With more athletes coming from other organizations into ONE Championship every month, the wheels in the heads of mixed martial arts fans have to start turning.
ONE Championship’s CEO Chatri Sityodtong has said multiple times that he’d love to co-promote an event like this in the future. Because of the current climate in the world of mixed martial arts, it’s only natural to wonder how some of these fantasy bouts would shake out.
Nothing is in place between ONE and other organizations, and there is no evidence of preliminary conversations. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about potential matchups and results.
Here are five dream matches fans could only hope to see if ONE got other promotions to agree to co-promote a mega event.
Jon Jones vs. Aung La N Sang
You could make the argument Aung La N Sang is ONE Championship’s greatest champion. The Myanmar native holds the middleweight and light heavyweight crowns. He’s a remarkable 10-1 with ONE with six consecutive wins, and five straight by finish. His power and ground game make him one of the most balanced mixed martial artists in his organization.
Aung La also has tons of confidence. He has said on many occasions that he can compete with the best athletes in any organization. If he were to climb in the ring with Jon Jones, that theory would be tested.
Jones is the greatest mixed martial artist the world has ever seen, and a master in almost every aspect of the sport. His striking, grappling and defense in both areas are supreme, and to further augment those skills, he has nearly unprecedented length.
Quite honestly, if Aung La were to face and defeat Jones, there isn’t a more validating victory that he could have for his career.
Conor McGregor Vs. Martin Nguyen
McGregor isn’t a champion anymore, but he is still the most popular mixed martial artist in the world. His striking prowess is well known, and his takedown defense is underrated. Mostly, McGregor is known as a passionate self-promoter whose words set the table for spirited and lucrative battles.
Martin Nguyen is almost a complete opposite. He is ultra respectful to opponents, and never trash talks ahead or after matches. That said, he does share one quality with McGregor, The Situ-Asian can end a match in the blink of an eye.
He brings a variety of punches, kicks, and knees into the competition, and all of them pack a wallop. A battle between McGregor and Nguyen would almost certainly be a stand-up affair that could end with one man standing over the other after landing a destructive strike.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev
The Dagestani grappler is more powerful and dominant from the top position than any other mixed martial artist in the sport. He crushed McGregor and every other opponent he’s faced so far in his professional career. However, there is a young Russian on the rise whose skill set is similar, if not even more expansive.
Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev has already punched his ticket to the finals of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix with KO wins over Amir Khan and Ev Ting. He is now awaiting the winner of the Eddie Alvarez vs. Eduard Folayang bout. If he wins, he will be set to challenge newly crowned champion Christian Lee.
Arslanaliev should be the favorite in that match if things get that far. Against a veteran like Nurmagomedov, his youth and inexperience would be considered a drawback, but it would be interesting to see how he measures up against one of the world’s elite.
Xiong Jing Nan vs. Jessica Andrade
Xiong Jing Nan proved herself with a fifth-round TKO win over the previously undefeated Angela Lee in March. The Chinese striker showed immense heart and resolve as she withstood an early onslaught from Lee only to outlast her late in the bout.
Xiong is known for her power, and overall relentlessness. Jessica Andrade shares some of the same qualities. She can punch with the best of them, and her overall strength is astounding for someone her size.
Don’t bet on this matchmaking it out of the first round, no matter who wins.
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Henry Cejudo
Few, if any mixed martial artists have had a more decorated combat sports career than Henry Cejudo. He’s won championships on all levels and in multiple weight classes. He is an Olympic wrestler whose striking has grown by leaps and bounds. However, if he were faced with a seasoned and dangerous pro like Bibiano Fernandes, he might be matched against someone he cannot bully in any aspect of the sport.
Fernandes is one of the top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world, and like Cejudo, his striking has come a long way since he began his career.
It would be a fascinating bout.