UFC 218 Is More About The Long Road Back Than It Is The Big Step Forward

There are big opportunities for a lot of fighters at UFC 218 tonight, but for some, it's the last chance saloon.

We’re just hours away from UFC 218 and the excitement is building ahead of what on paper looks like one of the best fight cards of the year.

Detroit will host arguably the strongest UFC pay-per-view main card in the last 12-months with a title on the line, and several matchups where the winner could go on to challenge for UFC gold in their next fight. Much of the focus has been on which of these top contenders will put themselves in line for a title shot, but on the flip side of things, several of the fighters who enter the Octagon tonight could find themselves on the periphery of their division for the remainder of their career.

Aldo or bust

One man who this almost certainly accounts for is the title challenger tonight, Jose Aldo. The Brazilian was long heralded as the best featherweight in the world, but when Conor McGregor rode onto the scene, it brought about an end to his dominance. With Max Holloway taking his title earlier this year at UFC 212, Aldo now has the chance to assert himself once again as the kingpin at 145-pounds.

However, defeat tonight with catastrophic for his chances of once again becoming the featherweight king. In the instance of a defeat, a move up to lightweight could reignite the flame, but tonight he’s a perfect example of a fighter putting all their cards on the table.

Overeem or Overdone?

What’s left to be said about Alistair Overeem? The 37-year-old has been one of the greatest heavyweights to enter an MMA cage, but tonight his hopes of ever contending for a UFC title could all come crashing down. Plenty of people questioned his choice to take the fight with Francis Ngannou, but surely it’s better to face the man now than in a few years time when he’s even a wiser and more formidable force in the Octagon. If Overeem to ever contend for the title again he has to beat Ngannou tonight. Personally, I think this is a much closer fight than most think it is.

Alvarez nearing cash out time

If you aren’t one of the people looking forward to Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje tonight, get the f*** out. This as Joe Rogan so brilliantly described yesterday should be “guaranteed chaos ladies and gentlemen.” That said, for one of the men, there’s a lot on this fight. Just 13-months ago, Alvarez held the UFC lightweight title, but ever since his loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 205, things haven’t been the same.

Alvarez was in deep trouble against Dustin Poirier before the fight ended in a no contest and with several top contenders in the division coming to the fore, this could be his last chance to make a run back at the title. With young bucks like Gaethje looking ready to dominate the division, is it time Alvarez cashed out while he still has his wits about him? Tonight could be the night where that question becomes something he needs to seriously consider.

6 essentials ahead of tonight:

  1. Dan Tom at MMA Junkie breaks down the main event title fight – See HERE
  2. James Lynch has been on the ground all week in Detroit so check out his pre-fight interviews – See HERE
  3. Danny Austin from Post Media in Canada wrote a great piece on Francis Ngannou and why you shouldn’t just assume he’s a natural mixed martial artist – See HERE
  4. Damon Martin and new co-host Matt Brown preview tonight of the ‘Fight Society Podcast’ – See HERE
  5. Did Holloway have a tough weight cut? Aaron Bronsteter of TSN asked him about it – See HERE
  6. Jose Youngs and Jose “Shorty” Torres breakdown Michelle Waterson vs. Tecia Torres over at Sports Illustrated – See HERE

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