Welcome to Lynch's Mailbag, a weekly feature by senior MMA news editor James Lynch.
Send James a DM @LynchOnSports or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit questions for next week's article. The following questions have been edited for clarity and grammar.
What three fights would you make that would generate the most pay-per-view buys? - Peter Johannes
As I've mentioned previously on theScoreMMAPodcast, booking Conor McGregor against Jorge Masvidal at 170 pounds is the biggest fight the UFC could make right now. We already know the star power McGregor brings to the table, and Masvidal emerged as the biggest superstar in the promotion last year.
The second fight I'd book would be Jon Jones against Israel Adesanya for the light heavyweight title. Personally, I'd like to see Adesanya defend his middleweight title a few times. He's currently facing Yoel Romero at UFC 248 on March 7, but if we're going for high viewership, this is the fight to make. For Jones, it would be his most popular opponent since Daniel Cormier, and for Adesanya, it would be an opportunity to become a two-division champion.
The last fight I'd book would be Nate Diaz against Dustin Poirier. These two were slated to face off at UFC 230 before an injury forced "Diamond" off that card. Because of his 2016 win over McGregor, Diaz's popularity will always make him a guaranteed draw. Poirer's stock has also risen even among casual fans with his title fights against Max Holloway and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Where are the Canadian UFC events? They usually host three per year and it's coming up to six months without one. - @KhabibPicks
I imagine we'll start to hear about Canadian dates soon. If you remember last year, the promotion took some time to book their events which ended up being in Ottawa, Edmonton, and Vancouver. I'd expect Toronto to get an event this year considering that's a popular destination for the promotion.
With the UFC going to Portland in April and a rumored Seattle card as well, Vancouver will undoubtedly get skipped this year and possibly Alberta as well. The Maritimes seems like a possible destination and was mentioned by UFC senior vice president David Shaw in past interviews. Montreal hasn't hosted a UFC card since April 2015, so I'd expect an event in Quebec as well.
With Henry Cejudo defending his title against Jose Aldo at UFC 250, would you book Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling this summer in a title eliminator fight? - @CharlieVann88
That Yan-Sterling fight makes a lot of sense, although I will mention No. 4-ranked Cory Sandhagen is also without an opponent and could be in that mix as well. But I'm with you, book that matchup and also schedule Sandhagen against Pedro Munhoz who is ranked No. 7 in the bantamweight division.
With SBG Ireland's Pedro Carvalho and Fedor Team's Vadim Nemkov both having title fights, which gym will achieve their first Bellator championship first? - @TeepToTheJunk
Great question. I think Nemkov is more likely to defeat heavyweight champion Ryan Bader than Carvalho picking up a win over featherweight champion Patricio "Pitbull" Freire. The 27-year-old has already defeated three former Bellator champions and a PFL heavyweight tournament winner. Nemkov's wins over quality opposition make me more comfortable picking him over Carvalho.
Should Masvidal consider a return to lightweight to have a better chance of securing a fight with Conor McGregor? - Peter Johannes
I see the logic here - fighting Masvidal at lightweight would give more merit to his ultimate goal of earning a 155-pound title shot. But I honestly don't think it matters. McGregor is popular enough that even another victory at 170 pounds would put him in that spot.
Also, from past interviews, it doesn't sound like Masvidal could make 155 pounds anyway and hasn't competed in the weight class since April 2015.
Which PFL fighter do you think will be the next to sign with the UFC? - @JackAttackTO
This question comes from the fact that former PFL heavyweight champion Philipe Lins recently signed with the UFC and will face Andre Arlovski at UFC Oklahoma City.
I think lightweight champion Natan Schulte is the best bet. The 28-year-old American Top Team product is currently riding a 10-fight win streak and has won the tournament twice. While the $1-million payday is nice, I think seeing how he would fair in one of the UFC's deepest divisions would be intriguing to him.
Who will former RIZIN champion Jiri Prochazka draw in his UFC debut? - @TradeMarkMMA
Volkan Oezdemir seems like a good test for Prochazka in his debut. Ranked No. 7 in the division, the Swiss fighter has turned things around since losing three straight fights by picking up back-to-back victories.
Meanwhile, Prochazka hasn't lost since December 2015 and has finished his last seven opponents.