The Olympics are right around the corner and the world is waiting to see the debacle that is Rio go down. However, for MMA fans, there is a bit of a hole that is there during the Summer Games. While many of the disciplines that are practiced in MMA have their own events, such as Judo and boxing, there is no competition combining all of them. However, what if the Olympics did decide to add MMA to its ranks? Who would compete? Here is who I believe would make the cut if UFC fighters began competing in the Olympics.
Already called "The All American," Weidman would be a perfect fit for Team USA. Weidman's strong background in wrestling and near-perfect UFC record would be a great help while competing on the international scale. The former champion would be the clear team captain and has the energy to rally the troops in the face of adversity.
You can almost already hear the narrative that would be built surrounding "Wonderboy." A good southern boy who trains with his father that wants to bring the gold home for America. It practically writes itself. Not only that, but Thompson is one of the best fighters in the UFC and his ability to counterstrike and keep his opponent at range would make him a potential gold medalist.
Northcutt would be the fighter chosen in order to build the olympic campaign around. Tell me you couldn't see him in McDonalds commercials along Lolo Jones and Alex Morgan. Though he has still not fully proven himself as a fighter, he showed that on the biggest stages he will perform when he won at UFC 200. If this was a movie, he would be the young outsider with something to prove to the older vets and would somehow make a miraculous run to the final. Maybe he is the next karate kid.
Though there are plenty of great American female fighters, it would be best to go with someone who has Olympic experience. The bronze medal winner is also still one of the greatest female fighters ever. Though she may never return to the sport, her legacy still has her as one of the best UFC champions in history. Her effective Judo tosses would be too much for a vast majority of the field. Though you could make the argument for more fan friendly fighters like Miesha Tate, Holly Holm and Paige VanZant, Ronda would bring that grit that is necessary to win a world title.
Another fighter that has Olympic experience, DC would make sure that Team USA had some of the best grappling skills in the competition. Cormier would also have the swagger of being the UFC champion to carry him through his matches with confidence. He would be another family man that the US Olympic Committee could market well and get a lot of support from the American fan base, even if he doesn't get that love whenever he fights Jon Jones.
Head Coach: Dan Henderson
Who better to coach the team then a legend of the sport. Henderson has Olympic experience and has been in combat sports for most of his life. His background in wrestling and his devastating striking would be a perfect combination to teach these younger fighters a thing or two about winning.
One of the greatest champions in UFC history, Aldo would represent his country well. Outside of his lost last year to Conor McGregor, Aldo has been perfect for a decade. He would be team captain for the squad and would try to bring the host country the first gold medal in MMA.
Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino
Cyborg is the clear choice for which Brazilian woman should compete. She is often regarded as the best pound-for-pound female fighter in the world and has not lost a fight since her MMA debut in 2005. Also, by competing in the Olympics fighters could no longer avoid fighting her. They would be forced to compete or forfeit the fight. Cyborg would probably be the fighter that has the most to gain if MMA becomes an Olympic sport.
This former champion could definitely put in work in his home country. Not including his no contest, Barao once won 32 fights in a row across various MMA promotions. While he has struggled in recent years, the ability for him to move between weight classes would be extremely beneficial to Team Brazil.
Junior Dos Santos
Team Brazil is going to be stacked with champion-calibre fighters. JDS, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion, would bring a ton of size and power to the squad. JDS has some of the most memorable fights in UFC history, including his rivalry with Cain Velasquez. Still at the top of the division, Dos Santos would be an exciting fighter to watch in Rio.
Rounding out Team Brazil would be one of the most impressive middleweights in the world. Souza is an amazing grappler and might possibly be the best in the UFC. His ground game would carry him through various rounds of the competition, but his stand up is no joke either. He has never been submitted in his career and would hold an advantage in BJJ against nearly any opponent. He would definitely be the secret weapon for Team Brazil.
Head Coach: Anderson Silva
If you can have the GOAT train you, why wouldn't you? Another legend of the sport, Anderson Silva is one of the most decorated athletes in the history of MMA. Possessing the longest title defense streak in UFC history, Silva seemed untouchable until his loss to Weidman. This veteran would be a great mentor to the rest of Team Brazil and could easily lead them to a gold medal.
