Monday, May 23, 2011

FEATURE: The Five Greatest MMA Champions Of All-Time

MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer</B><BR><BR>

Throughout the short time that mixed martial arts has been recognized as a legitimate sport, we?ve seen many champions come and go; some more memorable than others; some one-shot wonders, and, here and there, a truly mesmerizing champ worthy of worlds acclaim.<BR><BR>

I could likely list a solid 20 good champions, but only a small handful have earned the right to make this list. So, rather than rant, I?ll get right down to the five greatest champions this sport has ever seen.<BR><BR>

<B>#5: Matt Hughes:</B><BR><BR>

Hughes wasn?t just known for frequent title defenses, he was known for the gruesome damage he fed any challenger to enter the cage with him. A potent mixture of elite wrestling and furious ground and pound often left his foes looking more like hamburger meat than human being. His slams are legendary, and his cardio ranks amongst the best in the business.<BR><BR>

His one true deficiency? Rudimentary striking.<BR><BR>

Had Hughes focused on his striking much earlier in his career, he may have held the title longer than was the case. A late career attempt to refine his striking did however pay off eventually, as he managed to badly hurt Renzo Gracie and Ricardo Almeida with his fists, post champion run of course.<BR><BR>

<B>#4: Chuck Liddell:</B><BR><BR>

Back when fighters had the notion to flop to their back and wait for the chance at securing a submission, Chuck was standing in the pocket, firing bombs and sending opponents to the hospital. Chuck carried that mentality as the sport evolved, and by the early 2000?s Liddell found foes willing to try their luck in a striking match with the mohawked madman; it rarely paid off, and Chuck more often than not saw his hand raised.<BR><BR>

By the time Liddell won the light heavyweight title in 2005, he?d made a name for himself as the hardest hitting 205 pound fighter in the world. He enjoyed one of the most impressive title runs in the history of the sport, and disposed of rivals Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture at the height of is success.<BR><BR>

Sadly father time caught up with Chuck early, and by 40 years old, Liddell?s ability to absorb punishment went AWOL. Fighters who 9arguably) weren?t fit to share the cage with the legend were knocking out ?The Iceman? unconscious.<BR><BR>

Liddell retired after being rendered unconscious three consecutive times.<BR><BR><!--more-break-->

<B>#3: Randy Couture:</B><BR><BR>

Few fighters manage to win titles in two different weight classes. Then again, few fighters can compete at an elite level once well beyond 45 years old. Obviously, Randy Couture is not your average man; he?s Captain America, dammit.<BR><BR>

Throughout Couture?s career he faced any and all put in front of him. Never one to turn down a fight, Randy battled Tim Sylvia, Pedro Rizzo, Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort and Tito Ortiz, all in winning affairs. Amazingly he fluctuated between light heavyweight and heavyweight seamlessly, and despite being an undersized heavyweight, it didn?t prevent him from capturing the title.<BR><BR>

After a devastating knockout loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 129, Couture finally hung the gloves up.<BR><BR>

<B>#2: Georges St. Pierre:</B><BR><BR>

?GSP? has been an absolute phenomenon, and in all honesty, may be the most athletic fighter to ever enter a cage. An unchallenged fight IQ and insanely diverse skill set separate Georges from nearly every other champion the sport has seen.<BR><BR>

Throughout Georges? nine year career he?s toppled every opponent he?s faced. From the legendary Matt Hughes to elite challengers in Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, Josh Koscheck and Jake Shields, St. Pierre has emerged successful time and again.<BR><BR>

Though St. Pierre suffered a hiccup at UFC 69, when he was stopped by Matt Serra, he?s been flawless since; he?s also avenged that loss, in brutal fashion.<BR><BR><!--more-break-->

<B>#1 Anderson Silva/Fedor Emelianenko:</B><BR><BR>

There?s no way I can call one of these two fighters better than the other.<BR><BR>

Emelianenko ruled the heavyweight division for nearly 10 years. He destroyed the likes of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Andrei Arlovski, Mark Coleman, Tim Sylvia, and Semmy Schilt, just to name a few. This man did not lose a fight for a staggering 28 bout stretch. If that?s not amazing, I don?t know what is.<BR><BR>

As for Anderson Silva, he is today?s real life action hero. Unorthodox maneuvers that most wouldn?t dare attempt often result in highlight reel finishes for Silva. He?s been so amazing that it seems every challenger to battle Silva has mentally lost the fight before even stepping into the cage. Legitimate contenders are becoming a genuine rarity.<BR><BR>

Silva hasn?t lost a bout in five years; he?s amassed an astonishing 13 straight victories under the UFC banner, and he?s battered all comers, fighting the distance only twice in those thirteen bouts.<BR><BR>

Amongst Silva?s recent victims are Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Forrest Griffin and Demian Maia. The only question left for Anderson is: will he get his super fight with welterweight king Georges St. Pierre?<BR><BR>


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