same time. Alvarez will look to deny McGregor’s bid at history and successfully convert his first title defense since stunning former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos in July.
As far as title fights go, Jedrzejczyk will look to make her fourth consecutive title defense. As far as current streaks among champions go, Jedrzejczyk’s three title defenses puts her in second place in the category behind flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who has eight consecutive title defenses.
Three defenses in a row being good for second place among 10 champions may not sound too impressive, but from November 2015, there have been a slew of new champions taking the titles. In fact, six of the 10 weight classes have seen a new champion emerge in 2016 alone. Jedrzejczyk will hope to avoid there being a seventh.
The rest of the UFC 205 main card is stacked as well. Weidman, who was instrumental in the push to get MMA legalized in New York, will realize his dream on Nov. 12 of fighting at Madison Square Garden. He’ll stand across from Yoel Romero. The winner has a strong possibility of getting a title shot at current middleweight kingpin Michael Bisping.
Donald Cerrone will also battle Kelvin Gastelum in an exciting welterweight match-up that could have serious contender implications. The main card will kick off with former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate looking to rebound against rising contender Raquel Pennington.
Yet another former champion, Frankie Edgar, will look to return to form against Jeremy Stephens in an interesting featherweight bout on the preliminary card headliner. Right before that fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Michael Johnson will duel in order to get themselves closer to a title shot. They are the No. 1 and No. 6-ranked lightweight contenders, respectively. The other big-name fight on this card is a middleweight match-up between Tim Kennedy and former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
On a card that features three title fights and numerous other former champions and crucial contender match-ups, it would be no surprise if UFC 205 went down in history as one of the greatest combat sports events in history. It’s only fitting that it will take place in one of the most historic sports venues on Earth.