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Eight Fights That Need To Happen

“Dana, I’ll be right back. I see a Cinnabon over there.”

You know the drill. Before a fight even takes place, we as fight fans are constantly thinking about what the implications should be for the participants. Some of us think about the ramifications of an MMA fight moreso than we think about the ramifications of our own actions. After all, it’s only after waking up hungover next to a half-ton land monster with panties the size of a hot air balloon that one says, “Maybe I shouldn’t have had those last seven shots of Jameson.” Not that I would know anything about that.

So let’s get to it. Here are a few UFC fights that need to be booked, in reverse order of importance, because I felt like it. I say “need to be booked” because it is not my opinion that these fights have to happen; it is an inarguable fact. If you are some dummy who likes arguing with facts, feel free to yell at me in the comments, but please know beforehand that you are wrong.

Also, I’m sticking with fights that can reasonably happen in the near future, which is why you don’t see Penn vs. Aoki or Anderson Silva vs. Lesnar on here. What can I say; I’m a realist.

8. Nate Marquardt vs. Alessio Sakara

Marquardt was so close to getting a second crack at the belt and cementing his spot as the number two middleweight in the world before that queer-hatin’ wrassler Chael Sonnen had to go and ruin everything. Despite the setback, Marquardt is still one of the top contenders in the division, and likely only two or three victories away from another title shot.

In light of his status in the rankings, he can’t start his road back to the top against some UFC rookie or somebody on the bottom rung of the 185 pound ladder. Enter Sakara. This is a guy who only a short time ago looked like he was on the verge of being cut, but now that he has put together a few victories, he’s actually on the cusp of contendership.

Marquardt is a top guy coming off of a stifling loss; Sakara is veteran who is finally on the rise. Both guys are known for exciting stand-up battles — Marquardt due to his recent string of highlight reel finishes, and Sakara because of his experience as a boxer. Let’s make it happen.

7. Roy Nelson vs. James Toney

As awesome as Big Country’s recent KOs have been, let’s also remember that they came against guys who are essentially young prospects still developing their skill sets. This doesn’t take away from Nelson’s accomplishments; it is merely a statement of the facts, similar to the way that your girlfriend has been able to climb the corporate ladder due to her willingness to go “above and beyond” what is required (read: give blowjobs).

The point I’m half-assingly (is that a phrase?) trying to make is that Nelson is an skilled and entertaining fighter with a charismatic personality and notable look who will likely never crack the top five in the division. I could be wrong, and usually am, but that’s just the way I see it when the division includes wrecking machines like Lesnar, Carwin, and Velasquez. With that in mind, for now Nelson should be booked in a way similar to Kimbo Slice: in fights with less risk than usual that will help elevate his star power before he is ultimately forced to do battle with one of the divison’s sharks.

Enter James Toney.

“Lights Out” is a guy that will enter the UFC with a lot of media hype, and is also somebody Nelson should be favored against. Toney shouldn’t be matched up with one of the top contenders in his debut, which is another reason why a Nelson-Toney fight makes sense. Plus, “Big Country” did, in a way, call out Toney after his victory over Stefan Struve a couple weeks ago.

6. Mirko Cro Cop vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Assuming Cro Cop gets past Pat Barry at UFC 115, which is by no means a lock, this is a re-match that should absolutely happen. Cro Cop dominated against Nogueira in their 2003 classic before getting taken down and locked in an armbar.

After Cro Cop’s string of losses to Gonzaga, Kongo, and Dos Santos, and Nog’s recent setbacks to Mir and Velasquez, it’s readily apparently that both of these men are on the tail end of their careers. Instead of continuously feeding them to younger fighters, it would be more beneficial for the company, and fairer to these guys, to have them fight each other in a legends match, similar to what has been done with people like Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, and Randy Couture as of late.

The winner of this one would also become relevant in the division once again, albeit at the expense of the other.

5. Takanori Gomi vs. Sean Sherk

Ideally I would like to see Gomi rematch B.J. Penn, but since it looks like Penn will be getting an immediate title rematch, this is a more than adequate replacement, and it makes sense for the same reasons as Cro Cop vs. Nog.

I would actually pick Sherk to take this one. Gomi still has power in his hands, but he’s sloppy and has failed to evolve. Sherk has shown he can still hang with the guys at the top of the division, holding a recent win over Tyson Griffin and having had a fairly close decision with Frank Edgar, whose currently the champ.

