10 fights that must happen
May, 24, 2010
By Andrew Plante | ESPNDallas.com
Josh Hedges/Zuffa/UFC It would be good to see Rampage Jackson get another shot at Forrest Griffin.
Now that the long awaited matchup between Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans will come to fruition this weekend at UFC 114, I thought this would be a good time to compile my list of 10 must-see showdowns ... in no particular order.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar: For the title of best heavyweight on the planet. If Dana White can get Fedor on to the UFC payroll, I have no doubt that he’ll make this fight the main event to the biggest UFC fight card in history.
Rampage Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin 2: Whether he wins or loses against Evans this weekend, Rampage needs to avenge his controversial loss by the hands of Griffin back at UFC 86.
Jose Aldo vs. B.J. Penn: I’d love to see former UFC lightweight champ Penn drop down to meet Aldo, the WEC featherweight champ. This one’s got fight of the year written all over it.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture: I’m not sure this has a lot of relevancy when it comes to the heavyweight rankings, but Couture had been on a mission over the last several years in an attempt to make this fight happen. I think he deserves a first shot at the Russian if Fedor makes the jump to the UFC.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva: I finally took Fedor off of my pound-for-pound best fighter short list due to his inactivity over the last several years. This leaves GSP and Silva as the two best fighters out there. Outside of Chael Sonnen, who could make a run at Silva at UFC 117, both Silva and GSP have basically cleaned out their respective weight classes. It’s about time that these two champions battle for the title of "best of the best."
Shogun Rua vs. Anderson Silva: Although a fight against GSP would be a blockbuster, cutting down another 15 pounds might not be in the cards for Silva, who’s currently the middleweight champ. Instead, The Spider could continue to dabble in the light heavyweight division in order to face the current champ, Rua.
Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz: Theses two coaches of TUF 11 were originally slated to face each other at the end of the show’s season. For undisclosed reasons, Liddell will instead face Rich Franklin at UFC 115. Fans will likely learn the details of this switch in later episodes of TUF 11. Chuck vs. Tito isn’t a matchup that will ever have title implications, but it certainly would be a very fan-friendly matchup.
Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira 2: Ever since Mir demolished Nogueira at UFC 92 to claim the interim heavyweight belt, both fighters have been engaged in a war-of-words battle that hasn’t seemed to die down. It’s about time to have these two gentlemen strap on the gloves and resolve their issues in the octagon.
Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung "The Korean Zombie" Jung 2: Despite a main card that was filled with the best fighters in the WEC -- Aldo, Faber, Brown, Cerrone and Henderson -- fans' most enduring memory of WEC 48 will likely be the bout between Garcia and Jung. The matchup was a slugfest that has a good shot at fight of the year. The fact that Garcia won via controversial decision, which most thought Jung had earned, indicates that this fight has to happen.
Gina Carano vs. anybody: Carano, who was the face of women’s MMA up until her defeat at the hands of Cris Cyborg, has basically fallen off of the face of the earth over the last year. I feel her presence is needed in order to jump-start a faltering Strikeforce and women’s MMA in general.
Honorable Mention: B.J. Penn vs. George Sotiropoulos -- This would be a grappling clinic that would make Royce Gracie proud.
Local Matchup: Will Florentino vs. Kobe Ortiz 2 -- Their first fight had my vote for best fight in Texas last year. Fans deserve an opportunity to see another five-round war of wills.
Did your matchup make the list? If not, we want your feedback. Comment below or go to the In The Clinch Facebook page and post your must-see MMA battles.