There have been several huge pieces of news that have recently dropped that suggest March 2023 could potentially be a massive month for the UFC as well as it’s fanbase.
Nolan King of MMA Junkie dropped several interesting tidbits in his “Insider’s Scoop”, including news that the promotion is currently planning to host two numbered events in March: UFC 285 on the 4th from Las Vegas and UFC 286 on the 18th from England.
When we previously posted about the UFC likely returning to England in March, the idea they were trying to host two numbered events for the month was rumored, but it appears much more likely now after King’s report on MMA Junkie.
King also reports that Jon Jones is not only ready to return to the octagon and make his long-awaited debut at heavyweight, but that he is also on good terms with the promotion right now and they are now just trying to find him an opponent for the event.
The UFC has long wanted Jones to make his debut in the new weight class against current UFC Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
However, Ngannou has been on the shelf recovering from knee surgery for a majority of 2022 and no clear return date has been set.
Furthermore, he is currently in the midst of having his own contractual issues with the promotion, which further clouds a potential return to the octagon for the current champion.
Although there were reportedly efforts made to have Jones face Stipe Miocic at the upcoming UFC 282 event next month while Ngannou continues to recover, those plans never came to fruition and further pushed off his return.
With UFC 283 being hosted in Brazil, and UFC 284 taking place in Australia, that left March as the next opportunity to get Jones scheduled for an event here in the United States (he has only had three fights outside of the US and they were all in Canada).
If Ngannou is still not healthy enough for a return or cannot come to terms with the promotion by March, it appears the UFC has their sights set on a new potential opponent for Jones: Curtis Blaydes.
Blaydes has won three straight fights and seven of his last eight overall and he might present one of the most dangerous opponents for Jones to face in his heavyweight debut.
Blaydes is one of the more well-rounded fighters in the division with the ability to not only turn out an opponents’ lights on the feet, but also to secure takedowns and dominate with this grappling.
With the UFC now planning for this event to kick things off for March on the first weekend of the month, it appears that their return to England will likely come two weeks later.
While there has still been no official announcement of where in the country the event will be held, Cardiff and Birmingham have been two of the most heavily rumored locations to host the event.
You can expect to see Leon Edwards defending his newly won UFC Welterweight championship at the event, likely in a rematch against former titleholder Kamura Usman.
Paddy Pimblett, Arnold Allen, and Molly McCann are a few of the other local fighters who will likely to be scheduled for the card.
Tom Aspinall could potentially return also, but that will depend how he is progressing in his recovery from surgery to repair his knee after he was injured early in his fight against Curtis Blaydes in London this past July.
If the UFC does indeed host two numbered events for March, who are some of the other fighters you would like to see added to the cards? Will Jon “Bones” Jones make his long-awaited UFC heavyweight debut at UFC 286? Let us know in the comments section.
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