The greatest of all time… it is a subjective accolade, but survey some of MMA fans from any age and the huge majority will provide up Georges St Pierre or Anderson Silva as MMA’s theoretical”person to conquer.” In late 2016, news of this French-Canadian’s return fueled whispers of UFC president Dana White’s”one who got away” — St Pierre vs Silva — the best versus the cleverest. Sadly, the odds of it happening now are as slender as they were. “Rush” vs.”The Spider” is a fantasy; just one of many super fights we will probably never see.
Sadly, it is not the sole one. Below are some other MMA superfights we never got to see…
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar
Partly due to the UFC’s monopolistic advertising power and partly due to his very best years being a decade past, Fedor Emelianenko does not always receive the respect he deserves from modern-day MMA fans. For those who watched his epic poem rampage through PRIDE’s heavyweight division however , he was the best heavyweight of his era… possibly the greatest ever.
While Fedor could have been the best fighter in his day, Brock Lesnar was the largest box office draw. An instant celebrity, he polarized an audience who did not know what they wanted more; so see him humbled in defeat, or glorified in success.
Physically, Lesnar was a creature. Walking round north of the 265-pound heavyweight limit, the NCAA standout transferred with the speed and grace of a guy half his size. Whether it was right down to fame or notoriety he was a magnet for the paying public, headlining what was afterward the UFC’s largest card over the likes of GSP, in what was just his third tilt together with the advertising.
Following years of deriding that the Russian while he plied his trade for the competition, White announced that signing Stary Oskol’s favourite son was his”obsession.” Accounts of what happened following differ based on who you listen to them from. Fedor was tied up with M-1; according to White, a deal offering $2,000,000 per fight, Pay-Per-View points and an immediate title shot against Brock Lesnar was spurned; M-1 wished to co-promote Fedor’s struggles, and supposedly wanted Zuffa to finance the building of a stadium in Russia. M-1 refuted those claims, and talks broke down.
Fedor’s stock would fall considerably following three consecutive losses and Lesnar, while still a licence to print money, was subjected by better fighters and abandoned the sport. It might have become the biggest-grossing MMA fight of all-time, but as is so often true, politics finally ruined it.
Ken Shamrock vs. Tank Abbott
Throwbacks into a different age, arguably a different sport, Ken Shamrock and Tank Abbott were the poster children of the UFC’s formative years. While the event was thought to be a subversive info-mercial for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, you have to feel that the cash guys were quietly pulling for a Shamrock success at UFC 1. He was 220 pounds of chiselled muscle, and the only fighter in the mount using documented”free-fight” encounter, Shamrock had the look of an action hero and the ability to back this up.
A few decades after, David”Tank” Abbott hit the spectacle. Watch MMA reside or in a bar even today, and you will find no shortage of out-of-shape, beer-swilling loudmouths eager to talk about their view of how they’d mop the floor with all the guys on TV. Abbott was the man, only he could mop the floor with some of the guys on TV. Fat, cocky and sporting about the same number of teeth as he’d had karate lessons, Abbott was the manifestation of everything that a martial artist wasn’t supposed to be.
There’s a bit of MMA folklore that says Tank was introduced in to shed, thus proving the concept that the martial artist would always triumph over the thug. His (admittedly limited) wrestling background was played and he was branded a’Pit Fighter’ in promotional material. When Tank began cracking heads in some of the most visually violent UFC fights of the era, a star was born, to the point that the company put him on a monthly salary; something not repeated since.
There was legitimate bad blood between both parties, together with Shamrock and his”Lion’s Den” once hunting down Abbott backstage after he’d caused trouble. Ken never caught him up either in the parking lot or even the cage, together with both finally leaving the company for professions in pro-wrestling. Their surprise early-00’s returns once again sparked hope of a superfight from another generation, but for reasons unknown it was not supposed to be.
Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones
Before the controversy that shelved him for that which could likely have been his fighting prime, few would argue that Jon Jones wasn’t at the absolute pinnacle of mixed martial arts. A world-class athlete, not only skillful, but an expert in all aspects of the match, Jones looked insurmountable. In 2011he finished what was arguably the best season’s work of any battle sports athlete, beating Ryan Bader,”Shogun” Rua,”Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida in the space of just 10 weeks.
While Jones was painting an image of violence at the light-heavyweight branch, Anderson Silva was creating a masterpiece in middleweight. Nobody had cleared out such a talent-rich branch and looked so untouchable in doing this. So absolute was Silva’s dominance, he’d twice moved up a weight class and demolished his resistance. His claim to the title of’best ever’ could be challenged by a scant few.
White once cited his ability to make a Jones vs. Silva superfight happen as something which would define his own legacy as a promoter. Fate, as it is want to do, conspired against him. Silva’s standing plummeted after having a set of reductions and a failed drug test. Jones’ image was tarnished even further; while he didn’t falter in the cage, a series of self-inflicted’personal issues’ stripped”Bones” of his dignity, credibility and — most importantly — his own ability to compete.
Silva is beyond his prime and threatening retirement. Jones is concentrated firmly on regaining the light heavyweight title he never lost in the cage. Issues beyond the cage have almost certainly deprived us of one of the best battles within it.
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