5 UFC Dream Matches we'll probably never see

We're never likely to see Anderson Silva lock horns with GSP now
We're never likely to see Anderson Silva lock horns with GSP now
Scott Newman

Ever since they began to truly dominate the MMA world back in the mid-2000’s, the UFC has given fans of the sport some genuine dream matches that at one point, we thought we’d probably never see. Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva? Check. Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz? Check. Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem? Check. And the list goes on.

Unfortunately – often for reasons out of the UFC’s control – the world’s biggest promotion has still failed to give us a handful of matches which at one stage had the fans salivating. In fact, some of these fights still do – but unfortunately, it’s not likely we’ll ever see them.

Here are 5 UFC dream matches that we’ll probably never get to see.

#1: Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg

Rousey vs. Cyborg was the dream match in women's MMA for a long time
Rousey vs. Cyborg was the dream match in women's MMA for a long time

Rewind back to late 2015 for a moment. It seems like a lifetime ago now, but at that time, the most dominant force in female MMA was undoubtedly Ronda Rousey. The reigning UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion had defended her title successfully 6 times, and was preparing for her 7th defence against Holly Holm, but if you’d asked UFC fans who they really wanted to see Ronda face, the answer wouldn’t have been ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’.

It undoubtedly would’ve been the other dominant force in female MMA – Cristiane Justino, AKA Cris Cyborg. At the time, Cyborg hadn’t debuted in the UFC, but she was widely recognized as the best female 145lber on the planet and she’d been running roughshod over that division in Invicta for years.

Sure, Cyborg could probably never have made the 135lbs limit to challenge Rousey for her title, but fans figured Ronda could easily have moved up in weight – or perhaps a catchweight of 140lbs could’ve been arranged. Everyone wondered whether Rousey’s stellar judo game and submission skills could overcome the ultra-violent striking and brute force of Cyborg.

And then, of course, Rousey was knocked out by Holm in their fight, took a year off and returned only to be knocked out by Amanda Nunes in her big comeback. She’s since moved into the world of pro-wrestling – becoming WWE Women’s Champion in the process – and the thought of her facing Cyborg – who is now UFC Women’s Featherweight champ – remains a dream that unfortunately, we never got to see, and probably never will.

#2: Jon Jones vs. Cain Velasquez

A fight between Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez would've been fantastic
A fight between Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez would've been fantastic

Again, flash back to 2015 for a second and to UFC 182 in particular. In one of the biggest fights in the history of the UFC Light-Heavyweight division, UFC 182 saw champion Jon Jones overcome perhaps his biggest test to date in the form of former StrikeForce Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. And scarily, Jones practically made the win look easy.

The victory was Jones’s 8th successful title defense, and despite the presence of a dangerous top contender in Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, most fans were wondering if there was any fighter in the world at 205lbs that truly stood a chance against ‘Bones’. And so a lot of them began to talk about a potential dream match between Jones and another dominant champ at the time – then-UFC Heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez.

Velasquez had been on the shelf throughout 2014 with various injuries, but prior to that, he’d cemented his status as probably the best Heavyweight the UFC had ever seen by comprehensively beating rival Junior Dos Santos on two occasions. And despite being signed to fight top contender Fabricio Werdum, a fight with Jones sounded fantastic.

Would Velasquez be capable of pushing a pace that Jones would be unable to handle? Could Jones handle a bigger hitter like Cain? Or would the freakish reach of ‘Bones’ – as well as his frighteningly good wrestling – be able to overcome the big man?

Unfortunately, we’d never get to find out. Velasquez lost his title to Werdum and has only fought once since due to his injury-prone nature, while Jones has had a laundry list of personal issues to contend with, including failed PED tests. The likelihood of us seeing this dream match any time soon now seems very slim.

#3: Conor McGregor vs. Tony Ferguson

Conor McGregor would probably never take a fight with Tony Ferguson
Conor McGregor would probably never take a fight with Tony Ferguson

It actually frustrates me to include this one on the list because realistically, there’s no reason that we shouldn’t see this fantastic fight between two of the world’s top 155lbers at some point in the future. But if we’re really frank, the likelihood that we will see it remains somewhere between slim and none.

