War-like: Fan-Friendly Mixed Martial Artists We Love
In the picture shown here, you see lightweight standout Shinya Aoki in an exhibition grappling match with pound-for-pound contender, heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko. While this match had no particular practical necessity, it was held regardless for the sake of the fans of MMA.
If you haven't seen it, google it; you wont be disappointed.
It is in the spirit of this match that this slide show was brought together. Those who truly compete with a style that is fan friendly, even if they forsake their own safety to entertain us, hold a special place in the eyes of the fan.
For many, the glory of MMA is found in the victory and the victory alone. For others, the glory is found in between the tone of the bell, in between the red and the blue corner, in the middle of the cage or ring. It is their fight that defines them, not just their records.
Winning is a byproduct of their style, winning will happen if they are to impose their unique fight on their opponent. It is that unique style that sets them apart in the eyes of the fans.
It is also the success of their unique styles that has allowed them to be as successful as they are in their respective positions. Between their one-of-a-kind traits in war, and their ability to succeed at some of the highest levels of the sport, they have become highly appreciated by the fans.
These fighters are listed in no particular order, and obviously all of the great warriors out there could not be listed, but the ones who were are definitely cut from a different sort of cloth, much to the delight of those looking on.
The Axe Murderer
Wanderlei Silva, if you do not know ask someone who does and do some homework. If you consider yourself a fan of this sport and don't know this man's face, listen up.
You're looking at the single most dedicated fighter you will ever see. This man right here would rather be brutalized losing a war than win a boring competition.
Always moving forward, always tenacious, always aggressive, Wandy is unlike any other fighter this sport has ever seen or probably ever will see again.
A true fingerprint in this world, a diamond in the rough. He truly lives to please those who arrived to see him perform his art, however chaotic that art may be.
Wanderlei says, "I have no fans, only friends." He is one of the most intimidating fighters to ever compete, yet one of the kindest human beings one will ever meet.
This man defines this entire slide show, it is in his honor that it truly came together.
Tyson Griffin has never been revered as highly as a B.J. Penn or a Kenny Florian, but it is not for lack of effort on his part.
Tyson has a knack for always finding his way through great fights, very technical but exciting fights. He strives relentlessly to improve in every facet, and it shows in his performances.
Maybe not the sexiest name on the list, but this guy is rarely in a dull fight. Bottom line is he is an entertaining fighter who really has yet to realize his full potential.
This former WEC champion is a warrior to the bone. Always game, always effective, and always in a fight.
Torres has been a vital component in the upswing of momentum to be found surrounding the WEC brand.
It is his precise and lethal style of combat that gets fans salivating every time they hear his name mentioned on a fight card.
He is fast-paced, impossible to gas, and effective in his efforts to emerge victorious more often than not.
Paulo Thiago delivered a sharp and crisp "two piece and a biscuit" to Josh Koscheck that ended his night early in their fight. What you're seeing here is the millisecond before the biscuit was delivered.
The left hand with the gravy on it was well on its way, but Kos found himself staring up at the lights and an official that was calling the fight before it could land.
Thiago most recently pulled off a sick submission win over welterweight standout Mike Swick. This guy can get it done standing or on the ground, and has made name for himself putting away some highly revered fighters in the welterweight division.
His fights get you screaming at the TV. What more could you ask for?
This joker right here can entertain you both in and out of the cage. One only need see his interaction with one pink teddy bear on The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights to know he's an absolute character.
That comment is made with the utmost respect for him as a fighter, but there is no mystery about his comedic talents. Bottom line is Quinton Jackson is a great all-around guy, and that doesn't scratch the surface of his talents as a warrior.
This is a guy who imposes aggression on his opponents. He's not the craftiest or most technical fighter you will ever see, but his slams are legendary, and his fists lethal.
As stated before, whether it be on the mic after a fight calling Rashad out for some "black on black crime", or in the cage knocking people senseless, Rampage is a gamer, and tons of fun to watch.
Can you hear it? Oooooowwwwwooooooooooooooooo, Page is coming back.
Introducing Generation Next. This guy hasn't lost a fight in three years. Mousasi is currently competing for Strikeforce, and they are a better organization for it.
While he is no newcomer to the sport with a record of 28-2, he is just starting to gain momentum as a household name amongst fight fans.
