What fight fan doesn’t want to see champion v champion? The two best in the world in their own weight division clashing to see who the true champion is. After missing several opportunities in the past, the UFC look more likely that ever now to to cash in on these potential fantasy match-ups.
With Conor McGregor and Rafael Dos Anjos set to compete in the promotion’s first super-fight in what seems like an age – one can only speculate as to what other fantasy matchups the UFC could make.
Anderson Silva v George St-Pierre
UFC’s answer to Mayweather vs Pacquiao.
When you talk about the greatest fighter to ever enter the octagon, you can be sure Anderson Silva and GSP’s names are on the tip of most fight fans’ tongue. Both dominant champions for years, and a fight that should have happened a long time ago.
The Brazilian, Silva, holds the longest title defence streak in the sport’s history – successfully defending his middleweight title on 16 occasions. That streak was snapped in 2013 when Chris Weidman downed ‘The Spider’, and a horrific leg break in the rematch looked like Anderson’s last hurrah.
He returned just over a year ago where he tested positive for anabolic steroids and was suspended for a year. He served his suspension and is scheduled to face Michael Bisping later in the month in London.
GSP retired from the sport in 2013 after defending his welterweight title, but has toyed with the prospect of returning ever since. It’s likely that the Canadian would only return for big fights, rather than another run at the title.
With UFC 200 approaching, it’s not just a fantasy that GSP returns for a mouth-watering bout with Anderson Silva.
Dominick Cruz v Demetrious Johnson 2
Blink and you might just miss this one. There’s not much going on down at the lighter weight classes, but a fight between bantamweight champion Cruz, and flyweight champion Johnson is as big as anything the UFC can put on right now.
Demetrious Johnson has beaten everyone in the flyweight division, and after he fights Henry Cejudo at UFC 197 – there’s very little incentive for him to stick around. One of the pound-for-pound best in the UFC, few seem to be able to find the formula to trump ‘Mighty Mouse’. One of the men to do it is Dominick Cruz.
Cruz returned after a series of injuries which saw him fight only once in 5 years. His heroic win over dominant champion T.J Dillashaw showed that ‘The Dominator’ is as good as ever. Cruz’s footwork is like something few can emulate, and even fewer have an answer for.
An in-his-prime Uriah Faber is the only man to ever beat Cruz – coincidentally the two look set to meet again later in the year.
Johnson has developed as a fighter since his loss to Cruz in 2011, and he’s likely be very keen to test his skills against the elusive Cruz. The problem is given Cruz’s history with injury and a potential rematch with Dillashaw, this is a fight that is unlikely to happen by the end of the year.
Jon Jones v Cain Velasquez
Although both mean aren’t champion in their respective division, it’s almost inevitable that the pair will claim their titles back.
Jones never lost his light heavyweight title, but after a hit-and-run incident almost 12 months ago – he was stripped of the title. Arguably the best fighter in the world, Jones will attempt to win his title back when he faces the man he last beat, Daniel Cormier, at UFC 197.
Jones has said on social media that he has three fights left before he moves up to heavyweight. A rematch with Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson and the man he was supposed to face before getting suspended, Anthony Johnson.
By the time Jones moves up to heavyweight, Cain Velasquez may await him. Velasquez lost his title to Fabricio Werdum in Mexico last year, and had to pull out of the rematch due to injury. But he’s one of the most dangerous heavyweights ever, and it’s almost a given that he will run into Jon Jones in the not so distant future.
Aldo v McGregor 2
A lot of things have to fall into place for this to happen, but it’s a fight we need to see again.
McGregor stunned the entire MMA world when he knocked out Aldo in just 13 seconds at UFC 194, ending the Brazilian’s 10 year undefeated streak. But it wasn’t a fight, McGregor caught Aldo and that was it.
Both men struggle to make the featherweight limit, and Aldo has toyed with jumping up a weight division for years. He responded to the McGregor defeat saying he would only take a rematch with McGregor or a title fight.
If McGregor beats Dos Anjos, he will probably be asked to vacate the featherweight title which will leave Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar to contest that belt. That puts Aldo back to where he was before McGregor came along with virtually no challengers. And with his teammate, Renan Barao ready to test the waters at 145lbs,
Aldo could move up to 155lbs and challenge McGregor which would be a much more interesting match-up that the first fight between the two.
Or if McGregor loses to Don Anjos, he’ll come back down to featherweight, and it’s a given the two meet again. Whatever the circumstances, they have to do it again.
Ronda Rousey v Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino
It just has to happen doesn’t it? After Rousey’s shock loss to Holly Holm, the possibility of a once-off fight with ‘Cyborg’ seems closer than ever.
For a long time, the most obvious fight for Rousey was with Invicta featherweight champion ‘Cyborg’. The problem? Weight. ‘Cyborg’ simply couldn’t make the 135lbs limit and the UFC were never going to put that fight on.
But with Ronda no longer champion, why not put on a fight at a catchweight that both fighters can make? It’s probably just fantasy matchmaking for must, but a few months ago – both were considered the best female fighters in the world. There’s never going to be a better opportunity to make the fight everyone wants to see.