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Posts Tagged ‘Greatest’

Throughout UFC history, there have been a multitude of champions. Some have been absolutely dominant champions, while some have lost the title in their first attempted defense. Even worse, some have lost the title without even attempting to defend it.

Today’s MMA features many new champions, and believe it or not, Jon Jones is currently the longest-reigning champion in the UFC. With many new champions dominating their divisions, it can be hard to compare them to past dominant champions.

This list will attempt to rank the 10 greatest UFC champions of all time, while considering their number of titles held, number of title defenses, the quality of their opposition as well as their performance against that opposition.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top-10 greatest UFC champions of all time.

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UFC featherweight Conor McGregor discusses his UFC Fight Night 46 main event win over Diego Brandao, pushing Lorenzo Fertitta to do a stadium show in Ireland, how the Irish did at the event, why beating Brandao at the O2 in the way he did was the best moment of his life and more.

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It’s no secret that Dana White is a big Ronda Rousey supporter. On Friday, he took his praise for the UFC women’s bantamweight queen to a new level.

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It seems rematches have become more and more common in MMA.


Because rivalries sell in combat sports. Had it not been for the bad blood between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, women’s MMA probably wouldn’t be where it is today. A recent grudge between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen also helped MMA skyrocket in popularity in Brazil.

More than animosity is needed to make a great rivalry, though. If an unproven prospect starts throwing verbal jabs at Jon Jones, that alone isn’t going to get them a shot at the light heavyweight champion.

Based on entertainment value, participant competitiveness and lasting impact on MMA, here are the 10 greatest rivalries the sport has ever seen.


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All MMA fighters find themselves behind at one point or another.

Even active UFC legend Anderson Silva has had to come back to get his hand raised in multiple fights. And he’s far from the only champion who has had to dig his way out of a hole in the clutch.

In MMA, either fighter can end a bout at any time regardless of what has occurred throughout the contest. That is one of many things that has helped the sport grow so quickly in popularity.

With that in mind, here are the 10 greatest come-from-behind wins in UFC history. 

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It’s no secret that Nick and Nate Diaz are among the most discussed people in MMA. They’re either loved or hated, sometimes misunderstood and always good for a headline.

Few people in the sport are as capable as the boys from Stockton, California, are at getting their name out there and gaining some attention for a fight (or for not fighting, for that matter) or for wild stories about things that happen away from the cage.

With both brothers presently in states of semi-retirement, now is as good a time as any to look back over the past decade of Diaz and ponder some of the brothers’ greatest hits in the sport.

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Soa Palelei knocks out Pat Barry in a UFC bout in December 2013. (Getty Images)

Pat Barry and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira are getting knocked out regularly, but it’s up to them to decide when enough is enough. Let’s hope they retain the ability to effectively make that call.

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We’ve come to expect a certain amount of puffery in the fight game.

With pay-per-views to be sold and arenas to fill up, you can’t blame an enterprising MMA promoter for wanting to tell a good story—even if it isn’t totally grounded in reality.

Such has been the case during the lead up to Saturday’s UFC 172, when the industry’s best spin doctors have been out in force to prop up Glover Teixeira as light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ most dangerous opponent yet.

Certainly, Teixeira is a capable, heavy-handed competitor who has rightfully earned his spot as No. 1 contender. He could absolutely defeat Jones if he can load up and catch the champion slipping with a big shot. Through five Octagon appearances against mostly middling talent though, Teixeira just hasn’t shown the skills to justify the hyperbole currently being heaped at his feet.

Take for example the final round of commercials for this fight, which aired in heavy rotation during last weekend’s UFC on Fox 11.

“Jon Jones’ title may be in jeopardy!” crows the Joe Rogan voiceover as the camera pans menacingly across Teixeira’s face. “That might be the greatest title fight in the history of the light heavyweight division!” it hollers as Jones slow-motion runs through the Octagon’ s gate, Teixeira bouncing on his toes in the opposite corner.

The 30-second spot is slickly crafted and effective in establishing Jones-Teixeira as an epic clash we won’t want to miss.

The problem is that most of Rogan’s quotes sound suspiciously like things he said during last September’s UFC 165, when he wasn’t talking about Teixeira at all, but rather Alexander Gustafsson.

While it’s not exactly a newsflash that fans should be wary of getting their information about a fight from the commercials, this seems like an especially weird and audacious editing decision. Trying to sell Teixeira as Jones’ biggest challenge by using quotes about Gustafsson? That sort of undermines the whole point, doesn’t it?

Even by today’s permissive standards, it casts the sales pitch for this fight about as far out of context as you can get.

UFC commentators haven’t been any less over the top when actually talking about Teixeira either.

