Best fighters of the NHB era?

Discussion in 'UFC Discussion' started by Mob69, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Mob69

    Mob69 Black Belt

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    I've been doing an interesting thought-exercise: trying to ascertain the greatest/most accomplished fighter from the NHB era, which I have (arbitrarily and problematically) defined as ending on 31st December 2000.

    Of course this isn't perfect, but that date is helpful. Most of the leading fighters from the first era of MMA had the bouts upon which their legacies depend before that date.

    So, even though many of those below continued to compete afterwards (Sakuraba, Coleman, Severn, etc), or retired and then came back (Frank Shamrock, Ken Shamrock) their key, legacy-defining achievements almost all came prior to 31st December 2000. So I think that is the best cut-off date for the purposes of this exercise.

    In ranking the fighters I tried to balance factors such as accomplishments (winning major fights, winning one-night tournaments etc.), strength of competition, the fact that weight classes were of negligible importance, the sheer size of some bodies of work (fights occurred far more frequently in those days), etc.

    I have also focused purely on the body of work in this period. Thus, fights that occurred afterwards are not taken in account. Likewise, someone like Rickson might well be the greatest BJJ player of all time, but his body of work in MMA/NHB is quite small.

    In some places I have ranked fighter A higher than B, even though B beat A - this is usually based on the size of the overall body of work and the number of wins achieved at a time when the sport was shifting constantly, it was impossible to scout opponents, new tactics/techniques were constantly being developed, fights frequently ended due to fatigue, and so on.

    I'd be grateful for anyone's thoughts on the list below. I was very, very surprised by the fighter that came out at number one. The list is very provisional and is more of a thought-exercise. I'm aware that it is perhaps eccentric.

    [1] Igor Vovchanchyn
    [2] Kazushi Sakuraba
    [3] Frank Shamrock
    [4] Bas Rutten
    [5] Dan Severn
    [6] Ken Shamrock
    [7] Masakatsu Funaki
    [8] Royce Gracie
    [9] Mark Coleman
    [10] Don Frye
    [11] Rickson Gracie
    [12] Mark Kerr

    Before Rickson fans have a nuclear meltdown, please note that I am NOT saying that all, or many, of those fighters ranked above him would defeat him. What I am suggesting is simply that their MMA body of work is of better quality/of greater significance than his.

    Looking at Igor's body of work https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Vovchanchyn and his incredible run between 1995 and the end of 2000, I was forced to conclude that he was the most accomplished. He fought a HUGE number of fights and won. Importantly, he is probably the most successful tournament fighter in MMA history, which in the NHB era counts for a great deal. I think that he competed in twelve one-night tournaments and won nine of them. He reached the finals in every tournament. In addition Igor was a terrifying striker and hit very hard indeed (incidentally he had a kickboxing record of 61-2, which underpinned his abilities with his fists). Hence I had to reluctantly give him the nod over Sakuraba.

    For those wondering, the sheer size of Severn's resume in this period was a reason why I ranked him quite a lot higher than I initially expected to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Severn

    Comments/criticisms greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  2. HHJ

    HHJ Jeg reiser til mørkets dyp der alt er dødt.

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    Rutten and Shamrock were the most well rounded,that were more closer to a modern day MMA athlete i would say.
     
  3. nutts

    nutts Blue Belt

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    No Pele?
     
  4. Sharkey

    Sharkey Who finishes 3rd?

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    Sakurai and Pele are two noticeable omissions. In my opinion. But both were considered the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport at certain times in that era.
     
  5. masterless

    masterless Sherdog Veteran

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    Marco Ruas

    /Thread
     
  6. nutts

    nutts Blue Belt

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    I was thinking the king of the streets too after Pele
     
  7. Bobby Boulders

    Bobby Boulders My Lovin' Is Digi Platinum Member

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    Surprised by Igor? Nah, mang.
     
  8. Mob69

    Mob69 Black Belt

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    Yes, very fair point.
     
  9. Mob69

    Mob69 Black Belt

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    Yep, good point. Thanks.
     
  10. Fatal Catro

    Fatal Catro Red Belt

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    thought-exercise ?.
     
  11. Mob69

    Mob69 Black Belt

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    Yep I was thinking about it while I was in bed, actually.

    Miletich should probably be on the list too.
     
  12. The ScorpioN

    The ScorpioN "GET OVER HERE!"

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    Why's Bas on the list? He never fought NHB, he only had 3 legitimate MMA fights.

    Royce should be ranked higher.

    I approve of Igor as number 1.
     
  13. Mob69

    Mob69 Black Belt

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    I've been thinking and isn't the real significance of Pele and Marco Ruas their impact on training techniques, as opposed to their actual fight records in NHB/MMA?

    (I realise that they had long and storied Vale Tudo records, but as this is nearly all undocumented it is, basically, hear-say).
     
  14. Steve-French

    Steve-French What A Rush!!!

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    Tank Abbott?
     
  15. leatherneck

    leatherneck if not 4 disappointments, id have no appointments

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    Noone ever solved a good double leg with headbutts.

    (E.G., Mark Kerr and Coleman)
     
  16. Mob69

    Mob69 Black Belt

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    lol.
     
  17. TheGZA

    TheGZA Excellent! But not good.

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    Likewise, Funaki's only legitimate fight during the "NHB era" was the loss to Rickson.

    Edit: I thought the list was in no particular order, but apparently it's a ranking, and Funaki is ranked higher than Rickson, Royce, Coleman and Kerr. LOL
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  18. The ScorpioN

    The ScorpioN "GET OVER HERE!"

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    Didn't even notice. Good points.

    Actual NHB fighters should be ranked higher than the pro wrestler hybrids.
     

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