A Year Of Injury Leads to A Bright Future

Will anyone be able to solve the Anderson Silva riddle in 2013? (Photo by Sherdog.com)

Written by Chris Cox (@CoxFight), Contributing Writer

A Look Forward to MMA in 2013

2012 was not the easiest year in MMA for any brand.

The UFC was weathered by injury all throughout 2012. We got the tragic news of a whole event being cancelled because of an injury and a fighter not wanting to risk his own body on a new opponent on short notice. Did I like the canceled event? No. Did I understand where Jon “Bones” Jones was coming from? Yes. Injury can kill an organization in a night. Take a look at Elite XC. They put their whole future on Kimbo Slice and lined up a huge fight for him with Ken Shamrock. The next thing you know, they have to put in Seth Petruzelli and watch Kimbo, as well as the organization, go down with one punch. Of course we know that would be much more difficult to happen to the UFC with the amount of fighters they have, but it proves what an injury can do to an organization. The main point I want to try and make for this article is related to the future that we have to look forward to after recent injuries. 2013 will be considered the year of the Super Fight. The stars are aligning, and plans are coming together for many big matchups that you cannot sleep on, and they bring potential excitement to any and every division in my opinion.

Strikeforce is done. We have one last show, and the doors will be closed. That’s a whole set of fighters to be added to the UFC or take a spot in Bellator. Speaking of Bellator. Open up your eyes, fans. Bellator is legit and brings the action. This new deal with Spike TV is going to be a huge plus for MMA fans. There is a list of fighters in that organization that can walk right in and make some of your favorites wish they were back home in bed.

A list of great vets has recently come into the UFC as well. Key free agents could make some big moves and make a splash in any division. One I am following very closely is Eddie Alvarez. For hardcore MMA fans, Alvarez is a huge name in the lightweight division and a name many have wanted to see in the UFC for a while. Dominant performances in both Dream and Bellator have made him a huge name and a fantastic contender who could easily challenge for a title in the UFC.

With Strikeforce closing its doors, there is a list of fighters who are big names and can make a big impact in the UFC. Nate Marquardt is set to make his return. Daniel Cromier, Josh Barnett, Tyron Woodley, Gilbert Melendez, Gegard Mousassi, Luke Rockhold and many others could make an impression, too. They are all big names who can make an impact on any organization and can set up for many big fights.

What does any of this have to do with injury? The acquisition of such fighters is going to add such strength to cards that, when an injury does pop up, a card is not going to take as big of a hit. Yes, it is not going to be good when you lose out on title fights, but there will still be such chances of exciting fights from fighters of such high caliber. You won’t get that canceled card. Your list of fighters who will happily step up will be much longer. So, we have fighter moves that are not confirmed, but we can look forward to them.

What matches are going to make you drop 50 dollars on a PPV? These matches literally can be considered “Super Fights” due to the star power behind them and the excitement that will come with them. January is the first of them: Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar. Frankie is doing what I love in MMA. Moving weight. It is the best move you can make in your career. People can get bored of you when you stay and dominate one weight class. Edgar, who has dropped his past two fights in the lightweight division for the title, is taking a trip 10 pounds down to the featherweight class to take on a very dangerous Jose Aldo. Frankie has never been knocked out or submitted and beat up a legend in BJ Penn twice. Good wrestling and good boxing against lethal Muay Thai and a black belt in BJJ. Get stoked, ladies and gentleman, because the UFC is going start this year off right.

Right after that, you get to see the first ever UFC Women’s Championship. Women’s MMA fights are exciting, and Ronda Rousey brings fireworks to the cage. It is a huge step forward for MMA and even bigger step for the UFC and Dana White, who said a woman would never fight in his Octagon.

A fight that I am looking the most forward to is Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz. This fight was supposed to happen a year ago, but Diaz had the fight taken from him when he did not satisfy promotional obligations. After being sidelined due to a knee injury, Georges had a fantastic comeback and dominated Carlos Condit to defend his title in November. We all want GSP vs. Silva, but St. Pierre feels he has one last thing left to prove, which is to take Diaz out. There has been an obscene amount of trash talk for this fight, and there is going to be some bad blood in that Octagon.

The card I expect to be sold the best is Bones Jones vs. Chael Sonnen. Chael is a master of the microphone. He is a marketing master when it comes to selling himself for a fight. He used Twitter trash talk and got himself this fight without even winning one fight in the light heavy division. Bones is clearing out the weight class, so someone moving weight to fight him is fantastic. It brings excitement so you don’t have to hit the rematches in which you see fighters walking in and getting destroyed the same way they did last time. With a season of The Ultimate Fighter adding to it, you can bet that this could possibly line up to be the Fight of the Year.

The recent introduction of the flyweight division was a hit, and the first defense of the title of it is sure to be one as well. John Dodson vs. Demetrious Johnson, two fighters who are cardio machines with exciting striking skills, are going to make a statement for the little guys of the UFC.

All of this is just for the start of the year. We have no idea what is to come from the heavyweight division after the destruction of Junior Dos Santos by Cain Velasquez in December. Benson Henderson is in one of the most exciting divisions and has many fighters who want to step in that Octagon and make lightweight history by taking his belt. Middleweight champ Anderson Silva just signed a new 10-fight deal, so we have more domination to come from the Spider. If St. Pierre cruises through Diaz, we could see him as one of those 10 fights by Silva to help decide who really is the greatest fighter of all time. Say Bones delivers a stunning beating to Chael. He could easily be one of those 10 fights as well. Silva has wrecked the middleweight division, and now it’s time for the fights that make a man a legend.

So fear not, MMA fans. 2012 was a down year for some, but 2013 has the potential to catapult this sport further into the world and homes of everyone in it.



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