Countdown to MMA's Greatest: Part 3

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Countdown to MMA's Greatest: Part 3

I am very excited about Part 3 because it includes three of my favorites of all-time (Cro Cop, Sakuraba and Wanderlei Silva). 

The rankings so far have been: #33 Shinya Aoki, #32 Don Frye, #31 Pat Miletich, #30 Mark Kerr, #29 Igor Vovchanchyn, #28 Josh Barnett, #27 Sean Sherk, #26 Tim Sylvia, #25 Dan Henderson, #24 Ken Shamrock, #23 Tito Ortiz, #22 Frank Shamrock and #21 Uriaj Faber.

 

# 20 Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic (6’2 220 pounds)
The 33-year-old is known as the king of the high leg kick. He was the most feared striker in the now-defunct PRIDE Heavyweight division. Cro Cop’s career took a nosedive, though, after he signed with the UFC.

If these rankings had been made before his move to the UFC, he could easily have made the top 10. Cro Cop, though, was never able to succeed in the UFC and has since returned to fight in Japan. The rules of the two different organizations may affect the fighters (i.e. fighting in a cage versus a ring).

Cro Cop has a career record of 23-6-2, with 16 of his victories coming by TKO or KO. He has noteworthy wins over Mark Coleman, Josh Barnett, Sakuraba and Wanderlei Silva.

Cro Cop is currently fighting in Japan in the newly formed Dream promotion, but he is recovering from an injury.



#19 Kazushi Sakuraba ‘The Gracie Hunter” (6’0 190 pounds)
A legend in Japan, Sakuraba has compiled a 24-11 record. He has noteworthy wins over Vitor Belfort, Ken Shamrock, Quinton Jackson, Royce Gracie, Renzo Gracie and Kevin Randleman.

Sakuraba is known for his unorthodox, yet highly exciting style. He has won 17 fights via submission.

In his prime, he was one of the most exciting fighters I have ever seen, as he went 12-1-1 from 12/21/97 to 12/9/2000. Four of those victories were against the Gracie family (Ryan, Royler, Royce and Renzo).

Sakuraba recently suffered a loss at Dream 4 to Melvin Manhoef. At nearly 38 years of age, Sakuraba should start to contemplate retirement. 

#18 Matt Hughes (5’9 170 pounds)
Hughes has compiled a 43-7 record. Hughes falls in the rankings due to losing three out his last four fights. He has noteworthy wins over Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg, Royce Gracie, and Georges St. Pierre.

After losing to St. Pierre, Hughes lost badly in his last fight to Thiago Alves at UFC 84. He could possibly face Matt Serra next.

After the two straight losses, critics are saying that the 34 year old Hughes is washed up.  This is unlikely the case, as I can envision Hughes, if he is careful, fighting successfully for four to five years before he should retire. 



#17 Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida (6’1 205 pounds)

This ranking may prove to be controversial, but if you look at Machida’s resume (13-0 record) he has to be considered in the top 20. He has noteworthy wins over Stephan Bonner, B.J. Penn, Rich Franklin and Tito Ortiz. Machida could crack the Top Ten list in the future if he continues his dominance in the cage.

Machida’s most recent win was against Tito Ortiz at UFC 84.

Up next for Machida, who knows in the stacked UFC Light Heavyweight division. Could he face the winner of Forrest Griffin vs. Quinton Jackson?

#17 Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida (6’1 205 pounds)
This ranking may prove to be controversial, but if you look at Machida’s resume (13-0 record) he has to be considered in the top 20. What helps Machida is that he is probably in the midst of his prime at age 30.

He has noteworthy wins over Stephan Bonner, BJ Penn, Rich Franklin and Tito Ortiz. Machida could crack the top ten list in the future if he continues his dominance in the cage.

Machida’s most recent win was against Tito Ortiz at UFC 84.

Who knows who will be Machida's next opponent in the stacked UFC Light Heavyweight division? Could he face the winner of Forrest Griffin vs. Quinton Jackson?


#16 Wanderlei Silva
(5'11 205 pounds)
The 31-year-old is one of the most feared strikers of all time, as he has won 22 fights by knockout. He has compiled a 32-8 record during his career.

Silva’s reputation took a hit though, as he went 5-5 over his last 10 fights. Silva is a former PRIDE Light Heavyweight champion.

Silva has noteworthy wins over Quinton Jackson, Ricardo Arona, Sakuraba and Dan Henderson.

Silva’s next opponent could be Chuck Liddell, a rematch from an earlier fight where Liddell defeated Silva.

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