Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” Silva vs. Rockhold and Five Other Real Dream Matches
By Joshua Molina
UFC boss Dana White, for years, has wanted people to perceive his company as popular, if not more popular, than the NFL, MLB or NBA.
But in those mainstream leagues, the best teams play each other, regardless of whether those in power like the team.
Imagine a world where the New England Patriots couldn’t play the New York Giants because NFL commissioner Roger Goodell disliked Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Goodell then regularly went on tirades about how Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is overhyped, spoiled and won’t ever be considered a great quarterback because he doesn’t play in the NFC East and because he’s never beaten Eli Manning in the Super Bowl.
In fact, most football fans probably don’t even know the name of the NFL commissioner. And that’s a good thing. They know the players, the teams, and every Sunday they know where to find the games. Goodell isn’t canceling the week because he didn’t get his way.
How many MMA fans don’t know the name Dana White?
If the UFC were ready for primetime, fans would see the matchups that they derserve to see. The best fighters in the world battling each other. Instead, we get the best fights the UFC can make – that fit the company’s egos and marketing goals.
If the world of MMA were free of politics, personalities and a near monopoly, here are the fights that fans should see in the next year.
6. Nick Diaz vs. George St. Pierre. Once Diaz’s suspension is over, Diaz deserves a shot at St. Pierre. Pierre before his injury was considered pound-for-pound No. 1 or 2 in the world. Diaz is a fighter’s fighter and he was on a tear before his loss to Carlos Condit and subsequent drug suspension. Because of their styles, someone will get knocked out or submitted in that fight.
5. Gilbert Melendez vs. Benson Henderson. Melendez is probably the best lightweight in the world. His defeat of Shinya Aoki, at a time when Aoki was seemingly unbeatable, was a spectacular display of Melendez’s athleticism and cage intelligence. He’s beaten everybody he’s faced but, for reasons unclear, Strikeforce champion Melendez will not be fighting UFC champ Henderson any time soon.
4. Alistair Overeem vs. Daniel Cormier. Cormier looks absolutely unstoppable. If he can avoid more hand injuries, he could have a long run in the sport on top. His combination of power and wrestling make him unique in the heavyweight division. Overeem is a hulking giant who has looked unbeatable. Both are smart fighters – and both probably are the top two heavyweights in the world. (Junior Dos Santos needs to be in a fight before he can claim that title. He knocked out an unprepared, flustered Cain Velasquez and beat an outmatched Frank Mir, but we don’t know how he respond after he gets hit in the face).
3. Ronda Rousey vs. Cris “Cyborg” Santos. Let’s face it. We all want to see cocky, brash Rousey get her ass kicked. We all want to see the cocky, brash Santos get her ass kicked. That fight wouldn’t make it out of the first round. And one of these destructive divas is getting KO’d or tapped out.
2. Jon Jones vs. Gegard Mousasi. Mousasi’s career directory was derailed after he couldn’t stop King Mo’s takedown, losing the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship to the flamboyant All-American wrestler. But Mousasi is one of the best on the planet. He’s slick and fast in cage, with knockout power in his feet and hands. He might be someone who could submit the phenom Jones.
1. UFC champ Anderson Silva vs. Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold. Rockhold is the sport’s brightest youngstar. The Strikeforce champ dismantled submission specialist Jacare Souza to win the belt and then beat slugger Keith Jardine and an awkward Tim Kennedy. Rockhold is big, strong and aggressive. He has the perfect style and mindframe to take on Silva, regarded as pound-for-pound the best in the world. These two middleweights would put on a show. If Silva could beat the young star, he would cement himself as the greatest. Or he could pass the torch to Rockhold, if the Santa Cruz surfer could pull of the victory.