Fights We Need to See at UFC 152 in Toronto
Even though the UFC's third trip to Toronto, UFC 152 doesn't go down until Sept. 22, the fight possibilities are swirling in my head.
Granted, many things will happen between now and then to make it way too early to set any of this in stone.
I am always annoyed by lists that reach for orbits unseen in listing possible fights and dreaming up cards, like "duh Jones vs Anderson Silva for both titles in Toronto, Dana!" I prefer to keep my lists realistic.
I am not saying all of these fights should make the card—it is only an idea of possible fights for the card.
Here are some fights that need to happen at UFC 152 in Toronto
Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez II
Junior Dos Santos' May 26 title defense against Alistair Overeem is now in major doubt, and who knows who will step into the mix if 'The Reem' is indeed banned.
Let's dream Dos Santos beats whomever he faces, and I think it will be Mir as a fill-in. Also assuming Velasquez beats whomever he faces as a fill-in—possibly Fabricio Werdum—how about treating the wild Canadian faithful with a heavyweight title fight in September?
Rory MacDonald vs. Josh Koscheck
Up-and-coming Canadian welterweight star Rory MacDonald fights Che Mills later this month at UFC 145 in Atlanta, and Koscheck faces Johny Hendricks on May 5. I think both will win and set up a very juicy and relevant fight.
The Toronto fans missed out on a injured MacDonald at UFC 140 in December and would love to see Canada's second-best 170-pounder live and in person.
Koscheck would make the perfect step-up opponent.
Sam Stout vs. Mark Bocek
The debate north of the border has always been: Who is Canada's No. 1 lightweight—Mark Bocek, John Alessio or Sam Stout?
We are going to find out who will be the first domino to fall, as Alessio will be stepping in for an injured Matt Wiman later this month against consensus No.1 Bocek.
I say Bocek beats Alessio to settle that score once and for all.
Why not make the next fight for Bocek against Stout?
Surely Bocek loves to fight at home in Toronto and would be game. Stout fights June 22 and has missed both of the previous Toronto shows.
I know the fans want to see it.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Rashad Evans
I never like to count anyone out— especially a fighter as good as Rashad Evans— but I have doubted Jon Jones for the last time.
Let's say Evans loses his fight to Jones in a close one, and Gustafsson destroys a rusty Thiago Silva next week.
Gustafsson would put himself right in a direct line to the title, but not without an eager and worthy Evans getting a chance to stand in the way. This would be a very good fight and could possibly even co-headline.
Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson
It's not such a big stretch to think that Rashad Evans could beat Jon Jones and be the light-heavyweight champion come the fall.
Depending on the damage done in that fight April 21 against Jones, five months may not be too far away for Evans' first title defense.
Silva vs. Sonnen isn't until July 21 and Henderson says he is waiting for a championship fight, so he'll be ready to go for a shot at either of these division kings.
It would be an honor for the fans to see Henderson fight in Canada before he hangs up the gloves. He is one of the best of all time.
Mark Hominick vs. Erik Koch
I have taken some flak recently for saying that Erik Koch was not yet ready to fight Jose Aldo in Calgary this summer.
While the 23-year old is 13-1 in his career, his biggest wins are against Rafael Assuncao and Jonathon Brookins. He has lost to Chad Mendes. Why rush the young fighter into the beast that is Aldo?
Provided Hominick gets past Eddie Yagin later this month in Atlanta, a follow-up bout in Toronto could determine which of those two fighters is a contender and pretender before the end of the year.
Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson II
If Anderson Silva gets a quick and spotless victory in June against Chael Sonnen, is it too much for him to headline Toronto on a three-month turnaround?
Surely, it starts and probably ends with how he looks after dealing with Sonnen but having him as the main event would send Canadian fans into a frenzy.
The extremely popular legend, Henderson, would also be a hit and it would be a treat of epic proportions for Canada.
Canadian fans may see Silva as the heel to our national hero Georges St. Pierre and back the American hero Henderson in a show of North American solidarity. Either way, they will appreciate him fighting in the country
Dan Hardy vs. Chris Clements
Canadian welterweight Chris Clements is set to debut later this month and has some highlight-reel knockouts on his resume.
Clements is probably the most dangerous knockout artist Canada has right now and he has a tremendous following of fans around Toronto.
Hardy needs a bounce-back fight first and will get his chance against Duane Ludwig in late May. Hardy is popular and willing to stand with anyone, and the thought of this one is explosive.
Miguel Torres vs. Damacio Page
Both of these fighters have very tough fights coming up in April, but if they are able to get out victorious I would love to see them fight for the No. 1 contender spot in Toronto.
Torres is facing Michael McDonald and Page gets Brad Pickett, so anything is possible in this division, which makes speculation all the more futile but fun.
The pace of this match-up would be lightning-fast and electric.
Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz
Many people think that Benson Henderson defending the title against Frankie Edgar in a fight that should go down this summer is a lock. Jim Miller and Nate Diaz are set to hash things out this May, so the timing could be perfect here.
Henderson could be a sure headline favorite for the fans, and Diaz could hope to redeem himself in Toronto after a subpar fight against Rory MacDonald his last time there.
This would be a great headline battle for the title in Toronto.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA, MMA Editor at CKSN.ca and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca.