10. Randy Couture vs. Mirko Cro Cop
Randy Couture has had his fair share of desire to face competition not in the UFC. After winning the heavyweight title for the first time, he vacated it to go to Vale Tudo Japan. He unsuccessfully advocated for a fight with Wanderlei Silva (coming up later on this list), and he got into a dispute with the UFC when he tried to push for a fight with Fedor Emelianenko. But Couture nearly got the chance to face a legend in Mirko Filipovic (aka Mirko Cro Cop). After being a top superstar in PRIDE, including winning the 2006 Openweight Grand Prix, “Cro Cop” made his way to the UFC in 2007. At UFC 70, all Filipovic needed to do was defeat Gabriel Gonzaga, and he and Couture would meet in a heavyweight title showdown…but Gonzaga ended up pulling off one of the sport’s biggest upsets when he knocked out Filipovic. What could have been…?
9. Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg 2
Maybe one day, if Amanda Nunes leaves the UFC (unlikely) or Cristiane Justino (aka Cris Cyborg) and Dana White patch things up (even more unlikely), we’ll see this matchup. But right now, it appears this will just be a teased fight that leaves fans wondering what could’ve been. When they first met at UFC 232, Nunes stunned the world by dominating and dropping Justino in less than a minute to gain champ-champ status and the title of the undisputed most dangerous woman on the planet. For the time the fight did last, it was a firefight. Maybe Justino just had a bad night. Maybe she could have lasted longer. Maybe she could have won. But thanks to contract disputes and “he said, she said” style arguing between “Cyborg” and White, we’ll never know.
8. Jon Jones vs. Brock Lesnar
Some may forget that Daniel Cormier wasn’t the original one to call out a post-2016 Brock Lesnar to come back to the Octagon. In fact, it was Cormier’s archrival, Jon Jones. After Jones’ knockout of Cormier at UFC 214, and a perceived new leaf being turned, Jones told Lesnar, “If you want to know what it feels like to get your [expletive] kicked by a guy who is 40 pounds less than you, meet me in the Octagon.” It looked like we really could see this showdown between two of the UFC’s most historical stars — as well as Jones make an attempt at heavyweight. But things never came to fruition thanks to Jones failing yet another drug test and Lesnar electing to stick with WWE. Kurt Angle recently teased such a fight still happening to Ariel Helwani, but for a minute, let’s imagine Jones facing the Lesnar who was heavyweight champion between 2008 and 2010. Jones may be the more polished, solid, all-around fighter, but Lesnar is a monster powerhouse.
7. Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone
And we were supposedly so close to seeing this happen. After Donald Cerrone moved back to lightweight earlier this year with a win over Alexander Hernandez, he proclaimed he wanted to face Conor McGregor. The two teased the bout on social media, but plans fell through, and McGregor soon made his second-ever retirement tweet heard ’round the world. McGregor has since stated he will return to the Octagon, and McGregor vs. Cerrone sounds like a fight that would be good for the sport. Both men are two of the most popular and charismatic to step foot in the Octagon, and both don’t mind throwing down and laying it all out inside the cage. Heck, if Cerrone gets by Justin Gaethje later this month and the UFC opts to have Tony Ferguson face the winner of Khabib Nurmagmoedov vs. Dustin Poirier, then there’s another chance we could see this matchup.
6. Conor McGregor vs. Justin Gaethje
Now, let’s take that last idea and flip it a bit. Let’s say all of that listed still happens, but Justin Gaethje is able to defeat Donald Cerrone at the upcoming UFC Vancouver event. It still wouldn’t be a bad idea to see McGregor and Gaethje face off in the Octagon. And, according to McGregor in his recent long sitdown with Ariel Helwani, the idea of the Irish superstar vs. “The Highlight Reel” has been thrown around. Gaethje may not have McGregor or Cerrone’s star power and UFC experience, but he has certainly impressed since his 2017 Octagon debut. Gaethje has wrestling ability but hasn’t presented much of it in the UFC, opting to stand and trade with the likes of Michael Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier, James Vick and Edson Barboza. He’d certainly do the same against McGregor, and even if it costs him, it probably makes this a fight chock-full with excitement no matter how long it lasts.