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The greatest of all time… It’s a subjective accolade, but survey some of MMA fans from any age and the vast majority will offer up either Georges St Pierre or Anderson Silva as MMA’s theoretical”man to beat.” 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 very best versus the brightest. Regrettably, the chances of this occurring now are as slim as they were. “Hurry” vs.”The Spider” is a myth; just one of many super fights we’ll probably never see.
Regrettably, it is not the only one. Here are some other MMA superfights we never got to see…
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar
Partly due to the UFC’s monopolistic marketing power and partially because of his very best years being a decade ago, Fedor Emelianenko doesn’t always receive the respect he deserves from modern-day MMA fans. For those who witnessed his epic poem rampage through PRIDE’s heavyweight division however he was the best heavyweight of his age… perhaps the biggest ever.
While Fedor could have been the best fighter in his day, Brock Lesnar was easily the biggest box office attraction. An instant celebrity, he polarized an audience who didn’t know what they wanted more; so watch him humbled in defeat, or glorified in victory.
Physically, Lesnar was an animal. Walking round north of the 265-pound heavyweight limit, the NCAA standout transferred with all the speed and elegance of a man half his size. Whether it was down to popularity or notoriety he had been a magnet to the paying public, headlining what was then the UFC’s biggest card over the likes of GSP, in what was just his third tilt together with the promotion.
Following years of deriding the Russian while he plied his trade for the contest, White announced that signing Stary Oskol’s favourite son was his”obsession.” Accounts of what happened next differ depending on who you hear them from. Fedor was tied up with M-1; according to White, a bargain offering $2,000,000 per struggle, Pay-Per-View points along with an immediate title taken against Brock Lesnar was spurned; M-1 wanted to co-promote Fedor’s struggles, and allegedly wanted Zuffa to fund the construction of a stadium in Russia. M-1 refuted these claims, and talks broke down.
Fedor’s stock would fall considerably following three straight losses and Lesnar, while a licence to print money, was exposed by better fighters and left the sport. It might have been the biggest-grossing MMA struggle of all-time, but as is so frequently true, politics ultimately ruined it.
Ken Shamrock vs. Tank Abbott
Throwbacks to another age, arguably another game, Ken Shamrock and Tank Abbott were the poster children of this UFC’s formative years. While the event was intended as a subversive info-mercial for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, you have to feel that the money guys were quietly yanking a Shamrock success at UFC 1. He was 220 pounds of chiselled muscle, and the only fighter in the bracket with recorded”free-fight” experience, Shamrock had the look of an action hero and the capacity to back this up.
A couple of decades later, David”Tank” Abbott hit the spectacle. Watch MMA live or in a pub even today, and you will find no lack of out-of-shape, beer-swilling loudmouths eager to share their view of how they’d mop the floor with all the guys on TV. Abbott was that guy, just he can mop the floor with some of the men on TV. Fat, cocky and sporting roughly the same number of teeth as he’d had karate lessons, Abbott was the manifestation of everything that a martial artist was not supposed to be.
There’s a little MMA folklore that says Tank was brought into shed, thus proving the theory that the martial artist would always succeed over the thug. His (admittedly limited) wrestling background was played and he had been branded a’Pit Fighter’ in promotional stuff. When Tank began cracking heads in a number of the very abusive UFC struggles of the era, a star was born, to the point that the company put him on a monthly wages; something not repeated since.
There was even legitimate bad blood between the two parties, together with Shamrock and also his”Lion’s Den” after hunting down Abbott backstage after he had caused difficulty. Ken never caught up with him though, either at the parking lot or even the cage, with both finally leaving the company for careers in pro-wrestling. Their surprise early-00’s returns once again sparked hope of a superfight from the other generation, but for reasons unknown it was not supposed to be.
Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones
Before the controversy that shelved him for what would likely happen to be his fighting prime, few would argue that Jon Jones was not at the absolute pinnacle of mixed martial arts. A world-class athlete, not just adept, but an expert in all facets of the match, Jones looked insurmountable. In 2011, he completed that which was arguably the best year’s work of any battle sports athlete, defeating Ryan Bader,”Shogun” Rua,”Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida in the space of just 10 months.
Even though Jones was painting a picture of violence at the light-heavyweight branch, Anderson Silva had been making a masterpiece in middleweight. Nobody had cleared such a talent-rich branch and looked so untouchable in doing this. So complete was Silva’s dominance, he had double moved up a weight class and demolished his opposition. His claim to the title of’best ever’ might be challenged by a scant couple.
White once cited his ability to make a Jones vs. Silva superfight happen as a tool which would define his own legacy as a promoter. Fate, as it is want to do, conspired against him. Silva’s standing plummeted following a series of reductions and a failed drug test. Jones’ image was tarnished even further; while he didn’t falter in the cage, a run of self-inflicted’personal issues’ stripped”Bones” of his dignity, credibility and — most importantly — his own ability to compete.
Silva is past his prime and threatening retirement. Jones is concentrated firmly on regaining the light heavyweight title he never dropped in the cage. Issues outside the cage have almost certainly deprived us of one of the best struggles inside.
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