Top Ten Favorite Fighters
First and foremost, I have to give it up for Chris Lytle. That man put a hell of an exclamation point at the end of a hell of a career. He was on my first draft of this list, but I thought it would be better to just show some respect for him and his great performances. Look at that shot he took from Paul Taylor. He WON that fight! Great chin, great heart, and skills that were on par with everyone he faced as well. He fought for the right reasons, and he retired for the right reasons. I really can’t say enough good things about him, so I’ll just move on.
Alright, I have to say that this list was much more difficult to compile in comparison to yesterday’s “most hated” list. I only hate so many fighters, so I knew most of them already. I love so many more, and it made it very difficult to pick just ten. I’m not going to make honorable mentions, because I’ll remember more later, kick myself, and edit this entry a million times, and it will never end. I will say that this is a mental list that is ever changing, with all of the new faces that pop up so frequently, so I can see myself doing this every month or two. Ok, here we go!
10 – Roger Gracie
I know he only has 4 professional fights, but his grappling is nothing short of amazing. He’s 65-7 in submission grappling tournaments (both gi and no gi), and he’s never been submitted. All four of his MMA victories are by submission, 3 by rear naked choke, and 1 by armbar. He has a big step up in competition next month, against “King” Muhammed Lawal. If he gets through that fight victorious, beware 205lb fighters, Roger is coming! I’d be willing to wager that Rickson has nightmares about Roger.
9 – Wanderlei Silva
You’re probably thinking that he’s on here for nostalgia reasons. If you are, guess what? You’re absolutely right. This guy has nothing left to prove, and should retire. He hasn’t officially hung up the gloves yet, and until he does, he’s on my list. Wanderlei has the ability to make any fight exciting. I’m looking at his record, and I can’t see one fight that I looked at beforehand thinking, “oh, that’s going to be a snoozer.”. I like to think that I give respect where it’s due, and if any active fighter deserves respect, it’s him. He’ll fight anyone, anytime, anywhere, by any rules. This guy was pit fighting in Brazil, headbutting people into oblivion, and he actually made a successful transition into organized MMA. How awesome is that? Meanwhile, Kimbo is still trying to find something that he’s good at, besides being a bodyguard for strippers.
8 – Jose Aldo
I really have Frank Mir to thank for this one. Before Aldo even set foot in the WEC cage, Mir said he would be a superstar, and he was right on the money. I listened to Mir and watched Jose closely, and I was extremely impressed. The way he handled Cub Swanson, Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, and Manny Gamburyan was nothing short of epic. The man was unstoppable, and I think he still is. He hasn’t lost under the Zuffa banner yet, and I’m a believer that the person to beat him isn’t in the UFC right now. Florian is next for him, and I really hope and believe that Kenny is in trouble. I don’t think it’s too unrealistic to think that Aldo vs. Edgar is in the future. There’s already rumors that Frankie will drop to 145lbs when his title run is up at 155. Be careful, Frankie. Aldo was off his game when he fought Mark Hominick, and look at his face after the bout.
7 – Miguel Torres
As tough as they come. I remember watching this guy choke out Chase Beebe with a modified guillotine, after tooling him on his feet, and thinking “Wow… he’s good.”, and I was right. He’s on a bit of a skid as of late, due to what I believe to be poor judging of the ground game, and his desire to fight to win instead of fighting to fight against Joseph Benevidez. He’s rededicated himself to the “full steam ahead” mentality, and I think he’s still going to be a star in the UFC. A very well rounded fighter who is classy outside of the cage, and a warrior inside of it.
6 – Dan Henderson
An Olympic wrestler goes to MMA, what do you think he does? Lay and pray, right? Wrong! Dan decided that he would rather stand and bang with people, and I’d say that he’s gotten pretty good at it. He’s only developed what many people consider to be the most lethal right hand in MMA, that’s all. The list of fighters that he’s defeated is pretty decent as well. Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, Big Nog, Carlos Newton, Babalu Sobral, Vitor Belfort, and Michael Bisping, no biggie. He also held both Pride welterweight and middleweight titles (middleweight and light heavyweight here) simultaneously. I’m sure that he was pissed that he didn’t get a chance to go to heavyweight for the triple crown. He’s currently the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion as well. Oh yeah, did I mention that he turns 41 on August 24th? Not too shabby.
