MMA: The Fights I Want in 2010
Everyone seems to have their own list of potential "dream matches" that they want to see, whether it is champions from different organizations, two of their favorite fighters, or someone they don't like getting decimated by a more popular figure.
I don't expect anyone to agree with all of my picks, but these are not necessarily the matches of my dreams. I have never claimed to be a matchmaker at heart, but I happen to think these fights would definitely make for a fantastic card.
Although some of these have virtually no chance of happening anytime soon, there is always hope that the people in charge could do the right thing for the fans.
Featherweight: Jose Aldo vs. Urijah Faber
The current WEC featherweight champion Aldo has been on a tear. In 2009 alone, he won all four of his fights by knockout or technical knockout. He collected three Knockout of the Night awards, including the KO of Mike Thomas Brown to win the belt at WEC 44.
Even though he has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, "Junior" is quickly becoming more known for his vicious finishing with his hands.
If he continues with more great shows, Also will move up the Pound for Pound rankings in very short order.
Former champ Urijah Faber is hoping for a shot to regain his belt sometime during 2010.
Although he lost two fights to Brown, the rematch, to try to prove the loss in the first fight was a fluke, was a great show of heart from The California Kid.
While being handed a decision loss, Faber showed tons of heart by lasting a majority of the fight with a broken hand.
Should Faber win his upcoming bout against Raphael Assuncao, this bout has a great chance of being scheduled mid-year. A lot of WEC fans are begging for this fight to happen as well.
Aldo likes to make the fight exciting by keeping it standing, while Faber has won the majority of his fights by submission. This has the potential to be one of the best fights ever at 145.
Runner-up: Mike Thomas Brown vs. Joe Warren
Honorable Mention: Michihiro Omigawa vs. Bibiano Fernandes
Lightweight: Gilbert Melendez vs. Kenny Florian
While most people would pick Penn vs. Aoki for the 155 division, that fight has little chance of happening.
Also, I believe that it would be a very one-sided affair in favor of the UFC lightweight Champion.
I have always been a big fan of Kenny Florian, ever since The Ultimate Fighter 1, fighting well above his preferred weight class at middleweight.
I like his demeanor, his fighting style, and even his analysis on MMA Live.
He was truly dominated in his title fight against Penn, but he looked like a completely different fighter in his next fight against Clay Guida.
Outside of his two title-fight losses, he has been a force in the weight class, and usually puts on good fights to watch.
Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez is a fighter that a lot of casual MMA fans don't know about.
After his brilliant performance in his last fight against Josh Thompson, this is someone that more people should get to know.
With 10 of his 17 victories coming by way of KO or TKO, El Niño is a very entertaining fighter to watch. As his boxing improves to go along with his BJJ and wrestling, he will become an increasingly more dangerous fighter for anyone in the world to handle.
This is one of those "styles make fights" matchups in my opinion. Both have very good BJJ. It would most likely come down to Florian's Muay Thai against Melendez's boxing and wrestling.
Runner-up: Shinya Aoki vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri
Honorable Mention: Gesias Cavalcante vs. Eddie Alvarez
Welterweight: Georges St-Pierre vs. Jake Shields
This one really needs no buildup. GSP is one of the top three pound-for-pound in the world. Shields is quite possibly the best of the division outside the UFC.
While St-Pierre is gearing up to defend his belt against Dan Hardy, Shields has a date against Dan Henderson for the Strikeforce middleweight title.
Should both continue their winning ways, this will continue to be the fight that most fans are begging for at 170.
GSP has basically cleaned out the division, and Shields had to move to 185 to find a fight worth taking. It only makes sense for someone to do everything possible to put these two in the cage together.
Runner-up: Paul Daley vs. Thiago Alves
Honorable Mention: Jon Fitch vs Martin Kampmann
Middleweight: Dan Henderson vs. Nate Marquardt
Right up until Hendo signed with Strikeforce, I was really looking forward to this fight being signed. Both guys have looked very good at 185 since their respective defeats to division boss Anderson Silva.
Since this fight would have decided who got the next title shot, there was a lot at stake. However, both fighters have a chance for gold.
Henderson is still getting his middleweight title shot, but against Jake Shields for the Strikeforce belt, instead of possibly getting a chance to avenge his loss to The Spider.
Marquardt's next opponent is Chael Sonnen at UFC 109. Should he win, Nate the Great should be in line for the winner of the delayed Silva/Vitor Belfort tilt.
It would have been great to see the strength of the well-rounded Marquardt try to fend off the wrestling and lethal right hand of Henderson.
This is another fight that I hope still finds a way of getting signed somewhere down the line.
Runner-up: Damien Maia vs. Jake Shields
Honorable Mention: Robbie Lawler vs. Jorge Santiago
Light Heavyweight: Gegard Mousasi vs. Forrest Griffin
This one is just two fighters that I enjoy watching. There are probably better matchups, both in style and name value, but this is what I want to see.
Mousasi is so calm and emotionless in the cage, it is hard to tell if he is ready for a fight or is winding down and ready to head off to bed for the night.
But once the bell rings, this 24-year-old Armenian shows why he is one of the best fighters—regardless of weight class—in the world.
What can be said about Griffin that hasn't already been said?
Outside of his debacle against Anderson Silva, he has not fought a fight that I didn't enjoy. He comes straight ahead, sometimes to his detriment, and is normally not afraid to mix it up with anyone.
The former UFC champ still has a lot left to give in the cage.
This is one that will probably never happen. But if it does, I will do everything in my power to see this one live. I cannot imagine only being able to watch this one on TV; I have to be there.
Runner-up: Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogério Nogueira
Honorable Mention: Rich Franklin vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Heavyweight: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir
I know, I know. I can hear it already. "What about Fedor-Lesnar? Everybody wants to see that."
Unfortunately, I am not everybody. But I do have a good reason for wanting this fight instead.
In MMA terms, Brock Lesnar is still in the infant stages of his career. His size, speed, agility, and natural athleticism have gotten him where he is so far. He still is a long way before being ready for a fighter with the skills and experience of Fedor.
And that is if Lesnar is ever able to fight again.
Fedor's resume needs no explaining. If not for his lack of activity over the last three years, and the quality of his opponents, there would be no argument over who is the best Pound for Pound fighter in the world really is.
Frank Mir is a much better matchup for Emelianenko. Mir's striking is very much improved, as he has shown in his bouts against Cheick Kongo and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
He still has world-class Jiu-Jitzu for a heavyweight (sorry, Joe Rogan moment). He has also been around the sport long enough to know how to train and game plan for a particular opponent.
If there is anyone at the top of the UFC Heavyweight food chain that has a legitimate shot at dethroning the Last Emperor, it just might be Frank Mir.
But whether it be Mir, Lesnar, or the next tomato can the Strikeforce throws at him, Fedor is the target for anyone who wants to lay claim to the title of best heavyweight in the world.
Let's just hope he gets the chance to match up with some of the best the world has to offer, no matter the affiliation, before his career is over.
We all should get the chance to see Fedor display his greatness, but would prefer if it were against someone worthy of being in the same cage or ring as him.
Runner-up: Andrei Arlovski vs. Alistair Overeem
Honorable Mention: Shane Carwin vs. Roy Nelson