Underground Blogger Jack Brown is "The Part-Time Martial Artist," offering a full-time fan's perspective on UFC and major MMA news, developments, or hypotheticals. He earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do a decade ago from Joe Rogan's teenage alma mater Jae H. Kim in Boston, and currently trains at Lauzon MMA.
In this blog, he lays out a potential return of the Ultimate Ultimate.
UFC Ultimate Ultimate 2013 at the Boston Garden
In 1995, the UFC held the first Ultimate Ultimate event in between UFC 7 and UFC 8. Then, in 1996, the UFC held the second Ultimate Ultimate event in between UFC 11 and UFC 12. Both Ultimate Ultimate events were unique in that they included eight-man tournaments made up of former UFC tournament champions or runners-up. While the days of one-night tournaments in the UFC are long gone, the next Ultimate Ultimate event could feature a main card composed solely of former champions from Zuffa owned or acquired promotions (UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, PRIDE). I believe that an all former champions vs. champions card should be unique enough to earn the Ultimate Ultimate title. Obviously things change quickly in the UFC, but at the moment that I’m writing this, the following card, a pay-per-view to be held some time in 2013 at the Boston Garden, would be the way that I’d like to design the UFC’s third ever Ultimate Ultimate event.
The Prelims I:
For this event I’d like to have two rounds of prelims. The first round would feature four or five Boston-area, former and current UFC fighters against other current UFC fighters. This would offer the Boston fans a chance to root for their own and to fill the Garden before the former champions start to throw down.
Chuck O’Neil vs. Besam Yousef
Dan Lauzon vs. Yoislandy Izquierdo
John Howard vs. Papy Abedi
Josh Grispi vs. Jonathan Brookins
Tom Lawlor vs. Constantinos Philippou
The Prelims II:
The second round of prelims would feature two or three former champions fights. These need to be scheduled for the preliminary card just in case any of the main card fights should fall out due to injury or other complications. If that were to happen, one or more of these fights would move up to the main card and a local fighter’s fight would move up to this round.
Jamie Varner vs. Josh Thomson – Varner is a former WEC lightweight champ. He is 1-1 since returning to the UFC and his last fight was a loss to Joe Lauzon. Thomson is a former Strikeforce lightweight champ. His last fight was a loss to current Strikeforce lightweight champ, Gilbert Melendez. I’m not certain that Thomson would be able to fight in the UFC given the deal that Zuffa has with Strikeforce and Showtime. However, this matchup, if possible, would feature two popular veterans who have yet to contend in the UFC.
Chris Leben vs. Cung Le – Leben is a former WEC middleweight champ. He is coming off a year-long suspension after losing to Mark Munoz last November. Le is a former Strikeforce middleweight champ. He is 1-1 since entering the UFC and his last fight was a win over Patrick Cote. Both fighters are very popular and have superior striking skills. This matchup would normally be worthy of a main card spot and would make a great replacement fight should any of the fighters on the main card fall out.
Sean Sherk vs. Clay Guida – Sherk is a former UFC lightweight champ. He has not fought since a controversial split decision win over Evan Dunham two years ago. He remains on the active roster for the UFC, and in recent interviews Sherk has continued to express an interest in fighting again soon. Guida is a former Strikeforce lightweight champ. He had won four fights in a row before back-to-back losses to Benson Henderson and Gray Maynard. Both fighters are known for their conditioning and the pace that they set in a fight. This matchup would also normally be worthy of a main card spot and could even have headlined a FUEL or FX card.
The Main Card
Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir – Barnett is a former UFC heavyweight champ. He has not fought in the UFC since UFC 36 in 2002, but he only has one fight left on his contract with Strikeforce. His last fight was a loss in the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix final to Daniel Cormier. Mir is also a former UFC heavyweight champ. His last fight was a loss to current UFC heavyweight champ, Junior Dos Santos. Both fighters are long-time veterans of the sport who are considered among the most dangerous heavyweights on the ground. This fight should be fascinating and very technical. It could really be placed anywhere on the main card, but I like it for the opener.
Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra – Hughes is a former UFC welterweight champ. The UFC hall of fame inductee has not fought since losing to Josh Koscheck a year ago, but he has not yet retired. Serra is also a former UFC welterweight champ. He has not fought since losing to Chris Lytle two years ago, but he has not yet retired either. This would be a rematch for the two Matts, who fought once before at UFC 98 back in 2009. Hughes won that fight by decision, but these fighters still seem like they have a score to settle. It would be a great last fight for both of them, and it easily could have been the co-main event on a lesser card.
Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva – Silva is a former PRIDE middleweight champ. He is 3-5 since returning to the UFC and his last fight was a loss to Rich Franklin. Belfort is a former UFC light heavyweight champ. He is 3-1 since returning to the UFC and his last fight was a win over Anthony Johnson. Obviously this matchup would only make sense if Belfort loses to Jon Jones at the upcoming UFC 152. Since that is the likely outcome (an upset would be welcome though), a rematch between these two legends would then make sense. Belfort finished Silva quickly in their first fight at UFC Brazil in 1998, but they were supposed to have a rematch last June at UFC 147 after coaching against each other on TUF: Brazil. Belfort was injured and that fight never happened, making this card the perfect place for it to be rescheduled.
Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin – Jackson is a former PRIDE middleweight champ and a former UFC light heavyweight champ. Jackson is 7-4 since entering the UFC, but his last fight was a loss to Ryan Bader. Griffin is a former UFC light heavyweight champ. He is coming off a recent victory over Tito Ortiz and he is scheduled to be welcoming Chael Sonnen to light heavyweight in December. These two first met when they fought for the title at UFC 86 in 2008. Griffin took the belt from Jackson by winning a unanimous decision. Though these two are both in the twilight of their careers, a rematch between two of the sport’s most unique characters and entertaining fighters would serve as a great co-main event.
Mauricio Rua vs. Lyoto Machida – Rua is a former UFC light heavyweight champ. He is 5-4 since entering the UFC, but he won his last fight against Brandon Vera. Machida is also a former UFC light heavyweight champ. He has only had three losses in the UFC and in his career overall. His last fight was a victory over Ryan Bader. This would be the third fight in a trilogy between these two former champions and current contenders. Machida won the first fight via unanimous decision at UFC 104, and then Rua won the rematch via knockout at UFC 113. Both fights were great stylistic matchups and a third fight is definitely called for. This would be the first time that they weren’t fighting each other for the belt, but perhaps this headliner could be for a number one contender spot.
Get at me with your comments and complaints on Twitter – @jackjohnbrown
Related MMA gear from the UG Store