MMA's Super Bowl: Jones vs. Velasquez, Silva vs. GSP and More Dream Fights
There’s no bigger sporting event in the world than the Super Bowl.
For nearly 50 years, the NFL’s annual championship game between the AFC and NFC leaders has captivated sports fans unlike any other athletic event on the planet. It’s the omega—the show of all shows.
It will be no different on February 2 when the Denver Broncos collide with the Seattle Seahawks to crown the 48th Super Bowl champions.
Simply put, when it come to the big game, nobody does it better than the NFL. But what if MMA stepped up?
Imagine an annual event that would pit the best fighters from the UFC, Bellator, WSOF and various other leagues against one another.
Instead of two main events, you’d get 15 blockbuster matchups on free television.
What would a card of that magnitude look like? Well, if I suddenly became the richest man in the world, here's how I would spend my money.
I present to you: MMA's Super Bowl.
The Venue: AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium)
MMA fans have been begging for a fight card in AT&T Stadium—the home of the Dallas Cowboys—for years.
With a retractable roof, it’s a gorgeous stadium that seats more than 80,000 people.
UFC president Dana White has often teased the media about potentially bringing a show to Arlington, Texas, but nothing has materialized yet.
Well, in my fictional MMA Super Bowl card, I’m making it happen. I’m going where White has yet to go. Well, not really, but I’m allowed to dream, right?
Broadcast Team: Good Ole' J.R and Chael Sonnen
With all due respect to Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan, we’ve heard them call UFC fights for more than 10 years. They’re great at what they do, but I want to add some flavor to the announce team.
Barbeque sauce, to be exact.
Yep, I’d bring in WWE Hall of Fame announcer “Good Ole J.R” Jim Ross to the broadcast booth to call these “slobber knockers."
Ross “retired” (Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer suggested on Wrestling Observer Radio that he was actually fired) from the WWE this past September. He is a longtime MMA fan and had been kicking around the idea of crossing over into the sport in some capacity, according to Ariel Helwani.
Now is the time.
Chael Sonnen does such a phenomenal job as an analyst for UFC Tonight that commentary should be second nature to him. The former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title contender can call fights with the best of them.
He’s also one of the most entertaining promo cutters in the game, so matching him up with J.R should make for television gold.
Ring Card Girls: Brittney Palmer, Kat Kelley, Jade Bryce and Jennifer Swift
What’s an MMA show without ring card girls? A disaster, that’s what. I mean, after all, how else would we know which round we’re in?
There’s so many to choose from, but for this Super Bowl card, I’ve got to go all out. We’ve got four slots, and I’m giving them to the UFC’s Brittney Palmer, WSOF’s Kat Kelley, Bellator’s Jade Bryce and “Miss TapouT” Jennifer Swift.
All four are beyond gorgeous, but they also have massive followings on social media and are friendly to the fans. They just seem like the best choices for the job.
Backstage Interviewer: Roni Taylor-Parsons
An internationally published fitness cover model and television personality, Roni Taylor-Parsons is a sports nut.
This gorgeous redhead is addicted to MMA and does a great job of breaking down fights.
While I’m usually not a fan of backstage interviews with fighters (they’re normally dull and awkward), I think Taylor-Parsons would make them fun.
Michael Chandler vs. Benson Henderson
All right, enough about the staff...let’s get into the fights.
Right off the bat, we’ve got former Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler going toe-to-toe with former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson.
I know what you’re thinking. How is a huge fight like this opening the show? Shouldn’t it be closer to the main event?
Yes, on a normal fight card, these two would probably be the co-main event. But this isn’t a typical card. Every single fight on this fantasy lineup is main event-worthy, so it doesn’t matter which order they’re in.
This fight has all the makings of a war at 155 lbs. Both men are explosive powerhouses with endless cardio.
Henderson would have to be considered the more technically sound fighter of the two, but Chandler has proved in the past that he can finish a fight at any given moment.
Tyrone Spong vs. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson
When Tito Ortiz pulled out of a scheduled Bellator bout with “Rampage” Jackson last November, fans bombarded Bjorn Rebney on Twitter with requests for a new opponent: kickboxing sensation Tyrone Spong.
Unfortunately, Spong is under contract with the WSOF, but that didn’t stop fans from asking for the bout. Jackson destroyed UFC vet Joey Beltran at Bellator 108 instead.
However, in a recent Twitter exchange, Spong and Jackson engaged in a verbal sparring match about potentially fighting each other.
Bellator and WSOF would be wise to make this fight happen. Until they do, fans will have to make do with this bout happening on a fictional fantasy card.
Spong is still new to MMA at 2-0 professionally, but in the kickboxing world, he’s considered one of the very best strikers on the planet.
Jackson isn’t nearly as dangerous as he was in his prime, but the former UFC light heavyweight champion is still a threat to any man standing across from him.
The judges might as well take a nap for this one because someone is getting knocked out.
