45. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Mark Coleman
Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the best masters of the ground the UFC has ever seen. He can use his judo and sambo to force opponents to the ground and then work them over with his great wrestling and submission work. So it’d be interesting to see Nurmagomedov face a prime Mark Coleman. Coleman — a two-time UFC tournament champion, the inaugural UFC heavyweight champion and the 2000 PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix champion — was a pioneer for wrestlers in the sport and the man behind “ground-and-pound.” Coleman might have a 50+-pound advantage in a showdown between these two, but the wrestling ability of both men and Nurmagomedov’s unrelenting pressure could make this an intriguing one.
44. Jon Jones vs. Chuck Liddell
With absolute domination over the UFC’s light heavyweight division for about a decade now, many consider Jon Jones to be perhaps the greatest fighter the UFC has ever had at 205 pounds. That sparks a myriad of options for dream opponents. More especially, it’d be fun to see how Jones would have done against some of the division’s best when the UFC was still expanding. In this case, it’s only natural (spoiler for later?) to see how a prime Jones and a prime Chuck Liddell would have played out. Liddell was one of the big stars that helped bring the UFC, and the sport of MMA, to new levels. And “Ice Man” was once arguably the face of 205, winning the title from Randy Couture at UFC 52 — at one point the highest-grossing UFC event ever — and successfully defended it four times. Liddell called out Jones last year, but Jones shrugged it off. To be fair, this matchup stinks for 2019…an early 2010s, pre-suspended Jones vs. an early-to-mid 2000s Liddell is another story.
43. Rashad Evans vs. Diego Sanchez
When discussing the greatest TUF winners of all time, four names from the earlier seasons of the show are often discussed — Diego Sanchez, Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Michael Bisping. Evans often gets the nod as the best thanks to his wins over Griffin and Bisping — the earlier of which won Evans the UFC light heavyweight championship — but we’ve never seen Evans face Sanchez. Despite winning TUF at middleweight, Sanchez competed no higher than that division and competing as low as featherweight. But if Evans and Sanchez ever squared off, would Evans make himself 3-0 in this group and solidify himself as TUF’s greatest champion?
42. Alexey Oleinik vs. Dan Severn
Dan Severn was one of the first pure, elite wrestlers to step foot inside the Octagon and he had plenty of success in the early days of the UFC. Severn won the UFC 5 and Ultimate Ultimate 1995 tournaments and was the first to win the UFC superfight championship before falling short to Mark Coleman in the fight to determine the inaugural UFC heavyweight champion. Competing for nearly 20 years, Severn won 101 of his 127 fights, with 60 of those victories coming by submission. Coincidentally, there is someone who is a 20-plus-year veteran with plenty of experience on the UFC roster — Alexey Oleinik. The Russian fighter is currently 57-13-1 and has been a submission machine, being the only UFC fighter to have finished a fight with an Ezekiel choke (twice). Oleinik vs. Severn would be quite the showdown of submission experts.
41. Henry Cejudo vs. Demetrious Johnson 3
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson easily finished Henry Cejudo when they first met at UFC 197, but it was also during a time where Johnson looked to be unbeatable. Since becoming inaugural flyweight champ at UFC 152, Johnson tore through the rest of the UFC’s 125-pound division. But when Johnson and Cejudo rematched at UFC 227, Cejudo took Johnson to the limit and edged him out in a close decision. A trilogy bout never took place, however, as Johnson was traded to ONE and Cejudo went on to stop TJ Dillashaw and Marlon Moraes, also claiming the bantamweight title in the process. And while Cejudo has had quite the rise as of late, Johnson’s long reign and his continued success at ONE (where flyweight is 135 — the same as bantamweight in the UFC) really makes a trilogy bout between the pair so desired by some.