His numbers speak for themselves: He is a finisher which is evident by his 26 early stoppages in 28 wins. That in and of itself is all the evidence a fan needs to know this is a guy to keep your eye on.
He's always entertaining, and rarely lets the crowd down when he enters a cage.
The Last Emperor
What is there to say about Fedor Emelianenko that hasn't already been said? The Russian can be seen here flooring Tim Sylvia during the short reign of Affliction.
Fedor has fought and defeated a who's who of the Pride world and made a living lately knocking off former UFC champs Tim Sylvia and Andre Arlovski.
While Fedor may be a topic that polarizes the MMA community, all of them are so emotionally vested in his legacy for a reason. He captivates with not only his otherworldly ability to always win fights, but the fashion in which he does so.
Say what you will about the pound for pound contender, but one thing is certain, he's game and he comes ready for war every time out. Never, ever is he involved in a snoozer.
There is something very intriguing about watching a true giant succeed in one of the most demanding and dangerous sports known to man, all while learning on the fly.
Brock may not be the most seasoned fighter to grace this list, but he is definitely one of the most compelling. Not unlike the great Fedor, this man divides the MMA community like a hot knife through butter.
Speaking of a hot knife through butter, his fight, the one he has honed thus far, cuts through opponents with an ease rarely seen at this level in the sport.
His sampling is a small one, but even his lone loss to Frank Mir was an exciting and entertaining fight for the fans.
Also like the before mentioned Rampage, Lesnar may not be a comedian, but he has a knack for letting his personality take control outside of the fight itself.
His mouth runs rampant, but his level of skill and desire more than back it up. The sky is the limit for Brock, and he will more than likely bring the whole sport with him in the process.
This guy leaves me utterly speechless. A true legend who has absorbed more punishment in this sport than this writer cares to revisit. All of that pain and anguish was assumed for you and me.
Again, the glory is in the fight for many, and this guy has shown a heart the size of Tito's head. Wars fear this warrior, there is no two ways about it.
One of my favorite quotes about Minotauro came from Bas Rutten: "You can kill him, but he will come back from the dead and submit you."
Rutten has sat ringside for more than a few of Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera's many wars, he of all people should know this man's heart.
Big Nog never lays down, never shows fear, and is always one mistake away from ending a fight, be it on the feet or on the ground. Always fun to watch, and easy to root for.
Chis Lytle is defined by his gameness. The photo here really tells you all you need to know about him.
Battered and bloody from head to toe, and lunging forward to keep the fight moving. It's not just his heart that impresses either, he has all the talent in the world.
It just so happens he is in a talent-rich pool that makes it more difficult for him to succeed as one might imagine he is capable of.
Lytle may hold a gatekeeper status, but again, this isn't about top ten or top five fighters, this is about warriors, and there really is no other way to describe the always exciting and dedicated banger "Lights Out" Lytle.
Any time his name shows up on a card, one can be certain pain and suffering is not far behind.
No one, and I mean no one can handle this guy's riddum. Probably is a stretch when saying he may be the best fighter in the world, definitely may not be an overstatement, but rest assured he falls somewhere in the middle.
Georges St. Pierre truly defines the essence of mixed martial arts. He is the most prime and perfect example of the finest points of this sport.
Go ahead and tell me the last boring fight GSP was involved in. Go ahead, we will wait.
When you're done, fast forward a couple slides and catch up with the group.
We already know what you obviously don't, this guy is as real as they make them. A true class act, and downright bad-ass muthutrucka. One of the best the game has ever known.
That shot right there is worth a thousand words, or a thousand punches in the case of Frye vs. Takayama. Don "The Predator" Frye is one of the most macho, ballsy, bad asses to ever put on the gloves.
Between his wrestling, his Judo, his boxing, his heart, his overpowering level of testosterone, and that quaint little mustache, Don Frye personally pioneered the early days of this sport.
He raised the bar so high in the early days of organized MMA that those that followed were raised up in the process.
Don may not be in any title mixes at the moment, but if ever there was a fan friendly fighter this living legend is it. Do not, I repeat DO NOT look this man in the eye, it might be your last mistake.
Seriously though, Frye is a damn proud American who knows no fear.
