It could be the end for two mixed martial arts legends this weekend at UFC on Fox 5 from Seattle.
Hawaiian fighting legend BJ "The Prodigy" Penn, and longtime Brazilian light heavyweight Mauricio "Shogun" Rua are both in action, trying to maintain their status in the pecking order of the UFC.
Penn has been near or at the top of two different divisions for a span of 11 years starting in 2001, and is still considered by many a top-ten fighter at both 155 and 170 pounds. He is clearly nearing the end of his time in the fight game, but will have one last shot at staying in the welterweight title picture by beating new-breed star and rising Canadian young gun Rory MacDonald.
MacDonald is a monster of a man for welterweight, and once again Penn gives up a large size advantage and will need every ounce of his experience, skill and cardio to stand a chance against him.
This fight has the makings of a classic, or it could be a very ugly end for the Hawaiian legend. Can Penn stop MacDonald's meteoric rise, or will this really be the last time we see BJ Penn in the Octagon?
The fall of MMA legends may not stop there on Saturday night, as immediately following Penn vs. MacDonald, former Pride and UFC champion Brazilian superstar Mauricio Rua will face rising light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson.
Rua has been a champion in both the Pride Fighting organization and the UFC in his ten-year career, and has beaten the best-of-the-best in the world like Quinton Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Kevin Randleman, Alistair Overeem (twice), Forrest Griffin and Lyoto Machida. Rua lost the UFC light heavyweight title to Jon Jones in March of 2011 and is looking for one final shot to reclaim the gold.
Like Penn-MacDonald, the Rua-Gustafsson fight is another classic case of a possible changing-of-the-guard scenario. Jones aside, established MMA stars like Rua have been ruling the roost of many of the divisions in the UFC for years now, with fighters like Gustafsson waiting in the wings.
If Gustafsson is able to dominate Rua like many believe he will, it may be the end of Rua's brilliant MMA career on Saturday night.
Two legends looking to send the youngsters back to the training room. Two rising stars looking to put an end to two brilliant careers.
These two fights are not even the main event on Saturday night, and my Christmas comes on December 8th this year.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca UFC.
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