If I Was The UFC Matchmaker….

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.

Heavyweights

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.

Light Heavyweights

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.

Middleweight

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.

Welterweight

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.

Lightweight

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?

27 COMMENTS
  • meatloaf says:

    Manhoef knocked out 275 lb.Mark Hunt and his iron chin.
    What do you think he’d do to Wanderlei who really can’t take a punch anymore?

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  • cjrawkstar says:

    Cory, nick diaz isn’t in the UFC. And usually doesn’t fight at the weight Cole Miller does. Could you possibly mean NATE? I noticed you have no love for the leg humping clay guida in your super fight article

    I like a lot of your choices. But if you’re gonna hire people back into the UFC, where is the love for Vitor Belfort and Babalu? Or why not a Tito vs. Wanderlei rematch? Actually, I’d pay to see anyone kick Tito’s ass.

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  • Bullylover says:

    great list of fights. I agree with all of them cept maybe the kosheick/johnson fight, other than that those were some good matchups.

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  • 27jride says:

    Chris Lytle vs. Matt Brown is pure genius! I LOVE it!! Also I’m with cjrawkstar… ANYONE kicking Tito’s arrogant ass is a good fight to me, hell, why not make Tito fight at heavyweight and throw him to Carwin or Lesnar just to see him take an even bigger beating than Chuck handed him last time!

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  • Cory Brady says:

    Good looking out cjrawkstar! Yeah, I meant Nate, thanks

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  • Cory Brady says:

    Meatloaf: But what’s to be said about Manhoef’s chin based on his last K-1 fight where he was knocked out by a punch that looked like it missed him? I think both guys have suspect chins and thundererous knockout power in their fists, to me it doesn’t get any better. Someone’s going to sleep one way or the other. One of my favorite fighters gets knocked out and the other gets the win. It’s a catch 22 fight for me, but a fight I would pay a lot of money to see none the less.

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  • ZP580 says:

    I don’t know about yall but I wanna see GSP v Anderson Silva @ a catch weight of like 178.

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  • Grappo says:

    Tyson Griffin has had so many great fights… I’d LOVE to see a rematch between Griffin and Frankie Edgar. And Sherk. And go head-to-head with Sanchez.

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  • Rich S. says:

    In a perfect world, Brady… In a perfect world..

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  • meatloaf says:

    Cory you’re right about Manhoef’s suspect chin indeed. Just ask Dirty Bob Schrijber about that, but by the time Wanderlei started throwing his wide looping punches he’d be face down on the canvas, also it’s interesting to see the Tito haters come out when he’s not even mentioned in the piece.

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  • kidneybeans says:

    If I were Joe Silva I would say let’s have some fucking tournaments and see who the best in each weight class really is.

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  • Jak says:

    To be honest, there is very little to complain about with those fights. Personally i think 100-102 have really stepped up some of the match making, and if the trend continued and we got see 3/4 of the fights you proposed, that would be f***ing awesome! :)

    Vera/Cane
    Kos//Johnson
    Maynard/Sherk

    and i even really liked mentioning the inexperience of Simpson, but that’s exactly what the UFC should be doing. throwing prospects into good fights rather than padding them on undercards. If they’re going to contend, then Leben would be a good guy to start with.

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  • fanoftna33 says:

    one fight i would really love to see would be frankie edgar vs uriah faber at 145 or 55 this would be great, two great wrestlers tough fighters with solid striking. another potential superfight would be thiago alves vs cung le both are roughlt the same size and weight, that would be a slugfest for sure. the last one i would love to see would be matt sera vs joe stevenson, two strong guys great submissions good strikes a very solid fight,

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  • ihateemo says:

    I think Hardonk is an incredibly overrated fighter, “most dangerous leg kicks in MMA” (rough paraphrasing of Rogan’s comments during UFC 97) be damned. I honestly think he’s looked outmatched every time he’s had to fight anyone but a lesser known fighter. I would be happy not seeing anymore of his fights.

    Personally, I’d like to see:

    Fitch vs. Alves II
    Marquardt vs. Bisping
    Miller vs. Diaz
    Griffin vs. Jardine II
    Rua vs. Jackson

    As far as your heavyweights go, in no way is Carwin ready for Lesnar. Give him dos Santos first (now THAT would be an epic slugfest for the ages) and then Couture. Regardless of whether Lesnar beats Mir, I really think that Carwin needs a couple of fights before taking on the Vanilla Gorilla.

    Oh, and if I were Joe Silva I’d hand Thales Leites his walking papers too for excessive falling. ;)

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  • Jstew3785 says:

    IhateEmo- I pretty much agree with what you said, except for the part about Carwin. Not only do I think Carwin is ready, but in my opinion, Carwin would probably knock him out. Lesnar didn’t deserve a title shot, but he got one anyway. He only had 1 quality win (Herring) going into the fight with Couture. Carwin has a win against Gonzaga, a top 10 heavyweight, much higher ranked than Herring, so how does that not earn him a shot?

