10 Old-School Fighters We'd Love to See in MMA Today
How would some of the old legends of MMA fare against today's top-notch fighters?
It's fun to think about whether a prime Royce Gracie could to handle a Demian Maia or a Ronaldo Souza on the ground, or whether Bas Rutten would have been able to hang with Junior dos Santos.
The old-school MMA fighters were some of the most entertaining to watch, so let's take a look at 10 old-school fighters we wish were still competing today.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten is known as one of the best strikers in early MMA, who also had an affection for liver shots.
Rutten popularized liver shots in MMA, and used them to win several of his fights.
In addition to his outstanding striking, he had a good ground game as well, using submissions to win 13 of his fights.
Almost every MMA fan out there knows the name Royce Gracie. They know he won the UFC 1, 2 and 4 tournaments, and that he may very well be responsible for the early success of the UFC.
After UFC 5, Gracie was out of the Octagon for more than a decade, and when he returned, he was nearly submitted, and eventually finished via TKO, by Matt Hughes.
If we put prime Royce back out there today, how might he do?
He was the Goliath to Royce's David, he was "The World's Most Dangerous Man," and he is Ken Shamrock.
Shamrock started his MMA career in Japan in the Pancrase organization, where he earned an 8-3 record before his UFC debut at UFC 3.
Shamrock went on to have a legendary career in the UFC and Pancrase, where he was the King of Pancrase, and the UFC Superfight Champion.
The adopted brother of Ken Shamrock is the first-ever UFC light heavyweight champion. Shamrock was also an interim King of Pancrase, the first ever WEC light heavyweight champion, and the first ever Strikeforce middleweight champion.
Shamrock was an innovator when his career started, as he was one of the first fighters to train in both striking and grappling, making him a force to be reckoned with anywhere the fight went.
Shamrock retired in 2009 after a TKO loss to current UFC welterweight contender, Nick Diaz.
Igor Vovchanchyn was known as one of the most devastating strikers ever to set foot in the MMA ring.
Vovy won 55 fights in his career, 38 of which were due to his strikes in one form or another.
He has done battle with some of the top fighters in the sport, including Alistair Overeem, Mirko Cro Cop, Rampage Jackson, Gilbert Yvel, Mark Coleman and Kazushi Sakuraba.
Vovy would be a force to be reckoned with.
Mirko Cro Cop
Up next is the most recent retiree on the list, Mirko Cro Cop.
Cro Cop retired at UFC 137 after a third-round TKO loss to Roy Nelson. However, through the course of his career, and before his final downslide of three (T)KO losses in a row, Cro Cop had only been (T)KO'd twice.
Throughout his career, he earned 27 victories, 21 of which came by some form of Cro Cop's lethal striking.
We can only imagine how different the MMA landscape would be if Gabriel Gonzaga had never landed the kick heard round the world...
Rickson Gracie is recognized—almost universally—as the best BJJ practitioner ever.
Gracie had his first fight in 1980, where he earned a rear-naked choke submission victory after nearly 12 minutes of fighting.
He went on to get his record up to 11-0 with 11 submissions, nine of which were due to submission holds.
Many fighters today use their BJJ as their main means of fighting. Prime Rickson would put them to shame.
Mark Coleman is the first-ever UFC heavyweight champion, and the Pride 2000 Openweight Grand Prix champion. He is also known as the godfather of ground and pound.
Coleman used his world class wrestling to get the fight down, and then he would just beat your face in.
A Coleman against Brock Lesnar matchup would be wildly intriguing.
Kevin Randleman is another former UFC heavyweight champion, and another outstanding wrestler.
Randleman fought at both heavyweight and light heavyweight during his career, but he never really achieved much after losing the heavyweight title to Randy Couture at UFC 28.
Randleman went 2-9 in the last 11 fights of his career before finally calling it quits this past May.
Randy Couture retired after a knockout loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 129. But we all want him back in the Octagon.
Couture is a former heavyweight champ and light heavyweight champ, and is known as Captain America, or The Natural.
Couture is a fan favorite in the sport, and nobody would complain if he were to come back into the Octagon again.
There'd probably be a few Brett Favre comparisons, but no complaints.