Nick Diaz has such a unique style, both as a personality and as a warrior. And make no mistake, this guy is a warrior.
Dan Hardy recently said about GSP, "He's an athlete, I'm a fighter". Not to disrespect GSP or play on those words, but if that statement needed an example of a fighter, Diaz is it.
Just grinding grit, driven by pride in his school, and confidence in his talents, this guy calls it like he sees it, walks it like he talks it, and never once lays down or accepts complacency in the cage.
He is too proud for that.
Diaz is not everyone's favorite flavor or fighter, but when he fights, like him or not, usually you're watching, so give it up for a great fighter.
"75 percent of the time, if you get in the cage with me, you're going to get knocked out. I'm not talking smack, I'm going to knock you out."—Paul Daley
Enough said, moving on.
Christiane Santos, or Cyborg as she is better known, is one bad mammajamma. This young lady can beat up anyone you had over for the last fights.
As far as women's MMA is concerned, Cyborg has stolen the show and ripped the rug out from under the superstar face of MMA, Gina Carano.
If ever there were a perfect candidate to show how very dangerous and effective women can be in the sport of MMA, Cyborg is the gal for the job.
A very exciting fighter, who always pushes the pace, and again, just down right tough as nails.
How this cat ever gets put on an under-card at any event is beyond me. If there were a top-five pound-for-pound list of fighters based on drive and heart, Clay Guida would surely make that list.
The picture there is a perfect example of a Guida fight. Hair and fists flying everywhere, they call him "The Carpenter", but they should have called him the Tazmanian Devil. When this dude gets to flying around the Octagon, there is never a dull moment.
Always very high energy, always pushing the pace, and win lose or draw, this fella never allows a boring fight. Thanks Clay, you are the man.
fight-er: A pugnacious, unyielding, or determined person, one who fights
pug-na-cious: combative in nature
Or to simplify the definitions, just add B.J. Penn. Baby J is hands-down one of the most polarizing and equally entertaining sonsabitches on the planet when it comes to MMA.
A fighter since his youth, this guy just loves to bang and roll. And it just so happens Penn is one of the best in the game. Few can stop him.
B.J. finds a way to make every war he is in just that, a war. He batters, bloodies, and bruises people with a feverish and devastating attack.
He is a calm amidst a storm he delivers. Technically better than most who have tested themselves against him, Penn never disappoints fight fans. Even the ones who don't necessarily like him have to appreciate the war he brings in the cage with him.
The Prodigy is not of this world, and will surely go down in history as the best lightweight this sport has ever known.
One part vicious kicks, two parts devastating Muay Thai, a dash of take-down defense, with a punch of potential and talent. Mix in some Brazilian heart and gameness, and you've got yourself a winner.
Thiago Alves, just a violent fighter, who presses forward and unleashes devastation like an ice cream man selling cones in the summertime.
Simply put, to quote Joe Rogan: "That is a (wide eyes) SCARY DUDE!"
Somebody better keep a leash on this guy, or he might hurt somebody. Always fun to watch, always a gamer.
Would you please, please, stop hitting me?
Welcome to the future of MMA. When people talk about GSP as the new blueprint for the mixed martial artist of today, well, Aldo is the upgraded version of that blueprint for the mixed martial artist of tomorrow.
This guy brings a hurricane of pain in the cage with him and unleashes it with lighting fast strikes, and a pace that makes you wish you had slow mo when watching him fight.
Thank God for instant replay and highlight reels. This kid is an animal inside the cage, but a very humble and down to earth man outside of it.
Suffice to say, Jose Aldo is here to stay and wont be going anywhere anytime soon. You and I, my friends, have the honor of watching his young career press on before our eyes.
DO NOT MISS THIS GUY'S FIGHTS!!
With magical Jiu Jitsu pants on, no one can stop Shinya Aoki.
Seriously though, this guy is always one breath away from crippling some poor opponent.
His lighting fast submissions and ability to slip them out of nowhere is really difficult to contemplate until you see him ripping some poor soul's arm out of socket.
Aoki is very highly revered as an elite grappler, and has no problems going into a fight with everyone in the room knowing what his game plan is. Grab something and twist or squeeze it ASAP, and go home.
Fans love his style and they are often rewarded for cheering him on.