Back in June of 2009, I wrote an article titled: Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Fame: The First Class.
Being that it's now been over two years since that article was dropped on the few people that were bored enough to read it during drunk Google searching, I have a new group of fighters to add to that list. These guys were at the apex of the sport at one point in their careers and are now on a (180 degrees in some cases) decline. Again, The criteria for admission is being dominant or changing the sport. Recent activity is largely ignored as most fighters don't know when to call it a career.
Once again, if I left anyone off this list or if there are listed individuals that should not be there, by all means, send that hate mail.
So "Let's Get It On," and show the respect to the guys that deserve to be inducted in Round Two of the total arbitrary Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
MMA Record: 22-9-0
Record vs. Himself: 0-1
Notable victories: Ricardo Almeida, Phil Baroni, Pat Miletich. Ivan Salaverry, Falaniko Vitale, Tony Fryklund, Travis Lutter, Joe Doerkson, Mike Van Arsdale, Jeremy Horn, Carlos Newton.
A former 158-pound Collegiate Wrestling Champion, Lindland represented our good ol’ US of A in the 2000 Summer Olympics, grabbing a Silver Medal in the process. He earned his nickname “The Law” from a winning decision in United States Olympic Committee hearing. Lindland’s MMA career was far less cut and dry. He won his first six fights before being submitted by Murilo Bustamente for the UFC 185 pound title. He would stay a perennial title contender, (in spite of the self-knockout to Niko Vitale at UFC 43) until his release from the UFC after a sponsorship issue at UFC 54.
Lindland never held UFC Gold, but he hovered around the top five (arguably top three) for nearly five years.
MMA Record: 14-8-0
Record in UFC 3-1
Notable Victories: Jerry Bohlander, Ikuhasa Minowa, Dave Menne, Matt Lindland
One of the founders, and current Alpha Dog, of the Brazilian Top Team, Bustamente beat Dave Menne for the UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 37. After vacating his UFC title, he would go on to fight at PrideFC, where he would lose an arguable split decision for the 183 pound title to Dan Henderson at Pride Shockwave 2005.
Bustamente was known for his solid standup and fantastic ground game. Had he won that split decision to Hendo, he may have been a Top 10 all-time fighter. As it is, he is a Top 10 middleweight, for sure.
MMA Record: 24-13-1
Record vs Jose Landi-Jons 0-2
Notable Victories: Ronaldo Silva
Despite never being named a champion in any of the major organizations, Jorge “Macaco” Patino was one of the most exciting fighters to watch during the No Holds Barred Days of MMA
Fast, precise strikes, each loaded with concussive power gave Patino an edge over most strikers. The ground game was where he made his money. The nickname Macaco literally means monkey. Those poor, unfortunate souls that went to the mat got the Donkey Kong treatment.
MMA Record: 26-14-0
Record vs. broken leg lowlights 0-1
Notable Victories: Jorge Patino, Evangelisto Santos, Pat Miletich, Matt Hughes
One of the greatest strikers to step into any arena, Landi-Jons was a fixture in the Brazilian Vale Tudo world, particularly the International Vale Tudo Championship (IVC). He was a devastating Muay Thai striker, standing toe to toe and dropping Chuck Liddell early with a headkick, forcing the IceMan to rely on his grabbling skills for victory.
Pele’s antics along with fleet footwork and quick striking, helped make him a star at the quickly growing Chute Boxe Gym. His influence of Anderson Silva is apparent whenever the latter adds a Middleweight scalp to his already huge pile. He had one of MMA history’s greatest feuds with Jorge “Macao” Patino.
Landi-Jons losses were as much about bad luck as skill, and he would remain a contender in NHB from its inception to his victory over Matt Hughes in 2001.
MMA Record: 19-9-0
Record vs. Randy Couture 0-2
Notable Victories: Mark Coleman, Tre Telligman (twice), Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Dan Severn, Josh Barnett, Andre Arlovski, Rico Rodriguez, Jeff Monson (twice), Gary Goodrich, Ken Shamrock.
The rock started his career on a 10-0 run. Coming from the Marco Ruas school of Vale Tudo, Rizzo developed a devastating striking game. In particular were some buttered-bread low kicks.
Those kicks served to earn Rizzo a shot at the UFC title. A fixture in the organization for over five years, he was one of its greatest fighters during that period.
