MMA News: 25 Fantasy Fights We'd Love to SeeNovember 29, 2011
MMA News: 25 Fantasy Fights We'd Love to See
There are fights we as fans would like to see but never will.
Either for cross-promotional reasons or because of Father Time, these fights are forever relegated to being "what ifs" discussed at the water cooler (or dinner table if you're fortunate enough to have a wife/family into MMA).
So which fights that transcend promotional barriers—and even time itself—would we like to see? Read and find out!
Modern Fantasy Fights
What will follow are fights we'd like to see with current fighters in their current incarnations, that is to say not the fighters as they were years ago but now.
These fights can't take place either due to promotional constraints or other reasons.
Hector Lombard vs. Anderson Silva
Seeing the Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard (who was actually supposed to be in the UFC at one time but had visa issues) take on UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva would be a fight many would want to see.
Lombard has called out Silva on numerous occasions and has guaranteed that he'd beat Silva.
There's a very small chance (if not no chance at all) of this fight happening, but it's fun to speculate, and it's definitely a fantasy matchup that fans would love to watch before Silva gets too old and retires.
Ben Askren vs. Georges St-Pierre
Both Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren and UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre have some of the finest MMA-wrestling in the sport.
Seeing a cross-promoted event with these two would be quite fantastic.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Frankie Edgar
Gilbert Melendez is the Strikeforce lightweight champion and is one of the unfortunate elite Strikeforce fighters who didn't get brought up into the UFC.
His hard-nosed wrestling style would make an interesting matchup for UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, who has made a habit of disproving the odds and coming back from almost certain defeat.
Alistair Overeem vs. Valentijn Overeem
Alistair Overeem may be the better fighter by far, but doesn't a "brother vs. brother" fight intrigue you even a little bit?
Even better, Valentijn said he'd be totally OK with it!
Nick Diaz vs. Nate Diaz
Speaking of brother vs. brother, who wouldn't want to see the Diaz brothers go at it?
They each have a unique blend of boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu so it'd be great to see how the fight would play out.
Jon Fitch vs. Josh Koscheck
Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch are brothers in arms. Unfortunately, they both happen to be top echelon welterweights.
Being in the same weight class means that they may have to fight each other one day, but they have both said it won't happen. Koscheck even said he'd rather leave the UFC than fight Fitch!
However, it's an interesting matchup. Whose wrestling would prevail? Would it turn into a glorified kickboxing match since their wrestling abilities would ultimately negate one another?
Such questions are why this is a fantasy fight we'd like to see.
Shinya Aoki vs. BJ Penn
BJ Penn may be "retired," but he likely has some fight in him, perhaps enough fight to take on Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki?
Aoki isn't a match for the very best lightweights but seeing him take on an aged Penn would be a good test, and it would likely provide fans with some of the most exciting grappling ever seen in an MMA fight.
KJ Noons vs. BJ Penn
Aside from Shinya Aoki, KJ Noons is another fighter who would make a great opponent for BJ Penn.
Noons has some of the best technical boxing in MMA, and it would be interesting (and fun to watch) to see how Penn handles it.
Coincidentally, it would also be the battle of acronyms since both guys go by abbreviated names (KJ = Karl James, BJ = Baby Jay).
Fights Across Time
What follows are fights that we'd like to see but can't because one or more of the fighters are simply too old to be competitive. So just insert "prime" in front of each fighter's name.
Prime Ken Shamrock vs. 2003-2006 Tito Ortiz
Tito Ortiz is famous (or infamous) for beating up Ken Shamrock three times. But would he have been able to manhandle Shamrock so badly in the three fights if Shamrock had been in his prime?
Possibly, but it'd be a great fight to witness nonetheless.
(From this point on, if an older fighter is mentioned, just insert "prime" in front of his name since adding it in each slide would get redundant.)
Prime Ken Shamrock vs. Prime Don Frye
Ken Shamrock and Don Frye met at Pride 19, but both men weren't quite as good as they had been in the past.
