Thursday, July 9, 2009
Not going to lie - I'm pretty pumped that we're coming to the end of this series.
My thinking is that since a number of people have shied away to this point, they're waiting until the Top 10 are revealed before chiming in with their thoughts and objections.
Well good people, we're getting closer, as today's installment looks at the cast of characters who make up the teenage segment of the Greatest Fighters in UFC History.
20. Mark Coleman
UFC Record: 6-4
Victories Over: Gary Goodridge, Don Frye, Dan Severn
Don't think of the Mark Coleman who fought Shogun Rua or that will be stepping into the cage all old and exhausted this weekend. Jump on YouTube and watch early Mark Coleman and you'll see why "The Hammer" resides as the elder statesmen of the teenage set. The first ever UFC Heavyweight champion brought the ground and pound formula to the cage and executed it better than anyone at the time, en route to six straight wins, the UFC 10 and 11 Tournament titles and the aforementioned heavyweight crown.
19. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
UFC Record: 5-1
Victories Over: Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva
While many other former Pride fighters have had mixed results since joining (or returning to) the UFC, Rampage has had none of that. Following his debut win, he won the Light Heavyweight title from Liddell, unified the division by beating Pride champ Dan Henderson and fought a very, very close battle with Forrest Griffin. Since then, he's gone crazy for a couple days, but returned to clobber nemesis Wanderlei Silva and grind out a win over Keith Jardine. Next up: TUF 10 and a grudge match with Rashad Evans.
18. Forrest Griffin
UFC Record: 7-3
Victories Over: Stephan Bonnar (twice), Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson
You're damn right I have Griffin here in part because of his success as "The Original Ultimate Fighter." What keeps him here is his submission of Shogun when he was still considered the best light heavyweight in the world and his upset of Rampage for the Light Heavyweight title. And really, when your three losses are Keith Jardine, Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans, that ain't too bad either.
17. Jens Pulver
UFC Record: 6-2-1
Victories Over: Caol Uno, Dennis Hallman, BJ Penn
The first UFC Lightweight (then Bantamweight) champion, Lil Evil has fallen on tough times recently with a string of losses that have people (myself included) wondering whether he should continue. Should he hang'em up, we can always look back on his epic first battle with BJ Penn, a fight that, for my money, should be higher up in the UFC's countdown of the 100 Greatest Fights than it is.
16. Pat Miletich
UFC Record: 8-2
Victories Over: Mikey Burnett, John Alessio
Everyone knows him as a trainer - and a damn fine one at that - but Miletich was also one hell of a fighter back in the day. "The Croatian Sensation" won the belt over Mikey Burnett at UFC Ultimate Brazil and held onto it for two and a half years, defending the strap four times before succumbing to Carlos Newton at UFC 31. I'm sure some part of Miletich enjoyed seeing future protege Matt Hughes powerbomb Newton into unconsciousness in his first defense.
15. Rich Franklin
UFC Record: 12-3
Victories Over: Wanderlei Silva, Yushin Okami, Ken Shamrock
I feel for Rich Franklin, I really do. Life was great, cruising along as the Middleweight champ, four straight wins since joining the UFC, including defeating Shamrock and Evan Tanner, preparing for a defense against Martin Kampmann and then BOOM! Kampmann blows a knee, Anderson Silva steps in and now Franklin is forever stuck in limbo, forced to make 205 his permanent home because he's 0-2 against "The Spider" and no one wants to see him get dismantled again.
14. Lyoto Machida
UFC Record: 7-0
Victories Over: Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, Sokoudjou
When it's all said and done, "The Dragon" could end up as the best ever. EVER. He hasn't lost a round, barely gets touched and has demolished everyone he's ever faced. And it's not like he's facing stiffs either. Now he's the Light Heavyweight champ, the catalyst for thousands of people's renewed love of karate and lined up to defend against Shogun Rua in the Fall. How long can he remain undefeated?
13. Frank Mir
UFC Record: 10-3
Victories Over: Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
People will surely question this one, but facts are facts. Mir was dominating the division before a motorcycle accident put him on the sidelines. While he struggled initially upon his return, all he's done of late is rattle off three straight wins, including submitting the genetic freak that is Brock Lesnar and being the first person in 38 fights to KO Nogueira. Show the man some respect.
12. BJ Penn
UFC Record: 9-4-1
Victories Over: Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, Sean Sherk
This one might make some, including Sarah Kaufman, very mad. From where I stand, Penn has the ability to become a Top 10, even a Top 5 fighter on this list in the next few years, but does he have the desire? The interesting thing to me is that cleaning out the lightweight division, which is full of new challengers, would propel Penn into the Top 10 easily and get him the respect he feels he deserves. Let your actions speak for you, Baby Jay.
11. Frank Shamrock
UFC Record: 5-0
Victories Over: Tito Ortiz, Jeremy Horn, Igor Zinoviev
What can you say about the first ever UFC Light Heavyweight champ? He literally beat everyone the UFC ever put before him, including tough challenges in Horn and Ortiz, slammed Igor Zinoviev into retirement and walked away with a fist-full of wins against a goose egg in the loss department. The only thing that I would say is missing is a monster blowout between him and "his brother" Ken. That would have been awesome. Now it would just be ugly.
Only ten names remain and we all know who they are.
But what order will they come out in?
Who will be in the coveted #1 spot?
Patience my children, patience.
The UFC 100: 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.