The 10 Fighters Most Dedicated to Their Craft

Mark PareCorrespondent IISeptember 5, 2012

The 10 Fighters Most Dedicated to Their Craft

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    First of all, this article is most certainly going to stem controversy because there are a TON of men and women in this sport that are dedicated for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    There are some, though, that go above and beyond the call of duty to train themselves to be the best fighters they can be. It's not just about the time spent in the gym. It's putting that knowledge and power to work when it matters most and being successful at it.

    When you define dedication to something, we talk about consuming your life with it. Everything about you is this sport, all you think about is this sport, all you breathe is this sport.

    These 10 fighters have all these qualities listed above and in no particular order, here is the list.

Georges St. Pierre

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    This man is so dedicated to the sport of mixed martial arts, the only thing that stopped him was a torn ACL.

    Now that he is perfectly healthy, you can bet he went straight to the gym. Not just because he has a UFC Welterweight title defence, but because he missed training with a passion of a thousand suns.

    He's not only an elite fighter himself, but he is also a great ambassador for the sport. He travels all over the world to promote the sport, including the Philippines in 2010.  

    Just take a look at this video of how he trained for Jake Shields, just doing everything and working with everyone to perfect everything in his game.

    He has four black belts, including a third-degree black belt in Kyokushin kaikan, which is a type of stand up karate. As explained in the video, he used to be a novice on his feet with his striking and to work his way up to where he is now, he has made himself into a dangerous weapon.

Anderson Silva

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    Anderson Silva knew to be the best, he had to work hard and train all day, every day until he accomplished his goals.

    In his native Brazil, he has been training for this since age 12 with the help of his parents. Silva has come a long way from having his parents save up money for Tae Kwon Do lessons.

    With his dedication to his all-around game, Silva is the most feared striker in MMA. Accuracy, power and great head movement comes with a ton of practice and although he may have looked human against Chael Sonnen in their two wars, Silva is superhuman when it comes to his skill.

    Brazil is often referred to as the "Birthplace of MMA." It's also the birthplace of one of the most dedicated fighters in the game today and he is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today.

Chael Sonnen

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    As dedicated as Silva is to his all-around game and his Brazilian Jiu-jitsu background, Chael Sonnen is just as dedicated to his wrestling.

    The NCAA Division I All-American has been the closest to defeating the almost unstoppable Anderson Silva. Sonnen has shown unwillingness to give in and was dedicated to the act of getting into the Octagon again for another shot at the belt.

    Otherwise, he is still a dedicated fighter. His wrestling is top notch and has been the cornerstone of his game. His mouth writes cheques his body can cash and it is only a matter of time until he wins a UFC belt, whether it be at 185 or at 205.  He is a persistent one, that's for sure.

    When he isn't in the gym, he is on TV, using his talents in front of the camera to talk about the sport. This guy lives and breathes MMA and is deserving of a spot on this list.

    Just listen to him in the interview on the video and hear how passionate he was about saving UFC 151. Sure, it was a title shot that would've been his and a loss of an opportunity but the fact is, Sonnen cares about the rest of the guys on the card. That's dedication to a sport and to an organization.

Tito Ortiz

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    Tito Ortiz is a legend in the sport and although he has had his contractual issues with the UFC, he loves the sport of MMA and dominated the Light-heavyweight division for a record five title defences in a span of three and a half years.

    For 15 years, Ortiz spent his time fighting in the UFC and worked his way up to the UFC Hall of Fame. If being dedicated to something leads to anything, it's definitely a Hall of Fame of some sort and there are a couple other guys on this list that fit that category. But no other person was ever as polarizing, as brash, as successful at the time than the Huntington Beach Bad Boy.

    Just watch his induction to the UFC Hall of Fame and listen to everything he says and try to tell me otherwise.

Josh Koscheck

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    Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Koscheck is a dedicated fighter and he proves that to be evident when he shows he will step in at any time and fight anyone on short notice.

    He fought Thiago Alves at UFC 90 on two weeks notice and even after just recovering from a broken orbital bone, agreed to face Matt Hughes on nearly three weeks notice at UFC 135.

    Dedication isn't just about being reliable, it's also about picking your spots and even though he lost to Alves, he did wipe the floor with Hughes and took a knockout victory at the end of the first round of their bout.

