posted on December 07, 2012 08:00
With Christmas just around the corner, and 2013 fast approaching, people around the world will be compiling their wish lists for Santa’s review. I feel like I’ve been (pretty) good this year, so I’ve put together a short list of MMA wishes for the New Year:
Daniel Cormier In The UFC
Cormier, the Strikeforce heavyweight champion, may be the baddest man on the planet. You might disagree, but you can’t argue that he’s the best fighter on the planet who hasn’t received mainstream exposure. Even with ZUFFA’s backing, the Strikeforce marketing machine cannot hold a candle to the UFC, and Cormier, the former Olympian, is long overdue to take his place in the national spotlight. With one meaningless fight left on his Strikeforce commitment (against the overmatched Dion Staring on January 12th), Cormier is nearly free to make the inevitable jump. Cormier has repeatedly stated his refusal to fight AKA teammate (and fellow contender) Cain Velasquez. However, should UFC champ Junior dos Santos defeat Velasquez in their December 29th rematch, Cormier could move right into a high-profile title shot.
A Merciful End To Strikeforce
The nonsense that is Strikeforce has gone on long enough. Canceled shows, injuries, and fighter discontent have all played a role in the promotions downfall. Even the promised January 12th super show that was set to let Strikeforce go out with a bang (while showcasing many of their champions) has fizzled. Luke Rockhold and Gilbert Melendez have pulled out with injuries, and Ronda Rousey has already jumped ship for the UFC. To add to the embarrassment, Rockhold claims that Strikeforce promoted his fight before he had even agreed to a contract.
I’ve enjoyed Strikeforce’s run in the MMA world, but it’s time to put the promotion out of its misery. Fighters such as Cormier, Rockhold, Melendez, Nate Marquardt, Robbie Lawler, Miesha Tate, Josh Barnett, Gegard Mousasi, Jacare Souza, Pat Healy, and Tyron Woodley would immediately deepen every division in the UFC, and help stack pay-per-view cards.
Anderson Silva Defending The Middleweight Title
There’s a lot of talk coming out of the Silva camp that worries me: He wants to take time off to make movies with Steven Seagal, he wants a super fight with Georges St-Pierre, he doesn’t want to fight (at all) until late 2013. None of these prospects (including the GSP fight) particularly excite me. What’s worse, all of these potential events would hold the UFC middleweight division hostage for an entire calendar year.
A super fight with GSP would be fun. However, it would likely be at a catch-weight, meaning neither champion’s title would be on the line. No title, no dice, in my opinion (not to mention the fact that GSP seems to want no part of this matchup).
The UFC middleweight division, for years, has been a barren kingdom ruled by Silva, with no revolutionaries capable of mounting a credible uprising. That is no longer the case. Chris Weidman, Michael Bisping, Tim Boetsch, Luke Rockhold, and Hector Lombard are just a few of the 185-pound division’s big names that have yet to see a UFC title opportunity. I would love to see Silva battle two (at least) of these opponents in 2013. First up should be Bisping, provided he can defeat Vitor Belfort in January, followed possibly by the winner of a potential Rockhold/Weidman title-eliminator. The only super fight that makes sense is for Silva to challenge for Jon Jones’ belt at light-heavyweight. Other than that, I want to see “The Spider” defending his crown at 185 pounds.
One Final Title Shot For “Hendo”
Though Dan Henderson has experienced a career resurgence (with only one loss in the last four years), he is definitely in the twilight of his MMA livelihood. I’d love to see him get one final crack at UFC gold. His scheduled September clash with light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones was derailed due to injury, which means Hendo has been out of action for over a year. He would seem to have the inside track on a title bout with Jones, provided he can get past the tough test of Lyoto Machida on February 23rd. If not, Henderson’s quest for hardware could be at an end.
UFC Women Getting TUF
If you have watched The Ultimate Fighter this season, you’ve probably been underwhelmed. The fights have not been exciting, the coaches have seemed aloof, and the fighters themselves don’t reek of potential. As my brother has said, “If I want to see douche bags yelling, ‘Come at me bro!’ and doing upper-deckers, I’ll go to Main Street in St. Charles.”
Many changes have been tried, but none have given TUF the ratings bump executives are looking for. Brock Lesnar didn’t move the needle as a coach, Kimbo Slice was eliminated in the first week of his appearance on the show, and the live Friday night fight format didn’t pull in more viewers (despite being on a higher-rated network than previous incarnations). Plus, with Shane Carwin pulling out of his December 14th fight with Roy Nelson, only two of the last eight seasons have culminated with the coaches facing off. The show is dying on the vine.
A last-ditch attempt at salvaging TUF would be to expose viewers to the newly-minted division of women fighters. As the first season of the show did for similarly unknown fighters nearly eight years ago, a season of the ladies on TUF would help introduce fans to new faces and, potentially, new stars. An injection of estrogen could be just what the fledgling show needs. Just keep the needle away from Stephan Bonnar. He’ll apparently shoot up anything he can find.
Merry Christmas, everyone!