MMA: Andrei Arlovski and the Top 8 Fighters People Love to Watch, Win or Lose

Andrew MahlmannCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2011

MMA: Andrei Arlovski and the Top 8 Fighters People Love to Watch, Win or Lose

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    Fight fans are the most fickle of any major sport.

    But some fighters just have that "it" factor where they are beloved by MMA fans regardless of whether they win or lose.

    Some fighters wear their heart on their sleeves.  Others have irresistible fighting styles.  

    And yet with others, sometimes you just cannot put your finger on it.

    These are the top fighters that people want to follow regardless of their record and the results of their battles. 



8. Fedor Emelianenko

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    Fedor Emelianenko makes the list even though he is relatively new to the concept of losing.

    The Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva event proved that even in defeat, Emelianenko is still beloved by fight fans.

    The crowd was noticeably upset when the fight was declared over due to a doctor's stoppage.  They cheered Fedor to let them know that they are still behind him. 

    He has a legacy of excellence that he still carries into all of his fights.

    Even after losing to Fabricio Werdum last June, Emelianenko was still the banner fighter spearheading the promotion's Grand Prix efforts.

    He is contemplating retirement, but if he takes some time off and decides to make a comeback, you can almost be guaranteed he will be headlining with an enthusiastic army of supporters cheering for him.

7. Brock Lesnar

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    Brock Lesnar is another example of a superstar heavyweight with enough support to headline or co-headline major events even after defeat.

    In his UFC debut, Lesnar suffered his first career loss to Frank Mir.  In his next fight, he was a co-main event, playing second fiddle only to Georges St-Pierre's title defense.

    That performance propelled Lesnar into a title fight against Randy Couture.  He would win the belt and defend it two times before being stopped by Cain Velasquez.

    Despite the devastating loss to Velasquez, Lesnar is still one of the most (or the most) followed fighter in the sport.

    With his gigantic frame, explosive athleticism and pre-existing celebrity, Lesnar is one of the most compelling fighters in the sport, win or lose. 

6. Phil Baroni

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    Despite having a record of 13-13, Phil "The New York Bad Ass" Baroni is still one of the most loved fighters in the sport because he burst onto the scene with an exciting style and propensity for knockout victories.

    Although he always seems to struggle against top competition, fans love him because there is always the chance for a knockout.

    Baroni also wears his heart on his sleeve.  An emotional fighter, fans ride the ups and downs of what is Baroni's rollercoaster ride of a career right there along with him.

5. Chris Lytle

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    At 30-17-5, the lack of success Chris "Lights Out" Lytle has experienced in his career is not due to lack of ability, but more so a stubbornness to not get caught up in implementing sophisticated gameplans.

    His shoot from the hips style of fighting is in your face and exciting.  It has endeared him to fans and earned him an incredible seven fight night awards/bonuses.

    Now riding a four-fight win streak in the UFC, Lytle is finally complementing his exciting style with high-level consistency.

    He might be on his was to a title shot in the near future, but win or lose, Lytle is a competitor that fans love to watch fight. 

4. Tito Ortiz

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    Tito Ortiz has not won a fight since 2006, and yet he is headlining the UFC Fight Night card March 26.

    The former dominant world champion is watched for a number of reasons.

    He has fought in some of the biggest fights in the UFC and is a game competitor against elite competition.

    He is also one of the fighters people love to hate.  His outspoken attitude and charisma cannot help but draw attention.

    If Ortiz loses his next fight, he will be on an incredibly depressing losing streak. Yet somehow, someway, he would be looking to compete, and people would still watch.

3. Andrei Arlovski

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    Like Ortiz, former UFC fighter Andrei Arlovski is on a terrible losing streak of his own.

    Heading into Saturday's bout, a surprising 11 percent of Showtime's voting audience picked Arlovski to win the entire tournament.

    Even though he suffered another devastating knockout at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva, the fans cheered for Arlovski to show their support.

    A former world champion who looks like he could be an underwear model, Arlovski likes to utilize an exciting boxing style. That makes him a highly marketable fighter in conjunction with his humble demeanor.

    That recipe has successfully made him one of the most loved heavyweights of all time, despite a 15-9 record.

2. Randy Couture

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    Randy Couture has lost 10 times in his career.  

    That is just over a third of his total fights, and yet, he is one of the greatest fighters of all time.

    Because of that level of competition, Couture is simply one of the most loved fighters of all time.

    Fans know Randy "The Natural" Couture is a fighter you can never count out.

    If you told someone who does not know Couture, that a 19-10 47-year-old fighter is one of the biggest stars competing today, they would try to send you to the loony bin.

    But that is reality. Couture is a warrior who can win any fight and is one of the most loved fighters, win or lose, to ever compete. 

1. BJ Penn

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    BJ "The Prodigy" Penn fights because he loves fighting.  Even with a gun-slinging mentality, he has consistently beaten top competition and been one of the most dominant champions in history.

    Penn's initial success emboldened him to take on new challenges other fighters would not dream of.  

    Taking on top competition outside of his natural weight class, Penn lost no love from fans, despite the losses he received on his record.

    Even after back-to-back losses to Frankie Edgar, Penn co-headlined in a big matchup against fellow former champion and rival, Matt Hughes.

    He would win that fight in devastating fashion and proved it does not matter whether he wins or he loses. You want to watch BJ Penn fight.


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