10 DREAM MMA matches that never happened

Epic MMA dream fights remains a part of the sport. Find out the biggest dream fights that did not materialize.


10 DREAM MMA matches that never happened

MMA dream fights that never happened (via MMA Fighting/Daily Star)

In MMA, fans and fighters often dream about never-mentioned fights. Many fights in MMA did not materialize due to various circumstances. These dream fights in MMA involved champions and legends of the game who were rivals, friends, and training partners.

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This list explores ten such dream fights in MMA that, for various reasons, never happened, leaving fans to wonder what could’ve happened. Some are obvious ones, but it still leaves a regretful memory for the MMA fans.

Related: Best Strikers in UFC history: Ten fighters with skillful mastery of stand up fighting

Honorable mentions for MMA dream fights that never happened

Many dream fights in MMA could not make it to the top 10 of the list. Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards had the backstory for a massive fight but the different career trajectories of the duo hindered the plan. Daniel Cormier and Brock Lesnar had a face-off inside the octagon, but did not materialize. The two fight agonizingly came close to making the list.

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MMA dream fights
Brock Lesnar, Daniel Cormier, and Cain Velasquez (Image via: Instagram)

A potential matchup between Michael Bisping and Yoel Romero also couldn’t make the list. So did the anticipated title unification matchup between Georges St-Pierre and Robert Whittaker. Daniel Cormier vs Cain Velasquez is another one that could not make the list. This is mainly due to Cormier’s already admitting the superiority of Velasquez.

10. Aljamain Sterling vs. Merab Dvalishvili

The UFC wanted to make the matchup between Aljamain Sterling and Merab Dvalishvili. However, the teammates were dead set on never fighting. UFC CEO Dana White publicly called them out multiple times. Before his loss to Sean O’Malley, Sterling and Dvalishvili had the longest win streaks in the division.

MMA dream fights
Aljamain Sterling and Merab Dvalishvili (Image via: Instagram)

Fans wanted to see the matchup very much, and so did the UFC. It was mainly due to the duo being training partners and their intriguing stylistic matchup. Sterling’s Jiu-Jitsu heavy grappling against Merab Dvalsihvili’s pressure fighting with wrestling and judo provided a delight. Unfortunately, the two are more than just friends and consider each other brothers. Moreover, Sterling moved up in weight and has no plans of moving down.

9. Jon Jones vs. Anthony Johnson

Jon Jones and Anthony Johnson were scheduled to fight at UFC 187 for the light heavyweight title. However, Jones’ trouble outside the octagon led the UFC to strip him. It paved the way for Johnson to fight Daniel Cormier for the vacant title, only to lose via submission.

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MMA dream fights
Jon Jones and Anthony Johnson (Image via: Instagram)

The late Johnson had phenomenal knockout power and was very dangerous in the first round of the fight. The UFC and the fight fans were hyped up for the fight to happen as Johnson threatened to end the long reign of Jones. At the time of his retirement from the UFC, he was the number-one ranked fighter in the division. Jones’ suspension from the UFC prevented the fight from ever happening.

8. Amanda Nunes vs. Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison was close to signing with the UFC, and a super fight with Amanda Nunes was in the works. However, Nunes lost the bantamweight title to Juliana Pena at UFC 269. Even though Nunes would reclaim the title at UFC 277, Harrison would lose her undefeated record in PFL, and the anticipation of the matchup dwindled.

MMA dream fights
Amanda Nunes and Kayla Harrison (Image via: Instagram)

Nunes was a dominant force in the UFC’s women’s divisions. There was nobody in the UFC to match the physicality of the champion. Harrison, a two-time Judo gold medalist, had the tools to stifle Nunes. Similar was the case for Harrison as PFL, where nobody could stop her aggressive grappling.

7. T.J. Dillashaw vs. Urijah Faber

T.J. Dillashaw and Urijah Faber had a student-master relationship at Team Alpha Male. However, Dillashaw left the team in 2014 and became bitter with Team Alpha Male. The duo never got to fight; Cody Garbrandt, another protege of Faber, fought Dillashaw and lost twice.

