Top 3 ‘What Ifs’ In MMA History

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The world of MMA is always full of ‘what ifs’ and more often than not, these potential outcomes could have changed the history of MMA today.

We take a look at the top 3 ‘what ifs’ in MMA history.

Top 3 ‘What Ifs’ In MMA History

Fedor Emelianenko Joins the UFC in 2007

Arguably the biggest ‘what if’ in MMA history is what would have happened if the legendary, Fedor Emelianeko had joined the UFC. We think if he’d have joined the UFC specifically in 2007, his career would have been enhanced, his legendary status would have no question marks and the outlook of the UFC’s heavyweight division could look very different today.

At the time, Fedor was enjoying a 23 fight winning run including wins over Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt and Mark Coleman.

The UFC champion at the turn of 2007 (when we think Fedor should have joined the UFC) was Tim Sylvia. With respect to the American, he would have no chance against a prime Fedor. The Russian was a killer, a man who could mix it with the best on the feet as well as within the wrestling realm.

Future fights with the legendary Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir could have gone down in history as some of the biggest fights in history.

It would also change the face of Bellator, as Fedor was a huge name for the promotion at a time where the promotion were putting on fights such as Kimbo Slice vs Dada 5000 a year before the Russian’s signing…

What could have been!

Zabit Magomedsharipov Didn’t Retire

It’s very rare that we have a prospect like Zabit Magomedsharipov and it’s almost more rare that we see them retire in their prime. However, that’s what we have with the Russian. Retiring from the game with a record of 18-1, Zabit could easily have mixed it with the best in the division.

His long, lanky frame for a featherweight saw him throw creative strikes and operate a slick ground game on his way to the top. He holds impressive wins over Jeremy Stephens and Calvin Kattar and was scheduled to face off against Yair Rodriguez in a fan favourite scrap, however, it wasn’t to be.

Last competing in November 2019, Zabit is unlikely to ever make a return to the UFC and add to his 6-0 promotional record, a shame to say the least.

Ben Askren and Demetrious Johnson Never Swapped Promotions

One of the biggest stories of 2018 saw ONE Championship’s undefeated welterweight champion, Ben Askren vacate the belt in order to join the UFC, with the dominant, legendary record holder, Demetrious Johnson going the other way.

Askren would go 1-2 in the UFC before retiring in 2019 and Johnson has gone 6-1 including a mixed rules bout against Rodtang.

Let’s play a hypothetical and say that the swap deal never occurred. Jorge Masvidal’s career revival benefitted massively from his emphatic flying knee knockout over Askren at UFC 239, breaking the UFC record for fastest knockout. None of that would have happened and consequently, we are unlikely to have ever gotten the BMF title bout (and therefore wouldn’t have been graced with that Max Holloway knockout at UFC 300). Askren would have likely retired undefeated were it not for the swap.

Johnson would have likely rematched Henry Cejudo after Triple C made it 1-1 between the two men at UFC 227. TJ Dillashaw may never have gotten the opportunity to drop down to 125lbs and feel the need to take EPO, continuing his bantamweight reign. Mighty Mouse also wouldn’t have had the opportunity to put on a great trilogy against Adriano Moraes.

We’ll never know what may have happened, but one thing is for sure, we wouldn’t have the BMF title!

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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.

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