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The greatest of all-time… it is a subjective accolade, but poll any group of MMA fans from any era and the vast majority will provide up either Georges St Pierre or Anderson Silva as MMA’s theoretical”person to beat.” In late 2016, news of the French-Canadian’s return fueled whispers of UFC president Dana White’s”one who got away” — St Pierre vs Silva — the very best versus the brightest. Sadly, the chances of it happening now are as slender as they were. “Rush” vs.”The Spider” is a myth; just one of several super fights we’ll probably never see.
Sadly, it’s not the only one. Here are a few other MMA superfights we got to see…
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar
Partly due to the UFC’s monopolistic advertising 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 those who watched his epic rampage through PRIDE’s heavyweight division however , he was the best heavyweight of his era… perhaps the biggest ever.
While Fedor might have become the best fighter in his day, Brock Lesnar was easily the largest box office attraction. An immediate superstar, he polarized an audience that didn’t know what they desired more; so watch him humbled in defeat, or glorified in success.
Physically, Lesnar was a creature. Walking round north of this 265-pound heavyweight limit, the NCAA standout transferred with all the speed and grace of a man half his size. Whether it was right down to fame or notoriety he had been a magnet for the paying public, headlining what was then the UFC’s biggest card above the likes of GSP, in what was just his third tilt with the advertising.
Following years of deriding the Russian while he plied his trade for the competition, White announced that registering Stary Oskol’s favourite son was his”obsession.” Accounts of what happened next differ based on who you hear them from. Fedor was tied up with M-1; based on White, a bargain offering $2,000,000 per fight, Pay-Per-View points along with an immediate title taken against Brock Lesnar was spurned; M-1 wanted to co-promote Fedor’s struggles, also supposedly 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 subjected by better fighters and abandoned the game. It could have been the biggest-grossing MMA fight of all-time, but as is so frequently true, politics ultimately 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 this UFC’s formative years. While the event was thought to be a subversive info-mercial to get Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, you have to believe that the cash men 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 it up.
A few decades later, David”Tank” Abbott hit the scene. Watch MMA live or at a bar 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 guy, only he could mop the floor with some of the men on TV. Fat, cocky and sporting about the same number of teeth as he had had karate course, Abbott was the manifestation of everything that a martial artist wasn’t assumed to be.
There’s a bit of MMA folklore that states Tank was brought in to shed, thus proving the concept that the British artist would always succeed over the thug. His (admittedly limited) wrestling background was played down and he had been branded a’Pit Fighter’ in promotional material. When Tank started breaking heads in a number of the most visually abusive UFC struggles of the age, a star was born, to the point that the company set him on a monthly salary; something not replicated 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’d caused trouble. Ken never caught up with him though, either at the parking lot or the cage, together with both eventually leaving the company for careers 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 never supposed to be.
Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones
Ahead of the controversy that shelved him for that which would probably happen to be his fighting prime, few could 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 aspects of the game, Jones looked insurmountable. In 2011he 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 area of just 10 weeks.
While Jones was painting an image of violence in the light-heavyweight branch, Anderson Silva was creating a masterpiece at middleweight. Nobody had cleared out such a talent-rich branch and looked really 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 name of’best ever’ could be challenged by a scant few.
White once mentioned his ability to generate a Jones vs. Silva superfight occur as a tool which could define his own legacy as a promoter. Fate, as it is want to do, conspired against him. Silva’s standing plummeted after having a series of losses and a failed drug test. Jones’ picture was tarnished even farther; while he did not 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 past his prime and threatening retirement. Jones is focused firmly on regaining the light heavyweight title he never lost in the cage. Problems outside the cage have almost certainly deprived us of one of the greatest struggles within it.
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