Looking at potential match-ups from a marketing perspective, Fedor vs. Former UFC Champion X would probably make good business sense for Affliction, at least until he’s cleaned them all out. Here is a list of the current or former UFC heavyweight champions already defeated by Fedor, edited from Wikipedia.

Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location
Win Flag of the United States SylviaTim Sylvia Submission (rear naked choke) Affliction: Banned 02008-07-19 19 July 2008 1 0:36 Flag of the United States Anaheim, California, United States
Win Flag of the United States Coleman 2Mark Coleman Submission (armbar) PRIDE 32: The Real Deal 02006-10-21 21 October 2006 2 1:15 Flag of the United States Las Vegas, United States
Win Flag of Brazil Nogueira 3Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Decision (unanimous) PRIDE Shockwave 2004 02004-12-31 31 December 2004 3 5:00 Flag of Japan Saitama, Japan
zNC Flag of Brazil Nogueira 2Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira No contest (accidental headbutt) PRIDE Final Conflict 2004 02004-08-15 15 August 2004 1 3:52 Flag of Japan Saitama, Japan
Win Flag of the United States RandlemanKevin Randleman Submission (kimura) PRIDE Critical Countdown 2004 02004-06-20 20 June 2004 1 1:33 Flag of Japan Saitama, Japan
Win Flag of the United States Coleman 1Mark Coleman Submission (armbar) PRIDE Total Elimination 2004 02004-04-25 25 April 2004 1 2:11 Flag of Japan Saitama, Japan
Win Flag of Brazil Nogueira 1Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Decision (unanimous) PRIDE 25: Body Blow 02003-03-16 16 March 2003 3 5:00 Flag of Japan Yokohama, Japan

Some of the former champions who could still face him are Arlovski, Barnett, Couture, Mir, and Ricco Rodriguez. Of course, Affliction already seems to plan for Fedor to fight Arlovski and Barnett. They’ve hinted at Fedor possibly fighting Couture. That would be quite a coup, especially if Fedor won all of those bouts. Add Mir or Rodriguez and they could promote Fedor as having beat 4 former UFC heavyweight champions under the Affliction banner, in addition to the 4 he previously defeated. Definitely good for the Affliction brand and for competition with the UFC. I’m sure that’s what Affliction executives have been thinking. Of course, it’d be even more awesome for the fans.

Looking at each one of these former champs:

  • Arlovski – reportedly fighting Fedor in October. His new style does not seem dynamic enough to pose much of a challenge for Fedor. It looks like he’d stand and try to box in classic boxing range like Nog did with Fedor when he was totally dominated.
  • Barnett – lost to Cro Cop 3 times and Big Nog once. Still, it seems he could get lucky and beat Fedor.
  • Couture – he’s just getting too old. By the time he might be cleared from legal issues, he’ll be close to 50 while Fedor would be mid-30’s. That just doesn’t seem fair, likely, or possible, as much as people on the internets may want it.
  • Mir – I like Mir a lot but he doesn’t seem like he could beat Fedor.
  • Rodriguez has beat Arlovski but lost to Big Nog, Tim Sylvia, and Pedro Rizzo. It seems unlikely he would ever fight or beat Fedor.

Some other contenders, assuming no contractual issues, might be Cheick Kongo, Gabriel Gonzaga, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem (current Strikeforce HW champ), er … Ben Rothwell (not likely after getting crushed by Arlovski), or Brock Lesnar (Fedor vs. some Giant is always good). Maybe some other super heavyweight pro wrestling cross-overs. Another Mark Hunt bout would be fun to watch as Hunt is so powerful. It’s actually hard to think of good match-ups for Fedor, good meaning people who have a higher probability of beating him than the other former champs and contenders have had. It’s easy to criticize Fedor for lacking “credible” competition when there are fewer great contenders in HW than in other divisions and when he’s so much more talented than every other fighter. Theoretically, Fedor could cut 25 lbs and fight some of the great talent in LHW, though it seems really unlikely he would do that. Of course some of those guys could move up for one-off bouts (though none of them would stand much chance of winning). Some people have posed the theoretical possibility Anderson Silva could move up to LHW while Fedor moved down. Right. Less likely to happen then Fedor-Couture. It doesn’t really matter in any case. With the media exposure following Affliction:Banned, new fans will watch him fight anyone with the same excitement and awe that old fans have done for a long time.