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10 fighters who could compete at UFC 400

Julian Catalfo / theScore

UFC 300 featured some iconic performances from the likes of Alex Pereira and Max Holloway. Though none of what transpired in Las Vegas last weekend should be forgotten so soon, we're putting it in the rearview mirror for now and looking ahead to the next milestone event: UFC 400.

Based on the current pay-per-view schedule, UFC 400 could take place in 2031. Almost all of today's stars - Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and Israel Adesanya, among others - will be retired. But much of the newer generation will still be around.

In fact, nine of the 26 fighters who competed at UFC 300 were already on the roster when UFC 200 happened in 2016. And 29 fighters who were ranked back then are still ranked now.

Below, we take a crack at identifying a handful of fighters who could step into the Octagon at UFC 400.

Ilia Topuria

Status: Featherweight champion
Current age: 27
Age during UFC 400: About 34

Topuria's knockout victory over longtime champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298 in February stamped him as the best featherweight in the world. At just 27 years old, Topuria is the present and future of the division. He's on track to becoming one of the biggest stars in MMA as a multicultural fighter with roots in Spain, Georgia, and Germany. Seven years is a long, long time to hold on to a UFC belt. The best-case scenario for Topuria's UFC 400 hopes is that he's at the tail end of his prime, a mainstream superstar, and a shoo-in for the headlining spot. Failing that, Topuria will very likely still be relevant when the next landmark event happens.

Tom Aspinall

Status: Interim heavyweight champion
Current age: 31
Age during UFC 400: About 38

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

Historically, heavyweights are competitive well into their late 30s. Two of the best heavyweights in the world - Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones - are 37 and 36, respectively. Daniel Cormier was 41 when he retired, and Cain Velasquez was 37. So it's only reasonable to think that Aspinall could very well still be at the top of his game by the time UFC 400 happens. Aspinall, like Topuria, is widely viewed as the present and future of his division. The Englishman will be around when many of today's heavyweight contenders are retired, which means there's a solid chance he'll be in the running to be part of the blockbuster event.

Khamzat Chimaev

Status: No. 11-ranked middleweight
Current age: 29
Age during UFC 400: About 37

Fans have had high expectations for Chimaev since he began his UFC run in historically dominant fashion. The Russian's momentum has hit somewhat of a snag thanks to inactivity over the past two years, but when he does step into the Octagon, it's almost always impressive. His performances are a strong indication that Chimaev will be a mainstay in the middleweight division for the next several years - and he may be a long-reigning champion. As the second-oldest fighter on this list, Chimaev's MMA days could be over by 2031. But if not, and if the next seven years of his career come anything close to meeting expectations, Chimaev will be a great candidate for UFC 400.

Arman Tsarukyan

Status: No. 1-ranked lightweight
Current age: 27
Age during UFC 400: About 34

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

Tsarukyan proved in his UFC 300 win over former champion Charles Oliveira that he's one of the very best lightweights in the world. Tsarukyan will likely fight for the title before the end of the year, against either Islam Makhachev or Dustin Poirier. At 27, the Armenian-Russian fighter is just getting started. Expect him to be a force at 155 pounds for years to come, potentially taking him all the way to UFC 400.

Shavkat Rakhmonov

Status: No. 3-ranked welterweight
Current age: 29
Age during UFC 400: About 36

Rakhmonov has run rampant against his fellow UFC welterweights since his arrival in 2020. The Kazakh fighter became the first to submit Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson last year and is on track to receive a title shot in 2024, perhaps against the winner of Leon Edwards versus Belal Muhammad 2. All signs point to Rakhmonov being a threat at 170 pounds for years to come.

Ian Machado Garry

Status: No. 7-ranked welterweight
Current age: 26
Age during UFC 400: About 33

Garry has emerged as one of the most promising rising stars at welterweight over the last two years, beating the likes of Geoff Neal and Neil Magny to climb up to No. 7 in the rankings. Garry, aptly nicknamed "The Future," is Ireland's best hope for a UFC champion since Conor McGregor, and it'd be a surprise if he doesn't become a pay-per-view draw in the not-too-distant future.

Erin Blanchfield

Status: No. 3-ranked women's flyweight
Current age: 24
Age during UFC 400: About 32

Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

Things didn't go Blanchfield's way in her last fight, as she suffered a unanimous decision loss to Manon Fiorot in a women's flyweight title eliminator to fall to 6-1 in the UFC. But that result doesn't take much away from Blanchfield's overall potential. She's still incredibly young, has yet to reach her prime, and will inevitably learn and grow from the one-sided defeat at UFC Atlantic City. Blanchfield is one of the best prospects in women's MMA, and she should do a lot more winning than losing over the next seven years.

Umar Nurmagomedov

Status: No. 9-ranked bantamweight
Current age: 28
Age during UFC 400: About 35

Nurmagomedov has the talent, undefeated record, and last name to become a star. The Dagestani bantamweight is 5-0 in the UFC and desperately in need of a step up in competition to prove himself as one of the best in the division. It took his older cousin, Khabib, quite a while to reach the top, so that's OK. A future rivalry with current bantamweight champion Sean O'Malley - this generation's Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Conor McGregor - could steal headlines left and right, setting Umar up for big things as UFC 400 gets closer.

Bo Nickal

Status: Unranked middleweight
Current age: 28
Age during UFC 400: About 35

Many believe Nickal has a chance to become one of the faces of the sport. The former collegiate wrestler has gotten off to a quick start in his UFC career, winning three fights inside the distance since debuting 13 months ago. Nickal isn't a championship-caliber fighter yet, but the sky is the limit for someone as raw as him. If he does realize the level of success expected of him between now and UFC 400, the American Top Team product will be a lock for the card.

Raul Rosas Jr.

Status: Unranked bantamweight
Current age: 19
Age during UFC 400: About 26

As the youngest fighter on the UFC roster (and ever to be signed by the promotion), Rosas has time on his side to improve his craft, figure out what kind of fighter he is, and rise up the ranks. By UFC 400, Rosas won't even be in his physical prime yet. The New Mexico native is already a slick submission specialist, and if he can round out his skill set a bit more, there's a good chance he'll be in contention at 135 pounds before his mid-20s.

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