The problem with this fight isn’t that the UFC wouldn’t want to book it – it’s more that McGregor probably won’t go for it. Ferguson is an incredible talent – he’s somehow won 11 fights in a row in the UFC’s most loaded division, and he’s more than earned a crack at the UFC title at this point. But even if ‘El Cucuy’ finally fights Khabib Nurmagomedov and manages to defeat him, a McGregor fight probably still won’t be put together.

Unfortunately for the sport’s more hardcore fans, McGregor has simply transcended the world of MMA at this point and stands head and shoulders above any other fighter when it comes to his level of stardom. Which means that he’s in the rare position where he’s essentially able to pick and choose his opponents, Dana White be damned.

Ferguson is not only a tricky stylistic match for the Irishman – he’s got a longer reach, he moves in an unorthodox way, he’s a great wrestler and he’s deadly on the ground – but he’s also not the biggest name or drawing card in the division either. Simply put, McGregor can make more money for less work against a different opponent. Which probably leaves ‘El Cucuy’ out in the cold when it comes to a so-called “red panty night”.

It’s unfortunate for the fans because on paper, McGregor vs. Ferguson would be insane. But right now it remains a dream match we’ll probably never see.

#4: Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva

A fight in 2010 between Silva and GSP would've been unbelievable
A fight in 2010 between Silva and GSP would've been unbelievable

An MMA fan’s dream match for almost a decade now, time is running out on the possibility of us ever seeing a fight between legendary former UFC champions Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre. Sure, the UFC might surprise us in the future, but GSP himself has now stated he’s not really interested in the fight due to Silva’s diminished status these days and failed PED tests.

It’s a pity because for years, this was the dream match in the UFC. Some fans have even pointed to it as an example of the UFC failing to make the best matches possible – usually an argument in favour of the UFC when compared to boxing. But realistically, it was always going to be tricky to make. Both men had a lot to lose in their primes, given their respective dominance over their divisions.

And then there was the issue of choosing a weight – Silva didn’t seem willing to cut to 170lbs, St-Pierre was always indecisive about moving up to 185lbs and a Catchweight of 175lbs or thereabouts just didn’t make a lot of sense. Of course, GSP has since moved to 185lbs – not that it was good for his health – while Silva has more recently spoken about moving down.

In their primes it would’ve been a fascinating fight – GSP’s takedown, ground control and athleticism against the creative striking and movement of Silva – but in a way it’d almost be sad to see the fight now given the genuine decline of both men due to their age – Silva is now 43, GSP is 37. So while it would’ve been cool to see them get it on back in 2010, perhaps this one is best left as a dream.

#5: Fedor Emelianenko vs. the UFC Heavyweight champion

At one point Fedor vs. Lesnar was the fight on everyone's lips
At one point Fedor vs. Lesnar was the fight on everyone's lips

When the UFC purchased PRIDE back in 2007, the floodgates were opened for a ton of dream matches – stuff like Liddell vs. Silva, Shogun vs. Griffin, Nogueira vs. Mir and so on. The one fight we never got to see though was a match between PRIDE Heavyweight champ Fedor Emelianenko and his equivalent in the UFC.

Everyone knows why – the UFC and Fedor were simply never able to come to terms, be it due to issues surrounding Fedor’s management, the dreaded co-promotion issue, a lack of respect for Fedor on Dana White’s part, and so on. Even as recently as 2015, rumours of a possible deal floated around the internet – until Fedor signed with Bellator instead.

The list of UFC champions that Fedor could’ve faced in a dream match is pretty long, too – Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, and so forth. Any of those fights would’ve been fantastic a few years ago. Nowadays though, a fight between current champ Daniel Cormier and Fedor would likely be a sad, one-sided affair.

Father Time waits for no man and unfortunately, he’s more than caught up with Fedor at this point. Realistically, we’re probably over a decade removed from the legendary Russian’s prime. Which means that it’s time to put the idea of a Fedor vs. the UFC champ dream match to bed for good.

It still sounds cool on paper somehow, but it’s a dream match we’re probably never going to see – and for good reason at this point, too.

Edited by Shiven Sachdeva


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