Looking ahead to the new year, Cagewriter is turning it up to eleven. In no particular order, here are the 11 things MMA needs for 2011.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Alistair Overeem: Despite his loss to Fabricio Werdum, the negotiations just to get Fedor fighting in the U.S. again have been treacherous, and now it seems that he will fight Antonio Silva. Meanwhile, Overeem has kept busy making history in K-1. Strikeforce has two of the best heavyweights in the world on their roster. It should not be difficult to get them to fight.
Improved judging: How many fighters need to get screwed by judges before changes are made in MMA's judging system? As the sport continues to grow and improve, parity will follow and more fights will require a judges' call. These fighters deserve competent judges.
A challenge for Jose Aldo: The featherweight champ looked head and shoulders above Faber and Manny Gamburyan in 2010. As fun as it is to watch Aldo beat up on his opponents, someone who challenges him could be much more fun.
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber coaching on "The Ultimate Fighter": This match-up is full of win. Bantamweights Cruz and Faber are top-flight fighters, already dislike each other, and both come from camps that would provide excellent coaches and training partner cameos. Going with smaller fighters would not only invigorate the TUF franchise, it would also introduce a larger MMA audience to the WEC fighters joining the UFC.
Jason "Mayhem" Miller vs. Nick Diaz: Enough with the trash talk, the viral videos and the catchphrases. Strikeforce needs to make this fight happen.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva: The two have been at the top of pound-for-pound rankings for years, and are just one weight class apart. GSP has asked for time to put on weight to fight Silva, who walks around at more than 200 lbs. UFC, give him time, and then let's make this fight happen.
Legal MMA in New York: Seriously, Empire State. Get your act together and legalize MMA. It's ludicrous for a state with a rich history of boxing and wrestling not to allow mixed martial arts.
A rejuvenated Brock Lesnar: Losing his title to Cain Velasquez exposed Lesnar's distaste for getting punched in the face, a liability for someone whose job involves getting punched in the face. It will be fascinating to see how Lesnar reacts to being an underdog, and watching to see if he has the resolve to come back should be an interesting storyline.
More pre and post-fight shows: Here at Yahoo! Sports, there was a pre-fight show for UFC 121. ESPN's "MMA Live" did pre and post-fight shows for UFC 116 and 121, and Versus had shows for the final two WEC events. Every one of these shows added to the MMA viewing experience.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Eddie Alvarez: To compete with the UFC juggernaut, the smart thing for Strikeforce and Bellator would be to team up to make the best fights. This should start with a bout between their two lightweight champions. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney probably ended any hopes for this bout with overzealous negotiation tactics, but it still would be a fun fight for fans to watch.
More Pat Miletich on the microphone: The man is both a legendary coach and fighter, and now he uses his talents as a commentator for Strikeforce. Inexplicably, he isn't always included on their broadcast team. Please, give us more Pat.