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Four Rubber Matches That Absolutely Need to Happen

(We should all be that fired up, at least once in our lives. Props:

When BJ Penn knocked out Matt Hughes at UFC 123, one of the greatest rivalries in MMA history finally got its conclusion. And while not every two-fight series needs an immediate tie-breaker — the Internet has already informed Dana White what we think of Lesnar vs. Mir III — there’s something incredibly dramatic and satisfying about a good rubber-match. Off the top of our heads, here’s a few others we’d like to see…

Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Tim Kennedy

History: Kennedy def. Miller via decision @ Extreme Challenge 50 (2/23/03), Miller def. Kennedy via decision @ HDNet Fights: Reckless Abandon (12/15/07)
Why it needs to happen again: Look, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Jason Miller to agree to a catchweight fight with Nick Diaz under 185 pounds. Mayhem hasn’t even fought for Strikeforce since he squashed Tim Stout in April, and Kennedy is still without an opponent himself after dropping a decision to Jacare Souza in August — and he’s already mentioned that he wants another go-round with Mayhem. Strikeforce has two talented, unattached middleweights at their disposal with a storyline already in place. It doesn’t take rocket appliances to figure this out, guys.

Josh Koscheck vs. Diego Sanchez

History: Sanchez def. Koscheck via decision on the TUF 1 semifinals (aired on 3/28/05), Koscheck def. Sanchez via decision @ UFC 69 (4/7/07)
Why it needs to happen again: Koscheck is now hovering at top of the welterweight division, and Sanchez has returned there — and might become a force again, if his UFC 121 battle with Paulo Thiago is any indication. More importantly, we all deserve a re-do after the tentative, disappointing performance that Koscheck and Sanchez put in during their 2007 rematch. If Kos loses to GSP next month and Diego can pick up another big win at 170, it seems like the perfect time to settle the score.

Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson

History: Thomson def. Melendez via decision @ Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson (6/27/08), Melendez def. Thomson via decision @ Strikeforce: Evolution (12/19/09)
Why it needs to happen again: After getting teep-kicked by Thomson for 25 minutes straight in their first meeting — and losing his lightweight title as a result — Gilbert Melendez roared back in the rematch. The result was one of the greatest fights of 2009. Unless Strikeforce wants to make KJ Noons fight out of his weight class again for another meeting with Nick Diaz (hmm, that’s becoming a recurring theme, isn’t it?), they should make Thomson vs. Melendez their marquee rivalry. The Cali fans love ‘em, and it’s a matchup that we’d never get tired of watching.

Phil Baroni vs. Ikuhisa Minowa

History: Baroni def. Minowa via TKO R2 @ PRIDE Bushido 7 (5/22/05), Minowa def. Baroni via decision @ PRIDE Bushido 9 (9/25/05)
Why it needs to happen again: Okay, this one assumes that Baroni gets bounced out of the UFC and returns to compete in Japan. (Not out of the realm of possibility considering his tough next opponent.) Baroni’s smash-ups with Minowa stand out as highlights in the careers of both fighters, and DREAM would be crazy not to sign the New York Bad Ass for a trilogy fight with their reigning Super Hulk champion. Besides, after being grossly outweighed in his last 11 fights, it might be interesting to see how Minowaman does against somebody close to his own size.

Sidebar: Four Rubber Matches That Should Happen as Long as It’s Convenient and There’s Nothing Better Going On

Donald Cerrone vs. Jamie Varner: At this point, I’m comfortable with the fact that Cerrone would probably beat Varner in a third fight. But both of their previous matches were entertaining, and if Cerrone feels the need to make it 2-1 against his arch-nemesis, I’d be happy to watch.

Matt Serra vs. Shonie Carter: Mr. International spoiled the Terror’s UFC debut via Hail Mary spinning-backfist at UFC 31, but Serra avenged the loss five years later on TUF 4. Now, Serra is coming off another tough loss and Carter says he’s retired. Bullshit. A final chapter in their rivalry would give both fighters a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Josh Barnett: In 2006, the two heavyweight legends split a pair of decisions in PRIDE. If Big Nog tragically finds himself on the Strikeforce roster at some point, Nogueira/Barnett III would be a killer throwback match.

