Oh man, how sweet would that be? Any serious follower of mixed martial arts knows exactly what I’m talking about. Imagine having all of the most talent rich division’s athletes at your fingertips, proposing match-ups to fighters like Anderson Silva and Forrest Griffin…..against one another! Just having the power to make those kind of executive decisions, pure awesomeness.
Joe Silva, I envy you, you’re living the dream buddy. While I feel completely certain that your job with the UFC will be secure for many years to come, please allow me to imagine, if just for a brief moment in time, that I was in your shoes.
We all have dream match-ups in our head . Fights we are just absolutely dying to see. Well if I was a UFC matchmaker, these are the fights I would make happen.
Let’s get things started with the big boys.
Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
Seriously, is there anyone out there that wouldn’t be utterly enthralled by watching these two muscular goliaths beat each other senseless all around the octagon? Both guys have strong wrestling backgrounds, with a slight edge in the wrestling department most likely going to Lesnar, but the thing is Carwin can match Lesnar’s size, so those takedowns aren’t going to come nearly as easy. If either of these mountains land a solid punch on each other’s chin, it will be all she wrote for the night. It’s like Carwin said in a recent interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com, they’re going to need a reinforced octagon when these giants clash.
Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez
This fight just makes sense in so many ways. You can only promote these guys as the next big thing before you eventually have them fight each other. Dos Santos is a dangerous striker. The most vicious banger that Velasquez has faced up until this point in his career, without a doubt. However, Cain Velasquez truly is a top level wrestler and it should be up to him as to where this fight eventually ends up, and even if it does stay on the feet I feel like Cain’s stand-up is extremely underrated. The winner of this bout would be recognized as a legitimate and immediate threat to the crown and the loser wouldn’t drop that far down the ladder with a loss to the other.
Antoni Hardonk vs. Pat Barry
These two are without a doubt the most dangerous strikers in the UFC’s heavyweight division, so I say let’s get them in there. A heavyweight slugfest between a couple of former K-1 level professional kickboxers with little itty bitty five ounce gloves? I’m all for it. As long as these two knockout artists keep the fight standing there’s no way this doesn’t go down in the record books for being one of the most barbaric heavyweight battles in UFC history.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Forrest Griffin II
This fight is going to have to happen eventually. I know for a fact that this loss is eating up at Shogun just like his loss to Mark Coleman, although freakish, tore at him until he had the opportunity to avenge it. With Forrest coming off of a loss and Shogun coming off of a win, and looking as good as ever while doing it, this bout just makes sense in so many ways. It would be a much more interesting and competitive match-up if the Shogun that showed up against Chuck Liddell shows up in the rematch with the former UFC light heavyweight champion.
Matt Hammill vs. Ryan Bader
Anyone else like the way this sounds? Sure both guys are top level wrestlers, but I don’t think either will be able to manhandle the other as far as the takedowns are concerned. What I do see happening is two guys nullifying each other in the wrestling department and being forced to stand up and punch each other in the face repeatedly. This would be a fantastic fight between two remarkable athletes with similar styles.
Luiz Cane vs. Brandon Vera
Two big league bangers pounding each other into oblivion, what’s not to like? Seriously, Vera’s getting paid way too much by the UFC to be matched up with guys like Mike Patt. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind the bout. Vera’s one of the more well paid fighters in the 205 pound division and he’s coming off of an extremely disappointing loss to Keith Jardine, you have to build him up a little. Vera’s been with the UFC long enough to where he should not be given anything but the best competition that the organization has to offer, regardless of the bouts outcome. Cane seems to be the real deal Holyfield so it should be a perfect fight for both fighters. The outcome would tell us exactly what we need to know about both men and most likely provide the fans with one of the most electrifying stand up wars of the year in the process. A win-win situation.
Cruserweight – 195 pounds
Wanderlei Silva vs. Melvin Manhoef
With my new power as matchmaker I hereby declare that Wanderlei Silva will forever fight in the cruiserweight division. I also declare that I will be signing one of my favorite fighters of all time to the UFC roster, Melvin Manhoef. I understand that I am exercising a great deal of favoritism by making this move, but honestly, it’s a just a great business move. Manhoef is one of, if not the most feared knockout artist in the business. Out of his 23 wins in mixed martial arts, 22 have come by horrifying knockout. He would quickly become one of the most marketable figures in MMA if promoted in the United States properly. A bout between Manhoef and “The Axe Murderer” would likely be on of the most violent in the organizations history.
Nathan Marquardt vs. Demian Maia
Now that Anderson is tied up with an upcoming light heavyweight bout with Forrest Griffin, this bout has never made so much sense. Who should fight Anderson Silva next? Marquardt? You could make a really good case for it. He’s evolved tremendously since his previous attempt at the UFC middleweight championship against “The Spider”. Maia? I don’t see why not. He’s been just tearing through his competition in the UFC, making submitting top level UFC athletes look easy time and time again. What better way to figure out who should be next in line than having the two square off with one another? It would be an amazing battle between two of the most talented fighters in the UFC.
Anderson Silva vs. The Winner of Nathan Marquardt vs. Demian Maia
Enough with Silva facing challengers like Patrick Cote and Thales Leites already. The people are done paying for those kind of match-ups. I say give Silva the winner of Marquardt vs. Maia, and if he beats the winner of that bout handily, have a bout between the winners of the upcoming middleweight match-ups between the winner of Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping and Yushin Okami vs. Dan Miller. Problem solved. If Silva is victorious in both of those bouts, and manages to get by Griffin at 205 pounds, he should challenge for the light heavyweight championship and retire. Plain and simple. At that point I would have no problem paying for a PPV featuring himself and Roy Jones Jr. in a boxing ring.
