The UFC consistently produces the best matchups in MMA.
From bouts like Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez to Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, we have been spoiled as fans of the world's premier MMA organization.
That said, there are plenty of incredible fights yet to be arranged, and I'm here to play the role of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva for a moment.
Each champion in the UFC has a matchup that will make you salivate with anticipation, so start the slideshow and grab a bib—it's about to get juicy in here.
Let me make you a promise: this is the last slide that features a bout that is a lock to happen in the future. Sure, it may not be very fun or outlandish a pick, but this bout would no doubt provide fireworks.
Whether you are a fan of Cruz, Barao or just fights in general, this matchup satisfies.
For Cruz fans, a fight against Barao gives the bantamweight champ a chance to truly show off his skillset. Barao is a tough out wherever the fight goes, and if Cruz prevails, there will be no question as to who is the best bantamweight of all time.
On the other hand, Barao is the biggest threat to take Cruz's belt. With a diverse and rangy standup attack, solid takedown defense and refined ground game (so they say), Barao is seemingly impossible to beat wherever the fight goes.
What can Cruz do? Then again, what could Barao do to handle Cruz's speed, crisp striking and relentless wrestling?
This is a premier one vs. two matchup, and fight fans would be overjoyed to see it.
I, for one, cannot wait.
If any featherweight is more exciting than Jose Aldo, it is Chan Sung Jung.
The Korean Zombie made a name for himself after an epic war with Leonard Garcia at WEC 48, and he carried that momentum into the UFC, where he has looked unstoppable.
With a 3-0 record inside the Octagon, Mr. Zombie would look to lay it all on the line against Aldo.
...But who wants to do that?
Jose Aldo is an absolute beast, a destroyer of nations, a blitzing ball of Brazilian bad-mannery; he is the real deal.
Much like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Junior dos Santos, Aldo has obliterated his opposition in unparalleled fashion, making him one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Jung, though, is not one to be scared or timid in bouts, and that aggressive attitude would almost certainly result in a potential "fight of the year" against Aldo.
Sign me up for this one, folks. I'm not sure how it will end, but I am sure it will be ferocious and exciting for all involved.
Ah, the appeal of a trilogy.
While lightweight champion Benson "Smooth" Henderson is 2-0 against his WEC rival Donald Cerrone, I still would love to see a third fight between the two warriors.
Hiccup against Nate Diaz aside, Cerrone has looked better than ever in the UFC Octagon, and the same can be said for Henderson.
Despite a controversial title defense against Frankie Edgar at UFC 150, Henderson is still the man at 155, and he will remain there until somebody can definitively unseat him.
Cerrone can do just that.
"The Cowboy" has the experience, mentality and skills to defeat Henderson, and, as the first two fights showed, these guys are perfectly matched up for fireworks.
Even if Cerrone cannot work his way to a title shot, I have a feeling we will see this fight in the future—say, after Nate Diaz fights Henderson.
The new breed versus the legend.
Rising star Rory MacDonald is a good friend of welterweight legend Georges St. Pierre, but that only makes me want to see this matchup more.
Can the two put their friendship aside and battle, or will we see a blatant refusal by the parties involved? If Dana White wants to show he still wears the pants in the UFC, this would be a great place to start.
Besides this political angle, though, MacDonald vs. GSP is a sensational matchup. While many probably want to see GSP vs. Anderson Silva, I think a matchup with MacDonald would result in the better fight.
Both guys are similar in style, and I want to see what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Who has the better takedowns? Who has the better striking? Who wants it more?
More importantly, who is the best Canadian welterweight of all time?
This fight would answer all of these questions and potentially change the landscape of the welterweight division forever.
I hate to get predictable on you with the "friend vs. friend" thing I have going on here, but this matchup has absolutely nothing to do with the personal connection involved, I promise.
Whether Silva and Machida were friends, enemies or two dudes who have never met, this is the fight I want to see Silva take.
Yes, Rashad Evans would be fun, as would superfights with GSP and Jon Jones.
The difference between those bouts and this one though?
Silva would lose...standing.
Anderson Silva's striking is the best in the world, and he is an absolute joy to watch work inside the Octagon. That said, Lyoto Machida is a different kind of beast.
Machida's darting and refined Karate style of striking is absolutely ridiculous, and I'm not sure Silva could figure it out.
Add in the fact that Machida has some pretty solid trips and takedowns and would be almost identical in weight to the middleweight champion, and this is one hellaciously intriguing matchup.
Betting against Silva in the standup department is positively foolish, I know, but I truly believe "The Dragon" could stick and move long enough to find his opening. Once he does, it's lights out for "The Spider."
Like MacDonald vs. GSP, this is not only a phenomenal matchup, but one that would drastically alter the state of the division.
The 185-pound division would have a new champion after Machida drops down in weight to take the reigns.
We all want to see Jon Jones on his back, right?
Well then, rise with me as we introduce to the Octagon: Mr. Daniel Cormier!
In the midst of all the chaos surrounding the cancellation of UFC 151, one name got pushed under the rug without much mention. This man openly stated he wanted to face the light heavyweight champion, and he would be a tough matchup indeed:
Right now no one wants to fight Jon Jones, but s&#! I'll do it, I'll fight Jon Jones.
Comier tweeted this after several fighters turned down a fight with Jones to save UFC 151, and I personally would love to see this matchup take place.
Jones' wrestling inside the Octagon has been on a different planet since he first stepped up to the plate against Andre Gusmao in August 2008.
Since then, we have seen Jones straight-up ragdoll opponents like Stephan Bonnar, Matt Hamill, Brandon Vera and Ryan Bader inside the Octagon, but Cormier is a different entity.
An Olympic-caliber wrestler, Cormier would be the toughest test to date for the young champion, and "Bones" would seriously have his hands full.
Honestly, I do not think anybody at light heavyweight can touch Jones, so the heavyweight division is the logical place to start looking for solid matchups for the phenom.
That in mind, I see no better starting point than Daniel Cormier. If Jones truly has the warrior spirit and mentality of a champion, this is the fight where he could prove it.
Yes, I'm showing a lot of love for Daniel Cormier, and you know why?
The dude is a beast. His wrestling is unreal and he is constantly evolving as a fighter. That is a recipe for disaster for any opponent, and Junior dos Santos would be a great matchup for the Strikeforce heavyweight champion.
Outside of Cormier, Cain Velasquez is the only man I see as a threat to dos Santos' title reign, but I did make a promise in the first slide that I intend to keep.
Against Cormier, we would almost certainly see dos Santos on his back at some point in the fight, and that alone makes me want to see the matchup come together. Is the UFC champion's ground game for real, or is it all hype to make him seem well-rounded?
We have never seen him on his back for any amount of time worth noting, but against Cormier we would see this aspect of dos Santos' game.
In the standup department, the UFC champ's striking is just too much for other heavyweights to handle, so the only man I see being able to defeat him is somebody with the skills to put him on his back.
I'm looking at you, Daniel. Don't let me down, big guy.