MMA Record: 15-11-0
Record vs. Painkillers 0-4
Notable Victories: Enson Inoue
While only one name stands out on his ledger, Mark Kerr was the most dominant force the MMA world had ever seen for nearly three years. Using his size, incredible strength and Division 1 wrestling skills, Kerr took opponent after opponent after opponent down and pummeled them.
A documentary entitled The Smashing Machine details the rise and tragic fall of one of MMA’s first legends.
MMA Record: 16-9-1
Record vs. Jenna’s Vaginoplasty 2-0
Notable Victories: Jerry Bohlander, Guy Mezger, Wanderlei Silva, Yuki Kondo, Evan Tanner, Vladimir Matyushenko, Ken Shamrock (3x), Patrick Cote, Forrest Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Ryan Bader.
Love him or hate him, the Huntington Beach Bad Boy helped put MMA on the map, and was its biggest star. After proving his mettle within the Octagon, Tito battled with the current middleweight (199) champion: Frank Shamrock. Ortiz looked dominant most of the fight, but Shamrock’s superior conditioning gave him the edge and Ortiz lost the fight due to strikes.
Following the bout, Frank Shamrock retired from MMA and Tito was given the opportunity to battle Brazilian Muay Thai Legend Wanderlei Silva for the first UFC Light Heavyweight (205) Championship. Tito defended the belt five times.
A defeat to Randy Couture ended Tito’s three and a half year title reign. Ortiz would lose again to former training partner Chuck Liddell. Tito won two more fights, against Patrick Cote and Vitor Belfort before stepping away from the sport.
You can’t keep a bad boy from the spotlight, so Tito returned to rekindle the feud between he and Ken Shamrock at the reality show The Ultimate Fighter 3. Following losses to Lyoto Machida and Chuck Liddell, Tito left the sport he helped build, but only for a bit. His record since returning to the UFC is 1-3, and 1-5-1 since the last Shamrock fight.
MMA Record: 27-9-2
Record vs. Dos Caras Jr. 1-0
Notable Victories: Kazayuki Fujita (x2), Kazushi Sakuraba, Heath Herring, Igor Vovchanchyn, Ron Waterman, Alexander Emelianenko, Josh Barnett(x3), Keven Randleman, Mark Coleman, Wanderlei Silva
“Right Leg Hospital, Left Leg Cemetery.” That was all anyone needed to know the vicious Mirko “Cro Cop.” His legs the size of tree trunks felled man and opponent and made him the Mike Tyson of the Pride circuit.
While he would lose his chance at the PrideFC Heavyweight belt in a match against the current champion Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko would win the PRIDE- Final Conflict Absolute tournament. He transferred into the UFC following PRIDE’s folding and has had a rough go of it.
MMA Record: 21-8-0
Record vs. ladies (Watch out Wilt)
Notable Victories:Jose Landi-Jons, Jeff Monson, Kevin Randleman,Guy Mezger, Murilo Bustamente, Amar Suloev,Vitor Belfort, Renato Sobral(x2), Alistair Overeem, Tito Ortiz (x2), Randy Couture (x2), Wanderlei Silva
The Iceman, he needs no introduction. The face of the UFC as short as a year ago, Chuck’s “looping right” ended the night of some of the greatest names in the sport. He and Randy Coutures' stints on season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show catapulted the UFC to stardom, literally overnight.
If Chuck had spent more time in the gym, and less chasing skirts and drinking beers, he may still be a contender today. As it is, watch some highlights of arguably the most popular fighter on the planet.
MMA Record: 33-11-1
Record vs. Kazushi Sakuraba 3-0
Notable victories: Mike Van Arsdale, Eugene Jackson, Guy Mezger, Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba (x3), Hidehiko Yoshida(x2), Quinton Jackson (x2), Yuki Kondo, Ricardo Arona, Kazayuki Fujita
I really wanted to choose 1A and 1B on these two fighters. It will always be debatable who would have in their prime, could Chuck handle Pride rules...etc. I am a huge Wanderlei fan, and the fact that he went undefeated for nearly five years seals the deal for me. At once, he was the most feared fighter in PRIDE, and anyone who had the misfortune of being caught in that stare down, could feel their soul being sapped.
He destroyed Quinton Rampage in PrideFC twice with some of the most vicious knees in the sport. Knees, soccer kicks and headbutts in the UFC? Now that, my friends is a very scary thought.