Chael Sonnen vs. Paulo Filho: Their first fight ended somewhat controversially, and their second fight wasn’t much of a fight at all. Hold the trilogy match in a country with no drug testing policy and watch the sparks fly.


Cagepotato Comments

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Mir please break Brocks neck- November 24, 2010 at 10:19 am
Silva/Franklin, no thanks (those are Rich's words)...

Lesnar/Mir III...absolutely YES.

SL8Eddy- November 23, 2010 at 8:59 pm
"We should all be that fired up, at least once in our lives"

I think that quote is awesome. I have a new goal.
Biffmiester- November 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm
Rampage v. Liddell, just so Rampage could finally put the Iceman out to pasture for good. I know it's not under the category of a rubber match, I know this MAN, but it's necessary folks.
JWM- November 23, 2010 at 7:08 pm
Follow Phil Baroni on Twitter..... Really??
NinjaNerd8- November 23, 2010 at 5:59 pm
Nobody wants to see any of this crap. Sorry.

The same fight twice is more than enough.
Brock SMASH puny human odour- November 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm
Photo Caption:

BJ has definably improved. At this point 1 year ago, BJ would be hitting himself in the head. Multiple times.
RSparrow- November 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm
It looks like Tim Kennedy wants to lick Mayhem's face.
vaicavalo- November 23, 2010 at 3:10 pm
sadly, Paulo Filho will never compete in high-level again, I hope I am wrong but this guy had his chances and wasted...I don't know what's happening to him, but he needs help and he needs to help himself, he isn't focused anymore in MMA, i don't know if he still in drugs, but Paulo isnt the same
Mr_Misanthropy- November 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm
^Unfortunately all you're going to get is another re-match with Rosie Palmer (and her five sisters).

(Prophylactic Match. Hur.)
RSparrow- November 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm
I'd like to have a match without a rubber and Brittney Palmer.
AndyInflammatory- November 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm
...and while we're at it lets have a best-of-five Wand vs Rampage
AndyInflammatory- November 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm
GSP vs Serra 3 is the only fight that has to happen
cecils_pupils- November 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm
rubber matches is always better than rubber snatches
MonsterMaulingAss- November 23, 2010 at 1:56 pm
The reason many are not in favor of brock vs. mir 3 is bcuz mir just got a lackluster win over cro cop, and lesnar just got his ass handed to him. Let them both get back on their feet and start winning(in exciting fashion) again and the world will be screaming for them to settle the score.
Clyde- November 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm
@Karma ate my cat I think each guy has to have won one for it to be a rubber match. Personally, I don't think ace deserves a rematch.

And I don't mean he isn't worthy, I mean he's done nothing to deserve another facial reconstruction.

Sodak- November 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm
Koscheck diego was one of the worst fights i've ever seen no thanks.
LOKI- November 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm
Meyhem vs. Kennedy 2!?!

Wish I had thought of that 2 threads ago.

Viva Hate- November 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm
Sadly, Shonie Carter retired. Hopefully the gold banana hammock has also retired.
IsnappedYourarm- November 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm
Carter/Serra seriously? no thank you. Barnett will destroy Nogueira. Nog is like a zombie these days. Baroni has nothing left(do you follow him on twitter? Dude has already lost the fight in his head). I would like to see kennedy vs. the monkey idiot, melendez/thompson and Cerrone vs. Jamie Varner. Mir/lesnar is also unappealing. How many guys has mir fought multiple times? Brock has his number anyway. Mir could barely finish an ancient crocop.
Almost North- November 23, 2010 at 1:04 pm
and by thai clinch I assume you mean homicide.
KarmaAteMyCat- November 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm
Anderson vs Franklin, Only because I appreciate a good thai clinch.
Almost North- November 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm want to see more decisions?
Bill Jackson- November 23, 2010 at 12:57 pm
Besides the Melendez/ Thomson rubber match, I would rather see Brock vs. Mir for a third time over any of these. I'm totally in favor of that fight, but obviously I am in the minority.
Fried Taco- November 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm
I'll match rubbers with anyone.
Kimbos Bread- November 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm
Elastic Man vs Mr. Fantastic