This year so far has been a banner six months for mixed martial arts, as fans saw top champions cement their status among the sport's elite, new stars rise and some of the craziest finishes in history. And there's much more to come: Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar; Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic; Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier.
Which fights not currently scheduled for 2019 need to be made? ESPN's MMA team -- Ariel Helwani, Brett Okamoto, Jeff Wagenheim and Marc Raimondi -- gave their picks.
Okamoto: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson
All of you should have seen this answer coming from me. In January, I wrote the "Top five fights I want to see in 2019," and guess what I had at No. 1? Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson. Ain't nothing changed.
Well, I'll take that back. The one thing that has changed is Dustin Poirier's incredible interim title win over Max Holloway in April. Poirier is one of the hottest fighters in the sport right now and I can tell you, he is going to Abu Dhabi in September with 100 percent confidence he is dethroning Nurmagomedov. And I think he has a real shot to do it. If, however, Nurmagomedov is still undefeated after UFC 242, Ferguson has to be next. Has to.
Helwani: Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier III (at heavyweight)
I'll go with the trilogy but with one caveat: I don't want to see this fight again at light heavyweight. It has to be at heavyweight. I understand both Jones and DC don't want to do it at heavyweight, but this is my fantasy booking, OK? Doing it at heavyweight gives the rivalry a new wrinkle and is just that much more intriguing. Can DC finally beat Jones at Cormier's more natural weight? Or can Jones take another belt away from his enemy? Theater at its finest.
Note: I reserve the right to change my answer if Stipe Miocic wins on Aug. 17.
Wagenheim: Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg II
Cyborg was the GOAT for what seemed like forever until Nunes snatched that distinction from her in 51 brutal seconds last December. I want more of that. It's not that I view fast finishes as a fluke, it's just that it never feels like the end of the story. The desire to see Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo tangle didn't die in me after 13 seconds. I'd even be up for Jorge Masvidal-Ben Askren II, maybe five rounds next time instead of five seconds. So yeah, I want to see history's two greatest female fighters -- and two of MMA's best ever, female or male -- share the cage again with the featherweight belt on the line.
Of course, to make that a 2019 possibility, Cyborg first has to take care of business against Felicia Spencer on July 27. If she doesn't, no problem: Just put the GOAT named Amanda in the cage with the No. 1 bantamweight contender, Germaine de Randamie.
Raimondi: Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko III
Over the past seven months, we've seen Nunes knock out both Cyborg and Holly Holm in the first round. We've also seen her in the past starch Ronda Rousey and choke out Miesha Tate. Both of those finishes came in the first round as well. Nunes has looked unbeatable, she has been an absolute destroyer lately -- except against one opponent: Shevchenko.
Yes, Nunes has beaten Shevchenko twice. But those decision victories have been razor close. Some even felt Shevchenko won their second meeting, a tactical five-round contest that likely came down to the closing seconds at UFC 215 in September 2017. Compare Nunes' fights against Cyborg and Holm to her two fights against Shevchenko, and there's no doubt Shevchenko has been her toughest opponent, fighting her almost evenly. In the past five years, Nunes has not had a more difficult time against anyone else despite a big size advantage.
Nunes has some contenders emerging at bantamweight, where she is the UFC champion. There's a possibility of a featherweight title rematch against Cyborg, which absolutely should happen if Cyborg beats Felicia Spencer and re-signs with the UFC. Shevchenko is the flyweight champion and would need to get by Liz Carmouche at UFC Uruguay. There are some obstacles in the way of this fight happening, but it would be one of the biggest trilogy bouts in women's MMA history.