It's been a little over a year since the UFC has inducted anyone into its Hall of Fame, so I got to thinking who would be good candidates for the next round of inductees. There are currently eight Hall of Famers, and each one of them is worthy of that honor. They are:
- Royce Gracie
- Ken Shamrock
- Dan Severn
- Randy Couture
- Mark Coleman
- Chuck Liddell
- Charles Lewis Jr (Mask from Tapout)
- Matt Hughes
The UFC has had several men come along that deserve to be added to this list as well because of their accomplishments, impact on the sport and fighting prowess. The most obvious candidate for induction is BJ Penn, but I think I have found a few other fighters that need to be added too.
This list contains five fighters that definitely need to be added to the UFC Hall of Fame within the next few years, if not sooner.
Evan Tanner is a fighter who in my opinion is somewhat overlooked when fans talk about the Hall of Fame. In his career he amassed 40 fights with 21 submissions and is one of only five men who have ever held the UFC Middleweight belt. I can't think of a more deserving candidate for the UFC Hall of Fame.
Record: 32-8 (8 Knockouts and 21 submissions)
Weight Class: Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight
Belts Held: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champ, UFC Middleweight Champ
Jens "Lil Evil" Pulver is a worthy candidate for the UFC Hall of Fame despite the rough go of it he has had in the latter half of his career. Pulver's record may not reflect his worthiness, however he was the first UFC Lightweight Champion (one of only four title holders), has beaten quality fighters, and helped to build the sport to what it is today.
Record: 25-15-1 (14 knockouts and 4 submissions)
Weight Class: Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight
Belts Held: UFC Lightweight Champ
Love him or hate him, Tito Ortiz has done a lot for the UFC and MMA. In the early days of the UFC Ortiz was one of the poster boys that helped popularize the sport and gave the average fan a name to associate with MMA. After winning the light heavyweight belt he defended it 5 times setting the record for the most consecutive title defenses in the weight class. When Tito decides to retire he deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Record: 16-9-1 (8 knockouts and 3 submissions)
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Belts Held: UFC Light Heavyweight Champ
Bas Rutten is one of the most influential mixed martial artists of all time and despite the fact that he no longer fights he continues to be a strong pillar in the sport. During his hay day Bas was a three time King of Pancrase, UFC Champ, and wound up finishing his career on a 22 fight unbeaten streak. Post fighting he coached a team in the IFL and currently is a host on Inside MMA. You can't have a Hall of Fame and not have Bas Rutten in it.
Record: 28-4-1 (12 knockouts and 13 submissions)
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight
Belts Held: King of Pancrase and UFC Heavyweight Champ
BJ Penn is the reason that the Hall of Fame was created. He is one of MMA and BJJ's most dominant fighters holding three different titles, winning the most lightweight fights in UFC history, two Submission of the Night honors, one Knockout of the Night, and one Fight of the Night award. Plus BJ was only one of two fighters to hold UFC title belts in two different weight classes. It is only a matter of time before he is inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Record: 16-8-2 (7 knockouts and 6 submissions)
Weight Class: Welterweight and Lightweight
Titles Held: Rumble on the Rock Lightweight Champ, UFC Lightweight Champ, and UFC Welterweight Champ.