10 MMA Fights That Should Have Happened, but Never Will
Underdog Chris Weidman temporarily halted talks of a few potential superfights for Anderson Silva when he flattened the former pound-for-pound king at UFC 162.
But Weidman's upset certainly didn't mark the first time that the notion of a coveted matchup in the UFC evaporated.
Although the reasons usually differ, plenty of potentially captivating and lucrative matchups in MMA history never came to fruition.
Here are 10 MMA scraps that should have happened, but never will.
Honorable Mention: Anderson Silva vs. Lyoto Machida
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Sometimes, like in the case of Jon Jones and Rashad Evans, teammates simply can't afford to turn down bona fide opportunities, even if that means locking horns with one another.
Unfortunately for MMA fans, Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva aren't in the same position that the younger and hungrier Jones and Evans were in early 2012.
Machida and Silva have formed a galvanizing friendship that overshadows any egotistical or fiscal concerns they each have, a fact that makes this dream fight impossible to make.
10. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett
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Josh Barnett squandered his opportunity to become the first man to legitimately defeat heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko when he failed a pre-fight drug screen for Affliction: Trilogy.
The streaking Barnett had a significant size advantage on Emelianenko and looked like the Russian's most genuine threat since Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, whom Emelianenko bested in his Pride days.
But just 10 days prior to the event, Barnett tested positive for an anabolic steroid (drostanolone), a mistake that resulted in the cancellation of the card.
Emelianenko TKO'd Brett Rogers in his next scrap at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers. "The Last Emperor" then got tapped by submission wizard Fabricio Werdum at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum, snapping a 29-fight unbeaten streak that spanned nearly 10 years.
9. Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Rickson Gracie
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Although Kazushi Sakuraba took out more members of the famed Gracie family (Royler, Royce, Renzo and Ryan) than any other fighter in MMA history, the Japanese legend never got a crack at the clan's top dog, Rickson.
In 1999, Rickson Gracie, who won each of his 11 fights by submission, understood that a fight with Sakuraba in Japan could rake in more money than any bout in the sport's history. However, Gracie unceremoniously retired from competition in 2000 when his son Rockson turned up dead in a New York hotel room.
In a 2010 interview with GRACIEMAG, Rickson Gracie sounded off on his decision to turn down an offer to fight Sakuraba by saying:
That fight would have been the biggest payout of all times. They offered me five million dollars, it would have put me on easy street. He beat a number of Gracies, and it would have been a good fight for me, perhaps the best fight. He really was a thorn in the side of all the Gracies.
8. Dan Henderson vs. Jon Jones
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MMA fans will eternally remember UFC 151 as the biggest catastrophe in company history.
The card fell to pieces when the much-anticipated main-event bout between Dan Henderson and light heavyweight champ Jon Jones got scrapped because of a last-second knee injury suffered by "Hendo."
Just nine days before the event, the UFC announced that Jones refused a bout with late replacement Chael Sonnen, a decision that resulted in the first cancellation in the promotion's history.
Henderson has since dropped back-to-back decisions to Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, respectively. Albeit narrow setbacks, the losses have all but crushed the soon-to-be 43-year-old Henderson's hopes for a shot at "Bones."
7. Georges St-Pierre vs. Rory MacDonald
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To the chagrin of plenty of hardcore MMA fans, Rory MacDonald announced in May that he has no intentions of fighting Tristar teammate and longtime UFC welterweight linchpin Georges St-Pierre.
MacDonald, did however, say that he still has plans to someday become UFC welterweight champ.
In a May episode of the MMA Hour, MacDonald reaffirmed his position on fighting St-Pierre and offered some sentiments on his title aspirations by saying:
We're not fighting. Me and Georges are friends, we're training partners. We'll have our own arrangements and figure it all out when the time comes. It's not going to come to us fighting. Friends, teammates, you know? We're here to help each other. We'll just figure it out. I'm not there yet. I'm more focused on Jake than anything, I'm taking it one step at a time. I'm sure at one point I'll be champ in this division, that is my goal. I'm not just here to be No. 3 guy or No. 4 or whatever I'm ranked. Eventually I'll get there.
6. Ken Shamrock vs. Frank Shamrock
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As most Shamrock fans already know, Frank and Ken Shamrock shared a similar look, but the two foster children weren't biological brothers.
Both adopted by Bob Shamrock, Frank and Ken carried on a healthy relationship before experiencing an ideological feud while training together at the Lion's Den in the early stages of Frank's career.
