First, I want to thank everyone that read my first article last week. I must admit, it was a bit rushed, but I knew this site and countless others were about to be bombarded with Machida-Shogun fallout, so I finished it as quickly as possible. I realize I haven’t given anyone the opportunity to get to know me as a writer or an MMA fan. I also realize the majority of you don’t give a shit. This article isn’t for you.
I was a huge wrestling fan in my early years, and my dad and I would always order the PPVs as much as possible. So when this “UFC” stuff started out, we jumped all over it.
Little me wasn’t terribly interested; guys whose names I couldn’t pronounce holding each other down for 45+ minutes just wasn’t for me. I still have the first few UFC PPVs on VHS, and I still don’t have a great time watching them.
Thankfully, I jumped back onto the UFC bandwagon around 2003, and I haven’t thought about or watched much else since. Around the same time, I tossed pro wrestling to the wayside.
It was a decision I’m thoroughly glad I made, as I enjoy mixed martial arts as much as anything else in this world. I don’t know what I’d be doing without it. I even trained in karate and kickboxing a year ago, and despite a few unfortunate car accidents recently, my friends and I have begun sparring and hitting the bag again.
I quickly realized I have the cardio of a dead cat, and I’ve decided to take my love for the sport into a less physical manner.
Here are a few of my favorite fighters over the years, and a few of my least. This should make me plenty of friends and enemies, I’m sure.
Fedor Emilenenko . I shouldn’t have to tell you why. Other than the obvious reasons, I love how soft-spoken and humble he is. Most fighters have more on their minds after a big fight than which ice cream to devour, but Fedor’s a different animal.
Nick Diaz . Cocky? Of course. Bad for MMA? Probably. He’s a total liability for any promoter that signs him up, but he’s the real deal. He’s clearly no bitch, and homies across the country are scared of him.
If Rampage Jackson had made those open threats to Nick instead of Rashad Evans (about fighting him for free on his front lawn), Nick would be on his lawn the next day, gogo’ing the kid that delivers the paper. And stealing his bike.
Wanderlei Silva . My favorite fighter ever. This seems to be the general consenses amongst MMA fans, and I can see why. Wandy is one of the most vicious, balls-to-the-wall fighters I’ve ever watched, and he’s the biggest sweetheart outside of the cage.
I can’t help but get a little pumped whenever I’m walking through the mall and I see a couple kids playing “Sandstorm” on Dance Dance Revolution. Whether he wins or loses, he does so dramatically, and even in those losses, I can’t complain about ever seeing a bad Wanderlei fight.
Dan Henderson . His reputation as a calm, level-headed ass-beater has been a bit tarnished by the recent contractual squabble between he and Dana White, but it IS Dana White, and this may not be all Hendo’s fault. I was a huge fan of his in Pride, and I’m still convinced he’s got the best chance of dethroning UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva.
Plus, my single favorite moment as an MMA fan was his UFC 100 knockout of Michael Bisping. It was the most American KO I’ve ever seen; I’m surprised Joe Rogan didn’t hand him a flag and an apple pie after the fight.
Shogun Rua . Okay, my Pride side is showing. I must’ve watched the Shogun-Wandy sparring videos online more than I’ve watched actual fights. I couldn’t be happier with Shogun’s ascension in the UFC Light-Heavyweight division, and after his performance against Lyoto Machida at UFC 104, I’ll never doubt him again.
Clay Guida . He’s just a nice guy with a tremendous attitude about the sport, and he’s one of those guys that just looks like he’s having a riot every time he fights.
Jens Pulver . I attended Fight Night 17 last year, and before the show started, Militech fighters Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, and Robbie Lawler made their way to ringside. After palling around with the crowd for a while, they took their seats. Hughes continually pestered Jens, throwing things at him, stealing his hat, etc.
Matt crept up on Jens like an insubordinate older brother, and sunk in a rear-naked choke. Jens calmly grabbed a hold on Hughes’ nuts, and thus performed the quickest and most awe-inspiring submission defense maneuver ever created. Years of experience and training can't prepare for something like that.
Diego Sanchez . YESH! YESH!
And a few of my least favorites.
Roger Huerta . For no other reason than my friend is such a huge fan of his. Does this happen to you guys as well? Someone you talk MMA with is all over a fighter so much that you develop an unwarranted hatred towards them?
Amir Sadollah . He’s funny and self-deprecating, and that’s cute, I guess. I just think he’s a useless fighter, and a waste of roster space and salary. I almost didn't even feel like putting his name in bold.
Rampage Jackson : Up until he lost the UFC Light-Heavyweight title, Rampage was one of my favorites. But I can’t respect or even enjoy someone that endangers a pregnant woman (and everyone else on the road), dry-humps female reporters, and comes off as a total moron in every interview he’s given since.
And I don’t need to mention TUF 10, where his team is currently sitting pretty at 0-7. He has managed to lose a good portion of his fanbase by indefinitely pulling out of a fight with Rashad Evens. The amount of money and promotion that has been put into Rampage is off the charts. For him to snub a main event grudge match, in his home-freakin'-town, for an acting “career” is pretty irresponsible of him. Not a fan.
Matt Hughes . I think he’s a jerk, and a boring fighter. Yes, I know takedowns and lay-and-pray are part of the game, and a huge part of his success. That doesn’t mean I’m not bored by it. I loved seeing GSP and Thiago Alves tearing him apart over the past couple years, and it’s a trend that should continue. Also, my little sister has somewhat of a crush on him, which is obviously a deal-breaker for me.
Forest Griffin . I can’t believe his comments following his embarrassing loss at UFC 101 haven’t received as much press as his running away and crying did. Forest is a total loser, and if we never saw him fight again, I wouldn’t mind at all. He’s not a really great fighter; I honestly think his career has been a matter of been in the right situations at the right time. He won’t get to touch that Light-Heavyweight title ever again.
Ken Shamrock . I can’t help but laugh when I hear him called “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” on old UFC events. Everything that needs to be said about why I dislike Ken Shamrock has been said a million times over, and probably in much wittier and intelligent fashion, so I'll stop there.
I have strong feelings about most fighters, but these were the first to pop into mind, which has to be good for something. Or bad, as the case may be.