(“Business as usual,” should include putting on the best fights Zuffa can.)
Since Zuffa announced two weeks ago that it had purchased its closest competitor, Strikeforce, MMA fans and analysts have been clamoring for dream bouts that seemed impossible when the organizations were owned by two different companies.
Although UFC president Dana White has repeated the same three words since the news broke, “Business as usual,” and reports have emerged stating that there won’t likely be any cross-over bouts until Strikeforce’s current fighter contracts run out and they can be locked into new deals with the UFC, that doesn’t stop the inner fanboys in us from licking our chops over some of the fights we want to see happen in the Octagon (or Hexagon).
Check out our list of 20 intriguing post-Zuffa Strikeforce purchase fights want to see made a reality.
The Reem is a juggernaut who has manhandled every opponent save one that he has faced in MMA since moving up to heavyweight. It’s going to take someone with the utmost skill, strength and game plan to take him out and Velasquez is a fighter who has all of those attributes. The only problem is that Overeem is a workhorse in the gym, and according to his trainers, he improves and learns exponentially faster than his teammates, so Velasquez would need to be on point to take out the dominant K-1, DREAM and Strikeforce heavyweight champion.
When nobody thought Anderson Silva could be beaten, Chael Sonnen stepped out of the shadows and used his Team Quest grinding wrestling base and solid boxing to pound a hole in the theory that “The Spider” was invincible. Sonnen and Hendo’s former TQ teammate Randy Couture has proven time and time again that even the strongest and most dangerous opponent can be beaten if you stifle his strengths and put pressure on him. Henderson surprised a lot of people when he knocked out Feijao. Given his steel chin, heavy hands and wrestling credentials, he could prove to be Jones’ Kryptonite.
Brock’s strengths are his wrestling and his strength, which play perfectly into the game of a world-class jiu-jitsu player like Werdum. Just ask Ken Shamrock how far his power got him against Royce Gracie. If Brock connects with his fire hydrant hands, the bout could be over before Mike Goldberg calls Lesnar one of the greatest heavyweights to ever step in the Octagon, but Werdum is seasoned and patient and has faced bigger opponents before, so it’s unlikely that he will lose his composure with the former UFC heavyweight champ.
Nick Diaz vs. George St-Pierre
If GSP gets past Jake Shields, he’ll be in the same position as Diaz who has effectively cleared out his respective promotion’s division. Sure Nick needs to get past Paul Daley, but with a head made of granite and an awkward, yet effective stand-up style that is as dangerous as his ninja-like jiu-jitsu game, Diaz has all of the tools to foil St-Pierre’s title reign, or at least make for one of the most entertaining 25 minutes in UFC welterweight championship history.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture
Let’s face it, this is a fight that we’ve wanted to see when both fighters were still in the prime of their respective careers and it still has the potential to entertain. There would be no smack talk, no disrespect between camps and no ad blood — just two old school fighters getting to work for 15 minutes to see which one of them is the better fighter. As much as people are writing Fedor off because of his past two losses, the ice cream loving Russian bear still has some gas in the tank and some ground to cover in the sport. That being said, you can’t ever count out “Captain America, even if he is precariously close to needing a bathtub with a door and a back-up camera on his Cadillac.
This is a fun little fight, especially since we’ve seen how King Mo exposed Gegard’s lack of takedown defense and Machida pointed out that Rashad’s nighty-night button didn’t have a safety. It’s a pick-em, which makes it awesome.
Rafael “Feijao” Calvancante vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
Both fighters are coming off of disappointing losses and both are still very dangerous. Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned slugfest between two Brazilians who just want to scrap?
Roger Gracie vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
Gracie hasn’t been really tested and you could argue that he isn’t ready for an opponent with the experience or skill level of Rampage, but if there’s anything that Jackson tries to stay away from, it’s a ground fight, and that’s not by coincidence.
Paul Daley vs. Thiago Alves
Neither of these guys is going to pull an Anthony Johnson and rick roll everyone. This fight is going to stay on the feet until one of them gets knocked off his feet. Who wins this fight? Slugfest fans.
Whether they hold this one on an Air Force base, in Texas, in Germany or even in Canada and the crowd is still going to be cheering, “U…S…A! U…S…A!” Both fighters know how to cut a promo and how to punch an opponent in the face, but Kennedy seems to know how to do it with a bit more gusto than “The Count.” Regardless of who wins the war of words leading up to the bout, it is a fight we’d tune in to see.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Chael Sonnen
Souza displayed an apt amount of striking in his last two fights with Tim Kennedy and Robbie Lawler, but his bread and butter is his jiu-jitsu, which Sonnen has a proven allergy to even at diluted strength. This is a dangerous fight for both fighters.
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs. Lyoto Machida
Machida’s striking is at another level than Lawal’s but Mo’s wrestling and game-planning might prove the difference in this fight. Lyoto has proven against guys like Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz that he has incredible takedown defense, but Lawal’s wrestling credentials arguably exceed any opponent Machida has faced, making this a fight that could give oddsmakers fits.
Robbie Lawler vs. Wanderlei Silva
Guaranteed fireworks. ‘Nuff said.
Remember when two tomcats would go at it in cartoons and all you would see is a dust cloud rolling around with the odd foot, fist and head popping out of the tangle of bodies?
That’s exactly what this fight will look like, only better.
Shane Del Rosario vs. Shane Carwin
Both these guys like to stand and bang and both have the potential to decapitate. Any questions?
Miller is one of those guys who can beat just about anybody and is resilient enough to take a beating and keep on coming. If he were Japanese, were a lot less crazy and had slightly better wrestling he’d be Okami. Both guys are tough as hell and can finish a fight 480 different ways. Whether or not they will against each other is a different story, but it’s a risk we’re willing to take.
Both guys love to throw hands and are BJJ black belts. Neither one has a clear-cut advantage in any area, but both can throw the kitchen sink at an opponent and take it as well. This would be a scrap, no matter where it went.
Two former UFC heavyweight champs-turned heels with the skills to back up their smack talk? Yes please.
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
What’s a UFC purchase without a PRIDE rematch?
Brendan Schaub vs. Daniel Cormier
Two promising relative newcomers looking to prove themselves usually equals a barnburner of a bout and this fight would likely be no different. A win by either man would propel one of these fighters up in the rankings.