    Koscheck came to the UFC through the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and has been in in the UFC since. He has worked and clawed and stepped in when needed and helped this sport in his own way, which I'm sure is appreciated by UFC brass.

Dan Henderson

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    Dan Henderson is the definition of dedication to a sport. He is in his 40's and still fights like he is in his 20's.

    Sure, his time is coming, but at this point, he is still training hard and putting in all of his efforts to be the best fighter in the world. A 29-8 record is a very good stat and he has beaten a ton of names in the sport.

    He will one day make the UFC Hall of Fame and if it is not for his PRIDE days, it should most certainly be for his epic clash with Mauricio Rua at UFC 139. The heart that Henderson showed in that contest after being beaten around for the first couple rounds and to come back and get the win, that is what makes guys immortal.

    The former Olympian never got out of combat sports for a second after starting at a young age.

Mark Hominick

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    Death is a hard thing to get past and the death of Shawn Tompkins was a shocking one to say the least. Tompkins was only 37 years old when he passed and the men he trained came together and pressed on with his memory in tow.

    The lessons he taught brought guys like Mark Hominick to elite levels. It's definitely a testament to his memory that the last fight Hominick was in with Tompkins alive happened to be a UFC title fight against Jose Aldo, one that Hominick showed plenty of heart in, but just couldn't get the decision.

    Since then, Hominick does have a couple more losses under his belt, but he still presses on and is still a threat in the 145-pound division.

    It wouldn't be fair to mention Tompkins and not mention others that he has trained. Chris Horodecki fought at Bellator 57 in November 2011, only two months after Tompkins' passing and being there for the fight was a surreal experience.

    Adrenaline Training Center fighters came together and supported their guy and although he scored a majority draw against Mike Corey, he never quit and I actually had him winning the fight.

    Canadian Sam Stout is also a fighter who learned his striking under Tompkins and the death hit home for him, being that Tompkins was also married to Stout's sister, Emilie.

    Dedication to a sport and showing love for a sport is defined by how hard these guys worked to be the best and giving unbelievable performances for themselves, their teammates and their late great coach.

    Watch this video and hear the stories from names you know and how they were touched by Tompkins' training, his personality and his life.

Randy Couture

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    Captain America has done it all in the sport. He is peaking 50 and is a retired UFC Hall of Famer. He is the oldest UFC champion on record and is one of the main reasons UFC reached mainstream status.

    Couture was a NCAA Division I wrestler and will go down as one of the best all-time.

    "The Natural" will always be around the sport. It is his life and with Xtreme Couture gyms opening everywhere, you can bet that the last breath Couture takes, he will still have MMA on the brain.

    His dedication to wrestling was on display for his entire career, with a vicious ground-and-pound style that catapulted him to a 19-11 record, including seven knockouts.

Matt Hughes

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    Another slide, another UFC Hall of Famer.

    Matt Hughes is a legend in the sport and has consumed himself with MMA. He has gone 45-9 in his career and has been perfecting his wrestling since high school.

    Hughes still is an MMA icon and still active. He does have a two-fight losing streak but you can bet Hughes isn't ready to retire yet.

    The former UFC Welterweight champion will go down as one of the best all-time and honestly, his legacy alone should show his dedication to his craft.

Gracie Family

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    The Gracie family has been synonymous with mixed martial arts from the very beginning, when Royce Gracie won the first ever UFC event and proving Gracie Jiu-jitsu to be a deadly discipline in the fight game.

    Of course, their family name took a hit after Royce tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2007, following his victory over Kazushi Sakuraba (his last recorded bout to date), but the family has kept strong and when you think about dedication to a craft, how can you deny the Gracie family from this list? Their family and life's work has been Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and the sport that is MMA.

    Nonetheless, Royce isn't the only one to talk about here. There are too many Gracie family members to name but if you were to pinpoint a couple, Roger has won multiple Jiu-jitsu world championships and a grappling record of 65-7.

    Kyra Gracie is a fourth-generation Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practitioner and instructor. She holds a second-degree black belt in the discipline and should continue the legacy of her family, the most respected family in the game.

    What do you think?

     

    Again, there are a TON of fighters that more than deserve to be on this list, but that's where the comments section comes in. Whatever fighter isn't on this list but you feel should be, make your case and be respectful, we're all fight fans.

    Mark Pare is a Featured Columnist. You can follow him on Twitter, and don't forget to check out his sportswriter page.