Armchair Matchmaker

Fantasy Matchmaking #1

Image for Fantasy Matchmaking #1

As we know, crossover fights, inter-weight class fights and fights including retired fighters are not a thing at the highest level of MMA. It is so frustrating because some of the best match-ups out there may never happen as a result of this. We play with some fantasy matchmaking for the first time in a series, looking at some fights that would have fans salivating.

Tony Ferguson vs Max Holloway

I’m tired just thinking about this one. Two guys who both have insane cardio and a high striking output, Tony Ferguson and Max Holloway would be sure to put on a show. This fight looked as if it was a possibility at one point when Holloway moved up to lightweight. Unfortunately, he lost his lone lightweight fight and moved back down to 145 lbs.

With a combined record of 46-8, including 32 finishes, these two would be guaranteed to entertain. Cardio has never been an issue for either man, which means we would potentially see a 25-minute war. Also, both men appear to get stronger as the fight goes on, which would leave fans on the edge of their seats for the entire fight.

Will these two ever face off? Possibly down the line if Holloway moves up in weight. With Ferguson at 36 however, time could be running out on seeing this one, so if it doesn’t happen soon, we may have to wave goodbye to the potential.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Georges St Pierre

Again, this match-up has been rumoured multiple times over the past few years but is yet to have any real heat to it. It sells itself, making it fairly easy matchmaking for the UFC. Lightweight champion and undefeated 28-0 wrecking machine Khabib Nurmagoemedov is yet to even struggle inside the octagon. Finishing 18 of his 28 opponents, Nurmagomedov is a puzzle that is yet to be solved in the UFC. Former two-weight world champion, Georges St Pierre is also a difficult puzzle to solve. At 26-2, with his two losses both being avenged in dominant fashion, St Pierre is often in the ‘GOAT‘ conversation.

We know what Nurmagomedov wants to do. Get his opponents down and maul them to either a TKO victory or into a submission. Although we know this, no one has been able to stop it… yet. St Pierre is a much more polished striker than Nurmagomedov. He also has phenomenal wrestling, having dominated the majority of his opponents in this realm throughout his career. A black-belt in BJJ, St Pierre knows how to handle himself on the ground. Also, having worked with the BJJ wizard John Danaher in recent years, he could provide ‘The Eagle’ problems on the floor.

Will this fight ever happen? Who knows. Khabib has asked for the fight but to no avail. At 38, St Pierre is technically retired but that hasn’t stopped him in the past. This is a fight that could easily take place at 165lbs to open up the new division. We’ll have to wait and see if there is any chance of this one happening in the future.

Douglas Lima vs Edson Barboza

This is the first inter-promotion fight on our fantasy matchmaking series. Will this fight ever happen? Honestly, no it won’t. There is no chance this fight ever comes to fruition, however, what a fight it could be.

Bellator welterweight champion (and arguably the Bellator GOAT), Douglas Lima is one of the most underrated guys in the entire sport. With a record of 32-7, having avenged his two most recent losses, ‘The Phenom’ is a problem. Lima is set to face Gegard Mousasi for the Bellator middleweight title, showing just how much faith Bellator have in him as a star. He has some of the most brutal leg kicks the game has ever seen, debilitating Rory MacDonald when they first fought. The Bellator welterweight champion has legit knockout power as well as a slick ground game, finishing 26 of his professional wins. He also ended the Michael Page hype train with a savage knockout in May of last year.

Edson Barboza is a veteran of the game. With 28 professional fights, most inside the UFC, the Brazilian has been a human highlight reel. Whether it’s his spinning heel-kick knockout of Terry Etim, his flying knee knockout of Benil Dariush or his three wins via leg kicks, Barboza never fails to entertain. Rumours of him moving down to featherweight recently circulated and if he can make the weight, he’ll be a problem at 145lbs.

These two men would put on a leg kicking, striking, well-rounded masterclass for as long as it lasts. I can’t see this one going the distance. Unfortunately, this one will never actually happen… but just imagine the violence if it did!

Keep it locked to MMASucka for more of the Fantasy Matchmaking series in upcoming weeks!

Share this article

Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

Leave a comment