Chris Leben vs. Aaron Simpson
I know that it’s a little early in the game to throw someone like Simpson in the mix with a fighter as seasoned and as dangerous as Leben from a business standpoint, but I don’t think it would be all that bad of a move in the grand scheme of things. The bottom line is that this fight would be fireworks. Both are extremely heavy handed, with an edge in the wrestling department going to Simpson, and a possible edge in the submission category going to Leben. More likely than not this fight ends up turning into a wild slugfest between two devastating punchers with rocks for chins. If Simpson loses, no worries, it was against Leben. If Leben loses, he’s Chris Leben, he’ll be back, and he will always be one of the more popular fighters in the UFC.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Ricardo Almeida
So far it seems like I’m putting together nothing but potential slugfests, and I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m a big fan of guys beating each other about the face from way back. It only makes sense to put together a grappling masterpiece such as this one, as most would agree that there’s nothing quite like a fast paced grappling MMA match between two masters of the art. I know, Almeida’s talking about dropping to 170, well you know what? I’m the UFC matchmaker and I say he fights Palhares at 185! While most would assume that this fight would be on the ground exclusively, I wouldn’t be the least surprised if Almeida chose to utilize his much improved stand up game in a bout with a fellow submission phenom in Palhares.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves
I just wanted to commend Mr. Silva on doing a fantastic job with this one. What a match-up! Bravo, Joe, bravo.
Josh Koscheck vs. Anthony Johnson
Why not? This is exactly the type of fight that Koscheck needs to win when he comes back to put him right back in the mix at welterweight. From Johnson’s perspective, a win over Koscheck would certainly move him that much closer to a championship match-up. For Koscheck to be successful in this bout he would have to get back to his roots against a rangy, lethal striker such as Johnson. However, Johnson is no rookie on the wrestling mat either as he wrestled in college as well before becoming involved with mixed martial arts. On the other side of that coin, Koscheck got caught in his last bout but showed with his devastating knockouts over Yoshiyuki Yoshida and Dustin Hazelett that he is a threat no matter where the bout ends up. This fight would be electrifying, no question in my mind.
Dustin Hazelett vs. Mike Swick
Hazelett vs. Swick or Swick vs. Hazelett, however you say it, it has a certain ring to it right? I can’t imagine how this fight could possibly end up lackluster. The bottom line is that the end result of this bout will either be by an dazzling highlight reel submission or a “Quick”, brutal knockout. Both men are among the fastest rising of the contenders in the UFC’s welterweight division so I say let them go at it. This is the type of fight that people want to see. Am I wrong?
Chris Lytle vs. Matt Brown
Can you say ‘guaranteed fight of the night’? Lytle and Brown bring it every single time they enter the octagon. Both can bang, and bang hard, and neither is a slouch on the ground by any means. More likely than not, this one erupts in a back and forth slugfest that will have the crowd on their feet from beginning to end. Heck, matching Lytle up with anyone at 170 is a good move being that he’s either had fight of the night or knockout of the night in his last….like twenty bouts in the UFC.
Tyson Griffin vs. Roger Huerta
Huerta has one fight left on his contract and then he’s going on to focus on a career as a big shot actor, huh? Alright, no problem, I’ll give him Griffin. There’s no way I give Huerta another Jason Dent or John Halverson in his last bout with the UFC. No, I’ll give him Griffin who I have no doubt in my mind would tear him to shreds on his way out. Griffin is an android from space that seems to be immune to submission or knockout. Huerta wouldn’t be able to match him boxing, wrestling or in endurance. Not that Griffn would just blow through the extremely talented Huerta, but he would win, and win handily. After this I’m pushing for a rematch between Griffin and Sean Sherk in what was one of my favorite lightweight battles of all time.
Cole Miller vs. Nate Diaz
These two lanky, powerful, submission wizards rolling around on the octagon canvas would be a demonstration in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 101. Both guys are extremely capable on their feet as well, and as a matter of fact, I feel like they match up pretty evenly in every aspect of the game. One thing that’s for sure is that this bout would be exciting from start to finish, and what’s not to love about that. Guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Sean Sherk vs. Gray Maynard
I’m not going to lie to you guys, if you would have pitched this fight to me about a year ago I probably would have slapped your face providing you weren’t too much bigger than me. “Those guys are insanely boring! There’s now way I’m watching that #*%@!”, I would have screamed at you feverishly. Well probably not, but the point I’m trying to make is that both Sherk and Maynard have shown that they can sling the leather with the best of them at 155 pounds. I understand that neither is known for knocking out a ton of guys, but I also understand that the knockout is a little harder to come by at 155 pounds. The most important thing to me in this bout is that both men are among the elite in their weight class and match up quite evenly in most aspects of their games. Some may think that this would end up boring, but I see no way of that happening. Styles make fights, right?
Jeremy Stephens vs. Junie Browning
Let’s do it! Both are strong wrestlers, but more importantly, both are highly skilled at punching their opponents in the grill. I envision the two rebounding lightweights swinging for the fences for as long as it lasts. Who do you give Browning or Stephens after their recent losses? It’s a perfect match-up for both fighters, and more importantly, the ticket and PPV buying fans.
Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Lauzon
If, and I stress the if part; If Sanchez can get past Clay Guida, I see no reason to usher him into any type of immediate title shot. Lauzon is just as deserving at a chance to have his long sought after title opportunity come to fruition after his recent dismantling of Jeremy Stephens. Let them fight each other. We want to figure out who the real top contenders are in this ultra-stacked UFC lightweight division.
I have never done this, but I feel as if this opinion piece is about as opinionated an opinion piece as an opinion piece can get so I want to hear your opinion. Which fights that I proposed have you lol’ing at your computer screen, and which ones had you saying to yourself ‘Right on’. Also, who would you match-up if you were Joe Silva, and why. What say you?