4. Kenny Florian vs. Gray Maynard

If Penn does indeed get an immediate return date with Edgar, than this fight is a no brainer. Florian has done enough to earn yet another crack at the belt, and Maynard has seven straight wins in the UFC.

A lot of times the UFC likes to keep top contenders away from each other, but in this case each of these guys would have to sit out a considerable amount of time if they were waiting for Penn and Edgar to figure shit out. Instead of matching them up with some other fighters on the way up and risking a loss to somebody maybe not yet worthy of a title, I say it’s better to have them fight each other in a true number one contender’s bout, which is something we don’t see all that often.

I’d pick Florian due to his constantly improving all-around game and his proven ability to finish fights against high-level opponents, but Maynard is the type of tough wrestler that you can never count out.

3. Junior Dos Santos vs. Frank Mir

Let’s be clear: Dos Santos has done more than enough to earn a title shot. But with the Lesnar-Carwin unification bout coming in July, and Cain Velasquez awaiting the winner, the timing just works against the Brazilian. He needs to fight again and he can’t take a step back in competition, which is why Mir is the perfect opponent.

Despite his recent destructions at the hands of Lesnar and Carwin, Mir also has fresh victories over Kongo, Nogueira, and Lesnar, which means he’s still a force at heavyweight despite the losses. Mir is also obsessed with fighting Lesnar again, and a victory over Cigano would do so much to raise his stock that he would probably only be another win away from a shot at the 280lb behemoth.

Neither man is fighting for the belt anytime soon – Dos Santos due to timing and Mir due to his recent losses – and each guy needs a high level opponent in his next bout. This one makes too much sense not to book.

2. Vitor Belfort vs. Chael Sonnen

Both of these two secured title shots against Anderson Silva recently, and both, for different reasons, were unavailable come fight night. And, as amusing he can be in interviews, few people really want to see Sonnen fight for the title, so matching him up with Belfort would likely put an end to his title aspirations, and possibly to his cognitive thinking skills.

I know this is another number one contender’s bout, but, similar to Florian and Maynard, these two could be waiting around for a while for Silva to be ready in light of the next and final fight on this list.

1. Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva

While he might be using an excessively alarming tone – much like my neighbor’s daughter when she finds me hiding in the closet holding a knife in my teeth – Michael Rome from Bloody Elbow does a good job explaining why this fight needs to be booked faster than you can blow your rape whistle.

“Most fans and experts agree that Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre are the top two pound for pound fighters in the sport of mixed martial arts.  Over the last three years, both have amasssed resumes that nobody else in the sport can even approach.  Despite the fact that the UFC has never announced or promoted a fight between the two, both men are repeatedly forced to answer questions about when they will fight one another.  In the past week, the one issue supposedly preventing this fight was happening was resolved: Anderson Silva conceded on the issue of weight by repeatedly voicing his willingness to take on St. Pierre at 170 pounds.  St. Pierre stated he would take the fight at that weight.

..Even though a fight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre has not been announced, fans have loudly chanted for it all the way from Montreal to Abu Dhabi. Let me restate this, so that the importance of this point is not lost: fans all the way in the Middle East were chanting for Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva.”

I’d also add that the timing has never been better for this one. GSP is at the peak of his popularity and his inarguably the number two draw in the company behind Lesnar. After last Saturday’s debacle with Demian Maia, Anderson Silva has essentially become the top bad guy in the sport, even if he did it unintentionally.

Plus, each man’s division needs a bit of sorting out over the next few months before a new top contender emerges. At 170, the winner of the upcoming Daley-Koscheck fight has a strong argument for a title shot, as do Paulo Thiago and Jon Fitch, should they come out victorious in their respective upcoming fights. At 185, Belfort and Sonnen have both earned title shots and should fight each other to determine who gets it, and that’s not mentioning the winner of Wanderlei vs. Akiyama or Marquardt’s probable quick return to contention.

And, more than anything else, people want this fight. Bad. All the problems associated with putting this fight on should be considered secondary to the fact that the fans are clamoring for it to happen.

Also: I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not above beating beating a dead horse, among other things. Head on over to one of these days and take a look around.

The site is similar in tone to Fightlinker and CagePotato, and I think we can all agree the Internet needs more MMA sites that don’t take themselves to seriously. My buddy Hugh is one of the main writers, going by the name Logic, which is surprising in light of the fact that he has none. He’s simultaneously giving &feature=player_embedded”>stand-up comedy a shot, so he should be commended for entering two careers — open mic night stand-up comedy and MMA blogging — that don’t pay. Good decision-making skills, pal.