Five MMA Wishes for 2011

As 2010 comes to a close, the appetite of the MMA fan has already been wetted with the promise of a superb 2011. 2010 was good, so one can only imagine that 2011 will deliver in a big way on all fronts. In anticipation of events to come, I’ve compiled a list of my 5 wishes for the New Year. Let me know what you think and suggest things you’d like to see happen in the world of MMA over the next 12 months.

Fedor to fight three times next year: Even the most fanatical of Fedor’s followers must be frustrated at this point. Fedor graced our screens for just over a minute this year before succumbing to the grappling prowess of Fabricio Werdum. To say that fans are hungry to see Fedor back in the cage is a vast understatement, if negotiations for Fedor’s scheduled bout with ‘Bigfoot’ Silva fall through, we may well see a riot oustide M-1 Global’s US offices. If my wish is to be fulfilled, Fedor will beat Silva, fight the winner of Overeem versus Werdum and defend the title once. A title defence might be asking a bit much but we’re way overdue for some Fedor action. Now let’s see if Coker can deliver what the fans want.

New Judging System: Fans and fighters alike have been calling for an overhaul in MMA’s judging system for years now. But you know it’s gotten bad when Dana White himself is commenting on the abilities of the judges appointed by the athletic commission. The inaptitude of judges has been brought to light a number of times over the last few years, with perhaps the most blatant example being Nam Phan versus Leonard Garcia which took place in early December as part of the TUF 12 Finale. The fight resulted in an extremely controversial decision which left Garcia walking away as the victor. White was so appalled with the decision that he gave the win bonus to Phan, apologizing on behalf of the UFC. White later stated in an interview, “I don’t care if you’d never watched a fight a day in your life; you know who won that fight”. Other examples of this poor scoring system were seen in Maurico Rua and Lyota Machida’s title fight in 2009, with White voicing his opinion again, “I thought Shogun won the fight”, before organizing an immediate rematch. This judging system is becoming a real nuisance and a hindrance to the sport. Some believe that it resembles too much the scoring system for boxing and that it does not translate well into MMA. Whether it is a matter of changing the system itself or simply appointing competent judges that have some sort of experience in the sport, something must be done, and here’s hoping a swift change will come in 2011.

Alistair Overeem in the UFC: An exceptional fighter who has the potential to reach the top of the UFC’s heavyweight division. Since his loss to Sergei Kharitonov in 2007, the man formerly known as ‘The Demolition Man’ has been smashing opposition. Riding a 5 fight win streak, all of which he’s finished in round one, he is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous fighters at heavyweight. White has expressed his opinion on ‘The Reem’ and his place in the heavyweight division already, stating that anyone who ranks him in the top ten is a moron and ought to be “ashamed”. And yet the two share a relatively friendly relationship. White has been asked a few times now if he has any interest in signing Overeem. His replies usually consist of “we’ll see” or “I dunno yet”. But before any chance of a move to the UFC can materialize, he needs to get back in the cage and pronto, it’s been seven months since we witnessed the demolishing of Brett Rogers, who didn’t even look in the same league as him. Alistair has just one fight left on his contract with Strikeforce: a title defense against Fabricio Werdum. If he can avenge the loss he suffered back in Pride against ‘Vai Cavalo’ we may see The Reem signing on the dotted line by summer 2011. 

GSP vs Anderson Silva: Well a guy can always dream, right? This dream matchup has been dubbed the ‘superfight’, and for good reason. Both these guys have dominated their divisions for the last four years, with Anderson Silva even beating up a few guys at 205 for good measure. GSP has defended his title five times now in one of the deepest divisions in the UFC, with wins over high calibre opponents such as Fitch, Penn, Alves and Koscheck,GSP does one thing when he goes out there: dominates. Silva is currently the proud owner of the most consecutive wins (12) and title defenses (7) in UFC history, as well as being one of the most devastating strikers in MMA. A fight between the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world could only be a good thing for the UFC and it’s PPV audience. White has voiced concern in the past about such a fight, claiming that both guys are such stars that he doesn’t want them to fight, with a loss being detrimental to either one’s unbeaten streak and thus their superhuman-like aura. Although following GSP’s recent win over Koscheck, White has stated that the ‘superfight’ makes sense, with each fighter having cleaned out their division. However, Anderson Silva is set to fight Vitor Belfort at UFC 127 and GSP has been scheduled to throw down against Jake Shields in the UFC’s 131th event in Toronto, set to take place in April. If the two can defend their titles once more, it’s possible we could see the ‘superfight’ come to fruition and maybe even happen by this time next year.

Stacked Card for UFC’s Brazil Event: The UFC have announced that in 2011 they will be returning to the homeland of the Gracie’s for the first time since 1998. The potential for possible match-ups on this card is almost too awesome to contemplate. This event would certainly be an amazing stage for the fabled ‘superfight’ but it’s unlikely it will happen so soon when taking into consideration that GSP has stated he wants to take a few months off before the fight to put on the weight properly. I would love to see Wanderlei ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva take on Chael Sonnen in front of a Brazilian crowd, taking into account the hype Sonnen would generate for the fight thanks to his sublime trash talking skills, that fight would ensure an incredible atmosphere. But title fights is what we want to see. Currently, there are three Brazilian UFC champs. Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua could defend his belt against a Jon Jones or Rampage Jackson, assuming the required fights are won to allow such a thing. If Junior Dos Santos beats Cain Velasquez, he too could feature in a title defense. Jose Aldo, a rising star in MMA, is another Brazilian champ who would no doubt love to fight in such a historical event. The talent pool provided by Brazil is one of the deepest in the world so there are an innumerable amount of match-ups that could be made. As long as Royce Gracie is kept off the card I’ll be happy, for he is a dog who has had his day, and unless it is an exhibition match against Matt Hughes or someone of that similar legendary status, I’ve no interest. Whether you like White or not, he always delivers when he says he will and this is one wish that I expect to come true.