As of late boxing and mixed martial arts have given us the fights we wished to see.
Over the course of the past two years we were given the opportunities to watch Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin, Wladimir Klitschko vs. Anthony Joshua, Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic and the biggest fight in history with Floyd Mayweather taking on Conor McGregor. Other super-fights are also on the horizon with Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jedrzeczyk and Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes
Even though it happened years after their respective primes, our lifetime got to witness 'Money' Mayweather take on Manny Pacquiao in the highest-selling pay-per-view of all time.
Unfortunately, due to politics behind the scenes and father time, some fights are likely left behind for fans to debate and speculate on what would have happened. We look at our top five fights in mixed martial arts that had the chance to take place, but never materialized.
Kid Yamamoto vs. Urijah Faber
Prior to UFC integration in December 2010, it was up to the independent organizations to find out which fighters in the featherweight and bantamweight divisions were truly the best. Most talented fighters like B.J. Penn would often move up weight classes for opportunities to showcase their skills in the world's premiere organization.
In North America from 2001 to 2010, fighters who fell below the lightweight division had the chance to be showcased for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).
In an organization that featured current stars such as Anthony 'Showtime' Pettis, Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone, Dustin Poirier, Benson 'Smooth' Henderson, Dominick Cruz and Jose Aldo, the WEC knew they had their true start they can build around in 'The California Kid' Urijah Faber.
By far, Faber was the most recognizable face in the WEC and, after the acquisition of the company by Zuffa in 2006 and absortion of the divisions above lightweight into the UFC, became the face of the blue cage. Faber became North America's premiere featherweight winning the WEC featherweight title in 2006, defending it seven times, plus being featured in pound-for-pound charts.
Norifumi 'Kid' Yamamoto spent majority of his MMA career in Japan fighting for Shooto and K-1 Hero's. A natural bantamweight, Yamamoto would often only find opposition in higher weight classes, where he would be fighting up to 165 lbs for the first five years of his career. As of 2008, Yamamoto was 17-1 with one no contest to also land a spot on the world's MMA pound-for-pound list.
After defeating rival Cruz at WEC 26 in the first of their trilogy bouts, Faber turned to the camera during his post-fight interview to say, "Kid Yamamoto, what's up?"
Unfortunately, the bout would be unable to come to fruition at the time and Faber would lost his title in 2008. Yamamoto would suffer injuries throughout 2008 and woud lose in his return in a Dream event against Joe Warren in May 2009.
In 2011, Yamamoto signed with the UFC, putting the top featherweights from 2007 in the same organization. Unfavorably for the fans, Faber would continue to put himself in title contention, while Yamamoto would unable to find his footing in the UFC losing his bouts, eliminating the chance of Faber and Yamamoto to crossing paths.
In August 2018, Yamamoto revealed on Instagram that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Just over three weeks later, Yamamoto died from the disease.
Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre
Since 2008 and up to as late as 2012, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre were ranked number one and two in the pound-for-pound list for mixed martial arts (with occasional appearances from Fedor Emelianenko - More on him later).
'The Spider' made waves for the UFC immediately, destroying Chris Leben in his 2006 promotional debut, in what was an eliminator bout to see who would challenge for Rich Franklin's middleweight title. Silva would claim the title and defend it ten-consecutive times. In the process, Silva would fight three times as a light heavyweight, finishing each of his opponents. In this span, 'The Spider' defeated Chael Sonnen, Stephan Bonnar, Vitor Belfort, Demian Maia, Dan Henderson and Nate Marquardt.
The former welterweight kingpin St-Pierre has not lost a bout since 2007 when Matt Serra shocked the world. St-Pierre would get revenge on Serra a year later to take back his belt and go on defending the title nine-consecutive times, defeating the likes of Nick Diaz, Johny Hendricks, Carlos Condit, Jake Shields, B.J. Penn, Jon Fitch, Dan Hardy, Josh Koschek and Matt Hughes. St-Pierre would cap off this run by winning the UFC middleweight title over Michael Bisping; a fighter that defeated Silva, plus gaining a title that 'The Spider' once held.
Since 2008, the media would speculate when Silva would face St-Pierre. Dana White would even addressed the topic in multiple interviews. As late as 2018, Silva has maintained that he would still like a fight with 'Rush.'
St-Pierre revealed that after defeating Johny Hendricks and vacating his title that he was offered a bout with Silva. St-Pierre allegedly turned down the offer due to mentally burning out.
St-Pierre is currently sitting on the sidelines dealing with colitis after attempting to move up to the middleweight division, while Silva is waiting for his latest USADA suspension to be lifted in November.
Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko
At one time in 2008-09, there was a clothing company in the running to be one of the top mixed martial arts promotions worldwide.
Previous to Donald Trump's political run-ins, he had one working relationship with a Russian ongoing and that was with Fedor Emelinanenko.
Affliction was hosting mixed martial events in co-promotion with Adrenaline MMA and had contracted fighters such as Emelianenko, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Ben Rothwell, Josh Barnett, Mark Hominick and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
At Affliction's first event in July 2008, Emelianenko submitted Sylvia in thirty-six seconds to move his undefeated streak to twenty-six fights. After the fight, Randy Couture would enter the ring to challenge Emelianenko, which was accepted.
A year prior, Couture would cut ties with UFC due to a contract dispute. Couture would announce his retirement and leave the UFC. 'The Natural' would also point out the UFC's failure to sign number-one ranked heavyweight fighter Emelianenko to the UFC as a reason for leaving as well. Zuffa would counter saying they paid Couture what he was contracted and file a suit against Couture for breach of contract. Both sides settled in late 2008 when Couture re-signed with the UFC and go on to lose his UFC heavyweight title to Brock Lesnar.
For Emelianenko, Dana White was adamant on waiting for Affliction to fold before they pursued a contract like his.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar
Going almost chronologically with our previous entry, another contract dispute is what prevented a historical fight from ever happening.
Brock Lesnar would successfully defend his UFC heavyweight title against Frank Mir in the headlining bout at UFC 100, which would become the highest-selling UFC pay-per-view until being outsold by UFC 196 over six years later.
Affliction: Trilogy was scheduled for August 1, 2009, which was to be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko against former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett. Just 11 days out from the event, California State Athletic Commission announced they would not issue a fighter license for Barnett due to testing positive for anabolic steroids. Two days later, the promotion would announce they were folding.
With many high-profiled fighters becoming free agents, the promotions came calling, and the biggest showpiece was 'The Last Emperor.'
Allegedly, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta met up with Emelianenko's management team in Curacao to try and hammer out a deal which was reportedly worth as high as $30 million, a co-promotion with M-1 Global, and a fight against Lesnar. Reports surfaced that Emelianenko turned down the deal and would go on to sign with Strikeforce.
Lesnar would go on to defeat Shane Carwin, then lose the title to Cain Velasquez. Lesnar would step away from the sport after losing to Alistair Overeem in December 2011.
Emelianenko would go 1-3 in Strikeforce, losing his 28-fight unbeaten streak, before retiring in 2012 after winning his last three fights.
White would reportedly attempt to make the matchup in 2012, but both fighters, at the time, were happily retired. Since then, both fighters have returned to competition with Lesnar in the UFC, possibly challenging for a title, while Emelianenko came back to rival promotion Bellator.
Cain Velasquez vs. Daniel Cormier
Guaranteed this fight has happened many times at San Jose's American Kickboxing Academy.
Velasquez was a former collegiate wrestler for Arizona State University and was teammates with fighters Ryan Bader, John Moraga and C.B. Dollaway. Velasquez dominated the heavyweight division from 2009-2013, minus a since-avenged loss to Junior Dos Santos, winning the heavyweight title in 2010. Unfortunately, injuries have prevented Velasquez from being active, which may hurt the profile of how dominant a champion the Mexican-American really is.
Velasquez's teammate and AKA team captain Daniel Cormier was a standout wrestler for Oklahoma State University. Other wrestlers who competed for OSU include Mark Munoz, Jake Rosholt, Muhammad Lawal and Johny Hendricks. Cormier would enter the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2011, and his career trajectory was skyward.
After Strikeforce was absorbed into the UFC, Cormier elected to move down to the light heavyweight division to not interfere with the title run of his teammate. Cormier would claim gold, the UFC light heavyweight title" at UFC 187 in 2015.
Shortly after, Velasquez would lose his title to Fabricio Werdum, and would become inactive due to injuries, fighting once since 2016.
Cormier would go on to dominate his division and get the opportunity to become two-division champion, earning a heavyweight title shot in July 2018 against Stipe Miocic. Cormier would win the title, and be set up to defend his belt against Derrick Lewis.
A fight between Velasquez and Cormier was teased for quite a few years, as Cormier was working his way up the heavyweight ranks just after debuting for the promotion in 2015, while Velasquez was at the top of the division.
On multiple occasions Cormier has stated that he would 'never' fight Velasquez, an sentiment echoed by the ASU-graduate.
We can only hope.