Since it’s Christmas Eve and there’s not a lot of news going on, I thought why not make a list of MMA-related things that I’d like to see next year.
These are in no particular order…
1. Randy Couture vs Fedor Emelianenko - I’m not the only one that wants to see this. EVERYONE wants to see this. It’d be the biggest fight ever. Since Fedor opted to sign with M-1 Global instead of the UFC, we are going to have to wait until at least October to learn whether or not Couture’s contract with the UFC is really finished or that’s he going to have to fight twice more in order to finally get out.
Hopefully what Couture says holds true. If not, Dana and company have to work out some kind of working partnership with M-1, at least for the sake of the fans if nothing else.
2. The return of Evan Tanner - Now that Tanner has officially signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC, it’s only a matter of time before he is finally set to step back into the Octagon. I’m not doubting that it’s going to happen by wishing for it. I just want to finally see it take place.
The guy has battled some personal demons over the past two years and I’m sure that the majority of MMA fans would like nothing more than to see Tanner achieve his dream of fighting again in the UFC. On top of that, Tanner says he has the goods to knock off Anderson Silva. Ask anyone to make a list of fighters that could beat Silva and you’ll see Tanner on there almost every time.
3. Floyd Mayweather in MMA - After months and months of putting MMA down and then deciding that he might want to try it, it’s time to put up or shut up for boxing’s best pound for pound fighter. If he fights under Mark Cuban’s HDNet Fights banner, money won’t even be an issue. If Mayweather does go into MMA, I think that he’ll try to spin it for all it’s worth. Based on the fact that he has zero experience, the athletic commission is going to force the matchmakers to put Floyd up against another fighter that has not fought professionally and has very little amateur experience, most likely a guy that Mayweather could knock out in the first round.
It’ll probably be an exhibition bout too. After that Mayweather will declare that boxing is superior to MMA and will never step into a cage again. Then a slew of professional MMA fighters will call him out and he’ll try to explain that he has no reason to go back and fight again in MMA. Still, it’ll definitely be fun to watch.
4. Josh Barnett and Takanori Gomi to sign somewhere - Ever since the demise of PRIDE, these two have been nowhere to be found. While Barnett kept some of the spotlight on him in 2007 with his war of words with Dana White and his submission grappling match a few days ago, he still hasn’t fought in an MMA bout since losing to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira nearly one year ago.
Gomi’s loss changed to a no contest against Nick Diaz was the former PRIDE Lightweight Champ’s only bout in ‘07. Since then, he’s been competely silent. These two are among the elite in their respective weight classes and aren’t getting any younger. It’s time to sign somewhere and get fighting again.
5. The UFC video game to come out in ‘08 - Yes, I know that it’s slated for a 2009 release but it could be finished early, right? It was UFC Throwdown’s release in 2002 that got me into the world of MMA. We haven’t had a new game since Sudden Impact in ‘04. The trailer for THQ’s new project looks amazing and I can’t wait. While I’m at it, Sam Caplan has a great article on UFC: Throwdown and what he hopes THQ will include in the new game coming out.