Originally Posted by sugarngold
You pretty much summed it up. I would narrow it down to just four though:
Royce Gracie for introducing the world to Gracie Brazilian Jiujitsu.
Ken Shamrock for innovating "ground and pound" while Coleman was still hocking roids on the street corner.
Maurice Smith for bringing the first advanced kickboxing game to MMA supplemented by good jiujitsu defense.
Frank Shamrock for bringing it all full circle with good jiujitsu, good wrestling, good striking and excellent cardio.
Every fighter after these four is just a variation on what has already come before - IMHO.
I like this list, but I believe Severn earned a mention with his wrestling. Remember, because of the difficulty Rickson had in submitting Mark Schultz, Rorion refused to let wrestlers into the first few UFCs. Rorion wanted to be sure his brand had been made before taking a chance on watching Royce struggle with a wrestler. The strategy ultimately paid off, as the Severn win was probably Royce's best victory. Anyway, Severn went on to win the next event, and wrestling became a huge part of mma.