GSP and the Most Unfairly Criticized UFC Fighters
Mixed martial arts fans are among the biggest "what have you done for me lately?" fans in sport.
In one fight, a competitor can go from the greatest thing since sliced bread to a lay-and-pray artist that can't draw a penny.
Some of MMA's biggest stars have been unfairly criticized throughout their careers, and still are to this day. However, many are great fighters, and should not be scrutinized for the way they fight or how their careers have turned.
Here are the five most unfairly criticized fighters.
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Georges St-Pierre gets criticized for never finishing fights and being a boring fighter, but this is completely unfair for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, St-Pierre consistently faces some of the toughest fighters in the world in one of the most crowded divisions. He usually fights a couple of times per year. Therefore, game-planning and fighting to his opponent's weakness is their problem, not his.
The phrase "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" applies. St-Pierre's use of the jab and his offensive wrestling skills have yet to fail him. If his opponents can't handle it, why should he change anything up?
This man has one of the best records in the history of MMA. Every time GSP fights, it seems his opponent falls into a bad rhythm and the reason for their climb to title contention fails to appear.
Guys like Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck and Matt Serra were never the same after being defeated by St-Pierre.
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Dominick Cruz is in the same boat as Georges St-Pierre. His fight style, despite being a champion, is consistently scrutinized.
Cruz may not be the most exciting fighter around, but he has his style down to an exact science. His footwork, boxing and wrestling have yet to fail him, except in his early-career loss to Urijah Faber.
The only way fans can get on him at this point is if he continues to fight "boring" and gets defeated doing it. Even then, that would be a stretch.
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B.J. Penn is always hearing about being unfocused and out of shape when coming into contests, but it is unfair to criticize a man who would never give up in a fight.
You could highlight his second bout with Georges St-Pierre, but that was his corner that stopped the fight, not him.
You can rag on Penn for his lack of gas in the tank, but there are more than a few mixed martial artists who have cardio issues. The difference is, Penn is a legend and world champion who has defeated names like Matt Hughes, Sean Sherk and Renzo Gracie. Most haven't beat guys with half their talent.
Respect the legend, ladies and gentlemen.
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The phrase "If you can't take it, don't dish it" comes to mind when you think of Chael Sonnen.
However, if you look at his accolades and everything he has done through his career, you wouldn't be so quick to criticize.
Many people say Sonnen talks his way into big fights, but after seeing what he was capable of in his fights with Anderson Silva and his wins over Brian Stann, Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt, he is obviously skilled enough to headline.
Brash personalities often get looked down on by fans, but Sonnen is all business. He sells fights with his wits.
Consider Sonnen's status before he hit the limelight. The American was a journeyman at best who worked his tail off to get back to the big leagues. He is now a main-event player with a cult following and an impressive resume of opponents.
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So Brock Lesnar technically isn't a fighter anymore, but the criticism he received not long ago when he was active was completely unfair.
Brock Lesnar went from being a collegiate wrestler to a professional sports entertainer to a wannabe pro footballer to a bonafide MMA champion.
Not too shabby for a guy whose journey to the top was so quick.
His resume includes wins over Randy Couture, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. Yes, Lesnar owns victories over three former world champs. He was an amazing draw on pay-per-view as well.
In addition, he returned from two bouts with diverticulitis, an ailment that would usually end the career of an athlete after the first time.
That all sounds pretty impressive to me.