Let’s face it, many ring match games are either scripted or are simply bound by too many rules. Thankfully, there is Mix Martial Arts – a new sport that caters our hunger for truly compelling fights. Here are 10 of the most notable names in the game. Who do you think is the greatest among them?
Back in the in the early 90s when MMA was still a relatively unknown sport, there was Royce who ruled the octagon. During that time, matches were organized in such a manner that fighters would have to win 3 to 4 matches in one night. This guy was recorded to have displayed his stamina, tenacity and determination in such bouts. Employing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu often, many analysts and fans alike consider Gracie to be the virtual and the real king of mix martial arts.
Known by his moniker “The Spider”, he is a fighter who wasn’t contented with staying in the 185-pound weight class, reason that he moved on to the 205-pound category. In doing so, he defended his titles valiantly which led him into defending 9 titles in total around 2011. He had some narrow wins along his career, but that doesn’t mean he is an occasional lousy fighter, he’s just that good that the toughest fighters challenge him from time to time but still had a real hard time taking him down.
Georges St. Pierre
Not all real-world ring fighters get to appear in a movie and GSP, as he is often called, is one of the very few privileged ones to appear in a major Hollywood production. He appeared as a villain in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Although he turned out to be just an easy obstacle for the lead character, he is actually one of the hardest to beat in the octagon ring. He is known to be very strict in his own training regimen that he can often beat his opponents due to sheer athleticism alone. Add it up with his charisma and philosophy, it was perhaps the reason why he is one of the most recognizable faces in the ring and in media screens as well.
From the perspective of analysts and commentators, he is known as one of the fastest fighters in MMA. He is known for his ability to do a counter-attack while standing within the pocket. He is also recognized for his quick striking and elusive movement, in addition to his ability for landing fast punches and kicks to the head or body of an opponent, then quickly escape out of reach. He is also the only UFC fighter to record over 10 takedowns in three different fights. For these reasons, he is currently hailed as the newest and best star of MMA probably, even for the years to come.
His rise to prominence was known to have spurted since he won the Pride heavyweight championship against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, a Brazilian fighter, in 2003. Since then, he was unstoppable until his last match in the year 2006. Even after the organization in which he was a part of already got decommissioned, he was still a distinguished titleholder. Such was the reputation of this fighter who was dubbed as “The Last Emperor”, he was unbeatable, and by default, truly respectable.
He successfully defended his titles against fighters from other nationalities. This include both western and oriental bred fighters. This makes him capable of unleashing a variety of fighting styles, which is what MMA is all about anyway. He was recorded to have fought for sport and for revenge. Regardless of his motives, defeats and victories, Hughes will always be considered as one of the sport’s all-time legends.
Alexandre Franca Nogueira
For 6 years and 6 months, he held his championship title under Shooto – a feat which is known to be the longest title reign at that time (1999-2006) of any mix martial arts organization. He won the title in a match against Noboru Asahi and successfully went on to defend his status against the likes of Stephen Palling and Hiroyuki Abe. It was unfortunate that he was stripped off his title due to a knee injury because obviously, he couldn’t fight fairly anymore. Still, he is highly regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, had he been allowed to stay longer in the game.
While most fighters are known to carve their reputations on the ring alone, Tito Ortiz is also known for other stunts like wearing provocative apparel to spurn his opponents and having a relationship with a known pornstar. This doesn’t undermine his fighting capabilities though for he was also known to be a valiant fighter having fought against the very best in MMA, including The Iceman himself. He maybe better remembered as a controversial figure in his chosen sport, but it can’t be dissed that he is also one of the longest-reigning champions there ever was.
His first notable achievement was capturing the WEC featherweight championship in 2006. It was a victory over Cole Escovedo. He held the title for more than 2 years while maintaining his active champion status under the nickname, “The California Kid”. Like any other struggling fighters, he also had his share of defeats and disappointments. Nonetheless, he was still actively into the sport in the years that followed. He is not a big guy in a physical sense, but he is one of the biggest names in the history of MMA as well as that in combat sports.
Why he is nicknamed “The Iceman” is only partially due to his coolness as a pal and as a fighter. A bigger part of it is that he is the warrior that can make a fellow fighter cower in chilling fear due to his brutal strikes. At his peak from, he was highly capable of knocking out his opponents with his right-hand punches. His great footwork and balance is the very reason why it’s so difficult for an opponent to knock him off and pin him to the ground. It is due to this, that the name Chuck Liddell is one of the most feared competitors in the annals of MMA.
Who among them should be ranked as No. 1?