They may not be the best of the best, or maybe they are currently title holders, but some fighters just don't get the credit they deserve for whatever rhyme or reason.
Some fighters just go about their business, without making a lot of noise. Other fighters may make so much noise, that their accomplishments get swept under the rug. Some haven't competed inside the Octagon, so it's hard to know just how great they are.
Whatever the reason, here is one man's list of the fighters who deserve more credit then they get. And if there are other fighters you feel got overlooked, be sure to name drop.
As mentioned in the intro, it is hard to fully place non-UFC fighters. But if there were three fighters who have never fought inside the Octagon that deserve more credit then they get, these would be the three.
You could write a book on people’s feelings on Brock Lesnar.
Overrated/underrated and everything in between. But you have to respect the man for coming over to the UFC and jumping right into the Octagon with someone with the pedigree of Frank Mir, manhandling an MMA veteran in Heath Herring, and then taking on and taking out a UFC legend in Randy Couture.
He got thrown into the lion’s den way too soon and didn’t deserve a title shot after just two fights inside the Octagon. That said, Lesnar deserves more credit then he gets for what he has accomplished within his short UFC career.
His intestinal fortitude in dealing with his health issues is deserving of praise, and the fact that he hasn't been at 100 percent for most of his fights makes you wonder just how good Brock could have been. If he would have taken things a bit slower instead of being in a rush to make his mark on wider settings, gotten more training time in before reaching the apex and actually been at full health…where might he be today?
Some people don’t care for Rashad Evans.
And while the hate that "Suga" has attracted to him may be justified to some, Evans deserves more credit then he gets. Boasting a 15-1 record, Evans has come along way since his days on the TUF 2 reality show, where he competed as a heavyweight and won it all.
Critics will always be able to point to the Lyoto Machida fight, and for good reason, but Evans will likely get the opportunity to avenge that loss at some point. With Rampage Jackson in his rear view mirror, Evans can prove that Phil Davis isn’t ready for the big show when he takes on the up and comer at UFC 133.
If he can boost his record to 16-1, he will likely get another title shot and take on former friend and training partner Jon Jones. It will be the grandest of stages for Evans to prove that he is the alpha male at 205 lbs. And, if he somehow pulls off what most will consider impossible, Machida will be practicing crane kicks in Rashad's rear view mirror.
Never before has a fighter with a 13-1 UFC record been so sh** on by the MMA community.
Oh wait, that’s because no other fighter has had such an impressive winning percentage inside the Octagon with the exception of Anderson Silva who is 13-0. Even GSP has a lower winning percentage with his gaudy 16-2 record. All he does is "win, win, win...no matter what."
But...Fitch hardly ever finishes fights and that is all people seem to care about most.
He is a "boring" fighter in the eyes for most. People think he is a whiner when he talks about his place in the sport. Even if you are a member of the "I refuse to watch another Jon Fitch fight" fight club, the man deserves way more credit then he gets.
Saying a fighter has "heart" is becoming a bit taboo these days.
But if there is one fighter who exemplifies what it means to "have heart," it might be Edgar. And if you don’t think heart has anything to do with it, then maybe it’s his iron will.
Does Edgar gets enough credit for what he accomplished against B.J. Penn?
Penn is considered the greatest lightweight to ever compete. He hadn’t lost at 155 pounds in over eight years until he stepped into the cage against Edgar at UFC 112. While many thought Penn won that fight, Edgar got the judges decision and was forced into an immediate rematch in which he left no doubt who the better lightweight fighter was.
This is the same fighter everyone kept saying should drop to featherweight because he was just too small to compete at lightweight. Boy, were we all wrong. Now Gray Maynard might have something to say about that when the two finally lock horns in their trilogy fight later this year but, if you ask me, Frankie Edgar deserves more credit then he gets.
Similar to fighters who compete outside the Octagon, it is hard to tell exactly how good the fighters within the featherweight and bantamweight divisions are (and up until just recently they have been competing outside of the Octagon).
For the longest time, Miguel Torres and Urijah Faber looked like gods within their respective weight classes but, as the competition got stiffer, they would go on to be defeated on more than one occasion.
Speaking of Faber, the "California Kid" is the only man to hold a win over Cruz (that fight took place at featherweight over four years ago). Cruz has a record that now stands at 17-1 after defending his bantamweight twice, both in dominating fashion.
While it may be premature, Cruz does not get as much credit as he deserves.
If Cruz goes on to defend his belt for a third time, when he takes on Faber in a rematch at UFC 132, he will establish himself as the GSP of the bantamweight division with Miguel Torres being the Matt Hughes. While that analogy may not completely hold up across the board, Cruz will have established himself as the present and likely future until a new 135-pound threat emerges to challenge his very unorthodox style.
Yushin Okami: While Okami has losses on his UFC record to both Rich Franklin and Chael Sonnen, you might be hard pressed to find another middleweight to add a loss to his 10-2 record—outside of Anderson Silva of course, who he will be taking on at UFC 134.
Michael Bisping: "Haters gonna hate," but Bisping can run his UFC record to an underrated 8-2 with a win over Jason "Mayhem" Miller. A win might have him very close to a middleweight title fight.
Jake Shields: Shields couldn’t shock the world with a win over GSP but he was the first fighter to take a round of the Canadian champ since two judges gave Koscheck one round back at UFC 74. While some say Jon Fitch is the second best welterweight in the sport, others might argue it’s actually Shields.
Jim Miler is a no nonsense fighter, who will take a fight for Joe Silva on a moment's notice—that is why the UFC loves this man. Unfortunately, they have a funny way of showing it as Miller has ripped off seven Octagon wins in a row since his decision loss to Gray Maynard (a fight he took on short notice).
Actually, the reason for Jim Miller not getting a title shot has more to do with bad timing. Edgar vs. Maynard III got pushed back, and there was also this young stud, outgoing WEC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis, who might have gotten the title shot ahead of Miller but was stifled by Clay Guida clearing the way for Miller.
Phew. Now all that is standing in Miller's way is a fight with former WEC lightweight Champ Benson Henderson. The two will throw down at UFC on Versus 5 later this summer. With a win, Miller will run his over MMA record to 21-2 and his UFC record to 10-1.
With his only losses coming to Gray Maynard at UFC 90 and to Frankie Edgar almost five years ago, a rematch with either would be the culmination of a long hard road to a UFC title shot.