With the emergence of the fine MMA practitioners we are currently exposed to, it makes you wonder about some of the truly memorable fights we would love to see between the present greats and the past warriors in their prime.
Here’s my list of 5 past vs. present fights that I would have loved to see.
(5) Royce Gracie vs. GSP
Given Royce’s tendency to fight at catch weight he could have fitted in anywhere, so I’ve got him at 170 pounds facing GSP. The fight would have been great because of the element of danger Gracie poses on the ground in comparison to GSP’s requirement to take every opponent down. We know GSP will generally go for the takedown, this could result in all sorts of problems against Royce so in this fight he would have no doubt wanted to stand and trade; but Royce to GSP’s shock would have pulled guard the first chance he got (or hunted the takedown) and thus entering GSP’s ground and pound world. If GSP chose to stand (as I’d expect) then he could easily catch Royce with counter punches or knees as he came in but if Royce did get him down and move into side control or mount then big problems for GSP! Royce could submit GSP but at the same time GSP could pound Royce out – sick fight!
(4) Ken Shamrock vs. Shogun Rua
To put it simply, both guys were/are synonymous for standing in the pocket and trading, so this would have been an all at war! I can just image Shamrock throwing rocket right hands at Shogun who takes them and then unleashes left hooks at a furious pace, both to proud to step back or cover up. Shamrock would have more than likely tried for a takedown and complimentary leg/foot lock orientated submission; however Shogun’s stuffing ability or if necessary ground game would have made it difficult for Ken. Shogun’s advantage will come from his vicious kicks but if Ken catches one and slams him down – game on!!
(3) BJ Penn vs. Benson Henderson
Now firstly, BJ Penn fans please forgive me for putting him in the ‘past’ category, however his best days are clearly behind him and with this fight I am referring to his early ‘prodigy’ days.
So why this fight? Simple, Henderson loves the takedown and ground & pound; Penn has the best takedown defence of his error so this becomes the irresistible force vs. the immovable object. Can you imagine Henderson throwing leg kicks then shooting for a takedown but BJ stuffs it and delivers a few punches on the way out. Henderson then decides to strike with BJ but he’s to smart and quickly a dirty boxing match breaks out! These conflicting styles would have made for such an entertaining fight.
(2) Chuck Liddell vs. Jon Jones
The greatest ever light heavyweight champion vs. the current king pin and light heavyweight poster boy. In his day Chuck was the best pure striker in MMA, he always found his opponents chin, but would he have been able to find Jon’s? Surely Jon wouldn’t have avoided a striking match with Chuck? He’d have to take him down and unleash some ground and pound while waiting for a submission to open up. But don’t forget in his day Chuck was hard to take down and he had the unnecessary ability to initiate a fist fight so would he have been able to draw Jon into his world. So many unanswered questions in this fight give it the compelling interest it deserves.
(1) Randy Couture vs. Cain Velasquez
Captain America vs. the best heavyweight on the planet today. Wrestler vs. wrestler, unorthodox striker vs. straight hard puncher, and cardio to last days – a dead set recipe for fight of the decade. Randy always got the takedown, and hen he did it was welcome to ‘ground and pound central’. Cain hasn’t really been taken down or pressured by a good wrestler, but his centre of gravity and balance when he punches is perfect so he would be a monster to take down. But on the flip side imagine if Cain took Randy down and let go of a few slicing elbows!! Different generations but no doubt in my mind this fight would have been epic.