HYDEN’S TAKE: More and more big name hypothetical fights – how likely are they and should they happen at all?

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch columnist

Fabricio Werdum (photo credit Jason Silva © MMATorch)

There’s been a lot of potential fights being discussed here lately. They all have varying degrees of probability, ranging from inevitable to virtually impossible. UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor boxing Floyd Mayweather is inevitable at this point. There’s just too much money to be made for this to not happen. The only real question is when.

Then there’s a fight that shouldn’t happen, but sadly likely will, in Royce Gracie vs. Matt Hughes 2. Talk of this fight came out of nowhere, and I wish it would stay there because it’s not very interesting or exciting. However, Bellator likes running these kinds of fights, so I can easily see them pursuing this and making it the main event of some upcoming show.

Another hypothetical fight that’s bubbled to the surface in the past week is Luke Rockhold vs. Fabricio Werdum. There’s bad blood between the two from their Strikeforce days and it seems to have continued simmering over the years. Werdum said he celebrated with champagne when Rockhold was knocked out by UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping last year. That fight seems like it was five years ago, but it was actually only last June. Anyway, Rockhold didn’t care much for the diss by Werdum and says he wants to fight Werdum. This, despite there being an entire division (light heavyweight) separating the two. That’s workable, though whether the UFC would be interested in this fight is another matter.

I would be extremely interested in this fight, but I don’t think the UFC would be. Another problem would be that Rockhold is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy, a/k/a The Pullout Squad. Werdum has had injury issues of his own, but nothing compared to what Rockhold has. Still, I would really like to see this fight come together, but the likelihood of this happening is just north of 0.01%.

The weight difference is big, but it’s possible to come up with a solution. The injury bug is another possibility. However, the biggest reason this fight won’t come to pass, in my opinion, is that Werdum is close to a title shot. Granted, Werdum is in the most wide open division in MMA, where one big win gets people talking about you getting a title shot, but he also just recently was the UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Rockhold was recently the UFC Middleweight Champion, but he hasn’t fought since losing the title and Yoel Romero and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza both have much stronger cases for title shots than Rockhold does. Hell, if Gegard Mousasi beats Chris Weidman at UFC 210 next month, he would be in much better shape to get a title shot than Rockhold. Hell, if Weidman beats Mousasi, he’d have a stronger case for a title shot than Rockhold because he would at least have one win in the past year or so.

Of course, the UFC Middleweight Division is so bogged up that – insert disgusting joke here – and it can only clear up so much. Jacare fights Robert Whittaker next month at UFC on FOX 24, but the future for Romero is up in the air. Bisping has said that he plans on fighting Georges St. Pierre in July then fighting Romero six weeks after that. As much as I would love to see that happen, it doesn’t seem likely at all.

For one, you can’t expect to get through a title fight unscathed. Even if Bisping were to win against GSP, he could still easily break a hand or suffer some other sort of injury that forces a delay. Then, what if GSP wins? Is he going to be able to turn around and make another fight so quickly? It’s a real quagmire. So it makes sense for Rockhold to look elsewhere for a big fight. He’s not getting a title shot anytime soon, so why not?

I just wonder what other hypothetical fights will be brought up in the coming weeks? They were actually scheduled to fight last year before it fell apart, so maybe we can see Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock finally conclude their trilogy? Maybe Conor McGregor and Dana White can recreate Austin-McMahon for us? Maybe UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier would like to wrestle a bear?

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 107, plus the absurdity of Matt Hughes hinting at a return

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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