Alternate reality: It's a concept most of us are familiar with, without knowing why. The age-old story, man steps on a certain leaf, and it disrupts the entire ecosystem, and the world collapses in mere years. It's a story rooted in the biggest "what-if" scenario imaginable.
Well, shit, why not apply that to MMA, huh? There are enough MMAth articles out there, I'm here to example a "leaf-stomping" theory about what would happen.
If Dan Hardy threw his hook against Carlos Condit at UFC 120 one-tenth of a second earlier, what would happen?
I know. It's a vague concept. Condit landed his hook earlier and KTFO Hardy. Those of you wh, o follow me should know I'm a gigantic Condit fan. I know he's never been knocked out, I know he was on his metaphorical deathbed against RoryMac and he came back, and that some of you doubt Hardy's KO power. I get that. What I know is that Hardy's punch connected when he was unconscious, and it still backed Condit a few steps. That's power.
So my question is this, regardless of what you think about either fighter, what if Hardy threw that punch just a tad earlier and it connected before Condit's did. Not saying Carlos would be out, but with his home-country behind him, Hardy's adrenaline was turned to 11 and he did enough GnP to finish Condit.
It's a very real possibility of that punch landing...but this is what might have happened.
October 16, 2010 - UFC 120: Dan Hardy's punch comes a millisecond too late, and is counting lights on his back...but what if it was the other way around?
-Going into the fight, we can say that Condit and Hardy were on roughly equal footing heading into the bout. Hardy had gotten utterly worked-over by GSP in a fight most felt he didn't deserve in the first place. Condit had staged his amazing brink-of-death charge against Rory MacDonald four months prior. Hardy was probably in higher standing with casuals (and certainly with the UFC brass), but not by a ton.
-So with Carlos and Hardy on close-to-equal footing and on the split-second timing of the finish, where it could have easily gone the other way, you can pretty much just switch their roles going into their next bouts and not lose anything.
-So that means, Dan Hardy goes on to face Chris Lytle at UFC 127 (since Condit was his original opponent, but got hurt and was replaced by Brian Ebersole), and Carlos Condit goes on to fight Anthony Johnson and UFN: Nogueira vs. Davis in March.
February 27, 2011 - UFC 127:
-This one is easy. Knowing what we know now, Lytle dismantles Hardy. Lytle, now having won five straight is a bondafide contender to the UFC Welterweight Championship, which will be decided in two months at UFC 129 between GSP and Shields.
March 26, 2011 - UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis:
-More angry than usual, Condit takes his loss to Hardy badly, believing it was a fluke. He takes the fight to Rumble, avoids his wrestling, peppers him with strikes, and uses Rumble's massive size against him to wear him out with his blistering pace. He's able to get the submission win over him. Rumble's decision to move to middleweight happens earlier than expected due to the loss and he starts training for 185 after the fight.
-Around this time in the WW division, a couple things are happening. First, longtime Middleweight contender Nate Marquardt is training for welterweight contention. After a March victory over Dan Miller, he's announced his intention. Obviously the UFC wants to give him time to adapt, but he says he'll be ready in the summer. Another surging welterweight is Dong-Hyun Kim, who is 5-0-1 in the UFC, with the latest win a grappling war with Nate Diaz in January. Jake Ellenberger is lurking, as well. Jake Shields is coming off of a lackluster loss to GSP for the strap.
June 26, 2011 - UFC Live:
-The UFC knows they have an event scheduled here for their first foray into BV's neck of the woods, Western PA. It's a new market and a Versus fight. They need some big names to draw tickets to the brand-spanking new Consol Energy Center. Eureka! Marquardt making his welterweight debut against Carlos Condit! Condit can never put on a boring fight and this is a great test for both guys. But the fight doesn't get booked. We're only a couple months out of the whole Rashad-Jones-Jackson fiasco and Dana wants to get as far away from that as possible. Two longtime Jackson guys fighting each other? Ugh, not worth the headache. With no other suitable opponent for Marquardt (Lytle would make sense, but he didn't fight until mid-August in the real world, so I doubt he was ready), and wanting to play it safe with his weight-cut, he pushes Marquardt's debut back. This is big. Now, with some extra time gifted to him, Nate can get his testosterone levels under control. Dana decides to keep Condit on, since he's a sure thing to deliver, but he's not confident in his ability to be a 1A as a draw to a new venue, so he has him Co-Main against Rick Story, coming off an impressive win over Alves.
