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UFC: 6 Fighters We'd Love to See Compete at Metamoris

Matthew RyderFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2014

UFC: 6 Fighters We'd Love to See Compete at Metamoris

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    Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

    Metamoris has been getting bigger pretty consistently over the past year or so.

    From people who dabble in jiu-jitsu to hardcore grappling aficionados to dudes looking for some hipster fight-sport cred, the submission-only grappling showcase has developed a decent following.

    As it's grown, so too has its relationship with UFC competitors looking to bridge the gap between fights. Names like Josh Barnett and Chael Sonnen competed most recently, while former UFC competitors such as Dean Lister and Vinny Magalhaes have become mainstays on Metamoris cards.

    With the growing crossover from MMA to grappling, it's inevitable more names are going to make the jump to take a jiu-jitsu match in the future. Here are six from the UFC we'd love to see.

Gabriel Gonzaga

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    Gabriel Gonzaga is a tough out at heavyweight for anyone in MMA circles, but his grappling output is not far from legendary in comparison.

    He's won gold at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in the ultra heavyweight division as well as a bronze there, earned silver at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club in the plus-99 kg division and has a bronze at the Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship as well.

    In terms of a heavyweight gi competitor, he's a great blend of name recognition and talent, and he could easily be made available for a Metamoris match while waiting on a UFC opponent some time.

Demian Maia

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Interestingly, one of Gonzaga's most well-known battles came in the absolute division against UFC veteran Demian Maia, who competes at a weight class nearly 100 pounds lighter than him. Maia choked him out with a triangle, shocking the jiu-jitsu community and proving that technique can still beat size in the sport.

    Try and say that wouldn't be a rematch worth watching on a Metamoris card.

    Aside from the Gonzaga performance (which was actually their second well-publicized meeting), Maia has long been one of the more exciting grappling experts in the UFC. He holds submission wins over Chael Sonnen, Nate Quarry and Rick Story, to name a few, and has been an absolute monster since dropping to welterweight for MMA competition.

    Throw in a collection of jiu-jitsu accolades too long to list and almost too impressive to believe, and you'd have to think he'd be a nice guy to have bolstering a Metamoris event.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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    Nobody who loves Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is particularly keen to see him take punches for a living anymore. Considering that he might well be the most beloved fighter on the UFC roster, that list of people who don't want to watch him in combat anymore is probably pretty lengthy.

    But jiu-jitsu? Near enough to every name on that list would probably be into that.

    Big Nog is too tough for his own good and too stubborn to walk away, even if he's outlined a rough exit strategy from the UFC already. When that happens (or before, if someone could talk him into it), why not make the jump to Metamoris?

    He's one of the top heavyweights to ever compete with a jiu-jitsu base in MMA and was tapping out absolute animals in PRIDE before many in North America even knew who he was. His style lends itself to gi or no-gi competition, and it's a far safer way for him to stay active than being blasted by 265-pound behemoths is.

    First match? Frank Mir, the man he's been craving redemption against since their first fight in 2008. Who wouldn't want to see that?

Nate Diaz

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    As he sits on the sidelines and tries to iron out some amount of restructuring in his deal with the UFC, a great way for Nate Diaz to make a little scratch and stay active in competition would be a matchup at Metamoris.

    While brother Nick gets way more press and far more hoopla about his skills in both jiu-jitsu and MMA, Nate is also a Cesar Gracie black belt and has been one of the nastiest ground tacticians in the world since he was rocking a purple.

    There's also the reality that he's a little more reliable than Nick, and if Metamoris booked him an opponent who was a respectable martial artist as opposed to a trash talker, the match would likely go off without a hitch.

    Plus, regardless of what Dana White says, the name Diaz moves the needle. People would tune in, which is the most important part for Metamoris as the promotion tries to grow.

Ronda Rousey

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Speaking of moving the needle, what about UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey?

    Though she's been largely dismissive of taking a grappling match for financial reasons, that doesn't mean it's something people wouldn't want to see. She's also gone on record in saying that she could beat any jiu-jitsu ace alive with a proper training camp, a statement that got plenty of attention.

    Could she learn the intricacies of sport jiu-jitsu well enough to stay out of trouble against the elite women of the sport? Could she score a throw early and snatch an arm easily, as she has so many times in MMA? Would her tendency to give up her back cost her against a woman who knows what to do with it? Would her Olympic-level athleticism trump anything she'd see from a high-level jiu-jitsu practitioner?

    All interesting questions that fans of both sports would love to have answered—even if it's not likely to ever happen.

Jon Jones

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Another champion, another person you'll probably never see on the Metamoris mat. But it's fun to ponder, no?

    Jon Jones is a freak athlete with a solid wrestling base that he's applied beautifully to MMA, and also a man who has taken to the submission game as his career has progressed. He's tapped out black belts like Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida, and he's done it with almost frightening ease.

    Imagine Jones competing against the best grapplers in the world, entering their game and trying to beat them at it. He'd be doing it without cutting weight, marrying his size and strength with his skill in an effort to take over two sports. It would truly be something to behold and, perhaps besides Rousey, the most attention-getting UFC-to-Metamoris jump that could happen on the present roster.

    Don't hold your breath on it, but it's interesting to think about at least.

     

    Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

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