MMA started out as a battle of styles. Could a karate master beat a judo player? Could a kung fu fighter trash a street-hardened warrior? Could anyone beat a member of the Gracie family?
Eventually, athletes who combined the best of several disciplines began to emerge. These cross-trained fighters were able to utilize standup and grappling techniques, creating a very dangerous class of human being.
Most fighters, despite these varied skills, were still primarily either grapplers or strikers. They started in wrestling, jiu jitsu or kickboxing, and while they possessed skills in the other disciplines, they knew where their bread was buttered.
That meant, on occasion, a fight would be booked that matched one of the best grapplers with one of the best fighters. When that happened, intrigue was amped up and fans sat at the edge of their seats.
It was the best of both worlds: The great athletes of modern MMA combined with the battle of styles that made early UFC shows so compelling. And these were 10 of the very best—it's grappler versus striker as only Bleacher Report can do it.