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    I’d like to see:
    Machida vs Silva-MW
    Shogun vs Rampage 2

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  • jorro says:

    I liked a lot of your choices, some real good fights. What do you think of these?

    GSP vs Silva at 185
    Sanchez vs Florian at 155
    Griffin vs Franklin at 205
    Marquardt vs Hendo at 185

    P.S. Brock vs Carwin would be awesome

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  • s00nertp says:

    Wanderlei Silva vs. Melvin Manhoef = YEAHHHHH!!!!!

    these kind of articles get the blood pumping that is for sure. When I saw that in the title I my heart jumped.. I thought it was real!

    I also want to see Melvin Manhoef vs Fedor!

    I disagree with “meatloaf” but like that he mentioned Mark Hunt’s incredible chin. Mark Hunt vs Cro-cop was the best example of it imo. Cro-cop kicked him with at least 3-4 kicks that would have knocked out anyone else.

    I was STUNNED when Melvin knocked out Mark Hunt. I thought it couldnt be done.

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  • Cory Brady says:

    @ jorro: GSP vs. Silva sounds great to me! However, and I do assume you mean Anderson, I’d like to see that fight take place in-between the 178-180 pound range. Anderson came in at 182 for his fight with Leites so I don’t think that 180 would be that much of a stretch. 178 or 179 sounds even better to me, being that he doesn’t have to kill himself getting there.

    Sanchez vs. Florian came really close to making my list as well, however, I don’t think that Sanchez would deserve a title shot if Florian can get past Penn. With that said, I don’t think Florian will get past Penn, and if he doesn’t , I say let Sanchez and Florian go at it. Great fight.

    Griffin vs. Franklin would be good but I think their styles would make for a very technical match-up, as opposed to exciting. I also think Griffin may be a little too big for Franklin, but I could be wrong.

    Henderson vs. Marquardt? I hadn’t even thought of that one, pure genius if you ask me. Now that would be a great fight between two exciting and amazing athletes.

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  • Cory Brady says:

    @ s00nertp: Thanks, Manhoef vs. Wanderlei is my absolute number one dream match. It has to happen one day….it just has to, lol.

    I love Manhoef but Fedor would more than likely strangle him to death. If Manhoef catches anyone it’s curtains, but Fedor would get in on him, drag him to the mat and proceed to constrict his neck to the point of submission, but who knows, anything can happen.

    I’m with you on being stunned when he knocked out Hunt like he did. Absolutely amazing considering Manhoef was giving away like sixty pounds to the heavy handed, and just all around heavy New Zealander.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    MMA is unique in one sense I feel. I can’t think of any other sport where fans would dream of seeing 2nd rate competition take on each other. I mean 2 guys that have never trained in a particular sport may have the most even to and fro battle ever but I don’t really want to see it, I want to see good teams compete and the best fighters fight. So why do people in dream match ups come up with names like Leben, Junnie and Simpson etc?. In any other sport would a “dream match up” involve such a low standard?. I mean Leben may be exciting but is that what it is really about?. If so I think the standards of cards will keep on dropping in my view. I mean does anyone that likes baseball dream of seeing India take on New Zealand , just cuz that would be an even match up? or is it a tennis fans dream match up to see the 50th ranked player play No. 175?.
    Anyway I have to go cuz Egypt is about to play South Africa in Ice Hockey and I’ve been hanging out for this game for ages.

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  • PsYc0tIkDrEaM says:

    Chris Lytle and Matt Brown already happened…..

    would like to see Gonzaga vs Kongo

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  • rusgeo82 says:

    I agree with a lot of your choices. Here are a few I’d like to see…

    Faber/Brown vs ‘Kid’ Yamomoto
    Penn/Florian vs Aoki
    GSP vs Anderson Silva
    Lesnar vs Carwin
    Fedor vs Lesnar/Carwin/Velasquez
    Fedor vs Anderson Silva or Machida (catchwieght of 215-225)

    I know I’m bending the rules with some of these fighters.

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  • Jstew3785 says:

    Anderson Silva/GSP vs Miguel Torres- (this is a dream right, I know of the weight difference too!!)
    Urijah Faber vs Shinya Aoki
    Chuck Liddell of ’04 vs Manhoef
    Shogun vs Paulo Filho
    Lesnar vs Barnett

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  • TheLevi75 says:

    I don’t think that stpirre has done enough to be deserving a fight against the Mwt champ.when Anderson went and fought at Lhwt he wasn’t giving a shot at the Lhwt champ.he had to fight a guy who wasn’t even a top 10 Lhwt.If stpierree has a fight a t Mwt he should fight someone who is not top 10 at Mwt.just some examples Ed ShortFuse Herman,or some one else around the same level.

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  • djfade says:

    George vs Anderson
    Brock vs Shane
    nate diaz vs diego
    Maia vs Marquart

    I love all the fightst that you listed above, just not sure about the Leben fight, i have no desire to see him fight again… just my opinion

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  • [...] know if any of you guys remember a little article I wrote in April of this year called “If I Was The UFC Matchmaker” where I called for this fight, but this one has been a long time coming for me. While [...]

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