“He has been nothing short of spectacular,” said Rogan during last weekend’s broadcast. “A lot of people think he may be the greatest challenge Jon Jones has ever faced.”

Spectacular? Maybe.

But Jon Jones’ greatest challenge? That’s a stretch.

We know Teixeira is good, having watched him dispatch most of the fighters he’s faced in the UFC in expeditious and effective fashion. But considering that during 2011-12, Jones defeated five consecutive former light heavyweight champions with the composure and ease of a man taking his dog for a walk, it’s safe to say he’s faced more imposing obstacles.

Lyoto Machida? Rashad Evans? Shogun Rua? Those were challenges. Hard to see how Teixeira stacks up to any of them.

For his part, the 34-year-old Brazilian has fought mostly also-rans since arriving in the UFC in 2012. He began his Octagon tenure by blitzing Kyle Kingsbury, Fabio Maldonado and James Te Huna as well as taking a unanimous decision win from Quinton Jackson during Rampage’s listless final appearance in the promotion.

His most competitive fight to date came against Ryan Bader in front of a partisan crowd in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, last September. In that fight Bader had him badly hurt before, in his haste to get the finish, he dropped his hands and allowed Teixeira to floor him with a counter.

In reality, lists Teixeira (as of this writing) as something approaching a 5-to-1 underdog against Jones, which him puts him about on par danger-wise with previous opponents like Evans, Machida and Jackson. UFC President Dana White has scoffed at that number, but if anything it seems like a fairly reasonable adjustment after oddsmakers so badly misjudged Gustafsson last year.

Fightland’s Jack Slack this week authored a convincing piece on exactly how one-dimensional Teixeira has been during his UFC career. He’s powerful, sure, but he’s relied largely on the same single-leg takedown to initiate his grappling and a repetitive cross-counter right hand to spearhead his punching combinations.

“The single strategy which Teixeira utilizes non-stop in the cage is the cross counter…,” Slack wrote. “And it’s not even that Teixeira is a one sided puncher—he can smoke guys’ boots with his left hook just as he can with his right—but he only ever throws his left after he has thrown that looping right.”

Throughout his three-minute fight against Bader, Slack wrote, Teixeira exclusively led with the cross counter, and the American nearly made him pay for his predictability. Against Jones—a much larger, rangier fighter with a well-documented obsession for scouting his opponents—this seems like a recipe for disaster.

None of it means Teixeira isn’t capable of surprising us, but it’s also hard to believe he’ll show up at UFC 172 a whole new man. He’ll still be dangerous, but if anything is a sure bet, it’s that Jones will be impeccably prepared to defend against his favorite tools.

With that in mind, it’s pretty hard to frame Teixeira as Jones’ most difficult test.

The real story of this fight is a different one. During the last four years, Jones systematically dismantled the old-guard of the light heavyweight division. He did so with such effortlessness that we thought he might never be beaten. Then, against Gustafsson—his first clash with the 205-pound class’ new wave—he let down and nearly lost the title.

Now comes Teixeira, a fearsome contender who could put Jones to sleep if the champion makes the mistake of taking him as lightly as his camp now claims he took Gustafsson. He’s a guy Jones should beat and now he absolutely must in order to rekindle our faith in him as the greatest fighter of his generation.

Why not just run with that? Why let the pre-fight hype stray so far from the facts? Why set expectations the product likely can’t reach?

Granted, it will be great if Jones vs. Teixeira turns into a fight for the ages.

If it doesn’t, the story we were told leading up will be immediately forgotten. Jones will be on to a late-summer rematch with Gustafsson, then he’ll scrap with the winner of UFC 173’s title eliminator between Daniel Cormier and Dan Henderson. 

After that? There’s no telling.

But, whatever it is, it will no doubt be his biggest, most dangerous challenge yet.

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The 20 Greatest Wrestling Matches Between Future MMA Stars, Part VIII: 4 & 3
Bloody Elbow
Before they obtained fame in mixed martial arts, many great fighters competed in amateur wrestling. Sometimes, amateur wrestling matches have even featured two future prize fight combatants. Bloody Elbow wrestling specialist Mike Riordan ranks the 20 …

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SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 19: (L-R) Dan Henderson punches Mauricio

His first fight against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua ranks highly in many fans’ minds, but Hendo himself didn’t think much of it in the moment.

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  • Alexander Gustafsson Injured, Jones vs. Cormier At UFC 178
    UFC announced on Wednesday that Alexander Gustafsson suffered an injury during training and will not be able to compete against UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 178 on September 27th. Undefeated, top-ranked 205-pound contender Daniel Cormier will now step up and face Jones for the title in the new UFC 178 main event. It'
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