#7. Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton Jackson
As you may be able to tell from my lengthy preamble today, I emanate from the world of professional wrestling. Sports entertainment. Whatever you want to call it. “Pretend fighting,” as one of the fighters mentioned at a recent press conference. But the bottom line is this — MMA, while a legitimate form of athletic competition, is also a pure form of entertainment.
Unless Conor McGregor could make 185 pounds, or even 205 pounds, depending on which weight class the West Linn gangster would fight if he were to strap on the fingerless MMA gloves once more, the most exciting match I can fathom, in terms of pure pre-fight entertainment, is one between Chael P. Sonnen and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
I think the press conferences, the media calls and the “Countdown” specials would be some of the best television in the history of MMA, in terms of pure entertainment value.
Another thing that is over looked when discussing “super fights” is how they would perform at the box office. If the recent Rampage vs. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal Bellator pay-per-view proved anything, it’s that a good, solid grudge match sells — period. And when you consider some of the subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle shots that Sonnen and Ranpage have taken at one-another over the years, just in passing, no-less, imagine if you will if the two were on a promotional campaign to build towards an eventual showdown in the eight-sided cage?
As far as the fight itself is concerned, it’s no secret that a Sonnen-Rampage bout wouldn’t rank among the top classic MMA matches of all-time, but again — to me — that’s only one aspect of the game.
Personally speaking, if you put Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton Jackson on a giant billboard with a date, location and venue written underneath it — you’d get my money, and on that night, my complete and total attention for the 15-to-25 minutes that the two share the ring.
#6. Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo
Here’s one that I believe I’m safe in assuming that even die-hard fans of the sport would consider a true “super fight.” It’s champion versus champion. It’s dynamic striker versus dynamic striker. It’s two world-class athletes competing to determine who the better man is on that evening.
Would this fight sell? That’s my only real question. Sure, with the “UFC promotional machine” behind it, Pettis’ undefinable charisma and the combined highlight reel of knockouts and impressive moments in fights that these two have garnered throughout their championship-caliber careers, it would certainly seem like an easy sell.
The problem is, sometimes that’s not enough.
Look how long it took before arguably the best fighter on planet Earth — Anderson “The Spider” Silva — was able to draw a considerable amount of buys on pay-per-view. It took the king-of-charisma, Chael Sonnen, to turn Silva into a draw at the box office by himself. Prior to the Sonnen wars, Silva’s numbers were respectable, but that was also during a boom period for the UFC where pretty much anything put on pay-per-view would draw solid numbers.
I love the style match-up between Pettis and Aldo. I love the idea of finding out who the superior champion is. It certainly has all the ingredients necessary to be considered by many, if not everyone, as a “super fight.” Hopefully one day we’ll get to see it happen.
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