Randy Couture – lHW/heavyweight
One of the most famous men in all combat sports, Randy Couture has bridged the divide between wrestling, MMA and even boxing. Not only winning six UFC titles across two weight divisions. He also took on and defeated former world champion boxer James Toney in a massive UFC vs boxer crossover fight.
For many years Couture was the face of the sport, displacing a much younger Tito Ortiz who he had beaten the take the UFC light heavyweight title. And in his epic fights with Chuck Liddell, Couture guaranteed his place in the history books as one of the greatest to ever do it.
Not bad for an athlete who at thirty-four made the switch to MMA from Olympic level Greco Roman wrestling. He became known for his non-stop grinding clinch game and dirty boxing, which simply exhausted most of his opponents.
Often facing guys who outweighed him by up to a hundred pounds. In MMA circles, Captain America became a household name. And will forever be remembered as one of the sport’s greats.
Rich Franklin – Middleweight
Ace, a nickname he got as some fans thought he resembled comedian Jim Carey. Rich Franklin was yet another one of the beloved fighters in the sport who is remembered fondly by the old school UFC fans.
He became a professional fighter back in 1999 and prior to that had in fact been a math teacher at Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Going on to hit the highest highs in the sport, Rich won the UFC middleweight title from Evan Tanner at UFC 53.
A title he defended two times setting a new record at the time for the most consequtive middleweight defenses. Before falling foul to future pound for pound star Anderson Silva at UFC 64.
He would face Silva again in a title fight, losing due to knee strikes. Never again to claim UFC gold, his career with the promotion continued until 2012 before he would finally retire after a KO loss to fellow veteran Cung Le.
Brian Stann – Light heavyweight
The All American Brian Stann is the former WEC light heavyweight champion who joined the ranks of the UFC in 2009. A decorated soldier in the US military, Stann received a silver star for his leadership at the Battle of Al-Qa’im.
He continued to be an active commanding officer while at the same time competing in the WEC. Where his mixed martial ars career began at twenty-five years of age.
While competing in the UFC Stan did not achieve the same levels of success he had in the WEC. But was still one of the top fighters in their light heavyweight division.
The last fight in his career forever immortalized him when he faced Wanderlei Silva. In a rock em sock em back and forth war, the pair teed off on one another in one of the craziest fights ever seen inside the octagon.
Unfortunately for Brian, he would suffer a loss and retire from the sport soon after. But he can still be seen today, although now behind the camera on the microphone calling and not competing in the fights.
Daniel Cormier – LHW/Heavyweight
There is an argument that Daniel Cormier is, in fact, the greatest mixed martial artist to ever compete in the sport. A two-time champion in both the UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. Cormier has fought and beaten some of the very best in the sport.
The former Olympian came to MMA when he felt he could go no further in his amateur wrestling career. In his first three fights, he had won two titles with two promotions. And just two years later coming in as an alternate would win the Strikeforce heavyweight title.
DC was soon be signed by the UFC and would win his first four fights against opponents who were all supposed to win. However, he would then suffer his first loss against the reigning champion Jon Jones at UFC 182 in a fight that sparked one of the most heated rivalries in the sport.
Soon after he captured the 205 lb title which he successfully defended. Before once again facing Jon Jones, in a fight that was subsequently overturned, once again making him the UFC light heavyweight king.
He faced Stipe Miocic and won the heavyweight title at UFC 226, losing the rematch at UFC 241. Before ending his career with a trilogy fight with Miocic where he once again lost. A simultaneous two-division UFC champion and only the second man in the sport to achieve the accolade.
CM Punk – Welterweight
No, you didn’t, oh yes I did! Phillip Jack Brooks commonly known to his fans as CM Punk is a professional wrestler turned mixed martial arts fighter. Brooks holds the title for longest WWE championship reign in the 21 century coming in at 434-days.
But in 2014 he became disaffected with professional wrestling and instead decided to try his hand at MMA. And being the showman that he is was not content with just any promotion. Punk wanted to start his tenure at the very top in the UFC.
And with a celebrity like CM Punk the UFC was more than happy to accommodate and bring some of his fanbase across to their sport.
However, his career was short-lived as he lost debut to Mickey Gall and in his second fight which occurred some two years later. Signalling the end of his time inside the octagon. All be it with not too many waiting patiently for his return.
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