In any sport there are match-ups that are considered to be “dream match-ups” in the eyes of fans, those of which would likely never happen for various reasons; whether it be different leagues or different eras. This is a list of my personal favorite “Dream Matches.”
If you are lazy and don’t feel like reading why we chose each of these match-ups, check out the slideshow below.
Dream Matches that Never Happened
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett
These two former Pride heavyweights were originally scheduled to fight under the Affliction banner. However, a positive drug test from Josh Barnett caused the fight to be called off and ultimately led to the demise of Promotion.
In 2011 Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett were signed on to compete in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Which re-ignited the hopes that we would finally see these two compete. However this would not happen, as Fedor lost to “Bigfoot” Silva in the quarterfinals.
Bas Rutten vs. Randy Couture
After Randy Couture left the UFC in 1998 to test the waters in Japan, the next heavyweight to win the Championship was former “King of Pancrase” Bas Rutten.
Had Couture been able to work out a deal with the UFC after becoming the champion, perhaps these two legends could have tested each other inside of the Octagon.
Unfortunately, Rutten also vacated the heavyweight title immediately after winning it in a controversial decision against Keven Randleman. Rutten retired due to injury in 1999 and Randy wouldn’t fight in the UFC again until 2000.
Mirko Filipovic vs. Randy Couture
After winning the 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix, Mirko Filipovic signed to fight with the UFC Fans expected him to fight for the heavyweight title immediately. However that wasn’t the case, in his first fight he crushed Eddie Sanchez, and then signed to fight Gabriel Gonzaga to determine the number 1 contender in the division.
In their fight, Gonzaga scored one of the most memorable knockouts of all time by knocking out Filipovic with a move that Cro Cop was known for, a head kick. Filipovic’s loss meant that the fight both Pride and UFC fans wanted to see would not happen.
As it turned out, Filipovic began to decline quickly after his loss to Gonzaga having a record of 4 wins and 6 losses in the promotion.
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Frank Shamrock
Frank Shamrock left the UFC in 1999 saying that that he saw that the sport would eventually become very popular and he did not want to put the mileage on his body competing for the paydays that the UFC was giving. However, the UFC’s side of the story says that the then-struggling promotion could not afford his contract, and Shamrock, then 26 years old, agreed to retire so the promotion could save face. Whatever the reason, Frank Shamrock, became a free agent in the prime of his career.
As Shamrock was becoming UFC’s first Light Heavyweight Champion, Kazushi Sakuraba was starting to gain fame and fanfare in Pride. Sakuraba defeated Vernon White, Carlos Newton, Vitor Belfort, Royler Gracie, and fought to a draw with Alan Goes before having his legendary 90 minute fight against Royce Gracie. There were negotiations for the two to meet at Pride 10, however those fell negotiations fell thru. There were rumors that the two would meet at a New Year’s Eve event in 2005, but the fight would not come to fruition.
Brock Lesnar vs Fedor Emelianenko
In July 2009, Brock Lesnar beat Frank Mir in the main event of UFC 100. At the same time, Affliction MMA went out of business. Those events should have led to the biggest Heavyweight fight in Mixed Martial Arts history. Lesnar had pounded Mir, and looked great doing so. Fedor Emelianenko had basically been unbeaten in nine years, and was the only male non-UFC fighter that could generate significant media attention.
For a little while, it seemed as though the match was imminent. There were reports from reliable outlets that the match was official for either September 19 or November 21, depending on the source.
Dana White claims that the UFC offered Emelianenko a deal that was estimated could be worth $30 million if the right PPV numbers were hit and allowed the Russian to compete in sambo, which had been a point of contention in past negotiations. However, Vadim Finkelchtein has went on record saying the UFC wanted to buy M-1 Global and their entire fight library as well.
Three years later, Brock and Fedor had both retired; the UFC attempted to book the fight for a stadium show in Dallas, Texas. Lesnar agreed to the bout, Fedor declined, having lost interest in competition following the death of his father.
Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
In a fight that was supposed to happen at UFC 175. The fight between bitter rivals Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva never happened, and in fact ended up with both men walking away from the sport. The two had been feuding for a couple years previous, before they found themselves coaching opposite of each other on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. Unfortunately, their end of the season coaches’ fight never took place as Silva would end up not taking a random drug test and Sonnen would test positive for banned substances. Sonnen would have a two year suspension and chose to retire while Silva would face a lifetime ban by the NSAC.
Frank Shamrock vs Ken Shamrock
A “dream match” with some legitimate bad blood between adopted brothers Frank and Ken Shamrock. There had been talks of both wanting to fight in numerous promotions including the IFL and Strikeforce, but nothing ever came of it. Over the years both Ken and Frank had choice words for each other but recently on Frank Shamrock’s documentary “Bound by Blood” the two decided to mend fences in order to work on an MMA project which has yet to be announced.