UFC

UFC: Brock Lesnar and 5 Other Retired Fighters We'd Like to See Again

Matthew RyderFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2014

UFC: Brock Lesnar and 5 Other Retired Fighters We'd Like to See Again

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    Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Last week, much talk surrounded potential fights for Brock Lesnar should he return to the UFC.

    While it's interesting to ponder, all that talk overlooked a major part of the equation: Would Lesnar actually come out of retirement?

    Sure, people are weighing in on it, and few seem to think it's out of the question.

    In any case, the big man hasn't suggested he's coming back yet—or at all.

    With that being said, it would be interesting to see him in the UFC one last time. Few men have his athleticism and penchant for grabbing headlines, and with the heavyweight division deeper than it ever was during his title reign, there are plenty of options out there.

    In fact, there are a few retired fighters who we would love to see in their prime one last time.

    It's obviously not possible to transport prime versions of those fighters into the present day (yet?), but there are still some we'd love to see again. 

Randy Couture

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    Richard Shotwell/Associated Press

    Though the former two-division UFC champion is more of a Hollywood sort these days (and his relationship with Dana White is a little, uh, strained), you couldn't possibly make a list of retired fighters we'd like to see again without Randy Couture.

    The performances he put on in the cage were legendary. He beat the odds repeatedly to hold heavyweight gold multiple times and stand at the top of the light heavyweight heap as well.

    He's a Hall of Famer and a living legend, and though it might be greedy to wish for more from a guy who called it quits when he was nearing 50 years old, it's an understandable greed that most MMA fans would share. 

Chuck Liddell

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    Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    Another must on any list of retired guys people would like to see one more time, Chuck Liddell is perhaps as popular today as he was when he packed it in.

    The champion of the most prominent division during the first huge UFC boom nearly 10 years ago, he was one of the first MMA stars with crossover appeal.

    Stylistically, few men have delivered in the way Liddell did once he hit the cage. His kill-or-be-killed approach to the fight game was one that few men could match when he was in his prime, and it served him well.

    Though he went out on his shield without much ceremony, having lost five of his last six fights, his run of seven straight (T)KO finishes from 2004 to 2006 was something to behold.

    Seeing Prime Chuck one last time would be a pleasure. 

Fedor Emelianenko

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Fedor Emelianenko, by most accounts, is the greatest heavyweight to ever strap on gloves and enter combat. He never fought in the UFC, but his status is secure among the best ever and people still rave about performances he put on a decade ago.

    With an unbeaten run that extended nearly a decade, across 28 fights, The Last Emperor beat men like Big Nog, Kevin Randleman and Mirko Cro Cop in his prime. He had an unflappable demeanor and a penchant for incredible finishes, both standing and on the ground. Emelianenko was not only among the most exciting heavyweights ever, but one of the most exciting fighters ever.

    Most remember the three-fight losing skid near the end of his career, but he actually finished up with three straight wins to leave the sport at 34-4 (1). It's unlikely, but at 37 he might be the only one on the list who could realistically have one more fight left in him. 

Mark Coleman

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    Peter Morrison/Associated Press

    What MMA fan could honestly say they wouldn't be interested in seeing The Godfather of Ground-and-Pound back in action one last time?

    The gritty veteran is among the all-time great characters in the sport, and was one of the first guys to transcend what went on within the cage.

    His physical style never changed over the years, from his dominating debut at UFC 10 up to his final appearance against fellow legend Couture at UFC 109. Coleman was the definition of a grinder, a force of nature who came at opponents and whaled on them until they broke.

    If the sport could have him back at his best for one more fight, there wouldn't be many people opposed to it. 

Rickson Gracie

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    bjjee.com

    This is the one. This is the guy that people would love to see fight one more time.

    The greatest Gracie, the man that all others who have carried the family name have aspired to be.

    He was 11-0 in MMA with 11 finishes, and is among the all-time "what-ifs" that the sport has seen.

    Nobody would ever question his jiu-jitsu prowess, but many wonder what might have been if he'd been more active in MMA during his prime. His last fight was in 2000 when he was almost 42, and he never fought in a major promotion after PRIDE 4.

    From technical acumen to pure, ruthless aggression, Rickson was a true warrior. Other Gracies were proof that technique could allow a smaller man to beat a bigger one, but Rickson had the blend of size, skill and athleticism to make him a truly great mixed martial artist.

    Royce is perhaps the Gracie that most MMA fans relate to, but Rickson is the one that most would be excited to see fight again. It won't happen, given that he's 55 now, but it's fun to think about.

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