5- Carlos Condit
Here’s an interesting statistic, Carlos is 27-5, a fantastic record. Of his 27 wins, 1 is by decision, and that was over Jake Ellenberger, who is a monster. Of his 26 stoppage victories, 13 are KO/TKO, and 13 are submission. So basically, if you get into a cage with Condit, there’s very little chance that you walk out without a concussion, or all of your limbs intact. Good luck! A product of my beloved WEC, this man is on a rampage to prove that he isn’t an inferior product. As a result, he’s demolished Dan Hardy and Dong Hyun Kim. BJ Penn is next, and man, that’s going to be an all out war. I can’t wait…
4 – Rich Franklin
Look up “class act” in the dictionary, and a picture of this guy is what should appear. I was lucky enough to meet “Ace” in person, having already been a fan to begin with, and my admiration only grew. He’s taken some beatings over the years, at the hands of some great fighters, but Rich keeps on plugging away. I don’t see him ever having UFC gold again, but I really don’t mind. He got his hands on the middleweight belt, before Anderson Silva stepped in and wiped out the entire division, and that’s good enough for me. This ranking is mainly because Rich is the kind of person that parents want their kids looking up to. The fact that he is a very good fighter is just a bonus.
3 – Joe Lauzon
This guy caught my eye immediately. How could he not? Nobody outside of of New England knew who he was, then he walks into the cage and KO’s Jens Pulver in what was supposed to be a nice easy “welcome back Jens” fight. And it’s not like Lauzon got lucky with a counter hook or anything. He brought the fight to Pulver. Joe comes to fight every time he sets foot in the cage. He wants that bonus money, and most of the time, he gets it out of pure aggression. His striking is improving, his takedowns are excellent, as are his submissions. Ever seen his ground and pound? He throws punches and elbows like a gorilla! I remember on The Ultimate Fighter when J-Lau was fighting Cole Miller I think. He got Cole to the ground, and threw the most fierce looking elbow I had ever seen. He missed Cole completely, and hit the mat. I swore that he broke his arm from the impact. Nope, he went on to win the fight. Win, lose, or draw, if you fight this guy, you’re going to walk out of the cage knowing you were in a fight. I was lucky enough to see him fight live in Tampa at UFC Fight Night Live, defeating Jeremy Stephens via armbar. The fact that Lauzon is a video game nerd, and was a computer programmer is an amusing fact. Also, check out his iPhone app, Android version is a possibility in the future.
2 – BJ Penn
I love everything about this guy. I love that he comes from a wealthy family, but fights anyway because he enjoys it. I love that he’s the first american to win a BJJ world championship. I love that he’s fought from 155-225lbs, even taking Machida to a decision. I love his standup, I love his ground game…. I’m just a fan. And his chin, Jesus can he take a punch. Only Nick Diaz has a better chin in my eyes, and even then it could be a toss-up. You wanna box with BJ? I’d be careful if I were you. You wanna go to the ground with BJ? You sure about that? The only tried and true method of beating this man is to get on top of him, and hold on for dear life. Edgar was fast enough to stay on his feet for the most part, but even then he was circling nonstop. If you stand in the pocket with Penn, there’s a good chance that you’re going to wake up with a flashlight shining in your eyes. If you let him get on top of you, it’s only a matter of time before he has your back and is choking the life out of you. People talk about his cardio and motivation, and they may be right for all I know. What I’m positive of is that this man has more raw talent than any fighter that I’ve ever seen.
1 – Georges St. Pierre
First the bad. GSP is one more boring fight away from dropping out of my top ten completely. He’s been fighting to win recently, and I’m getting fed up. That’s not what I look for in a fighter. If it was, I would have been a Tim Sylvia fan. I like the old GSP. The guy who was hungry for a title shot, so he tore through people like Karo Parisyan, Jay Hieron, Jason Miller, and Frank Trigg. I like the GSP who made then best welterweight ever, Matt Hughes, look like he didn’t even belong in the same organization as Georges. I like the GSP that was punching a hole into the head of my #2 favorite, BJ Penn. The GSP I love is the guy who hit Jon Fitch so hard that his snot ended up in the 3rd row. I loved GSP so much that I flew to Montreal to see him get his belt back from Matt Serra. I don’t regret that at all, I had a fantastic time. I don’t know who this guy that I’ve been watching lately, but I don’t like it.
The GSP I know has unworldly talent. He has the best wrestling in the game, along with the best top control and submission defense. His striking is very underrated, with his vast array of punches and kicks. His footwork is outstanding, jumping in and out of reach as he pleases. That’s the GSP I know and love. I really hope that Nick Diaz brings that man out to fight. If he does, I think Nick will really regret it. If GSP does what he’s been doing, who knows? He could end up on my other list….
As always, thanks for reading, guys. Comments are appreciated, and Jesus, someone click that “Like” button at least! Also, I’m looking for suggestions for the site. Top ten lists, new categories, whatever. You know how to get a hold of me in some form, or you wouldn’t be reading this, so please do so!