UFC in Early 2013 Shaping Up to Be a Great Year for Fight Fans

Jeremy Botter@jeremybotterMMA Senior WriterJanuary 10, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14: MMA Fighter Georges St-Pierre arrives at the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images for ESPY)
Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images

I know. Knock on wood and all that jazz.

I realize I'm probably angering the great injury gods, the ones that made themselves so very known in 2012 by ruining fight card after fight card, but I can't help myself. If I hit publish on this column and the UFC is immediately beset by a case of the bubonic plague that wipes out the next five months worth of fight cards, well, you know who to blame.

But I still can't help myself, because the next three or four months worth of UFC cards are chock-full of some awesome matchups. Seriously, have you looked at these things?

I see the same fight announcements you do, but like you, I never really conceptualize these announcements into entire fight cards. They're meaningless (and yet still entertaining) bits of daily trivia, and only when fight week draws near do I really get a sense of what we're looking at as a total package. 

But this morning, I was doing research for the next few months, and I started to put together every fight card through UFC 158 in April. And boy, when you look at them the way they're intended to be looked at—as entire entrees rather than single-serving appetizers—you see that the UFC has some really, really good fight cards planned for the first quarter of the year.

Let's take a quick look at some of the highlights:


UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping

Alright, this card isn't very good. Let's move along.


UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson

I know plenty of you don't like the flyweights, but plenty of you are also wrong, because the flyweights are awesome. And outside of what will surely be an action-packed title fight between Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson, you also have Rampage Jackson in his purported UFC swan song against cold-blooded killer Glover Teixiera.

But that's not all: we're also adding in Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis, Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas, Clay Guida making his featherweight debut against Hatsu Hioki on the FX preliminary card and Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko.

I know you're probably laughing at me for including that last one, but we'll see who's laughing after the fight itself actually happens.


UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar

I'll go on record as saying that this is the best overall pay per view card of all time. Yes, even better than UFC 100, which is held up as the holy grail of UFC cards even though it featured two heavy mismatches as main events (Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir and Georges St-Pierre vs. Thiago Alves). Sorry, but this one is better, and it isn't even close.

We have a genuine superfight in the main event between Aldo and Edgar. The pay per view card has Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva, Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall and Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia.

If you aren't salivating at the prospect of that entire card, you aren't a fight fan. Either that, or you're a troll. Real talk.


UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald

This is the best Fuel card in the short history of the partnership between Zuffa and Fox. Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald for the interim bantamweight belt isn't the sexiest fight I can think of, but it actually matches two evenly-skilled fighters in a bout with high stakes. 

It's the rest of the Fuel card that has me anticipating this one, however. Dennis Siver vs. Cub Swanson has the potential for so much violence, but Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille Diabate might out-violence Siver/Swanson when all is said and done.

Add in Gunnar Nelson vs. Justin Edwards, James Te-Huna vs. Ryan Jimmo and Che Mills vs. Matthew Riddle, and you have a free fight card filled to the brim with excellent matchmaking.


UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche

Okay, the main event is an absolute mismatch. And I don't want to talk much about Rousey for fear that the misogynists out there will cry about how we pay too much attention to her (even though she's a major star in mixed martial arts, a champion in the UFC and a headliner in an upcoming main event title fight. You know, the same kind of attention we pay to every other male champion on the UFC roster). 

But check out the rest of the event: Henderson vs. Machida, Menjivar vs. Faber and Mendes vs. Gamburyan are all excellent pairings, and all have title implications. Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler is intriguing for a ton of reasons, and someone is going to have their brains scrambled in Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson.

Again, it's a can't-miss card.


UFC on Fuel: Silva vs. Stann

I'm already calling this one "the last stand of Wanderlei Silva," because Brian Stann is likely going to end The Axe Murderer's career.

The rest of the card is less than certain, but no less exciting. Stefan Struve will be looking to end the Mark Hunt resurgence, and considering that Hunt weighed in last week at 310 pounds, it seems likely that the Super Samoan isn't taking his fight all that seriously.

Diego Sanchez vs. Takanori Gomi should be a violence bonanza while it lasts, and Yushin Okami vs. Hector Lombard is a lot more fun than folks realize.


UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz

I shouldn't have to sell this one to you. It's months away, and it's already the most anticipated card of the year, not the least of which is because of that sizzling main event between Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz.

Rory MacDonald vs. Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks vs. Jake Ellenberger are both super-sexy welterweight fights with real title implications, and you've also got Jordan Mein vs. Dan Miller and John Makdessi vs. Daron Cruickshank in two fights that may fly under the radar but will certainly bring the pain.

As much as I despite Montreal for its beauty, its history, its food and its women (okay, I don't despite it at all), I have to say that there's nothing like seeing a fight card in Quebec. This one should be no exception.