Frank split from Ken and never looked back, etching his name into the history books on a more prolific level than his famous older brother.
Because styles and story lines make fights, a bout between the Shamrock brothers would have been a downright tantalizing affair.
5. Matt Hughes vs. Anderson Silva
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At the time (UFC 36), a bout between Matt Hughes and Anderson Silva didn't seem so significant. UFC 36, of course, took place years before both men became two of the sport's most heralded champs.
Hughes had just won the welterweight strap with an epic slam of Carlos Newton at UFC 36. "The Spider," on the contrary, had only eight wins under his belt and just two fights outside of his home country of Brazil.
Silva had just decisioned Hayato Sakurai to capture the Shooto middleweight belt (168 pounds) when the UFC offered him at fight with Hughes for the company's welterweight strap.
Instead of joining the UFC at the age of 27, Silva inked a deal with Pride. Silva would fight 12 more times before signing a deal with the UFC in 2006.
4. Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva
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Not long ago, a bout between longtime welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva signified the juiciest superfight on the market.
Those days have since passed, but it's not because Silva lost his middleweight belt to underdog Chris Weidman at UFC 162.
There's no doubt about it – that's a fact (that St-Pierre doesn't want the fight). If that was the case, he'd say, 'F**k Weidman. I'll take that fight. I really think Weidman's going to beat him, but I don't want Weidman to beat him. I want to be the guy to beat him.'
St-Pierre stated previously that he would entertain a fight with Silva, but only if the Spider made the descent to 170 pounds.
Since Silva only seems content with bumping up to light heavyweight, fans will always have to wander which would prevail: St-Pierre's cerebral game of grappling control or the Spider's venomous striking repertoire?
3. Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko
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Months after becoming the oldest title holder in company history, Randy Couture backed out of his UFC contract in 2007 in hopes of scoring a bout with the sport's top heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko.
But when Affliction folded in 2009, Emelianenko inked a deal with Strikeforce and Couture signed a new contract with the UFC.
Because Emelianenko's management team never came to terms with UFC president Dana White, and Couture finished his career in the UFC, the bout never materialized.
Nah, I mean, things work out the way they are supposed to work out. I got so many examples of that in my life. It just never worked out, and you know, it is what it is. I don't have any regrets. I wish then when we were both kind of at our peak, if it would have happened it would have been something special. The cards didn't just come out that way.
2. Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko
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UFC president Dana White pulled out every weapon in his arsenal to try and entice Fedor Emelianenko's management team to strike up a deal following the demise of Affliction in 2009.
White became obsessed with attempting to put what would have been the most notable heavyweight bout in MMA history together with Emelianenko and UFC champ Brock Lesnar.
To White's displeasure, however, "The Last Emperor" signed with Strikeforce, where he fell from grace by dropping three of four fights.
During a January interview with Bleacher Report's Trent Reinsmith, White talked about how close the UFC got to making the bout between Emelianenko and Lesnar a reality.
Remember that time I meant with him (Lesnar) and said it didn’t go well? It actually went well. It went well and he wanted to fight Fedor and then Fedor’s dad died and he (Emelianenko) said, 'I’m done, I want to spend the rest of my life with my family.' We were negotiating for months and then Brock said he was done (after hearingEmelianenko was out).
1. Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva
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The notion of putting on the mother of all superfights all but evaporated when longtime UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva got KO'd by underdog Chris Weidman at UFC 162.
Before the loss, Silva, who reigned supreme over the middleweight division for nearly seven years, seemed on a collision course to meet the sport's most dominant light heavyweight of all time, Jon Jones.
Silva had won 16 fights in a row in the UFC before his shocking loss to Weidman, finishing the likes of Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin (twice) along the way.
Jones had carved his own niche at 205 pounds, competing just 13 times before thumping Mauricio "Shogun" Rua to take the light heavyweight belt at UFC 128.
And with Silva's proven success at light heavyweight, fans and pundits believed a matchup between "The Spider" and "Bones" would exemplify the most intriguing and potentially lucrative fight in the sport's history.
At the UFC 162 post-fight scrum, company president Dana White essentially expressed relief via MMA Heat regarding the Silva/Jones superfight scenario.
I'm not mad. A superfight was always hypothetical. It was always, if everything lines up, this superfight would happen. If the superfight happened, it would have been f***ing amazing. Imagine Jon Jones and Anderson walking in, two undefeated fighters from two different weight classes. Now the pressure isn't on me anymore to make that fight.