We can never know how a year will unfold. There are many outcomes which we could see take place, however the first half of 2011 is not too far down the road and we can start to see what fights will take place inside the UFC. I think things look good in the UFC for 2011 and there are at least 10 super fights that we can expect to see in the first half of the year.
10. Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz
I know it is pure speculation that this fight could happen, but the possibility is interesting. I am sure that the UFC would love this scenario. In order for this re-match to take place both Faber and Cruz would have to win their next fights. The bantamweight division’s excitement in many ways hinges on a Faber win. He realistically could be the champion in 2011. Also, a fight with Miguel Torres is possible. A couple potential exciting fights that would really jump start the lighter weight classes in the UFC, but again Faber has to get through Mizugaki first.
9. Carlos Condit vs. Chris Lytle
This fight appears likely to go down in the “land down under” at the end of February. This fight will have huge implications for the UFC’s welterweight division. Both Lytle and Condit have been impressive lately. With their respective styles this would be a safe bet for a fight of the year candidate.
8. Pettis/Henderson vs. Edgar/Maynard
Anthony Pettis and Ben Henderson are set to square off in the last WEC event in December with they winner assured a title shot against the winner of the Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard fight. Pettis cannot be overlooked in his fight against Henderson as he appears to be a potential star. In this mini four man tournament of sorts do not count WEC champ Ben Henderson out either as he could have the style to comepte with Maynard or Edgar. A good storyline behind this fight as well with the WEC champ fighting the UFC champ.
7. St. Pierre/Koscheck vs. Shields
You can never count out Koscheck, but it looks as though the UFc is hoping for St. Pierre vs. Shield in Toronto in April. Neither Shields or GSP have the most exciting styles, but fans have been screaming for this fight for years and many have felt that Shields is the guy to beat St. Pierre.
6. Jose Aldo vs. Josh Grispi
This is a fight that is set for January 1st. Aldo is the king of the featherweights right now, but I have long felt that Grispi was his greatest threat. I guess we will see. What a good kickoff to the year.
5. Rashad Evans vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
This fight isn’t set in stone, but it appear likely sometime in the first half of 2011. It is an interesting fight as Shogun appears to be back in top form following his win over Machida, but another knee surgery may set him back some and give Rashad Evans a chance to re-capture the UFC title. Will the UFC finally have a long time champion at 205 or will the carousel keep turning?
4. Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort
This fight appears set for February 5th’s Super Bowl card. Many don’t think Belfort deserves the fight, but circumstances were just right. Chael Sonnen was supposed to get an immediate re-match, but his failed ‘roids test pulled him out of the fight and Belfort was available. Deserving or not Belfort is an interesting fight for Silva. Belfort’s hand speed could be a problem. Could Belfort be the guy to dethrone the Spider?
3. Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader
This fight will also be featured on UFC 126 on Super Bowl weekend. The battle of up and coming contenders. It is a fight that I am excited to see, but kind of hoped it would be a title fight sometime further down the road. Jones and Bader have both had meteoric rises and both are hyped. Should be interesting if it indeed goes down.
2. Brock Lesnar’s Return
Who knows who or when, but Brock’s return will be interesting. He is always a viewer draw and honestly he always has exciting fights. Will we see the completion of the trilogy with Frank Mir? Or will we see Lesnar face “Big Country” Roy Nelson. Both are exciting fights, but I prefer the Nelson fight myself.
1. Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos
This is for all the marbles. If Cain can get by Dos Santos he may hold the title for a long time. Dos Santos is a real threat. His hands are good. if he can keep the fight standing Cain could be in trouble. I cannot wait for this fight. March maybe?
Other things to watch for in 2011: The return of Wanderlei Silva possibly against Bisping. The return of Big Nog. Possible UFC signings. TUF 13. Will Jose Aldo fight at 155? Will we see GSP vs. Silva in 2011?