Top 10 UFC vs. Strikeforce Dream Fights
I’m sure we’ve all seen the MMAfighting.com interview with Dana White announcing that the UFC have purchased Strikforce. I am sure that you were all disappointed when Dana said there would be no cross promotion or a Super Bowl type card. The same thing happened when the UFC purchased Pride a few years ago. Sure, we finally saw Chuck versus Wanderlai and Henderson had his chance at both Quinton and Anderson but no Super Bowl card. Dana has fully dashed all our dreams of a Strikeforce versus UFC card for the time being, but that does not stop us from pondering what would be the most exciting matchups if the UFC would challenge Strikeforce. This will not be your run of the mill champion meets champion run down. This will be a dream list of the top 10 stylistic/entertaining match ups if ever a super card would take place.
10. Tim Kennedy vs. Brian Stann
This is a classic Army vs. Marine match up. As Tim Kennedy, an Army Special Force’s sniper is still technically an active soldier and Stann is a former member of the United States Marine Corps. Now Kennedy has been vocal about wanting to find someone who will stand and trade with him and put on an exciting fight and Stann sure fits that bill. But just like Kennedy’s last fight against Melvin Manhoef, Kennedy’s penchant for the ground will probably make this a once sided contest as Stann known more for his aggressive style would not have much to offer once the fight hit the canvas.
9. Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Jim Miller
This would be a fight for respect. Both of these men have been looking for their shot at glory for a long time. Both men are superior wrestlers with tight powerful hands. This could turn into an extremely exciting affair as they could nullify each other’s takedowns and be forced to bang it out on their feet. For Kawajiri, this could be the W that finally put him on the map in the North American fight scene as he has had trouble against top talent in this the biggest market in MMA. For Miller, this could finally cement him as a top contender at Lightweight. Miller has only lost to Edgar and Maynard and strung together impressive win streaks in between, but a win against a perennial contender like Kawajiri could really push him to new heights.
8. Scott Smith vs. Chris Lytle
This could be fight of the century type action. Both fighters are known for their willingness to slug it out for the fans enjoyment. Smith is known for his stellar slobberknockers in both the UFC and Strikeforce and always stands and trades even if it is to his detriment. Lytle, the UFC record holder for FOTN bonuses, is always game for putting the fans first and his win bonus second. I can’t think of a fight fan that would not pay PPV type money to see these to gladiators go to war. Smith’s only problem here is the Submission of the Night bonus. As Lytle enjoys cashing any bonus cheque he may take Smith down, stretch him into a pretzel and win via a triangle, arm bar & gogoplata hybrid.
7. Muhammed Lawal vs. Phil Davis
This would be a very intriguing match up between two former NCAA Division I wrestlers who have transitioned over to MMA and are now hot prospects. Both men have eight fights under their belts and are slowly climbing their way up the Light-Heavyweight rankings. This match up could really go either way. Would they come out and look for takedowns and see who is the better wrestler or would it turn into a barnburner of a slugfest if no one can get the advantage in the takedown department. Maybe Davis would pull off the “Mr Wonderful” hammerlock and take advantage of Lawal’s less then stellar submission game. Either way the winner would be the fans as they would see a new contender born in the Light-Heavyweight division.
6. Robbie Lawler vs. Chris Leben
This tilt has man-sized excitement written all over it. Both guys love to throw fisticuffs with stank on ‘em. They each possess knock out power and love to show it off. The question here is who has the stiffest upper list, brawniest beard or best chin. No matter how you say it, fists will be landing on jaws and the one with the strongest will be able to have their arm raised at the end. Obviously, Lawler would use his more technical striking and better foot movement to keep Leben at bay. But as we saw in Leben versus Akiyama, the inner zombie of Leben can be unleashed and with that he should be able to wade through Lawler’s punches and commence throwing leather.
5. Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit
Now I’m sure everyone out there wants to see Diaz against GSP, but as mentioned in the introduction this isn’t that type of list. Both Diaz and Condit are awkward long rangy boxers, who are amazing off their backs with some of the slickest of hips in the MMA universe. It doesn’t matter where this fight goes it will still be exciting. Diaz has risen up the Welterweight ladder pretty quickly over the year due to his exciting fights and impressive win streak he has put together. But has Diaz faced an opponent as well rounded as Condit? No, he has not. This would be a great test for Diaz as Condit has been a mainstay of the world Welterweight rankings since 2007. Due to the fact that Diaz holds the title in Strikeforce, he has garnered much more name recognition but throughout that time Condit has faced arguably tougher competition. This would be a great match up and has the potential of being the most entertaining ground fight of all time; if not, these two can put on a stand up battle to rival Jung vs. Garcia.
4. Ronaldo Souza vs. Damian Maia
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the two best grapplers in MMA would meet up? Sure, the casual fan would probably get confused and bored but to us hardcore fans this would be ecstasy. Imagine the battle when either of these men tries to pass each other’s guard. The minute details when either set up a submission. For anyone that appreciates the ground game in MMA, this would be the match up of the decade. Granted Souza’s stand up game has matured a lot further then Maia, but not to the point where he could win the fight on his feet. The clinch work in this fight where either guy is looking for a takedown could be an instructional DVD in itself. Souza should definitely be the favourite in this showdown but Maia himself has constantly been improving and if these two ever meet look out Grappler’s Quest, the best grapplers on the planet will be live on Pay Per View.
3. Gegard Moussasi vs. Jon Jones
Two of the most heralded prospects in the Light-Heavyweight division would meet in what may be the most entertaining fight ever seen. Jones and Moussasi are known as two men who push the envelope in terms of fighting styles. They are known as fighters who are constantly updating and evolving the game known as MMA. The combinations that these two could put together against each other are unfathomable, not to mention the counters to those combinations. Obviously, Jones being on the cusp of his title shot at UFC 128 would probably be considered the favourite. However, Moussasi cannot be counted out. He hit a slight road block losing to Mo Lawal but came back to win the Dream Light-Heavyweight Grand Prix. Jones would look to turn this into a stand up war, but can he keep Moussasi from taking him down? If Moussasi wound up on his back, would he look for the submission or would the threat of Jones vicious elbows keep him at bay? There are a lot of questions that Would be answered if this showdown were to ever take place.
2. Shinya Aoki vs. BJ Penn
Granted Penn has resurged as a Welterweight contender but when an interesting challenge presents itself at Lightweight, Penn always seems to answer the call. Aoki is an interesting challenge to say the least. Whose ground game would be superior? Can Penn keep the fight on his feet? Will Aoki be allowed to wear his fancy stripped pants? Does Aoki enjoy the taste of elbows? A lot of questions if these two ever decide to test each other. Just the thought of the submissions and escapes these two can put together is enough to sell out an arena. Penn, with the much superior boxing, would seem to be the favourite but once Aoki latches on to you no boxing trainer in the world can help you. Aoki looked less then stellar against Gilbert Melendez but can Penn put together the power double Melendez used or will Penn and Aoki grind it out in the clinch and on the mat. This is the type of fight that makes hardcore fans drool in their sleep. Now that the merger has happened, let’s hope MMA fans wet dreams come true.
1. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture
Ok, I know I’m a shill, a sell out and a nut hugger but this fight still tickles me in that special spot. Couture has put his best days behind him and Emelianenko has suffered two loses back to back. But these men are the ambassadors for their respective leagues. Couture the UFC mainstay whose fame and fortune are forever linked to the brand and Fedor the gentlemen that battled overseas for years and whose shadowy mystic is matched only be his iron curtain veil. USA versus USSR or however you want to promote it this is our Ali vs. Frazier, our Tyson vs. Holyfield hell it’s our Balboa vs. Drago. It’s the match that has to happen. Hopefully at a nice round catch weight of 220-225 lbs and we see each fighter at their top form. Fedor has the power to put Randy to sleep, but can he find the key to Randy’s head movement or will Randy’s wrestling prevail and put Fedor on his back and turn his face into hamburger with powerful elbows something Fedor has yet to taste. This fight has been a pipe dream for so long and now with the UFC buying Strikeforce the reality is it’s possible. For this fight to not happen will be a complete shame and utter dagger into MMA fan’s hearts.