UFC’s first quarter schedule for 2024 is starting to take shape.
UFC CEO Dana White on Monday announced a trio of title bouts on social media for early 2024. First up, UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland defends his belt against Dricus du Plessis on January in Toronto at UFC 297. Then, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski returns to 145 pounds to take on Ilia Topuria in February at UFC 298, and bantamweight king Sean O’Malley rematches Marlon Vera in March at UFC 299.
Strickland (28-5) captured his belt in stunning fashion with an upset of Israel Adesanya in September. For his first title defense, he meets du Plessis (20-2), the South African contender who stamped an exclamation mark on his undefeated 6-0 octagon record with a dominant stoppage win over former champ Robert Whittaker this past summer.
Volkanovski (26-3) returns to featherweight following his unsuccessful shot at two-division glory against Islam Makhachev in October. Volkanovski ultimately lost twice to Makhachev in 2023, with the rematch ending in a brutal first-round knockout, but is otherwise undefeated over his other 13 UFC appearances. His opponent, Topuria (14-0), has won six straight bouts to start his octagon career, including a recent decision over Josh Emmett.
O’Malley (17-1, 1 NC) also readies for his first title defense following his impressive second-round knockout of Aljamain Sterling in August. He now faces the only man to defeat him in his professional MMA career, Vera (21-8-1), who memorably earned over a first-round TKO over O’Malley in 2020. Vera has racked up a 5-2 UFC record with wins over Rob Font, Frankie Edgar, Pedro Munhoz, and Dominick Cruz since that first meeting with O’Malley.
The UFC has yet to announce official dates, locations, or venues for UFC 298 and UFC 299.
White did not specify if Volkanovski vs. Topuria or O’Malley vs. Vera 2 are main events.
In addition to Strickland vs. du Plessis, UFC 297 also features a vacant women’s bantamweight title bout between Mayra Bueno Silva and Raquel Pennington.
Which newly announced fight most piques your interest?
Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria
Sean O’Malley vs. Chito Vera 2
708 votes total