Cung Le and the 8 Best Pure Martial Artists in MMA

Antwyn JacksonContributor IINovember 16, 2011

Cung Le and the 8 Best Pure Martial Artists in MMA

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    Cung Le is widely recognized as a pure martial artist that has transitioned his game to MMA. He's a blue belt in jiu-jistu and a black belt in Taekwondo. 

    Cung Le has competed in quite a few different martial arts competitions to hone his skills. He competed in kickboxing tournaments, as well as karate and wushu competitions. 

    His taekwondo striking base have given us highlight reel knockouts and the idea that he is a pure martial artist.

    Obviously, the idea of a pure martial artist is based on opinion, so feel free to offer yours.  Let's take a look at few that come to mind...

Anderson Silva

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    Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    Black belt in Judo
    Black belt in Taekwondo
    Black belt in Muay Thai
    Yellow rope in Capoeira

    Yes, Anderson Silva is a pure martial artist. He's proof that knowledge creates power. His ability to use the wealth of knowledge that he has when it can work its best is what makes him great and possibly the greatest MMA fighter of all time.

    At this point, it's more of a question of what he can't do. It's like he's Neo in The Matrix, and we're all just watching in amazement.

    This video points out the fact that he is confident and daring enough to even do Capoeira in a UFC fight. Oh, Forrest...

Lyoto Machida

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    Third Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate
    Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    I always thought that if they made another Street Fighter movie that Lyoto Machida should play Ryu. I know he isn't fully Japanese, but he fits the part. But that's another discussion.

    Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida is another pure martial artist. He takes the disciplines from Shotokan Karate and blends it well with Brazilian Jiu-Jistu. His stance alone and abilty to counter-attack cause opponents a lot of trouble. 

    He adds those attributes with the ability to stay away from a lot of punishment. We'll see if that works against Jon Jones. Not so sure about that.

Georges St. Pierre

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    Third dan black belt in Kyokushin
    Black belt in Gaidojutsu
    Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    It's no mistake that Georges St. Pierre enters the ring in his kyokushin karate gi. Karate is his base. It's the discipline that he studied when he was young, and everything else he's learned is based around that. 

    GSP employs a lot of help in fine tuning his fighting ability, and his ability to learn quickly and retain so much is why he is one of the pound for pound greats in the sport. 

    If they gave belts in boxing, I wonder what belt he would be? I bet Josh Koscheck would give him a black belt. 

Vitor Belfort

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    Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    Black belt in Judo
    Blue belt in Shotokan

    Surprise. Vitor Belfort is an amazing martial artist. Sure, we are accustomed to his rapid fire punching style, but he actually has a Judo and Shotokan base. 

    A lot of times, it seems that fighters fall in love with the knockout or what worked in their last fight, and maybe that's true of The Phenom. But the base is there for him to explore other avenues of his wealth of martial arts knowledge.

    It's up to him and his training staff to delve more into this and use his martial arts background into making him a more complete MIXED martial artist.

Shinya Aoki

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    Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    Black Belt in Judo
    A-Class Shootist

    Shinya Aoki isn't as known as some of the other fighters on this list, but he is a pretty fantastic martial artist. Sure, the competition he's faced recently isn't up to par with the others, but he has exhibited his array of martial arts skills in becoming a great all around fighter.

    It would be nice to see him in the UFC; perhaps a Gilbert Melendez versus Shinya Aoki rematch would be a good debut for both of them? Just throwing that out there.

Frank Mir

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    Black belt in Kenpo Karate
    Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    We had to get a heavyweight in here, and Frank Mir is a pretty solid choice.  With a background in Kenpo Karate learned from his dad, Mir has a great martial arts base.  He added a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jistu with just five years of study. It shows that Mir is very teachable and learns while retaining techniques.

    We'll see if those techniques will help him ascend in the heavyweight rankings as the division continues to get deeper.

Dennis Siver

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    Purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    Black belt in Taekwondo

    Dennis Siver isn't quite on the level of the others in respect to having multiple black belts in different disciplines. However, you do see his taekwondo base in the way he attacks with his legs in fights.

    Siver is famous for his spinning back kicks. People know they're coming, but just can't stop them.  He sets them up with his other martial arts strikes and adds a decent ground game.

    Siver is a solid test for anyone in the division and looks to get better as the years progress.

Ben Henderson

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    Black belt in Taekwondo
    Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    Another guy that doesn't have all the credentials as the other when it comes to black belts, Ben Henderson is making his way there. 

    His Korean roots navigated him toward the taekwondo discipline, and he uses that as his mixed martial arts base. You can definitely see in his kicks that he has years of training in how to execute them. He isn't the striker he wants to be yet, but as he continues to train, he will no doubt reach his potential.

    He'll need to use all the tools he has to capture the UFC Lightweight Championship from Frankie Edgar at UFC Japan. Fight of the year, maybe?