25 Fights the UFC Needs to Make Happen in 2013

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistOctober 26, 2012

25 Fights the UFC Needs to Make Happen in 2013

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    The UFC does its very best in creating the most entertaining fights possible.

    They've given fans relevant reason to tune in to nearly every event of every month of every year.

    Well, assuming UFC president Dana White and glorious matchmaker Joe Silva continue with the norm, 2013 will be no different.

    Here are 25 fights that need to happen in the coming year.

Honorable Mention: Diego Sanchez

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    Diego Sanchez is set to make his return to the UFC lightweight division sometime in the near future.

    Sanchez has competed at 155 pounds once before and literally produced some of the most memorable fights in the division's history.

    As long as he stays healthy, any fight involving "The Dream" is worthwhile and needs to happen.

Fabio Maldonado vs. James Te Huna

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    This would be a glorious light heavyweight showdown.

    After surviving nearly everything Glover Teixeira had to offer, it's easy to see that Fabio Maldonado is one of the most difficult fighters to put away.

    It would be truly entertaining to see James Te Huna's heavy hands battle one of the toughest chins in MMA.

Chad Mendes vs. Dennis Bermudez

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    Currently scaling the featherweight ladder, Dennis Bermudez is set to make a big run at the title in 2013.

    One guy that stands in his way is former No. 1 contender Chad Mendes.

    Mendes is coming off a masterful performance against the one-dimensional Cody McKenzie. 

    He's certainly earned another shot at the title, but he needs to fend off one of the division's hungriest contenders in the process.

Stephan Bonnar vs. Ryan Bader

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    After looking like an amateur opposite Anderson Silva, Stephan Bonnar should be looking to get back in the win column against a guy who fights like him.

    Ryan Bader is that type of fighter.

    Both guys often swing for the fences while fending off their opponent's best shots. 

    Bonnar may be more experienced and versatile, but Bader's youthful desire to make another run at light heavyweight gold should even the odds.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall

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    Both Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall fell victim to UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in 2012.

    Both guys came close in stealing a victory away from "Mighty Mouse," but to no prevail.

    The bottom line is that they're the best non-champion flyweights in the world.

    If they didn't fight in 2013 it'd be a downright shame.

Jimi Manuwa vs. Ryan Jimmo

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    Is there anything more promising than seeing two of the most talked about prospects in the UFC light heavyweight division go toe-to-toe?

    Hardly.

    Both Jimi Manuwa and Ryan Jimmo performed beyond expectation in their first Octagon bout.

    A potential 2013 showdown would weed out the true No. 1 rising star in the division and could launch one of these finishers into immediate stardom.

Mike Swick vs. Erick Silva

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    Mike Swick vs. Erick Silva would be downright explosive.

    Both guys possess the talent to swarm the other in a matter of seconds.

    Silva is probably more well-rounded due to his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but Swick's experience and willingness to bang would serve him well.

    Personally, Silva is probably too powerful for "Quick" to stop.

Travis Browne vs. Dave Herman

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    Travis Browne and Dave Herman are each coming off defeats that in another world would have set them up for a run at top contender rights.

    Browne more than likely lost due to an apparent leg injury, but a loss is a loss in the UFC.

    Herman looked a little more sluggish after getting submitted for the first time in his career, but he's still one of the most dangerous strikers in the heavyweight division.

    There's no way this fight would last all three rounds.

Urijah Faber vs. Mike Easton

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    Urijah Faber vs. Mike Easton in 2013 makes perfect sense.

    Faber is in desperate search of a relevant victory to throw his name back into the title hunt and Easton needs one win over a big-named opponent to make him a relevant contender.

    It would be a fight that could benefit Faber more than Easton because Faber would finally be fighting a guy who's the same size as him.

    He could finally land some punches from the outside and use his standup to set up some wrestling.

Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher

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    Alan Belcher is currently one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC today.

    He's beaten many of foe in the past, relevant names at that, but has yet to receive the global recognition of a Michael Bisping.

    Many people would argue that Bisping has done enough to deserve a shot at Anderson Silva's UFC middleweight title, but with Silva on the cusp of fighting Georges St-Pierre, Bisping may have to settle for another non-title fight.

    Belcher is the perfect candidate to provide fans with an explosive display of striking, wrestling defense and gritty ability.

Jake Ellenberger vs. Josh Koscheck

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    Josh Koscheck needs a fight that can get him back into the welterweight title hunt.

    Fighting Jake Ellenberger would be the perfect move.

    Koscheck vs. Ellenberger would be a truly even contest. Both guys possess solid wrestling, strong strikes and excellent cardio.

    It could turn into one of the best fights of the year, assuming Koscheck doesn't put up a dud in his first fight back.

Hector Lombard vs. Chris Leben

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    Punches would be thrown, heads would be smashed and someone would be left unconscious.

    Does anything else need to be said?

    This fight would be simply glorious.

Rory MacDonald vs. Gunnar Nelson

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    This potential showdown would be more of a personal satisfaction than relevant divisional battle, but Gunnar Nelson truly stands a chance to defeat Rory MacDonald.

    Nelson has shown throughout his career that he encompasses all aspects of MMA into his well-rounded fight game.

    MacDonald simply hasn't faced a complete fighter like that in the past, even though he's scheduled to take on B.J. Penn in December. Fighting Nelson would truly be a test.

Minotauro Nogueira vs. Gabriel Gonzaga

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    Is this not the most perfect co-main event fight for the next time Brazil hosts the UFC?

    Both guys are highly respected within the Brazilian MMA community and a fight between the two could turn out to be one of the best fights of the year.