Cat Zingano vs. Alexis Davis
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Women’s MMA is more exciting than men’s.
You can call me every ugly name in the book for saying that. I’ve heard it all, and it doesn’t change my opinion.
A good comparison would be the NFL to college football. The NFL is promoted more on a mainstream level, but the college games are usually more entertaining to watch. It boils down to passion and hunger.
You won’t find two hungrier fighters than Cat Zingano and Alexis Davis.
Zingano has had a rough past few months. After defeating Miesha Tate at the The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale, she was forced out of a scheduled bout and TUF coaching gig with Ronda Rousey due to a serious back injury.
To make matters worse, earlier this week it was reported that her husband and coach Mauricio Zingano had passed away.
Zingano is a warrior, though. She won’t stop until UFC gold is wrapped around her waist.
Davis has a similar mentality. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie, she is 2-0 in the UFC and determined to be the best.
Stylistically this is a great matchup on paper: Zingano's powerful striking against Davis' elite ground game.
Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Edgar
Urijah Faber is arguably the most famous MMA fighter to never hold UFC gold. He’s been in multiple title fights but has come up short in all of them.
At UFC 169, he will look to change that in a rematch with Renan Barao for the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
However, this fantasy Super Bowl card doesn’t take into consideration any scheduled, real-life matchups. Whether Faber wins or loses against Barao, it doesn’t matter right now.
He’s fighting Frankie Edgar in AT&T Stadium on the biggest not-real fight card of all time.
Why? Easy. Because they are both two of the most successful “little guys” in the sport.
Edgar is a former UFC lightweight champion and current featherweight contender. He could easily make bantamweight, but Faber could also meet him at 145. After all, “The California Kid” is a former WEC featherweight champion.
This would be a fight where you can’t afford to blink. These two move so fast and are so dynamic that you don’t want to miss a single second of this scrap.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vitor Belfort
When Jon Jones defended his light heavyweight championship against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165, nobody gave the challenger a chance.
Everyone and their grandmother thought Jones would run through the Swede, but that didn’t happen. Jones retained his belt, but it was a highly controversial decision that many thought should have went the other way.
Long story short, Gustafsson beat Jones up and became an overnight sensation in the process.
Fans now want to see him in big fights, and I can’t think of a bigger fight—aside from a rematch with Jones—then a slugfest with Vitor Belfort.
A former UFC light heavyweight champion, Belfort always puts on exciting fights. He is currently the No. 1 middleweight contender, but real-life matchups don’t have any play on this card.
Belfort vs. Gustafsson has all the makings of an instant classic. Both are incredible strikers with underrated ground games. I’d have to give Gustafsson a slight advantage, but Belfort also has TRT on his side, so you never know!
Renan Barao vs. Dominick Cruz
This fight was originally slated as the headliner for UFC 169 next month, but once again, Cruz was forced off the card due to an injury.
But in my fantasy world, injuries don’t exist. You can literally jump down a flight of stairs and bounce right back up without a single bruise, like a champ. Pretty cool, huh?
On MMA’s first Super Bowl, Barao will defend his belt against the returning former champ. We will find out who is the true No. 1 at bantamweight.
Undefeated in his last 31 fights, Barao is arguably the sport’s newest pound-for-pound king. He has dominated every fighter thrown in his path but has yet to deal with the elusiveness of Cruz.
Cruz has some of the best footwork in MMA and great wrestling to boot. If he’s healthy, he can beat just about anyone.
But is he better than Barao? That’s the million-dollar question.
Robbie Lawler vs. Nick Diaz II
At UFC 47 10 years ago, Robbie Lawler and Nick Diaz beat the hell out of each other in a thrilling matchup.
Diaz knocked Lawler out in the second round, and ever since then, fans have been calling for a rematch. They never got it.
Well, it’s happening now.
In the real world, Diaz is retired from MMA, but I’m able to convince him to return in my fictional universe. I’m very persuasive; I offer him lots of weed and donuts. He turned down the donuts, though, but it’s cool; I gave them to Roy Nelson instead.
Lawler has been on a roll since returning to the UFC as a welterweight. He’s not just a wild brawler anymore. He is the complete package at 170 lbs and a huge threat to the entire division.
Diaz has also evolved quite a bit since they first met in 2004. The Stockton bad boy has sharpened up his striking and become even more dangerous on the ground.
Can Diaz put Lawler away a second time? Or is Lawler on another level right now?
Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida
Chris Weidman beat Anderson Silva twice, but for some reason, people still don’t give him the respect he deserves.
He will next defend his title against Vitor Belfort later this year, but in my world I have a different opponent in mind for the New Yorker: Lyoto Machida.
Machida is the most interesting matchup for Weidman right now. A former UFC light heavyweight champion, “The Dragon” wrecked Mark Munoz in his middleweight debut.
His unorthodox blend of Shotokan karate and sumo presents a unique challenge for Weidman. Will the American be able to take Machida down and keep him there? Or will this fight stay on the feet?
