As a new year is upon us, so is the infinite possibilities of key match ups to be made during these 365 days. There are ultimately, but not limited to, five fights I think would be a travesty if they did not happen in the year 2009. These fights simply make sense and will hopefully come to fruition some time in the near future. In no particular order:
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett- Whether it's in Affliction, Dream, K-1, UFC, whoever this fight has to happen. Much sooner than later. Both guys are veterans of the sport, but for some odd reason neither had crossed paths although being apart of the same company throughout much of their careers. In my opinion, This is a fight that has the magnitude of Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva. We've all tried to figure out how it would go, but it's one of those open-ended fights you just have to watch and see what happens. If they hold this off for much longer, the luster behind it will fade and they'll be scraping to make it happen like they did Liddell/Silva. No silly number one contender fights or special fights, just make it happen. Affliction needs to just jump the gun on this one as their days could be numbered and they could at least boast having held this monumental battle.
- Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson vs. Rashad Evans - These two certainly aren't the biggest fan favorites in the UFC. However, this fight has fireworks written all over it. With such similar styles, it'd be intriguing to see what game plan each man would devise to go to war with. Barring any legal troubles, I think it's safe to say this one is a lock to happen, though Jackson has been adamant about avenging his July loss to former champion, Forrest Griffin, however with Forrest hurt and a big pay day possible, I think a shot at the new undefeated champ should be much more enticing. Please make this one happen Joe Silva!
- Forrest Griffin vs. Chuck Liddell - It seems that whenever the UFC tries to add some validity in it's ranking system, Chuck always gets the short end of the stick. While this was Dana White's wet dream of a main event for UFC 92, Rashad Evans had none of that...and beat up both men in convincing fashion. With both coming off a loss to King Rashad, it makes sense to make this super fight and make it now. Chuck's mega fight stature is fading. Seeing him get trounced over and over isn't going to make fans of his tune in in legions. So with that said, while he still has a solid fan base, it's best to make the fights the people want to see before Chuck dwindles into under card status or retirement. Much like they did with Lesnar/Couture, this can be milked and promoted in many different ways and if they don't do it soon then no one will want to see it.
- Anderson Silva vs. A Top Level Light Heavyweight - Thales Leites , Patrick Cote, Travis Lutter...and the UFC wonders why Silva isn't a big draw. It's great to provide fans with highlight reel material but how much mroe would fans tune in to see highlight reel material done on guys they actually care about seeing. This is by no means lessening what guys like Leites, Cote, and Lutter have done, they've more than earned their stripes but the UFC is a different beast and we don't always get the most deserving guy getting the fights with the big dogs (*cough* Yushin Okami *cough*). If they want Anderson to be toted as the 'Pound for Pound' kingpin, he needs to fight guys that are recognized as threats. It's the same gripe we've had with Fedor for many years, except Silva IS fighting the top guys in his division, he's just that much better. It's time for him to get the mega fights he deserves and the ones that'll continue to push him and motivate him. An unmotivated 'Spider' could be a bad thing for the UFC, as we saw glimpses during his UFC 90 debacle. Fights with guys like Wanderlei Silva, Quinton Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, etc. would have the least hardcore fan salivating. He needs a big name fighter to get to his big name status that he so rightfully should have. Other than TUF poster boy Michael Bisping, he unfortunately won't get that opportunity in the middleweight division, since he's already ran two of the division's top stars (Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson) into another one.
- Antonio Rodrigo 'Minotauro' Nogueira vs. Randy Couture - Yeah, I'll draw the comparison to Chuck/Wandy again. This fight had potential to be huge for the hard cores and the purists and even the common fan. However, with both guys getting leveled in their last outing, this loses some steam but still offers intrigue, if done right...and done right away. It's a battle of two of the most respected and recognized heavyweights in MMA and since we most likely will never see Couture and Fedor, this is the next best thing. The style clash would really bring some excitement in my opinion and if Big Nog is 100% healthy, he would be a tough and worthy opponent to Couture and would help both guys cement their legendary careers even further.
Well, those are just five fights I think that need to happen and happen soon. Sure there's a ton more we could think of but that's why we have open discussions...lol...so let me know if you agree/disagree/or add on.