In October of 2018, the UFC and One Championship completed a trade that would historically change the landscape of MMA. Not only was it beneficial for Ben Askren and Demetrious Johnson, but the UFC generated a significant rise in popularity from Jorge Masvidal. Trades are almost unheard of in the sport of MMA. Whereas, in other professional sports it’s a common tactic that’s frequent. One of the reasons trades don’t happen often is the lack of legitimate competitors to the UFC and that makes the need to trade fighters trivial. When completing these hypothetical trades, we made it a priority for the deals to benefit both promotions. Champions were off-limits due to the minimal likelihood they would ever be moved. No promotor ever wants to have his belt go to a competitor. Just ask Vince McMahon his thoughts on that. Without further ado, here are 3 MMA trades MMASucka would like to see.
1. Bellator Receives Edson Barboza, UFC Receives Patrick Mix
Bellator has failed to make the bantamweight division a priority. The championship has been vacant, due to Kyoji Horiguchi suffering a torn ACL last November. He’s one of the very best in the world at 135lbs, however, he’s under contract with Rizin FF. Darrion Caldwell, the most recent Bellator champion, is participating with the featherweight grand prix. History has proved that this division under Bellator has not been as popular, this leaves one of the brightest prospects in the game without the push he deserves.
Patchy Mix has not lost an amateur or professional bout. He’s 26 years old and possesses a 13-0 record. Mix trains out of Jackson-Wink and his 66-second victory over fellow contender Ricky Bandejas put fight fans on notice. It’s a major disservice for someone with his talent to not even own a Wikipedia page. A trade to the UFC can help boost his stock and improve an already talent-rich division.
Edson Barboza was once considered one of the best strikers in MMA. His knockout over Terry Etim still resonates 8 years later. Barboza has fallen on hard times of late. Losing 5 out of his last 6 and jumping down to featherweight, he’s at a crossroads in his career. A fresh start in the Bellator lightweight division can give Barboza the resurgence he desperately needs. Potential matchups with Benson Henderson or Michael Chandler can give a spark to the division. Unable to reach the championship level in the UFC, Barboza would only be 2-3 fights away from achieving the opportunity.
2. One FC Receives Jussier Formiga, UFC Receives Garry Tonon
One FC’s flyweight division isn’t as popular as the UFC, but there is some elite talent there. Danny Kingad went to a decision with Mighty Mouse. Johnson was set to challenge for the championship against Adriano Moraes, who holds a 18-3 record. Jussier Formiga has lost 3 in a row and after his most recent loss, it’s time for a change. Adding a UFC veteran to the top of the division creates another contender for One FC.
Seeing Angela Lee or Timofey Nasyukhin in the UFC is a personal desire. However, neither would equate the value from a Formiga trade. Both are viewed highly inside the promotion. That brings us to someone who’d be more popular inside of the UFC, Garry Tonon. A renowned grappler, the 5-time Eddie Bravo Invitational winner would create some fantastic matchups. Dare I say it. Ryan Hall. Kron Gracie. Bryce Mitchell. Tonon is 5-0 in his MMA career with all of his victories coming by stoppage.
3. Bellator Receives Ricardo Lamas UFC Receives Fabian Edwards
The former featherweight title challenger, Ricardo Lamas has lost 3 of his last 4 UFC bouts. He’s 38 years old and another title run seems improbable. The average age of the top 10 at featherweight in the UFC is 31. Giving Bellator a UFC veteran to go along with Patrico Freire, AJ McKee, and Darrion Caldwell could create a nice boost for the younger talent for Scott Coker.
Fabian Edwards is the younger brother of UFC Welterweight Leon Edwards. Don’t be mistaken though, he has made a name for himself inside of the Bellator middleweight division. Edwards is 9-0 as a professional and had a stellar 2019, going 4-0. Still 27 years old, Edwards has yet to enter his MMA prime. With the changing of the guard happening in the UFC middleweight division, another young contender can tap into the UK market.
There are a plethora of fighters that can be successful in the UFC from other promotions. As the ongoing battle for fighter pay continues, it’s a possibility that contracts become more like other sports. If that is the case, it’s likely that more trades would come about. It is still too early to tell if any changes are on the horizon. However, MMA trades would definitely garner an increase in popularity.
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