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View Poll Results: The best?
Matt Hughes 1 2.70%
Chuck Liddel 2 5.41%
Dan Henderson 21 56.76%
Randy Couture 3 8.11%
B.J. Penn 7 18.92%
Tito Ortiz 2 5.41%
Quinton Jackson 1 2.70%
Frank Shamrock 0 0%
John Fitch 0 0%
Rashad Evans 0 0%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-28-2011, 03:13 PM   #1
Stoo
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Default The Top American MMA Fighters of All-Time

This is an article from Bloody Elbow, but who would you voted the best of all time and why?
1. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (45- - Hughes, in my mind, is the obvious number one. Nine UFC title victories over two, long title reigns. Though losing both trilogies, he has victories over both B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre. His losses to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] are eyebrow-raisers, but the dominance more than makes up for it, and he had his own little Randy Couture moment when he submitted [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] at UFC 117. Hughes may no longer rightfully be the "Greatest Welterweight in UFC History" (GSP pretty much locked that title down when he started lapping the field at 170), but in my eyes, he's the greatest MMA fighter America has produced to date.

2. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (21- - Chuck was the last guy to defend the light heavyweight belt more than once. He held the belt for two years, and defended it four times after KOing Couture at UFC 52. In addition to his title reign, Chuck had two streaks of seven or more straight victories. He hit a sharp decline after losing the belt to Jackson at UFC 71, and a reduced Liddell still should have beaten [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] at UFC 76. In the middle of that decline, however, he looked like the Chuck of old in his legacy fight with [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], one of the more underrated fights in history.

3. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (28- - Like the two men before him, Henderson was a two-division champ, winning both the welter- and middleweight belts in Pride plus currently holding [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]'s light heavyweight strap. He also owns tournament title for UFC 17 and the 1999 Rings King of Kings. Henderson, in my mind, has only one questionable blemish -- his 2006 decision loss to Kazuo Misaki. His propensity for non-decisive decisions (he has eight non-unanimous decision wins) might give others pause as well. Otherwise you go through his losses -- the Nogueiras, Anderson Silva, Rampage -- and you see the biggest names in the sport. You'll find the same thing in his wins, though, including his huge legacy victory over [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

4. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (19-11) - The first two-division champ in UFC history. Nine victories in UFC title fights. Winner of the UFC 13 title tournament. Wins over Chuck Liddell, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. The only thing holding Couture back at the number four spot? Embarrassing losses to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], Mikhail Illoukhine, and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. Those losses are more palatable if Couture had a long run of dominance (see: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and Ryo Chonan/Daiju Takase, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], or the guy at the top of the list), but, like Penn, Couture never won more than four fights consecutively. Unlike Penn, Couture took a solid wrestling game and an average overall skill set and turned it into one of the better careers in the sport.

5. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (16-7-2) - Penn is the most talented fighter on the list, but his career has been plagued by issues with motivation, as evidenced by losses to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. Those losses aren't "bad," per se, but it's worth noting that Penn has never won more than four fights consecutively. What Penn has done, however, is win belts in two different divisions, including defending the lightweight strap three times after defeating [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] for the vacant title in 2008. At 32 years of age, Penn is still relatively young, and with under 30 professional bouts, he hasn't become "fight old" either, despite entering his 11th year in the sport.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Top American MMA Fighters of All-Time

6. Tito Ortiz (16-8-1) - Like Frank Shamrock, he was another guy with a dominant run as champ that doesn't look as good in retrospect. Unlike Shamrock, his career-defining win came at the start of that run -- a decision over Wanderlei Silva in 2000 -- rather than the end of it. Speaking of Shamrocks, though, nearly 20% of his wins came at the expense of Frank's brother, Ken.

7. Quinton Jackson (32- - Jackson never had an extended run with a major title, but he clobbered Chuck Liddell twice, most famously to win the UFC title in 2007. He also holds wins over Dan Henderson, Lyoto Machida, and Ricardo Arona. Defeating Wanderlei Silva in Pride would have moved him up a couple notches on my list.

8. Frank Shamrock (23-10-2) - Shamrock may have had the first truly great run as UFC champion, but that run (and his career as a whole) is really hurt by the quality of his opposition. I know the old timers will come down on me, but Kevin Jackson, Igor Zinoviev, Jeremy Horn, and John Lober do not look great in retrospect. Retiring in his prime doesn't help either. Still, he helped foster 205-lb. weight class, and his dramatic victory over Tito Ortiz is a defining moment in MMA.

8. Frank Shamrock (23-10-2) - Shamrock may have had the first truly great run as UFC champion, but that run (and his career as a whole) is really hurt by the quality of his opposition. I know the old timers will come down on me, but Kevin Jackson, Igor Zinoviev, Jeremy Horn, and John Lober do not look great in retrospect. Retiring in his prime doesn't help either. Still, he helped foster 205-lb. weight class, and his dramatic victory over Tito Ortiz is a defining moment in MMA.

9. Jon Fitch (23-3-1) - Had Georges St. Pierre never existed, we might be talking about Fitch as the greatest welterweight in MMA since Matt Hughes. Instead, Fitch will end up with the Charles Barkleys and Dan Marinos of the world -- talented, dominant athletes who never tasted championship gold. After starting his career 2-2, no one has defeated Fitch besides St. Pierre. Fitch is 33, but his grindy, deliberate style is perfectly suited for fighting into his late 30s.