    Can you imagine the display of jiu-jitsu put forth by Minotauro Nogueira and Gabriel Gonzaga in the same fight?

Cub Swanson vs. Chan Sung Jung

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    Currently two of the hottest fighters in the UFC, as well as top featherweight contenders, Cub Swanson and Chan Sung Jung never fail to produce inside the Octagon.

    Their fights have been downright spectacular. 

    Swanson may be slightly more dangerous on his feet, but "The Korean Zombie" possesses some of the most unorthodox submissions ever seen inside the cage.

    These two top finishers could end up producing one of the best fights the featherweight division has ever seen.

Vitor Belfort vs. Brandon Vera

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    Vitor Belfort is coming off a devastating loss to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

    Belfort was extremely close to tapping the champion but ended up getting battered in the latter rounds.

    Ironically, Brandon Vera's fight opposite Shogun Rua at UFC on FOX 4 nearly went down the same way.

    Vera battled for three-straight rounds before getting outclassed down the line. 

    If these two men meet, which could happen early next year, there's no telling what could happen.

Nick Diaz vs. Jon Fitch

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    Nick Diaz and Jon Fitch are two of the biggest gamers in the sport.

    Both guys possess the gritty nature to grind out victories on the back of excellent transitions and world-class longevity.

    Diaz will be looking for a relevant opponent when he comes back from suspension in early 2013 and Fitch would be the perfect draw.

    He's hungry, well-known and never backs down.  It's a match made in heaven.

Shane Carwin vs. Geronimo dos Santos

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    Geronimo dos Santos was supposed to make his debut at UFC 153 against Gabriel Gonzaga, but a Hepatitis B flare up kept him out of action.

    It will be at least one year before the powerful Brazilian heavyweight is able to come back, but once he does, who better than the heavy-handed Shane Carwin to welcome him?

    There's just something about witnessing Carwin try to punch his way through a guy who has won 23 career fights by way of knockout.

Glover Teixeira vs. Shogun Rua

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    This has to happen for obvious reasons.

    Shogun Rua initially turned down a fight with Glover Teixeira because he didn't feel he had enough to gain against a relatively unknown top-level light heavyweight contender.

    Well, on the back of yet another dominating performance, as well as a future showdown opposite Rampage Jackson, Teixeira is quickly making a name for himself.

    Rua may have to eat his words on this one.  It's going to happen eventually.

Dominick Cruz vs. Michael McDonald

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    This needs to happen for the sole reason that Dominick Cruz finally needs to face an opponent who can knock him out with one punch.

    No more smaller challengers like Demetrious Johnson and Urijah Faber.

    Cruz needs to prove that he's capable of swatting away the future of the division. 

    That future is the very dangerous Michael McDonald.

    McDonald has done enough throughout his young UFC career to warrant a title shot sometime in 2013.  Truthfully, he has a very good chance at dethroning Cruz.

Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans

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    Dan Henderson isn't going to get healthy, regroup and waltz his way back into a title fight against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

    He's going to have to defeat yet another top contender.

    Rashad Evans may be that guy.

    Evans is currently on the fence as far as dropping down to middleweight is concerned, but he's still one of the most dangerous 205 pound fighters in the world.

    A victory for either veteran would immediately launch them into title consideration.

Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis

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    These two have been jabbering at each other for literally months.

    Apparently Donald Cerrone has some beef with Anthony Pettis and apparently Pettis isn't backing down.

    This fight between two of the lightweight division's top contenders is loosely scheduled for January of 2013.

    Pettis has been battled a nasty staph infection, but as long as he comes back strong, Cerrone will get his wish to fight "Showtime" sometime down the line.

Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier

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    Assuming that Jon Jones is able to get past Chael Sonnen in April of next year, Strikeforce's Daniel Cormier could be next in line for a title shot.

    He will have to drop some pounds to make the cut, but Cormier doesn't seem too worried.

    As one of the most promising names in the sport today, the undefeated 33-year-old would provide a serious threat to Jones' light heavyweight reign.

    It's a fight that would once again throw a wrench into Lyoto Machida's title plans, but the veteran should have thought it threw before denying a fight with Jones early this month.

Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar

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    Has a fighter ever dropped down to a different weight class and received an immediate opportunity to fight for a title?

    It's rare, but former lightweight champion Frankie "The Answer" Edgar has been battling the odds his entire career.

    Cutting weight, gaining some much needed Octagon strength and challenging Jose Aldo for his featherweight title should all come to fruition sometime in 2013 for the New Jersey native.

    Lets just hope Aldo's leg kicks don't stop Edgar in his tracks.

Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre

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    There's really no need to say anything.

    Despite the fact that Anderson Silva should have no trouble smothering Georges St-Pierre from bell to bell, this super fight has been in the works for literally years.

    Unfortunately for GSP lovers around the world, Silva is simply unstoppable.

    If you think the welterweight champion has any shot at upsetting the G.O.A.T., you need to see a psychiatrist.

    With that said, it would still be exciting to see.

Junior dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem

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    Alistair Overeem thinks he's the best heavyweight in the world.

    Unfortunately, a 2011 victory over a hobbled Brock Lesnar doesn't translate into greatness.

    Overeem is obviously one of the baddest dudes on the planet, but Junior dos Santos' boxing is way too dangerous and way too useful to take lightly.

    It may be the most polished offensive technique ever seen in the Octagon. 

    Overeem may want this fight, but once he gets punched in the face for five-straight minutes, he'll understand he doesn't deserve to wear the UFC title around his waist.

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