This is simply an opinion piece so please let me know if you disagree with the choices made.
No. 1 Fedor Emelianenko
Most fans would agree this is a no brainer. He is not only the number one fighter today, but also the greatest fighter since MMA began in 1993. His only loss coming by way of a doctor stoppage from a cut, Fedor has proven himself to be the closest thing to invincible that exists today. His recent thrashing of Arlovski shows he still has it.
No. 2 Wanderlei Silva
Wanderlei takes a close second as he has brought unique aggression to the ring. The greatest knee strikes in the game, and he has KO’d people of all weight classes. He has traveled the world, beating almost everyone with a name.
The thing that makes him so special is his desire to win. He has lost some fights recently but there was a time when you wouldn’t fight Wandy with a tank.
No. 3 Royce Gracie
Lets face it—there is no getting around what he accomplished. Back in the 90’s people thought Royce could beat anyone in the world. He was ahead of his time and helped to create the sport we now all enjoy.
The fact that he has lost a few fights—especially lately, holds no bearing on his place in history.
No. 4 Kazushi Sakuraba
OK all you young-lings, you might not know this man too well but he was a monster in the ring. Known by many as the “Gracie Hunter”, Sakuraba has wins over Royler Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Ryan Gracie, and Royce Gracie.
He was eventually defeated by Royce Gracie June 2, 2007. He also has wins over Vernon White, Carlos Newton, Vitor Belfort, Guy Mezger, Kevin Randleman, Antonio Schembri, Rampage Jackson, Ken Shamrock, and Ikuhisa Minowa.
Only one man ever seemed to have Sakuraba’s “number”. That man was Wanderlei Silva, who beat Sakuraba three separate times.
No. 5 Ken Shamrock
Love him or hate him but you cannot deny him. Ken helped bring attention to the sport almost as much as Royce Gracie did. He was an incredibly dangerous fighter- thus his nickname “Most dangerous Man In The World”.
At one point the Japanese even had a cartoon based on his likeness and fighting skill. Ken did not leave the sport quietly. Regardless of his recent losses, and antics, he is simply one of the greatest of all time, having lived up to his nickname many times.
No. 6 Randy Couture
This man inspired thousands of people to enter the sport of MMA. He fought and was champion, of both the Heavyweight and the Light Heavyweight divisions of he UFC. It seemed like half his fights were title shots or title defenses. Showing that if a man keeps himself in condition he can fight well past his so called ”Prime”.
He literally spanked Tito Ortiz during their engagement and shocked the world time and time again. You might think he doesn’t have a chance but I doubt you would bet money against him in any fight.
No. 7 Matt Hughes
This man was probably the greatest 170 lb fighter to ever live. He held the UFC Welterweight belt for so long he was able to change his intro music to country. With over 40 wins in the Octagon , he has taken on and defeated all challengers including George St Pierre, Matt Serra, Frank Trig, and holds multiple victories over BJ Penn.
His personality may leave fans a bit disappointed but his work in the Octagon never did. I’m giving credit where credit is due. Matt Hughes well deserves this honor (such as it is)
No. 8 Dan Henderson
While this placement may be questionable to some, He does deserve this spot on the list. He at one point held both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Pride Fighting Championship Titles.
His notable victories include wins over the likes of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Renato Sobral, Renzo Gracie, Vitor Belfort, and most recently, Rich Franklin. He has a few losses also - including defeats at the hands of Noguiera, Wanderlei, and recently, Anderson Silva. Soon he will add Bisping to his list of victories.
No. 9 Jeff Monson
If you are groaning- stop. This man deserves a spot on this list. He has fought for a decade and has a stellar win/loss record. He is probably the greatest pure Heavyweight grappler in the world. He has fought in almost every kind of organized combat sport there is.
His record, longevity, skill, strength, power, and ferocity make him a dangerous opponent for anyone in the world—including Fedor.
Monson has been trying for some time to get that fight but has thus far been unable to negotiate fair terms. Until then we just have to wait and ponder- could Monson beat Fedor?
No. 10 Tito Ortiz
The groaning is getting louder. This is probably the most controversial placement on the list- even more so than Monson. However Tito was a great champion with victories over extremely tough fighters such as Guy Mezger, Yuki Kondo, Evan Tanner, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Patrick Cote, and he beat Ken Shamrock many times.
His losses came by way of randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, and also suffered a Draw vs. Rashad Evans when he lost a point in a fight he had won.
Tito was always a controversial figure—did he duck people, did he maneuver events in his favor—well yes he did. He is a lot smarter than most other MMA competitors and knows his own value.
As a result of Dana White’s inability to control Tito, he was released from the UFC following his loss to Machida. Unlike most of Machida’s opponents, Tito went the distance and lost a decision.
Tito held the UFC Light Heavyweight title for years and the work he has done in movies, TV, and commercials also shows that he was a fighter with a business sense. Dana doesn’t like people that can think on their own.
So that’s the current Top 10 fighters since 1993.
Other people I thought about listing include:
Please feel free to put in your own 2 cents, mine have been spent.
-Marco Yanitelli “The Italian Scallion”