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Former champions hoping to find the road back to the gold at UFC 200

Posted on | April 19, 2016 | No Comments

UFC 200 takes place at the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 9th and it looks set to be one of the cards of the year. There’s name value, excitement, current champions and former champions all battling it out in unarmed combat. All of those involved are hoping for the win that will bring the bigger paydays and open more doors.

Conor McGregor headlines in the instant rematch against Nate Diaz, who handed the Irishman his first UFC loss at UFC 196. That’s a great story in its own right, but there’s plenty more to be excited about on the supporting card.

There are four former UFC world champions looking to get back to winning ways. To be on the right track in order to retrieve the illustrious titles, wins here are a necessity. Should they fall short, they take another step back in the pecking order and will struggle to be in their respective title races for a long while to come.

Victory would put them right back in contention and every fallen champion has that desire to recapture what they believe should be rightfully theirs.

Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar do battle for the interim featherweight title, with McGregor in action two weight classes higher in the main event. Aldo was the most dominant champion the 145lbs division has ever seen until McGregor quite literally toppled him, and Edgar won the UFC’s lightweight title before failing on his attempts at the gold when he moved down.

Aldo is 4/5, according to the UFC 200 odds, just edging ahead of Edgar at evens when this article was produced. Aldo has beaten Edgar before, albeit in a very hard-fought contest, but he was emphatically knocked out in his last bout and you have to wonder whether that will have an impact on his ability to do it again.

Edgar is tough and has the gas to make the rounds look easy, whereas Aldo is known to fade. This makes it an extremely intriguing battle, with both men wanting their shot at the real world title held by McGregor if he returns to 145lbs at any point.

Cain Velasquez is also on the bill and the former heavyweight champion is favourite against hard-hitting Travis Browne. Two-time world champion Velasquez was submitted for the first time in his career by Fabricio Werdum, but a victory should make him a top contender once again.

The other former champion is Johny Hendricks, the welterweight wrestler who briefly held the 170lbs title after defeating Robbie Lawler only to have it snatched away in the immediate rematch. Hendricks looked to be back on track when he beat Matt Brown, but he has since suffered the worst defeat of his career, as Stephen Thompson demolished him with superior striking in February.

The nature of the last loss means that this is must-win for Hendricks if he wants his name to be around the title picture at all in the next year.

The mettle of every true champion can be tested in situations like these. There are no easy routes at the highest level of mixed martial arts but if they ever want to be world champions again, Aldo, Edgar, Velasquez and Hendricks will have to do their best to find a way.



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