It is time to start talking UFC vs. Strikeforce Super Fights. Zuffa LLC now owns the contracts of both Strikeforce and UFC fighters and now has the opportunity to give UFC fans some of the most intriguing fights in MMA history.
Both Dana White and Scott Coker have both said that it will be awhile before we see mega fights between UFC and Strikeforce fighters. Zuffa intends to honor all Strikeforce contracts, keeping those fighters unavailable until their contracts expire. At some point the fights will come and there are plenty of elite MMA matchups that both brands can offer that have fans already buzzing about Super Fights.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar – I think if MMA fans could only make one mega fight from this deal it would be Brock vs. Fedor. Two years ago this fight would have been the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather MMA super fight. Unfortunately Fedor is on a two fight losing streak and Brock is not only coming off a loss, but has been exposed for his weak striking skills. Fortunately for Dana White at the end of the day nobody will care and this fight has the potential to shatter records.
Fedor was the top draw to Strikeforce, shattering Showtime records with his last fight against Big Foot Silva. Brock is hands down the biggest draw in the UFC and holds the record for a UFC buy rate with his fight against Frank Mir at UFC 100. The fight is a natural and the idea of these two elite heavyweights finally ending the debate of which is better is a fight that I think every MMA fan can sink their teeth into.
Alistair Overeem vs. Cain Velasquez, Strikeforce heavyweight champion vs. UFC heavyweight champion – It should be no surprise that the top two UFC vs. Strikeforce Mega Fights are heavyweight battles. The heavyweight division in combat sports has always been the most intriguing due to the size of the fighters and the propensity for knockouts. Neither of these men are the biggest heavyweights in MMA but both are capable of delivering highlight knockouts that will keep fight fans talking for years.
The battle of the two heavyweight world champions is what is most appealing about this fight. Honestly, I don’t think this fight would have nearly as much appeal without the titles involved whereas Fedor vs. Brock is just as appealing with or without belts. Both guys are fast, Overeem is a better striker, while Cain is much better on the ground. Overeem is committed to the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament for the rest of the year so the earliest this fight could come would be 2012. Cain won’t be fighting until the end of 2011. If Cain beats the Dos Santos vs. Lesnar winner and Overeem wins the tournament, this fight needs to be made ASAP.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz, UFC welterweight champion vs. Strikeforce welterweight champion – Once again we are talking about a natural battle of UFC vs. Strikeforce champions. Diaz is arguably the best fighter Zuffa picked up as part of the Strikeforce deal. UFC fans who haven’t tuned into Strikeforce have missed Diaz dissect his last five opponents. Diaz is 13-1-1 in his last fifteen fights snapping a three fight losing streak he had in the UFC. Nick Diaz is no joke and would be the toughest welterweight opponent of Georges St. Pierre’s career if the fight gets made.
There are a lot of question marks surrounding GSP’s future at welterweight. GSP has bounced back and forth as to whether he wants to move to middleweight permanently and face Anderson Silva. My hunch is that if he thinks this fight can be made within the next year, he stays at welterweight. Diaz and GSP both have fights coming up in a few weeks. Win or lose they will both be in need of a long vacation. If both win, I saw bring them back at the end of 2011 for the first Strikeforce vs. UFC champion vs. champion fight.
Jacare’ Souza vs. Anderson Silva, Strikeforce middleweight champion vs. UFC middleweight champion – Let’s stick with the champion vs. champion theme because this one has classic written all over it. Unfortunately there are a lot of UFC fans who probably aren’t familiar with Jacare Souza. Well you are missing out because he is one of the most exciting BJJ MMA fighters in the sport. He is also someone who could have a hell of a fight against Anderson Silva.
Silva has cleaned out the division. I was almost tempted to list a Dan Henderson vs. Silva rematch but it wouldn’t be in my top five. The only fighter close to Souza’s BJJ game that Silva has fought was Demien Maia and he destroyed Maia. But, Maia went in scared and I can’t imagine that Souza would fight scared against Silva. Souza doesn’t have the knockout power to give this fight the flare that a Lesnar vs. Fedor fight would have, but from a pure technical standpoint I don’t think you will get much better.
Gilbert Melendez vs. BJ Penn – I know, I know the popular pick among most MMA fans is Melendez vs. Frankie Edgar in a battle of champions but not me. If styles make great fights I think this one has the potential to be a Fight of the Year. Both of these fighters have the potential to turn this into a standup war and I can’t imagine one boring round of action between these two elite lightweight fighters.
BJ Penn was one of the greatest lightweight fighters in MMA history from 2007 to 2009. Unfortunately he met his match in Frankie Edgar but I would still prefer him over Edgar at this point in a super fight. Melendez is arguably the best lightweight in MMA and whether it is a passing of the torch or a statement fight, I think this one just makes a lot of sense. Both men are equal in stature and possess similar techniques. I’d love to see it happen and I’d prefer this over most of the champion vs. champion mega fights.
Other notable Strikeforce vs. UFC Super Fights:
Dan Henderson vs. Wanderlei Silva – They fought twice, they split, give them a third one. I can’t imagine anyone bored watching these two guys slug it out.
Dan Henderson vs. Jon Bones Jones – Champion vs. champion just makes sense and again, two guys with styles that would make a hell of a fight although I think Jones would dominate Hendo. Unfortunately for Jones’ fans, there aren’t a whole lot of elite matchups that would come from the Strikeforce light heavyweight division other than the chanmp.
Anderson Silva vs. Fedor Emelianenko – If Fedor moves down to light heavyweight give me one good reason not to make this fight?
Alistair Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar – This one doesn’t excite me as much as some of the others, but why the hell not? Let Brock pick on someone his own size for once.
Frankie Edgar vs. Gilbert Melendez – Champion vs. champion and a fight that would probably be a lot better than it sounds on paper.
Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko – Throw the old guy a bone and give him the fight he has been waiting almost five years for.
Josh Barnett vs. Brock Lesnar – If Frank Mir‘s trash talking got under Brock’s skin, Barnett will have Brock ready to commit a homicide by fight time.
Scott Smith vs. Wanderlei Silva – I have four good reasons why this match needs to be made, Smith and Silva’s fists.
Dan Henderson vs. Anderson Silva – Henderson is still owed a rematch.
Brian Stann vs. Tim Kennedy – Army vs. Marines, maybe they could fight once a year at Lincoln Financial Field.
Did I miss any? Let me know and leave a comment. In the meantime let’s start hitting up Dana White on Twitter @danawhite.
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