The trilogy in combat sports has been around almost as long as the sport has. From Shamrock/Funaki to Fisher/Stout, and the Liddell/Couture, and Tito/Forrest fights in between. Re-matches and trilogies can be a huge selling point, and a definitive answer to the question of fighter superiority.
Will Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez be the first UFC series to go five bouts?
Now, hear me out. Dana White has already confirmed that Dos Santos-Velasquez III will happen later this year, following emphatic victories for both men at UFC 160. This will be the third consecutive year we’ve seen the bout, with the series split at one as of now.
As many of you may have noticed, Heavyweights tend to reach their peak later in life than other fighters. Whether that is due to not having to cut weight, or some scientific reason that exceeds me as an analyst, Heavyweights tend to continue fighting at a high level in to their mid to late 30’s. Velasquez is 30, dos Santos 28, that’s a lot of fight left in these two guys.
There seems to be a clear separation between JDS, Cain and the rest of the division, with the exception of perhaps Daniel Cormier, and Josh Barnett, depending on how he performs in the UFC. Neither of these two juggernauts have the frame to drop to 205 pounds in the future, so their careers may be tied together for the next half-decade.
Now obviously, there will be other heavyweight contenders along the way. The aforementioned Cormier and Barnett are already qualified, as is Fabricio Werdum. After that, however, things get sketchy. There is always the prospect of Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones competing at heavyweight, but as of now, that isn’t a guarantee. With a close third battle, or perhaps even a Junior Dos Santos victory, who’s to say JDS and Cain won’t lock horns yet again?
Personally, I’m excited at the prospect of a 5-fight series between the two going down. I’ve mentioned it on twitter, and the thought has been met with overwhelmingly positive response from fellow MMA fans. What would be so wrong with an annual battle between two of the most talented heavyweights of all-time?
With the Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin, Andrei Arlovski, Fedor, and Frank Mir’s of the work seemingly retiring, regressing, or taking a step back, these two fighters are crucial to MMA’s most important division. In a heavyweight fight, there is a certain aura, a ‘big-fight feel’ to it that is almost unrivaled in combat sports, as evidenced by the tension in the dos Santos bout with Mark Hunt at UFC 160.
There are some things that could throw a wrench into this scenario. If Cain Velasquez handles Junior dos Santos in the same manner in which he did last December, I doubt fans, or either fighter would exactly be clamoring for fight number four. It would likely be dismissed as Cain being better, and Junior dos Santos correctly picking his spot in the first bout.
Granted, this is all fantasy booking, and way too far ahead. I am quick to criticize boxing for the constant re-matches, but that is because there are other options. Pacquiao-Marquez II shouldn’t have happened, regardless of outcome, because Pacquiao-Mayweather was the biggest, best fight that could be put on. I don’t see a bigger fight coming along for JDS and Cain. This rivalry will be amazing for their careers, and hopefully huge for the sport of MMA.
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