Dan Henderson and the 5 Best Olympians to Ever Compete in MMA

G DAnalyst IIINovember 16, 2011

Dan Henderson and the 5 Best Olympians to Ever Compete in MMA

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    What makes mixed martial arts so special is its wide variety of athletes who participate and help make the sport what it is today.

    Mixed martial arts has allowed world-class fighters from all across the globe to compete at the highest stage possible.

    While the sport has its fair share of fighters from nearly every part of the world, it is also home to many former Olympians.

    These athletes once represented their countries on a national pedestal before making the transition to mixed martial arts.

    The following slides display the five best Olympians to ever compete in MMA.

    Let's take a look.

Randy Couture

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    Randy Couture entered the sport of mixed martial arts in May of 1997 and just recently retired from the sport he truly loves.

    Over the course of his historical career Couture won both the light heavyweight and heavyweight championships before calling it quits following his fight with Lyoto Machida at UFC 129.

    While many fans across the globe are quick to recognize Couture for his achievements inside the Octagon, few know he was an Olympic athlete.

    Couture was a 1991 Pan-American gold medalist for the United States and an Olympic alternate for wrestling.

Ben Askren

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    Ben Askren entered the sport of mixed martial arts in February of 2009 and hasn't lost a single fight in his short-lived career.

    En route to the top of the Bellator welterweight division, Askren has been declared the undisputed champion of his respected weight class.

    What many fans fail to realize is that Askren is a former Olympic wrestler.

    Despite never placing in any Olympic event, Askren remains one of the greatest Olympians to have ever competed in mixed martial arts.

Hector Lombard

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    Hector Lombard may be one of the best middleweights in mixed martial arts today, as well as one of the most skilled fighters in judo.

    Lombard participated in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

    The world-class talent has also competed in judo events across the globe, winning seven gold medals.

    Lombard, who was born in Cuba, continues his dominance in mixed martial arts, as he hasn't lost since November of 2006.

Dan Henderson

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    Dan Henderson will once again get the chance to prove he is worthy of a light heavyweight title shot when he takes on Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 139.

    Over the course of his career, Henderson has been recognized as one of the hardest hitters in the sport of mixed martial arts, totaling 13 career victories by knockout.

    But Henderson has more than a fighting background, as he competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics games in Greco-Roman wrestling.

    "Hendo" is one of the most accomplished Olympians in the sport of mixed martial arts today.

Daniel Cormier

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    Daniel Cormier entered the sport of mixed martial arts in September of 2009 when he defeated Gary Frazier to capture the first win of his career.

    Cormier still hasn't lost, posting a perfect 9-0 record on route to being declared the XMMA heavyweight champion.

    Cormier is also one of the best wrestlers in the sport of mixed martial arts, as he is a former Olympic wrestler and the captain of the 2008 freestyle team.

    Over the course of his career, Cormier has won four Olympic medals, including two gold medals.