If it does, Weidman might be in trouble.
Anthony Pettis vs. Eddie Alvarez
This one is a no-brainer: UFC lightweight champion against Bellator lightweight champion for all the marbles.
Pettis is on the brink of becoming one of the biggest lighter-weight stars of all time—if he can stop getting injured, that is. His submission victory over Benson Henderson solidified Pettis not only as a champion but as a future cash cow for the UFC.
Alvarez is fresh off a decision win over Michael Chandler at Bellator 106, where he reclaimed his title. The Blackzilians lightweight has been the highest-ranked non-UFC fighter in the division for several years.
This bout would determine the undisputed lightweight champion. It would also go down as one of the greatest fights of all time.
Pettis is the most versatile lightweight on the planet, but Alvarez brings a pace that few can match. You’re going to see things in this fight that you never thought imaginable.
When it’s all said and done, you’ll be on your hands and knees begging to see it again.
Jose Aldo vs. BJ Penn
The lead-up to this fight would be tremendous.
For starters, both Jose Aldo and BJ Penn are Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts under Andre Pederneiras. The two will be training together at some point to help Penn prepare for his featherweight debut against rival Frankie Edgar.
As the current featherweight champion, Aldo dominates his weight class similar to how Penn dominated the lightweight division years ago.
In a lot of ways, Aldo is the new version of Penn. This fight would pit old school against new school and has to be considered a dream match for every MMA fan.
Johny Hendricks vs. Hector Lombard
Originally, I had this penciled in as a rematch between Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit. However, I’ve always been a fan of new matchups, and while Hendricks vs. Condit II is appealing, we kind of already know what to expect.
We have no idea how Hendricks matches up with Hector Lombard. To me, that makes this fight more exciting.
Lombard looked like a stone-cold killer with his UFC 166 knockout over Nate Marquardt in October. He has to be considered a threat to Hendricks, but at the same time, “Big Rigg” can match him in power and has great wrestling.
Good thing I’ve got J.R commentating these fights, because these two men are going to beat each other like government mules!
Brock Lesnar vs. Travis Browne
The beast incarnate is back!
Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko was the fight that I first had in mind. But Fedor is retired, even in my little fictional world. I tried every trick in the book to get the big Russian to sign a contract.
I couldn’t make that happen.
Instead, Lesnar’s return will be against one of the most violent heavyweights in the game today—Travis Browne.
Browne has been knocking out world-class heavyweights left from right and making it look easy.
Lesnar has struggled in the past against strikers, but how much of that had to do with his diverticulitis? Probably not a whole lot (technically Lesnar’s stand-up defense is below average), but you’d be a fool to say it didn’t play a factor.
It would be interesting to see a healthy Lesnar against a wrecking machine like Browne. I’d have to give Browne a significant advantage, but you never know sometimes.
Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg
Enough with the talk. Enough with the weight-class dispute. This fight is happening, and at a catchweight of 140 lbs, we’re going to find out who the baddest woman on the planet really is!
Is it UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey or Invicta FC featherweight champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino?
One thing is for sure: Rousey won’t be able to overpower Cyborg like she has most of her previous opponents. Cyborg is going to come at her like a freight train, and Rousey is going to have to pull out all of the stops to prevail.
Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre
This has been every fight fan’s dream match since 2008.
Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre have dominated their respective weight classes longer than anyone else in the sport. Silva ruled the middleweight division unopposed from 2006-2013 until Chris Weidman put him away at UFC 162.
St-Pierre outclassed every welterweight known to man before Johny Hendricks beat him up at UFC 167. Despite that performance, GSP still “defeated” Hendricks by decision. St-Pierre never lost his belt. He vacated it and took a step back from MMA to focus on his personal life.
It might not have as much steam as it would have had last year, but Silva and St-Pierre still want this fight according to MMA Junkie's Steven Marrocco. More importantly, the fans still want to see this fight.
They might not be champions anymore, but a fight between Silva and St-Pierre is still big enough to headline any card. It would have been my main event, but I’ve got something even bigger in mind for that one.
Jon Jones vs. Cain Velasquez
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the main event.
I considered many different matchups for the Super Bowl headliner, but none was as appealing as Jon Jones vs. Cain Velasquez.
To me, this would be a true Super Bowl-level fight.
Realistically, it won’t actually happen for another few years, but you cannot book a better title fight than this one right here.
We’ve seen champion vs. champion bouts in MMA before, but never have we seen the light heavyweight champ challenge the heavyweight champ.
It’s only a matter of time before Jones makes the move to heavyweight. I think he’s three or four fights away from doing it.
Can a heavyweight Jones outwrestle Velasquez? Probably not, but stranger things have happened.
It depends on how well "Bones" can adapt to the jump in weight. I think Velasquez would eat him alive, but I’ve been wrong before.
So what if you had all the power? What would your MMA Super Bowl card look like?
Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to follow me on Twitter @MitchCiccarelli