Re: The Top American MMA Fighters of All-Time
I think it has to go to Henderson. Not only has he done it in multiple weight classes, he has done it with a style that tends to not endear fighters of his extraordinary longevity. He may not always be the best fighter, but he's a guy who always has a shot to win because of the tools and background he has.
I think 2 needs to go to Hughes. He had and Penn had a great rivalry, but Penn fell off the planet while Hughes defended his title for years. That being said I think Penn was the better fighter when he was focused and in shape, but Hughes had what it took to be champ for quite a while.
Rampage is next for me. He has wins over Liddell who is a hometown boy who I'm a fan of. He's a lot like Henderson, and seemed to peak late.
Liddell- Guy was able to utilize a striking game against grapplers, great counter puncher and at his peak really understood distance control, how to stuff shots, and on the occasion he did find himself on the ground, was able to get back to his feet most of the time. He forced some of the greatest wrestlers in MMA to stand with him in a game and rule set that has a strong bias for wrestlers. In his prime he was known for a solid chin, but like all good things that aspect of his strengths faded and allowed far lesser fighters like Franklin to take advantage. Talk about a fighter who went out on his shield.
Penn- Super talented guy, probably the #1 guy if I were going to imagine him at his absolute prime peak. A focused, in shape, young, peak Penn is something that probably never existed because he was so talented he seemed to half ass his way through everything, but if there was a guy who had all the potential in the world it was a young B.J. Penn. BJJ skills out he ass, black belt in Judo, a natural at boxing, uncanny balance, flexibility with good striking power and an innate killer instinct. Guy was an absolute beast.