As 2017 winds down, the UFC’s 2018 pay-per-view schedule is winding up.
The promotion will kick off its pay-per-views in 2018 with UFC 220 on Jan. 20 in Boston. No fights have been revealed, but company president Dana White revealed the date and location for UFC 220 to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto on Monday.
Though White didn’t reveal any bouts, a Boston pay-per-view could be a possibility for a Conor McGregor return. Although White has been targeting McGregor’s return bout opposite Tony Ferguson for UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas, perhaps a Boston date in January could be indicative of UFC 219 not coming to fruition. Boston has a large Irish population and McGregor is extremely popular there.
Following UFC 220, the promotion also unveiled on Monday that it would make its first stop in Perth, Western Australia, on Feb. 11, when UFC 221 lands there.
“I’ve always loved Australia.” UFC president Dana White said on Monday.”The fans and energy are fantastic, but most importantly, we seem to have some of the greatest fights there. My job is to put on the best fights in the world and this is a place that never disappoints. I look forward to our first UFC event in Perth next year and hope to entertain the fans once again.”
UFC’s first event in Perth, Western Australia is made possible by the support of the Government of Western Australia, which is sponsoring the event after recently overhauling the state’s regulation for mixed martial arts bouts. Previously, MMA competitions in the state of Western Australia were required to be conducted in boxing rings, which were never designed for MMA competitions. UFC uses a unique octagon-shaped fenced-in enclosure, now sanctioned in Western Australia, which prevents athletes from falling out of the structure or becoming entangled in the ropes as could occur with a boxing ring.
“This isn’t just huge news for UFC, but for the sport of MMA in Western Australia. Finally, MMA can be competed nation-wide in the field of play specifically designed for the sport,” said interim UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
The bigger picture for MMA wasn’t the only thing on Whittaker’s mind, however, as he’d like nothing more than to unify his interim title with the UFC middleweight championship being contested between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 this weekend in New York.
The timing might be too much of a quick turn for the winner of Bisping vs. St-Pierre, but Whittaker is holding on to hope.
“Anything can happen between now and Sunday, Feb. 11,” he said. “With that said, fighting on home soil is always a dream come true and I’d love to unify the UFC middleweight title here in Australia. My next stop is New York City to be Octagon side for UFC 217 – let’s see what happens in that main event between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre.”