In MMA history there has always been those match ups the fans wanted to see but couldn't because certain fighters were in different organizations. Before Zuffa acquired Strikeforce, the question always was how the Strikeforce fighters would fare against UFC fighters. Or back in the day how the Pride fighters and UFC fighters would match up. I want to list some fights that I would like to see. Whether the fighters are in 2 different organizations or same organization but different weight classes. I even will list some fighters who are in the same organization and weight class, but just haven't met yet.
1 - UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos VS Former Dream- K1- and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem
This fight was supposed to go down at UFC 146, but after Overeem's testosterone levels were not at sufficient levels for the Nevada State Athletic Commission the fight had to be canceled and Overeem was replaced by Frank Mir. Dos Santos went on to TKO Mir in the 2nd round.
For me this will be a dream match up of stand up strikers that are on another level than every other Heavyweight in MMA. I think this fight will eventually happen. It all depends if JDS can get by Cain Velazquez for a 2nd time and if Overeem can return and meet all of the Commissions standards. If he can I think this will be an unforgettable fight that will be remembered as one of the best Heavyweights fights of all time. We have not yet seen JDS fight a guy that can stand up with him. As I mentioned in the beginning of this segment, Overeem was a K1 Champion. The stand up that is on display in K1 is the best kickboxing in the world. I am interested to see how Dos Santos reacts in the clinch if Alistair starts landing those wicked knees and elbows that he is famous for. If this fight somehow winds up on the floor who knows what will happen.
2 - UFC Welterweight Champion George St-Pierre VS Former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion and current UFC Top Welterweight Contender Nick Diaz
Again this is another fight that was supposed to already have happened. Last year at UFC 137 GSP and Diaz were scheduled to square off in a match that was pitting the #1 Welterweight in the world against a guy in Diaz who was coming from Strikeforce and was considered by me and a lot of MMA fans to be the 1 guy whose style of fighting and fearlessness could be a real legitimate problem for St-Pierre. GSP used to be a fighter who would finish his opponents like he did to BJ Penn, Matt Serra, Matt Hughes twice, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg and Jay Hieron. In 5 out of his last 6 wins he has won by decision. He has caught a lot of flack from fans and media for not finishing his opponents. You can make the argument that either he has lost his killer instincts or that he has evolved as a strategic fighter who now comes into a fight with a certain game plan and sticks to it no matter what. Regardless of your opinion he hasn't lost in over 5 years and 9 fights. The fight was switched due to Nick Diaz's failure to show up for a press conference that was promoting their fight. Diaz was matched up with BJ Penn and Carlos Condit was supposed to fight GSP instead. GSP then had to pull out of that fight due to injury. The Condit -St-Perre fight was rescheduled for early 2012, but after Diaz beat Penn convincingly at UFC 137 he was calling out St-Pierre in the cage saying George was faking the injury and that he wanted a piece of GSP. This enraged GSP. So much so that he said "He's(Nick Diaz) the most disrespectful human being I have ever met and I am going to put the worst beating you've ever seen on him in the UFC."
This is very much against the normal even keeled personality and mannerisms that we are accustomed to seeing from St-Pierre. Many have said Diaz was really getting into his head and might cause GSP to be a little reckless when they fight and that would play right into Diaz's hands. In December 2011 though it was revealed that George's injury was worse than he originally thought. He tore his ACL and will be sidelined for at least 10 months. So Diaz was then going to have to fight Carlos Condit instead at UFC 143. Condit beat Diaz in a very close decision that some say should have went to Diaz. Diaz is currently suspended because he tested positive for marijuana for a 2nd time in his career. He will be able to return in February 2013. If GSP is till the champ by then and Diaz is the #1 contender, and assuming he is not still "retired" this fight will eventually go down and it will be amazing.
3- UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones VS UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva
This match up is one that only can take place if Anderson Silva agrees to move up a weight class. He has fought twice at Light Heavyweight in the UFC. Both of those fights ended up in KO wins. In 2008 he KO'd James Irvin and in 2009 he knocked out Forest Griffin. Anderson is currently recognized as the pound for pound greatest fighter in MMA and maybe the greatest fighter ever.
Jon Jones is maybe the one guy out there that has the ability to take that pound for pound and greatest ever title away from Anderson. Last year he ran off a most impressive streak of 4 straight wins against former UFC Light Heavyweight champions. He beat "Shogun" Rua, Lyoto Michida, Quinton Jackson, and Rashad Evans. This streak is something most fighters will never pull off in there whole career, never mind consecutively like that.
You would have Silva's Muay Thai on display up against Jon Jones tremendous reach and creativity. Jones would have a weight advantage but with his slim build it would not be that much of a factor. Plus Anderson would be bigger for this fight as well. This fight would have to take place soon because Anderson is 37 and might retire sooner rather than later.
4- UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos VS Strikeforce Heavyweight Gran Prix Winner Daniel Cornier
This fight can happen maybe even sooner than JDS and Overeem. Cormier has 1 more fight remaining on his Strikeforce contract and if he can get a win in that fight and Dos Santos can get by his second fight with Cain Velazquez than Dana White has hinted that Cormier could maybe get a shot at Junior in his first UFC fight.
Cormier, who was on the US Olympic Wrestling Team did not even know how to throw a proper leg kick a few years ago. Now he is landing head kicks on Josh Barnett. It was his KO over "Big Foot" Silva that got a lot of peoples attention, but his unanimous decision over the much more experienced Josh Barnett that really solidified his position as a threat in the Heavyweight division.
If Cormier were to fight Dos Santos he would probably test the waters a but with his stand up, but I think he will be smart enough to know that is not a good idea. He will try to neutralize JDS's standup with his wrestling. Junior has shown good takedown defense in his past fights with wrestlers Shane Carwin and Cain Velazquez but Cormier is on just another level than everyone else in this department. Would be a great fight.
5- UFC Lightweight Champion and Former WEC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson VS Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler
This is one of those fights that probably won't go down but I just want to point out that I think Chandler can match up well with "Smooth" Henderson.
Chandler fights with supreme confidence and heart and is a tough guy to beat. He won the belt in a thrilling fight with former champion Eddie Alvarez in a fight that coincidentally happened on the same night as Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua's war of attrition. Because of this reason this fight was a little overlooked. This is without a doubt a fight of the year candidate. Chandler was in real trouble in this fight and was almost TKO'd. He was able to hold on and out will Alvarez and was able to submit him with a rear naked choke in the 4th round.
Henderson is a fighter who has paid his dues to get where he is at today. He was cut from one if the seasons of The Ultimate Fighter but did not let this deter him. His biggest asset is his incredible leg strength. He uses them to dish out a lot of kicks and can also take a good kick as well. He will fight Frankie Edgar in his first title defense, which is a rematch at UFC 150 in August.
6- UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo VS Former Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar
This is a fight that I think is destined to happen. After Edgar lost his title to Ben Henderson at UFC 144 Dana White was pleading with Edgar to drop down to featherweight and get an immediate title shot against Jose Aldo. Part of the reasoning was that Frankie doesn't need to cut much weight to drop and the fact there is a lack of true contenders at 145 to oppose Aldo. In any case Edgar resisted and demanded a rematch with Henderson for the 155 belt. He made a strong point that he had to give 2 rematches as champion. To BJ Penn, who he won the belt from and to Gray Maynard. Dana relented and gave Frankie his rematch.
Aldo has been so dominant so far that only a guy like Edgar who has great foot work, wrestling ability, championship experience, and capacity to take a punch or kick can give Aldo a credible challenge. Whether this fight happens at 145 or 155 I think it will go down.
7- Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez VS Former Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez
This is a fight that has a good chance of going down. Alvarez contract with Bellator is up and he has made it clear he wants to get paid. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is very fond of Alvarez and would like to resign him but the main point of disagreement is the fact that Alvarez does not want to go back into the lightweight tournament. Bellator's business plan is to make every fighter go through the tournament before they get a title shot. This reason alone can force Alvarez into leaving Bellator and join Zuffa.
This would be a perfect opportunity to match up Melendez and Alvarez. Melendez has a real lack of competition in Strikeforce right now. He keeps saying he wants Zuffa to bring in either a UFC contender or a top contender from elsewhere, so this can really work.
It would be a good fight between 2 similar fighters. Both have good stand up and submissions. Both guys are tough and have championship experience. Plus if Zuffa can sign Alvarez they will always have that option of bringing him to the UFC to add even more depth to the 155 lb division.
8- UFC Middleweight Contender Brian Stann VS Strikeforce Middleweight #1 Contender Tim Kennedy
Let's face it, the main reason I put this fight on the list was the fact that both of these guys are real American war hero's who happen to fight MMA and happen to fight in the same division.
Kennedy is an Army Green Beret - Special Forces Sniper who is an Iraq war vet and has received the Army's Bronze Star for Valor under fire.
Stann is a Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corp who also is an Iraq War vet who has received The Silver Star, which is the nations third highest award for valor in combat.
If you put this fight on a card on the week of Veterans Day, Memorial Day, or Independence Day it would be a great moment for the sport and our country. It would be a competitive fight as well. Kennedy is a fighter who likes to out work and overwhelm his opponents with his aggressive grappling like he did against MMA vet "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler. Stann is more of a striker with great power and is working on his short comings in the ground department. Would make for a great fight.
9- UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva VS Former Bellator Middleweight Champion and current UFC Middleweight Contender Hector Lombard
These 2 fighters have been on a collision course for a few years. Silva really hasn't lost a fight since 2004 against Ryo Chonan in Pride. His loss against Yushin Okami in 2006 was because of a DQ due to an illegal kick from Silva. He is 35-4 in his career.
Lombard has an equally impressive record of 31-2. He hasn't lost a fight since 2006 when he lost a decision to Gegard Mousasi in Pride 13. Granted I know he hasn't faced nearly the level of competition that Silva has, but 25 straight fights without a loss is unbelievable in this sport where on any given night you can get touched on the chin and it's all over.
This fight can definitely happen too. Especially with recent injuries to Michael Bisping, Brian Stann, and Vitor Belfort it opens up a lane for Lombard to take advantage of. He has to get by a tough Tim Boetsh at the upcoming UFC 149 event in July. If he can do that and Anderson can beat his nemesis Chael Sonnen for a second time then this fight might happen sooner than expected.
10- UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo VS Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran
This another fight that is a long shot to take place. Curran is 17-4 in his career, but 4-0 since moving down to 145. He won the Bellator Lightweight tournament in 2010 then went on to lose to Eddie Alvarez by decision in the title fight. Then when he dropped to 145 he won the that tournament and went on to destroy Champion Joe Warren back in March of this year. That was his most impressive win. That is the fight that led me to believe he can hang with Aldo.
With Bellator moving over to Spike TV in January they are going to need some young stars to showcase so they will probably lock up Curran to an extended. contract.
11- UFC Top 3 Lightweight Contender Nate Diaz VS Former WEC Lightweight Champion and UFC Top Lightweight Contender Anthony Pettis
This is a fight that a lot people think should happen next for Diaz and Pettis. Diaz is next in line for a title shot after Hebderson-Edgar 2. He has hinted that he would like to wait for the winner and get his title shot. Probably a smart move. If the winner of Henderson and Edgar comes out of that fight with an injury and had to take a significant amount of time off then maybe Diaz will decide to fight Pettis next.
This would be an interesting fight both on the feet and especially on the ground. Diaz has 7 wins in the UFC by way of submission and in his last fight he overwhelmed Jim Miller who is quite good in submissions himself. Pettis is very crafty in BJJ and would be a very tough guy to submit. I think Pettis can win the striking battle with his unpredictable kicks and food hands.
12- Dream Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki VS UFC Featherweight Contender Chan Sung Jung "Korean Zombie"
This would be a match up of 2 of the top Asian fighters in the sport today. With the existence of Dream now in in turmoil, Aoki might be signing with another promotion. The UFC will certainly be interested. Aoki just came off getting KO'd in Bellator by Eddie Alvarez. He is one of the most dangerous submission fighters on the planet and I think he would be able to drop to 145 for the right fight.
"Korean Zombie" is one of the most popular fighters in the UFC today. He earned his nick name for his ability to take a punch and keep on moving forward. He has really evolved though in the last year or 2. He has learned to choose his moments of attack instead of just going shot for shot with his opponent.
13- Former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion and Current UFC Top Welterweight Contender Nick Diaz VS UFC Welterweight Josh Koscheck
This is just a fight I have always wanted to see because of the attitudes of these 2. It will be interesting to see how Diaz reacts to Koscheck running off at the mouth in the months leading up to the fight.
Diaz is a guy who doesn't do too much talking before the fight, but when the cage door closes he seems to thrive on talking trash to his opponents. It is part of his game plan and seems to focus him on what he needs to do.
In this fight Diaz would actually be the fan favorite. Koscheck is the guy the fans love to hate. He would probably choose to slug it out with Diaz which would make for a great fight.
14- Former Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez VS UFC Lightweight Melvin Guillard
This a fight that I have always had in the back of my mind. Say what you want about Melvin Guillard's lack of submission defense but when you hear his name is attached to a card you know the fight will be exciting. Melvin can KO any man in his division with a knee, elbow, punch, or slam. With Alvarez you get a guy who also prefers to bang it out with his opponents. Both of these guys are fearless and would make for an interesting fight.
15- UFC Middleweight Contender Michael Bisping VS BAMMA Middleweight Champion Tom "Kong" Watson
In this fight it would be "Kong" vs "The Count." Bisping is regarded as the best fighter in the UK today. He has represented England well in the UFC and is a very under rated fighter. He has good stand up and under appreciated take down defense.
Tom Watson is a fighter that wants that crown of the top UK fighter. He is 15-4 in his career and has defended his belt successfully 3 times. Watson is a guy that can one day can be in the UFC so this fight is not out of the question for a card in London or Manchester in the future.
This concludes my list. Most of these fights can very well happen and some of them won't but I think all of them would be fun to see.