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MMA dream fights
Urijah Faber and TJ Dillashaw (Image via: Instagram)

Faber even called out Dillashaw after the Garbrandt loss but Dillashaw shrugged it off. Faber vs. Dillashaw had the potential to be a dramatic student vs master fight, but the difference in age and career trajectories made it difficult for the matchup to be made.

6. Jon Jones vs. Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar was the first superstar in the UFC. Already a big name in collegiate wrestling and WWE, Lesnar quickly became the heavyweight champion of the UFC. A matchup between Jones and Lesnar was in the works. Lesnar’s power and strength against Jones’s craftiness made sense for an exciting matchup.

MMA dream fights
Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones (Image via: Instagram)

Jones called out Lesnar after his victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 216. Unfortunately for the UFC, both Lesnar and Jones tested positive for banned substances, and their previous wins were changed to no contest. Lesnar would later go back to WWE, never to return.

5. Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre not fighting made no sense in hindsight. The duo dominated their respective divisions from 2006 to 2013. However, the two did not meet inside the octagon. According to St-Pierre, Rumors circulated about the two fighting, but this was not true.

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MMA dream fights
Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva (Image via: Instagram)

The two were pound-for-pound bests during their time along with Jon Jones. However, a fight did not materialize. The crafty striker in Silva against the wrestling-heavy St-Pierre would’ve produced one for the ages at the time.

4. Anderson Silva vs Jon Jones

Jon Jones became the youngest champion in the UFC when Anderson Silva was near the end of his prime. Silva had previously fought at light heavyweight during his middleweight reign but never fought Jones. The fight would’ve been of epic proportions if it had happened.

MMA dream fights
Jon Jones and Anderson Silva (Image via: Instagram)

Jones had a murderer’s row to take care of at light heavyweight, and the thought of Silva moving up never crossed his mind. Nevertheless, Silva has admitted that if they had fought, Jones would’ve prevailed. However, Jones struggled against tall and long fighters, and Silva was just that.

3.Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Georges St-Pierre

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Georges St-Pierre was the dream fight of the late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. He wanted his son to retire 30-0 with a win over the Canadian. However, his untimely death, coupled with Khabib’s retirement, halted the plan.

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MMA dream fights
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre (Image via Instagram)

The UFC was interested in it, and so was Khabib and GSP. However, Khabib could not agree on a fight above 155lbs. Negotiations could not further proceed as Khabib suddenly retired from the sport. The fight is touted by many fans and fighters alike as a missed opportunity for the UFC.

2. Brock Lesnar vs Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko is the only fighter to never fight in the UFC to have a claim to be the GOAT of the sport. The Russian heavyweight was a menace and demolished opponents in front of him. Unfortunately for the UFC, Emelianeko had a personal dislike for Dana White. White wanted a Fedor matching up against Brock Lesnar.

Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar (Image via: Instagram)

Emelianenko was offered a huge amount of money to fight Brock Lesnar in 2009, but the Russian’s idea of a co-promotion did not work with White. A Lesnar vs Emelianenko fight would’ve broken many records at the time. White tried again in 2012 but was unsuccessful.

1. Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov

Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov are still tied for the lightweight division’s longest win streak. At his peak, Ferguson was considered the guy to put a halt on Nurmagomedov’s undefeated record. They were matched five times, but the fight never happened.

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Nurmagomedov pulled out due to a rib injury in their first scheduled meeting at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale. Ferguson pulled out of UFC on Fox 19 due to lung issues, Nurmagomedov pulled out of UFC 209 due to Kidney failure, and Ferguson injured his knees and pulled out from UFC 223. Their fifth-scheduled meeting at UFC 249 was sure to see the two fight.

MMA dream fights
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson (Image via: Instagram)

Unfortunately, COVID-19 happened, and the fight was scrapped, with Justin Gaethje fighting Ferguson for an interim title due to travel restrictions hindering Nurmagomedov’s participation. Gaethje won the fight and put an end to a future fight between Ferguson and Khabib.

Sadly, Ferguson went on a losing streak, and Nurmagomedov retired in 2020. Still, to this day, the fight not happening hurts the MMA fans to the core.

FAQs

Who is the youngest UFC champion in history?

Jon Jones

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How many times were Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Fergusons scheduled to fight in the UFC?

5

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