I'll admit it - it's been a whirlwhind of MMA news over the last few days.
How about Brock Lesnar declaring war on the Canadian Healthcare system? Jackie Chan declaring war on MMA? Georges St. Pierre and Dan Hardy getting ready for “Primetime”? Charles “Crazy Horse” Bennet in jail once again, this time for beating a man with a pipe? All that and more will be covered, rest assured, but I’m not going to get caught up in the grind of the daily MMA news cycle (today) and offer you what I always have: my straight opinion. Straight as in honest, that is, though I guess it works both ways. Not that I work both ways. Now look what I’ve gotten myself into.
Instead, let’s talk fights. Specifically, the 5 fights I think MUST happen in 2010.
Why must they happen? Because they’re huge. Because they’d be in demand by fans casual and serious alike. Because they would answer questions that need answering. Simply put, it’s the fights that MUST happen in 2010 because I say they MUST happen (in caps no less). Don’t worry though, I think you’ll agree with me. These fights aren’t in the realm of wild speculation (no Lesnar vs. Bj, for instance, no matter how fun a fight that would be) though they are far from a certainty. The powers that be in MMA could make them happen - and I think in many cases, they will.
We start the countdown at #5, with the heavyweight fight no one is talking about.
Also, I’m probably not going to talk about “Crazy Horse” galloping into the slammer once again in this series of articles, so I’ll just take this moment to reiterate: somebody switch this dude to decaf. And boxers. And opiates.
5. Frank Mir vs. Antonio “Rodrigo” Nogueria 2
I know right now every is drooling like Pavlov’s shitzhu over the prospect of Lesnar vs. Mir 3. On the one hand, there is the ongoing Days of our Lives-esque drama of Brock Lesnar and his mysterious stomach ailment (at first it was more like Dallas’s “Who Shot J.R” - “What’s Making Lesnar ill?” Swine Flu? Food Poisoning? Canada’s socialized medicine? Training with Josh Barnett?)
For his part, Frank Mir is turning out to be one of the best trash talkers and self-promoters in MMA. Love him or hate him, you can’t seem to ignore him anymore. His two fights with Lesnar did gigantic PPV numbers, and basically since the last one ended he’s been talking up the third. He’s stated that he regards a rubber match with Lesnar as his biggest motivator, and that he would take his arm home and put it on his wall and etc. What matters is a third fight with Lesnar would be gigantic at the box office - like it or hate it, that would probably be the biggest “trilogy” in MMA.
For my money though, I want to see Mir rematch the man he stunningly TKO’ed in 2008 to relaunch his championship, Lesnar sized ambitions: “Minotauro” Nogueria. Their original match was one of the bigger shocks of 2008 - Nogueria’s legendary chin of steel tested, and finally broken by Frank Mir, who at that point had never really shown great striking acumen (that’s changed a little bit now). It was a titanic upset.
Of course, it came out later that Nogueria had suffered from a staph infection during training and even had to be hospitalized before the fight. The “Minotauro” faithful cried foul - Mir had TKO’ed a weakened, sickly “Big Nog”. Fans cried for a rematch. Nogueria’s domination of Randy Couture only fueled the fire.
For the record, I don't buy the staph infection excuse. Don't get me wrong, i'm not accusing Nogueria of lying - only that I don't buy that as a legitimate excuse why he lost the fight. The simple truth is, if it was bad enough to hamper his performance, he should have pulled out of the fight. Nogueria is perhaps my all time favourite heavyweight, and I don't think a single fan would have held it against him if he pulled out of that fight with a legitimate illness. By showing up to fight, you waive the right to post-fight excuse making. The referee looked at Nogueria and asked him "Are you Ready?" and he answered in the affirmative. Whatever happened afterwards, sick or not, was entirely his own fault.
But that was then. Regardless of what story you believe, Nog went from 246 lbs in the Mir fight to 231 lbs in the Randy fight. His conditioning was great, and his boxing and ground game were both excellent. Combine that with Mir's recent blowout of Cheik Kongo, and I think this is a far more interesting fight now then it was the first time it happened.
Now it looks like, with a win over Shane Carwin, Mir could get his 3rd fight with Lesnar exactly one year after his last one. Too bad, but either way, I think it opens the door for a Mir vs. Nogueria rematch in the latter half of 2010, a fight that would be big money even if Nogueria and Mir lose their next matches respectively.
I like “Nogueria” in this one, and I predict it would have another crazy finish, one way or the other.