If you live in North America, this weekend you are observing a little holiday called "Labor Day." The moniker of this extra day off begs the question: Is this a day that celebrates all your hard work? Maybe it’s a day to celebrate the process of enduring the mother of all cramps whilst you deliver yet another fleshy biped into the world? Perhaps, I’m just too lazy to Google "the origins of Labor Day." What I can tell you is that having the extra free time has given me an opportunity to kick back, stare at the ceiling and ponder some dream matches that haven’t been bandied about in MMA forum discussions ad nauseam. Yes, we all want to see Fedor vs. Whoever is UFC Heavyweight Champ, or GSP vs. Silva, or even Silva vs. Machida. There are, however, a few less obvious ideas for fights that came to me in my holiday reverie. Of course, I am not going to claim that I am the only one who has thought of these match-ups, but I will refer back to the aforementioned declaration of laziness to explain why I have not yet seen these discussed. So, without further adieu, here are my "dream matches you may not have thought of…"
Anderson Silva vs. Randy Couture
For quite some time now, people have discussed a super match between Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, citing them as the two most dominant figures in the UFC. They are only a weight class apart and it would be a heck of a fight. Right? Well, I’m of the opinion that it would go much like the GSP – Penn fight, in which the larger of the two elite fighters would be able to dominate. When all things are equal, size certainly comes into play. GSP might be a larger welterweight, but Anderson is winning in devastating fashion all the way up at light heavy. As for a Silva – Machida bout? Maybe it could happen down the road, but neither fighter wants it at all because of the friendship they share.
In Couture, we have a multiple time champion at both heavyweight and light heavyweight who may have gotten solidly beat in his last fight, but looked as in shape and game as ever. I believe a fight between Randy and "The Spider" would be a compelling, exciting match-up that would live up to what should be a huge pay per view buy rate. Anderson is a puzzle no one has been able to figure out and Randy has shown an uncanny ability to come up with the right game plan to beat, or at the very least make a heck of a fight with the best of them. Couture’s ability to dictate where a fight takes place using his superior wrestling abilities -- the one area in which we’ve seen people do anything at all with Silva – make him a troublesome opponent for the middleweight king. I don’t think anyone would make an argument claiming Couture is on the same mega-elite plane as Silva, but his superior size and experience fighting at heavyweight could very well give him some plusses in the fight that make it quite the war. Of all the cross weight class super fights, this one is the most interesting to me.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir
For the last several years, we have entertained just about every permutation of Fedor vs. a top heavyweight one could cook up. For a good long time it was Randy Couture and, now that Brock Lesnar is duke of the UFC division, the talk is of a fight with him. Without a date in sight for "The Last Emperor" to be stepping into the cage, however, we are left to conjure fights for Emelianenko that can only happen outside the UFC. One such fight that peaks my interest just might be plausible…
After his recent beat down at the hands of Brock Lesnar, it would seem that there isn’t much for Frank Mir to do in the UFC moving forward. Indeed, following all this talk of Nog’s injury and illness when Mir defeated him, there is the rematch with Nogueira; but what after that? If Mir again beats Nogueira are we to expect another title shot? Let’s face it, Mir was getting his royal butt kicked in the first fight with Lesnar and just happened to catch the inexperienced behemoth with a surprise submission. In fight number two, Brock continued the beating where he left off and added an extra heaping portion of whoop ass while leaving out the dumb mistake he’ll likely never make again. At best, Mir can expect to bounce around the division’s top ten. When his contract ends with the UFC, though, he will be faced with the opportunity to take his little piece of the legend pie.
The reason I find this match so compelling is that I do believe Mir is one of the three or four best heavyweights in the world. His stand up game is solid and his ground game is as good as any. He has the size to try to bully Fedor a bit and he has the skill to force Emelianenko into a strategic war. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that Mir would be my betting favorite, but I do think that he will make a more interesting opponent for Fedor than we’ve seen the Russian face in quite some time. Whether it happens or not -- given Mir’s loyalty to the UFC an announcing gig with Zuffa’s WEC -- is unknown. Just the same… It’s my weekend off and I’m going to enjoy the thought experiment.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Rich Franklin
I’m sure that this idea for a bout will earn me the most argument. I briefly considered GSP vs. Nick Diaz, but this one jumped out at me more. In a division that has been all but cleared out by the ultra-skilled welterweight champion, there is not really a fighter left that one can imagine will offer him enough of a challenge. As a middleweight, GSP is completely untested but he does carry a fair amount of size on his frame. As discussed above, there has been much talk of a "catch weight" fight with Anderson Silva, but I feel that this would be entirely premature. What we witnessed with BJ Penn and GSP could likely happen in a GSP – Silva matchup and it would be nice to see if Georges could first prove himself to be a force in the middleweight division before he goes after its title holder. No one asked Anderson to go for the light heavyweight belt right away, and I don’t think there is any reason to have GSP do so at middle. We could instead, see a testing of GSP’s skills at a higher weight class and a build up to a big showdown if he does prove himself worthy.
That said, I would love to see his first fight in the division be with a guy like Rich Franklin. I realize Franklin is fighting at 205 now, but he was once the middleweight champ and I would think -- for a big money fight like this – he could make weight again. It would be a fantastic intro into the class for GSP and it would put champion caliber fighters against one another, forcing GSP to stretch his talents to the limit without yet having to see if those talents are enough at 185 to face the likes of another "super elite" fighter like Silva.
Brock Lesnar vs. The Thing
This is an extra special, holiday bonus pick. I promise the idea was not induced by the intake of any controlled substances or even fluids whose inception required a fermentation process. There is no reason for this particular fight other than it’s fun to watch mutants try to kill one another.
So there you have it, my friends… A few alternate ideas for interesting fights (and one not-marijuana inspired fantasy idea because people are just too damn serious!). I look forward to seeing what other ideas ya’ll offer in and around the numerous flame posts I’m sure to get…