UFC 213 is 2017's marquee International Fight Week PPV card, and for the past few years, it's been the UFC's main showcase. Conor McGregor took a quantum leap in popularity at UFC 189 by winning the interim featherweight title at UFC 189 two years ago. UFC 200 suffered more than a few hiccups last summer, but it was marketed as the biggest event in UFC history to that point and gave the weekend a big fight feel.
This year, UFC 213 will try to deliver on the same scale. Both UFC 189 and UFC 200 sold over 1 Million PPVs, and with a bevy of talent available, there's a possibility it surpasses the previous two events.
Here's some information we've gathered surrounding the event.
Cris Cyborg is itching to get back into the Octagon since being cleared from any USADA violations. She's brokered for fights with several top female featherweights, but her next one will likely be for the interim UFC featherweight title. Champion Germaine de Randamie is still recovering from hand surgery, so Cyborg and the UFC are struggling to land her a deserving opponent. UFC 214 is Cryborg's preference but Dana White may want to stack UFC 213 with premier women's talent.
Dana White has publicly said that he's offered Nate Diaz a fight and Nick Diaz has turned down several in turn. The Diaz brothers remain top draws, so don't be surprised to see one or both on the UFC 213 card.
Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Garbrandt and Dillashaw are the coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 25th season and are on course to settle their score in July.
"I can't wait to relive it [excitement of winning the UFC title] July 8th," said Garbrandt. "July 8th I'm fighting, right? That's the PPV?
When asked if that's official, Cody responded by saying, "Yeah, that's the 6th, International Fight Week. I'm pretty sure, I'm not sure. It's just speculation, but I'm a good guesser."
Garbrandt had a multitude of dates in his head and with International Fight Week usually featuring three events, it's possible that Garbrandt vs Dillashaw headlines the Ultimate Fighter card instead of finding a home on the UFC 213 PPV card.
Dana White has removed Garbrandt from the UFC 213 card.
Tyron Woodley vs. Damian Maia
Tyron Woodley has his heart set on defending his welterweight title at UFC 213 and he doesn't care who his opponent is that night.
“Yea for sure. You know the UFC doesn’t have that many stars. They have a lot of great fighters, but as far as actual stars there is not very many of them in the UFC" said Woodley to BJPenn.com. "So with that said, I think that I am one of the guys that are right on the cusp of breaking through and becoming that star. And I think the UFC will put their heavy hitters on that card (UFC 213). I don’t know exactly what they (the UFC) have planned but I talked to Dana (White) not too long ago and he asked me when I want to fight and I told him that I want to fight then (July 8). So with that said, I think that is going to be a go. That is what we are shooting for.”
Luckily for Woodley, a clear #1 contender has emerged in the welterweight division. Damian Maia's defeat of Jorge Masvidal makes his the clear challenger to Woodley's title and if healthy, Maia could be ready for July 8th.
Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping
“It’s looking like July 8,” Bisping said. “Dana’s pushing for July 8. He told me July 8. July 8 would be a good date for me as well. I could fight two months from now. July 8, that works.”
“In fact, July 8 is great for me because that’s give or take four months away. What I’m going to do, my preparation for that, I’m going to give myself two camps.”
Rumors of GSP wanting to wait until the end of the year, instead of fighting in July, upset Bisping and he didn't hold back on addressing the situation on his “Believe You Me Podcast.”
“I’m just throwing it out there right now, if he wants to wait until September or October then he can go find himself another opponent, buddy. Because I call the shots,” said Bisping. “Without sounding like an a--, it’s my belt, I’m the champion, and I’m not willing to sit around until September or October. This fight was discussed in January. A fight camp only takes eight weeks or six weeks. Fighting in September or October is ridiculous.
M“July 8 is the date. I will be a little bit flexible and we can go past that a little bit but I want to fight International Fight Week, July 8. Georges St-Pierre, get it together. Stop doing your f---ing gymnastics, stop doing your back flips and whatever it is and let’s do this, buddy. Sign the paperwork.”M
A knee injury to Michael Bisping has pushed back his original timetable for a GSP fight. He's now aiming for a fall return and plans on defending his title against GSP or the interim champion.
Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko
Amanda Nunes finds herself headlining consecutive International Fight Week pay-per-view cards. Last year, Nunes dismantled Miesha Tate in the main event of UFC 200 and this year she'll have her stiffest test as champion, a rematch with Shevchenko. The two fought to an extremely close decision in their first match up and they look to put on a classic bout again.
Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker
Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker compete for the UFC middleweight interim title at UFC 213, but if we are being honest it's a paper championship. Both men deserve a shot at Michael Bisping or a true #1 contenders fight. Adding a meaningless championship diminishes the importance of the fight because everyone knows that it's only in place to boost the perception around the card. The winner of this fight will still have to prove worthy of being called the undisputed middle champion down the road.
Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone vs. Robbie Lawler
UFC 213 just inked an extremely exciting fight in former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and perennial fan favorite "Cowboy" Cerrone. These two men are known for their dynamic fighting styles and pension for finishing opponents.
Cerrone is hoping to bounce back from a loss to welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal and Robbie Lawler is trying to work his way back into the welterweight title picture. What does this all mean? Get ready for an exciting brawl in Vegas!