10. Rashad Evans (15-1-1) - I've had a hard time with Evans. There's an argument that he doesn't deserve to be on the honorable mentions list. A 10-1-1 record in the UFC (soon to be 11-1-1?), including five victories over top ten fighters and a short stint with the UFC title, is hard for me to keep off. What really hurts Rashad is that he hasn't fought more than twice in a year since 2007, and that is very unlikely to change this year. That's four years in his prime wasted.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Top American MMA Fighters of All-Time

Honourable Mentions

* Brock Lesnar (5-2) - If we're speaking on total influence on the sport, Lesnar has a case to be placed in the top three, if not number one overall. (In the same vein, Bob Sapp might have an argument in the top ten.) But I'm looking at results and performance in the cage, and Lesnar just doesn't have the credentials to deserve that. That said, despite only seven fights in a three-year career, Lesnar has beaten a legitimate run of heavyweights including wins over three former UFC heavyweight title holders (including interim titles). To compete at that level without a period of seasoning is impressive.

* Dan Severn (99-18-7) - One of the pioneers of the sport, Severn probably doesn't get the respect he deserves due to his barnstorming on the regional circuit over the last decade. He made his debut all the way back at UFC 4, giving Royce Gracie a hard fifteen minutes in the finals before ultimately succumbing to a triangle choke. He won the UFC Superfight Championship belt (a precursor to the current heavyweight strap) in a rematch against Ken Shamrock. At 53 years old, he's still chasing that 100th victory.

* Ken Shamrock (28-15-2) - Like Severn, Shamrock probably deserves more respect than he gets, but that's what happens when you admit to using steroids and the tail end of your career is an unfortunate punchline. Still, Shamrock was the first UFC titleholder, which probably deserves mention on a list like this just for the historical impact. He also beat Bas Rutten, split with Severn, subbed Kimo, and took Royce Gracie to a draw before anyone else had escaped the Octagon with anything other than a loss (UFC 3 forfeiture aside).

* Rich Franklin (28-6, 1NC) - Franklin is a guy I liken to Harold Baines -- a very good fighter over an extended period of time (June marked his twelfth year in the sport), but one who never had that extended run of dominance or a collection of enough quality wins to really push him into elite territory. If there's ever an independent MMA Hall of Fame, the question "Is he better than Rich Franklin?" might provide a solid baseline for consideration. Franklin defeated Evan Tanner for the UFC middleweight title in 2005, and defended it twice before running into Anderson Silva. Since then he's largely been a .500 fighter, though his level of competition plays into that.

* Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) / Gray Maynard (10-0-1, 1 NC) - Edgar's only loss is to Maynard. Maynard's only blemishes are a draw to Edgar in their rematch and knocking himself into a no contest against Rob Emerson. Edgar's back-to-back victories over B.J. Penn are one of the most impressive and improbable feats of the last few years. The victor of their October rubber match makes a serious play at the top ten.

* Jon Jones (13-1) / Cain Velasquez (9-0) - Both guys, so long as they stay healthy, will end up on this list. I'm more worried about Cain following rotator cuff surgery. He's in the middle of his athletic prime, however, and as long as he recovers close to 100%, has a good 3-4 years of peak performance to enjoy. Jones is only 24 years old, and has already talked about moving up to heavyweight in the future (and a Velasquez/Jones heavyweight title fight is already tantalizing). Should his career play out as hot as it started, he will end up on top of this list.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Top American MMA Fighters of All-Time

Henderson. He has top-shelf wins in three divisions, has faced just about anybody who was somebody in two of them, and he held three major titles.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Top American MMA Fighters of All-Time

Skills wise Id vote Penn

Championship run tie between Hughes and Liddel, Matt probably edges it

But resume wise, Hendo is now the greatest, if you can see the distinction between the 3
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Top American MMA Fighters of All-Time

1. Chuck
2. Henderson
3. Penn
4. Couture
5. Hughes
6. Barnett
7. F Shamrock
8. Faber
9. Jones
10. Rampage/Edgar/Cruz/Franklin
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:12 PM   #7
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I do recognize the distinction and I concur on all of the above. If this question is referring to ATG-status which hinges on resume, however, I'll stick with Hendo.
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:21 PM   #8
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Im not going to make an argument against Hendo, but do you think the Shields, Silva and Page losses is a slight black mark, just interest to anyone's thought on this whilst the shine of the Fedor win is still bright. Devils advocate if you will

They were the 3 best in the division when he faced them. I guess his greatness is that he had the balls face them and be competitive (barring Jake) as opposed to Matt and Chuck who didnt move up, and of course BJ beat a prime Hughes. Moving up is generally a key to greatness
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Old 09-28-2011, 05:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Top American MMA Fighters of All-Time

dan henderson without question, imo best fighters from countries
1) russia - fedor
2) brazil - anderson
3) america - hendo
4) japan - kazushi sakuraba
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:08 PM   #10
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Just one choice? Then one has to go with Randy Couture or Dan Henderson.
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:12 PM   #11
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Its hilarious that a man with 5-2 gets a honorable mention.
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonBoxer View Post
Its hilarious that a man with 5-2 gets a honorable mention.
Bollocks to Brock fella

What are your thoughts on the no 1?
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarngold View Post
Just one choice? Then one has to go with Randy Couture or Dan Henderson.
Why Randy fella? Id have a hard time making a case for him being no 1 personally
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Stoo View Post
Bollocks to Brock fella

What are your thoughts on the no 1?
Stone Cold Steve Austin.
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by DonBoxer View Post
Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Hmmmm...
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