The best Canadian in MMA today, MacDonald easily locks up team captain for Canada. "The Red King" has long been at the top of one of the toughest divisions in the UFC and knows how to compete in wars. Though he is soft spoken, he has a lot of wisdom despite his young age. Also, with a new baby he would have plenty of motivation to try and pursue an Olympic medal.
If everyone fought like Bosse, MMA fans would never boo a fighter. Bosse just loves to get into the Octagon and throw down. There is no such thing as a ground game, only punches thrown. It would be interesting to see Bosse try and fight off all takedown attempts that are thrown his way so that he could strike with his opponent. This former hockey player only knows fighting, an Rio would just be another place for him to get into a brawl.
Theodorou has had one of the more impressive runs as of late for a TUF alum. After winning TUF Nations, Theodorou has compiled a 4-1 UFC record, only falling to veteran Thiago Santos. He is the former ECC middleweight champion and NAAFS middleweight champion, proving that when glory is on the line he knows how to rise to the occasion. Though he would be one of the younger competitors on this list, I have no doubt that he could at least hold his own with the top competition, if not pull off a couple upset victories.
This former title contender was the clear pick to represent Canadian women. She has shown that she has the ability to move between weight classes after her catchweight fight with Joanne Calderwood. Hopefully this time she has no problems with her fight gear that are distracting. She went five rounds with current UFC Strawweight Champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk and can strike with any 115 women on the planet.
Cote would bring some much needed veteran leadership to Team Canada. At 36, he would be the oldest fighter on Team Canada. Cote has had an interesting career, moving between the middleweight and welterweight division while competing at a high level at both. He was looking like his best self before running into the freight train that is Donald Cerrone, but it is nothing that he can't come back from. His experience in the Octagon would be much needed to help our neighbors to the north.
Head Coach: Georges St-Pierre
Objectively the greatest Canadian mixed martial artist, GSP would be the perfect pick to coach Team Canada. He has already transitioned into more of a coaching role since he began his Octagon hiatus in 2013, so he would be well prepared for the job. His ability to pick his opponents apart and pick his shots would help out all the fighters for Team Canada.
Team Great Britain
As the only UFC champion to hail from the United Kingdom, Bisping would definitely be the captain for Team Great Britain. The current Middleweight Champion has shown that he has a natural affinity for fighting and can hold his own with the best in the world. He has fought at the highest levels as both a light heavyweight and middleweight and is not afraid to fight any of the world's best fighters. He would be a great leader for Team GBR.
Another veteran that could bring a lot to the table, Hardy is one of the most accomplished British MMA fighters. He has won the CWFC welterweight title and fought GSP for the UFC welterweight title. Though he has not competed in four years, he is only 34 and could easily make a return to fight, especially if Olympic glory was on the line.
Calderwood has proven time and time again that she can compete with any woman that is put in front of her. Holding a professional record of 11-1, JoJo has fought effectively as both a strawweight and a flyweight. She is 3-1 in the UFC and has a Fight of the Night bonus under her belt. She would be stiff competition for any woman in Rio.
"The Real Deal" could live up to his name by making it on to Team GBR's roster. The second Brit to win TUF behind Bisping, Pearson already has 21 UFC fights to his name in his seven-year career. He is a constant fan favorite and is willing to fight anyone at anytime, as can be seen by him fighting Jorge Masvidal after only 22 days off. He would bring the grit factor that is needed for Team GBR and would be an inspiring person to have on the squad.
Though he was born in the United States, Manuwa is a citizen of the UK and would likely compete for Great Britain. He has a professional record of 15-2 and is 4-2 in the UFC. However, his two losses did come from some of the light heavyweight division's best fighters in Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson. He has devastating power with 13 of his wins coming by knockout and would be able to knock down any opponent he faced. His power would be a much welcomed addition to Team GBR.
Head Coach: Brad Pickett
Pickett has had a long, illustrious career in MMA and would be a great coach for Great Britain. Over his career he compiled a 25-11 record, including seven knockout wins and 10 wins by submission. He has competed in four different weight classes and would thus be able to translate his knowledge across the board to fighters of any weight class. He has been a part of 5 Fight of the Nights in the UFC and WEC and would prepare his team well to put on a show in Rio.