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Opinion

How would a UFC World Cup work?

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Roar Rookie
9th May, 2020
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It’s time! UFC is back earlier than thought. Some sort of normal will return for the fans, but will it be normal?

UFC Fight Island, Enter the Dragon and Mortal Kombat are a few wild ideas thrown out into the think tank while Dana White fought to keep the engine rolling for the UFC.

This got me thinking about the possibilities of the UFC doing something different. I have been blessed with time to indulge in a mix of Bruce Lee movies, UFC’s greatest fights, Olympic highlights and past FIFA World Cup finals. While hiding in my man cave during isolation, I wondered about an ambitious idea to chuck out to the UFC president.

Eddie Bravo and a few others have coined various tournament concepts before. However, I would like to push that tournament idea further with a UFC World Cup.

Imagine the dream team USA captain Daniel Cormier lifting the UFC World Cup heavyweight belt or the narrative that would follow if someone like Robbie Hooker blitzes all before him to take the belt and create legend status.

Before you laugh too much at how hard the logistics of that would be, just think how cool would it be to watch if it was possible. What team would win the most titles and reign supreme?

I would propose a few things to make such an event as thrilling as can be to push MMA as far as it can go as a worldwide spectacle.

UFC President Dana White

(Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The first point would be deciding if it would be nation versus nation, region versus region or continent versus continent, maybe even a mix of all.

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The depth would be greatest for continent versus continent with a few exceptions if needed. This could mean changing from a World Cup to an Intercontinental Cup. But either way, fighters will want to prove they are the best MMA area in the world.

Enter the Dragon and Fight Island could merge into one here. There could be a tournament on an exclusive island three times in the year, every two or four years. This would be Round 1 KO elimination, Round 2 KO elimination or semi-final, then the third tournament at the end of the year for the grand final of each division.

Representing your nation, region or continent would be the top two ranked males and females from that area. For example, team North America’s heavyweights would be Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. Fighters from the same team would be on opposite sides of the draw and then called from a barrel to see who they fight from the other teams. Rank-one fighters could also be seeded into Round 2 to fight all the fights for pay-per-view.

So how would the teams look? Below, I break it down into continental regions. What are your thoughts?

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Team Australasia

Male
Flyweight: Kai Kara France (NZ), Heili Alateng (CHI)
Bantamweight: Song Yadong (CHI), Kang Kyung-ho (SKO)
Featherweight: Alexander Volkanovski (AUS), Chan Sung Jung (SKO)
Lightweight: Dan Hooker (NZ), Beneil Dariush (IRA)
Welterweight: Jake Mathews (AUS), Li Jingliang (CHI)
Middleweight: Israel Adesanya (NZ), Robert Whittaker (AUS)
Light heavyweight: Jimmy Crute (AUS), Tyson Pedro (AUS)
Heavyweight: Tai Tuivasa (AUS), Justin Tafa (NZ)

Female
Straw weight: Zhang Weili (CHI), Alex Chambers (AUS)
Flyweight: Nadia Kassem (AUS), Ji Yeon Kim (SKO)
Bantamweight: Megan Anderson (AUS), Jessica-Rose Clark (AUS)

Team North America

Male
Flyweight: Henry Cejudo (USA), Joseph Benavidez (USA)
Bantamweight: Dominick Cruz (USA), Aljamain Sterling (USA)
Featherweight: Max Holloway (USA), Brian Ortega (USA)
Lightweight: Tony Ferguson (USA), Dustin Poirier (USA)
Welterweight: Kamaru Usman (USA), Jorge Masvidal (USA)
Middleweight: Yoel Romero (CUB), Kelvin Gastelum (MEX)
Light heavyweight: Jon Jones (USA), Dominick Reyes (USA)
Heavyweight: Stipe Miocic (USA), Daniel Cormier (USA)

Female
Straw weight: Rose Namajunas (USA), Tatiana Suarez (USA)
Flyweight: Jessica Eye (USA), Katlyn Chookagian (USA)
Bantamweight: Holly Holm (USA), Aspen Ladd (USA)

Team South America

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Male
Flyweight: Deiveson Figueiredo (BRA), Jussier Formiga (BRA)
Bantamweight: Marlon Moraes (BRA), Raphael Assunção (BRA)
Featherweight: José Aldo (BRA), Kron Gracie (BRA)
Lightweight: Edson Barboza (BRA), Charles Oliveira (BRA)
Welterweight: Gilbert Burns (BRA), Demian Maia (BRA)
Middleweight: Paulo Costa (BRA), Anderson Silva (BRA)
Light heavyweight: Thiago Santos (BRA), Glover Teixeira (BRA)
Heavyweight: Jairzinho Rozenstruik (SUR), Junior Dos Santos (BRA)

Female
Straw weight: Jéssica Andrade (BRA), Cláudia Gadelha (BRA)
Flyweight: Jennifer Maia (BRA), Viviane Araújo (BRA)
Bantamweight: Amanda Nunez (BRA), Ketlin Viera (BRA)

Team Europe

Conor McGregor

(Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Male
Flyweight: Askar Askarov (RUS), David Dvořák (CZR)
Bantamweight: Petr Yan (RUS), Nathaniel Wood (ENG)
Featherweight: Zabit Magomedsharipov (RUS), Arnold Allen (ENG)
Lightweight: Khabib Nurmagomedov (RUS), Islam Makhachev (RUS)
Welterweight: Conor McGregor (IRE), Leon Edwards (ENG)
Middleweight: Darren Till (ENG), Jack Hermansson (SWE)
Light heavyweight: Jan Błachowicz (POL), Alexander Gustafsson (SWE)
Heavyweight: Francis Ngannou (FRA), Alistair Overeem (HOL)

Female
Straw weight: Joanna Jędrzejczyk (POL), Aleksandra Albu (RUS)
Flyweight: Valentina Shevchenko (KYG), Joanne Calderwood (SCO)
Bantamweight: Germaine De Randamie (HOL), Yana Kunitskaya (RUS)