Thus, a fight between Ken Shamrock in his prime and Don Frye in his prime is a must when discussing fantasy fights.
Prime Ken Shamrock vs. Prime Tank Abbott
Ken Shamrock vs. Tank Abbott is one of the greatest unresolved grudges in MMA history. Both men hate each other, but the fight hasn't materialized despite well over a decade of buildup.
Watching the two men go at it now would be sad and pathetic, but seeing them fight when they were in the best shape of their lives would be quite a treat to the MMA fan who knows (and appreciates) his MMA history.
Prime Royce Gracie vs. Matt Hughes
Why is this a fantasy fight? Do I really think that a young Royce Gracie could beat Matt Hughes?
No. The fight needs to happen because people need to see that a fighter as one-dimensional as Royce Gracie couldn't compete—regardless of age—even against a fighter from the early 2000s era like Matt Hughes.
Emmanuel Yarborough vs. Akebono Taro
Because seeing the two most infamous sumo wrestlers in MMA fighting one another would be priceless.
Prime BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz
In BJ Penn's fight against Nick Diaz at UFC 137, it was clear that the Hawaiian's best days were behind him.
The fight may have looked different if it had taken place a few years ago, but sadly, we'll never know.
Prime BJ Penn vs. Georges St-Pierre
Would BJ Penn at his very best be able to defeat (a greaseless) Georges St-Pierre?
Prime Matt Serra vs. Georges St-Pierre
Matt Serra pulled off one of the most amazing upsets in MMA history when he beat Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69 for the UFC welterweight championship.
At UFC 83, St-Pierre avenged his loss and dominated Serra.
What would a GSP-Serra III look like if it was the best Matt Serra there had ever been?
Who knows! That's why it's a fantasy matchup.
Prime Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Jon Jones
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones dismantled Pride legend Mauricio "Shogun" Rua as if he were an amateur that belonged on the regional circuit.
It would be a sight to see Jon Jones take on the "Shogun" of old. Who knows what the result would be. Would the young Rua's speed (and healthy knees) be too much for Jones? Or would Jones' well-roundedness still manage to trump Rua?
Prime Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
Wanderlei Silva deserves a chance to redeem himself against Chris Leben, even if it's only in our imaginations.
Watching Silva fight Leben back when the Brazilian could practically take a sledgehammer to the head would be amazing—one of the greatest fantasy fights of all time!
Prime Wanderlei Silva vs. Prime Chuck Liddell
There was a ton of excitement and electricity in the air when these men fought, but in their heart of hearts, MMA fans knew that both men had seen better days.
Imagine how epic a fight between Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell would have been in the early- to mid-2000s?
Prime Wanderlei Silva vs. Anderson Silva
Who wouldn't want to witness the battle of the Silvas between Wanderlei and Anderson?
The unstoppable aggressive striker vs. the immovable counter-striker—the fantasy match of the century!
Prime Mark Coleman vs. Brock Lesnar
In many ways, Mark Coleman back in his prime was analogous to Brock Lesnar (big frame, powerful, strong wrestling and virtually non-existent striking) today.
It'd be a really great fight to watch, if you think about it. It'd either be a really tactical wrestling match or it'd turn into a barroom brawl because neither man could take the other down.
Prime Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar may have beaten Randy Couture, but it was an older, slower Randy Couture.
If Lesnar had faced Couture at his best, the result might have been different. Either way, it'd be a great fight to watch. Either Lesnar would prove himself, or Couture would show that Lesnar was just clever marketing.
Prime Fedor Emelianenko vs. Alistair Overeem
Alistair Overeem is the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion and is currently the linear heavyweight champion.
It's of little doubt that Overeem would smash modern-day Emelianenko, but what about the Emelianenko in the early-mid 2000s in Pride's heyday?
Prime Fedor Emelianenko vs. Junior Dos Santos
Would Fedor in his prime be able to take out current UFC heavyweight champion and powerful slugger Junior Dos Santos?
MMA fans across the world would be dying to know.