-Story, who outstruck Thiago Alves, wants to stand and trade with Condit. It doesn't end well for him. Condit KO/TKO 1st.
July 2, 2011 - UFC 132:
-Kim, needing an opponent for the show, draws Jake Ellenberger. Ellenberger does to Kim what Condit did, although maybe not quite as violent. Kim gets knocked out of contention at UFC 132...so nothing changed for poor DYK.
August 6, 2011 - UFC 133:
-With Anthony Johnson now a middleweight, the UFC decides to save Vitor for Brazil and put on a barnburner. Rumble making his middleweight debut against Akiyama. One former versus one future welterweight. Rumble lacks the size, technique, and power of Vitor in his first middleweight fight, edges out Akiyama for a close decision win.
-Dan Hardy faces Dennis Hallman on the main card. Hallman, not wanting to outweird anybody this time, wears regular shorts and nobody is offended/offended at people offended. It doesn't matter who wins, it's gonna be an ugly fight and will only help them nominally.
August 14, 2011 - UFC Live
-We get Marquardt vs. Lytle as our main event with the stipulation that Lytle gets a title shot if he wins. I can promise they put on a FOTY candidate. Marquardt takes the decision in a ridiculous battle via split decision which is hotly contested. Nate and Chris, two class-acts agree to a rematch.
August 27, 2011 - UFC 134:
-Vitor Belfort easily defeats Jorge Rivera (moved from 133 to 134 to face Vitor). The crazy pro-Vitor fans immediately want Silva-Belfort again.
September 17, 2011 - UFN Shields vs. Ellenberger:
-Nothing changed here, Ellenberger, after his win over Kim, needed a step up, and he got it. We know how it ends.
September 24, 2011 - UFC 135:
-The UFC has Matt Hughes vs. Diego Sanchez scheduled, since Hughes only wants big-name fighters. As the story goes, Diego comes down with an injury, but it's a ready and eager Carlos Condit, not a questionable Josh Koscheck that gets the call. Condit makes easy work of Matt Hughes.
October 29, 2011 - UFC 137:
-With Condit just fighting a month ago, he's out of the conversation for this event. The schedule bouts are St. Pierre vs. Diaz and Penn vs. Fitch II.
-After Diaz acts a fool, the UFC has a decision to make. They decide to promote Penn over Fitch for the title bout. Now it's St. Pierre vs. Penn III and Diaz vs. Fitch
-After GSP gets hurt at the last minute, the UFC makes Diaz vs. Fitch the main event, and Penn waits.
-Fitch grinds Diaz out for the win. Fitch will fight GSP for the UFC Title at 144, while Marquardt vs. Penn will fight for the #1 contender.
November 5, 2011 - UFC 138:
-It's Belfort, not Leben, who gets the call to fight Mark Munoz in the main event. In the five-round affair, Belfort does enough damage to Munoz to warrant a doctor-stoppage in the fourth.
December 3, 2011 - TUF 14 Finale:
-Bisping fights Mayhem. Winner fights Leben in March.
December 30, 2011 - UFC 141:
-Lesnar vs. Overeem gets its co-main, and it's not Diaz-Cerrone, it's motherfucking Rumble vs. Sonnen.
January 14, 2012 - UFC 142:
-Fuck the HSBC Arena, Dana can't resist drawing close to 100k in a stadium, so Silva vs. Belfort is the fight to do it. Aldo vs. Mendes co-mains.
January 20, 2012 - UFC on FX 1:
-The UFC books Marquardt vs. Penn for the #1 contender, with Condit vs. Ellenberger II as the co-main, and Miller vs. Guillard third.. Enourmous first show on FX.
February 4, 2012 - UFC 143:
-St. Pierre vs. Fitch II, Diego Sanchez vs. Nick Diaz