Jose Aldo versus Conor McGregor may have marked the first time that the UFC spent millions (plural) on advertising for a fight that could never end up happening. However, there have been a number of big time contests, some scheduled, some scrapped due to injury like this one and some that the stars just never quite aligned for. Here’s a look at the first five that came to mind following last night’s bad news.
5. Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis
It’s true, Jose Aldo pulls out of title fights often. Whether he likes to pull out of insanely amazing and heavily promoted title fights is up for debate. However, back in the summer of 2013, it would be then lightweight champion Anthony Pettis who would pull out of a super fight against Aldo scheduled for UFC 163.
The following year, Aldo’s made his 6th succesful UFC title defense against Ricardo Lamas and he made it looks easy. Following their UFC 169 title bout, Aldo was considering moving up to 155 lbs to take on Pettis for the lightweight title. That would quickly become nothing more than just a dream for fight fans yet again when it was announced that “Showtime” would serve as coach opposite Gilbert Melendez on the 20th season of TUF.
UFC President Dana White also seemed to want Aldo to vacate his title to move up to lightweight and challenge Pettis instead of letting him become a defending two-division champion. This could’ve been another reason that the fight never became a reality.
4. Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko
One day we could actually do a whole list on Fedor fights that never came to fruition. For now, we’ll just take a look at this one – and maybe, just maybe another a little further down.
Before Couture lost his heavyweight title to Brock Lesnar back in the fall of 2008, it looked like a fight with Fedor would become a reality under the UFC banner. Instead, Fedor would go to Strikeforce after Affliction crumbled, largely due to Strikeforce President Scott Coker allowing M-1 Global to co-promote the shows he fought on when the UFC simply would not budge. With all of Couture’s issues with the UFC over the years, many folks figured it’d just be a matter of time before “The Natural” would join Fedor in Strikeforce. This is the closest the two men ever got to mixing it up.
3. Matt Hughes vs. Anderson Silva
A couple of years back, long time UFC welterweight king Matt Hughes shared his biggest regret with the boys at MMA Junkie Radio. Surprisingly, it was never being able to face the greatest striker of our time. Hughes wanted to move up to middleweight to “put the belts together,” during his UFC Hall of Fame career.
At UFC 36, just 4 months plus removed from his legendary KO slam of Carlos Newton, Hughes was supposed to fight a young Shooto champion by the name of Anderson Silva. Instead, Silva would go on to fight for PRIDE Fighting Championships; Hughes would stay at welterweight for the duration of his career where he would record 7 successful title defense. Silva didn’t become middleweight champion until late 2006 when he decimated Hughes’ friend Rich Franklin and just went on a lengthy middleweight title run, one that made him widely recognized as the greatest fighter of all-time. But was he?
2. Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre
For years, Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre ruled their respective divisions with an iron fist. With both men clearing out their divisions (it almost felt like GSP did it twice) there was seemingly only one fight left – a super fight to decide who was truly the G.O.A.T. of their era.
Following his victory over Carlos Condit in a title unification bout at UFC 154 in November of 2012, it was finally going to happen. Word around the campfire was that Anderson Silva would be cageside for the contest. Word even had it that the legendary “Spider” would enter the cage to challenge the welterweight king. The camera men cut to Silva multiple times during the fight giving fans the feel that we were in for something special. A “SuperFight” between the two men seemed to be a lock for 2013. While Silva respectfully declined to enter the cage following the bout, he did say he was ready to headline the first ever AT&T Stadium fight card to Dana White immediately following St. Pierre’s UD victory. It was widely reported that Silva planned on fighting two super fights before retiring and GSP was to be the first. Instead, he’d end up staying at 185 lbs where’d he’d make Chris Weidman a superstar.
1. Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko
Before Silva and St. Pierre were rumored to fight inside of Jerry World in Dallas for the biggest event in company history, there were two heavyweights that were set to meet in a colossal battle that had both UFC and WWE fans foaming at the mouth.
After Brock Lesnar bested Randy Couture to become a UFC champion after just 4 professional fights, Dana White remained obsessed with bringing Fedor over to face his heavyweight king.
We’d get another tease in 2012 when Lesnar and Fedor were again rumored to meet in Dallas. Negotiations reportedly went very well in Russia, where UFC Chairman/CEO Lorenzo Fertitta met with Fedor and his camp to discuss the Lesnar bout. Unfortunately, Fedor’s dad would pass away and the legendary Russian Sambo master lost all desire to fight.
In the end, Fedor would never fight in the “world-famous Octagon” and Brock would go back to the WWE to put the 1 in 21-1.
Pettis-Aldo photo credit – Alexandre Loureiro
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