The greatest of all-time… it is a subjective accolade, but poll any group of MMA lovers from any era and the huge majority will offer up either Georges St Pierre or Anderson Silva as MMA’s theoretical”man to conquer.” In late 2016, news of this French-Canadian’s return fueled whispers of UFC president Dana White’s”one that got away” — St Pierre vs Silva — the best versus the brightest. Regrettably, the odds of this occurring now are as slender as they were. “Rush” vs.”The Spider” is a myth; just one of many super fights we will probably never see.
Sadly, it’s not the sole one. Here are a few additional MMA superfights we got to see…
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar
Partly due to the UFC’s monopolistic marketing power and partly because of his best years being a decade ago, Fedor Emelianenko does not always receive the respect he deserves from modern-day MMA fans. For people who watched his epic poem rampage through PRIDE’s heavyweight division however , he was the best heavyweight of his age… perhaps the greatest ever.
While Fedor could have become the best fighter in his day, Brock Lesnar was easily the biggest box office attraction. An immediate superstar, he polarized an audience that did not know what they desired more; so watch him humbled in defeat, or glorified in victory.
Physically, Lesnar was a creature. Walking round north of this 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 had been a magnet to the paying public, headlining what was afterward the UFC’s largest card above the likes of GSP, in what was just his third tilt together with the promotion.
After years of deriding that the Russian while he plied his trade for the contest, White declared that registering Stary Oskol’s favorite son was his”obsession.” Accounts of what happened next differ based on who you hear 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 a direct title shot against Brock Lesnar was spurned; M-1 wished to co-promote Fedor’s struggles, and supposedly wanted Zuffa to finance the construction of a stadium in Russia. M-1 refuted those claims, and talks broke down.
Fedor’s inventory would drop considerably following three straight losses and Lesnar, while still a licence to print money, was exposed by better fighters and abandoned the sport. It might have become the biggest-grossing MMA struggle of all-time, but as is so frequently true, politics ultimately ruined it.
Ken Shamrock vs. Tank Abbott
Throwbacks into another age, arguably another game, 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 believe that the cash men were quietly yanking a Shamrock victory at UFC 1. He was 220 pounds of chiselled muscle, and the only fighter in the bracket with documented”free-fight” experience, Shamrock had the expression of an action hero and the ability to back this up.
A couple of years later, David”Tank” Abbott hit the scene. Watch MMA reside or in a pub even today, and you’ll find no shortage of out-of-shape, beer-swilling loudmouths eager to talk about their view of how they would mop the floor with all the men on TV. Abbott was that man, only he could mop the floor with a few of the men on TV. Fat, cocky and wearing about the same amount of teeth as he had had karate lessons, Abbott was the manifestation of all that a martial artist wasn’t assumed to be.
There is a bit of MMA folklore that states Tank was introduced into lose, thus proving the concept that the British artist would always succeed over the thug. His (admittedly limited) wrestling foundation was played down and he was branded a’Pit Fighter’ in promotional material. When Tank began cracking heads in a number of the most visually violent UFC fights of the era, a star was born, to the stage that the company set him on a monthly wages; something not repeated since.
There was even legitimate bad blood between both parties, together with Shamrock and his”Lion’s Den” after hunting down Abbott backstage after he’d caused trouble. Ken never caught him up either in the parking lot or the cage, together with both finally leaving the business for careers in pro-wrestling. Their surprise early-00’s returns once again sparked hope of a superfight from the other creation, but for reasons unknown it was not meant to be.
Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones
Before the controversy that shelved him for that which would likely happen to be his fighting prime, few could argue that Jon Jones wasn’t at the absolute pinnacle of mixed martial arts. A world-class athlete, not just skillful, but an expert in all aspects of the match, Jones looked insurmountable. In 2011, he 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 area of just 10 months.
Even though Jones was painting a picture of violence in the light-heavyweight branch, Anderson Silva was creating a masterpiece in middleweight. Nobody had previously cleared such a talent-rich division and seemed so untouchable in doing so. So complete was Silva’s dominance, he had twice moved up a weight class and demolished his resistance. His claim to the name of’best ever’ might be challenged by a scant few.
White once cited his ability to make a Jones vs. Silva superfight occur as a tool that would define his own heritage as a promoter. Fate, as it is want to do, conspired against him. Silva’s standing plummeted after having a series of reductions and a failed drug test. Jones’ picture was tarnished even farther; while he did not falter in the cage, a run of self-inflicted’personal difficulties’ stripped”Bones” of his dignity, credibility and — most importantly — his own ability to compete.
Silva is beyond his prime and threatening retirement. Jones is focused firmly on regaining the light heavyweight title he never lost in the cage. Problems beyond the cage have almost certainly deprived us of one of the greatest struggles inside.
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