PRIDE’s Brazilian Super Heroes Appear to Have Lost their Special Powers

UFC 92 featured a lot of things: the crowning of a new light heavyweight king in Rashad Evans; the crowning of a new interim UFC heavyweight champion in Frank Mir; and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson proving to the critics that it wasn’t too soon to return to the Octagon.

However, another prevailing theme from UFC 92 was the continuing demise of the old Brazilian guard of PRIDE. If I could just escape my manufactured “AP-style persona” with you for a few seconds and keep it real by getting “fanboi” on you for a few moments, PRIDE will always have a special place in my heart. It was just such a unique brand of MMA, the likes of which we had never seen and will probably never see again.

PRIDE had so many dynamic elements working in its favor but what always stood out the most to me were the stars that the promotion was able to create. The top stars that at one time made PRIDE the number one MMA promotion in the world will always be known as some of the most iconic in the history of this sport. And two of PRIDE’s biggest icons were none other than two of UFC 92′s primary principals, Wanderlei Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

While a lot of people wanted to “Be Like Mike,” I wanted to be like “The Axe Murderer.” Having trained and competed in martial arts and also having worked as a bouncer, if I ever was involved in a violent confrontation, I aspired to be like Wanderlei and show absolutely no fear and be able to steamroll my opposition. Now bear with me, because things rarely, if ever, worked out that way for me during violent confrontations. But how many people who tried to emulate Michael Jordan were ever able to put up 63 points in a pickup basketball game?

Hopefully you get the idea of what I’m getting at. Just like the average human being who idolized Jordan could never quite hit that turnaround fade away jumper with seconds running out, I never quite put a drunk patron in a clinch and delivered knees until they collapsed. But one can dream, right?

As for Nogueira, he was this stately sportsman with a world class knowledge of the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who could overcome just about anything. He was afraid of no man and took on all comers. He was seemingly indestructible and able to recover from any beating. Watching him taught me that no matter how badly I was getting my ass handed to me in a sparring session to never give up and take my beating like a man.

I apologize if it sounds like I had man crushes on Nogueira and Silva but martial arts isn’t just a hobby for me, it changed my life. And Nogueira and Silva were two of my super heroes. But while they appeared to be immortal in PRIDE, they have looked oh too mortal in the UFC. In fact, they look like two completely different fighters.

In PRIDE, Silva was this savage warrior who would just straight beat opponents down. However, in the UFC, against Chuck Liddell and Jackson, he’s been the guy who has been subjected to the beatdowns. Sure, his UFC 84 fight vs. Keith Jardine was vintage Wanderlei, but that was just one brief moment in time.

The dismantling of Jardine is not enough to mask the fact that Silva is now 1-4 in his last five fights with three of the contests ending via crushing knockouts. His fall from grace raises the legitimate question about just how much left he has in the gas tank at 32-years of age.

However, falling from grace isn’t exclusive to Silva. As great as Nogueira is, even his most ardent supporter has to admit that his body of work in the UFC has been nothing special. In their two previous meetings in PRIDE, Nogueira handled Heath Herring for the most part. But in a match scheduled to showcase Minotauro in his UFC debut at UFC 73, Herring was more than just a handful for the big Brazilian and had Nogueira in trouble on several occasions.

Against Tim Sylvia at UFC 81, I thought Nogueira was done. Sylvia mauled him until he pulled out his trademarked Hail Mary comeback. And since winning is all that matters to so many of us, Nogueira’s overall performance that fight was swept under the rug.

Last night’s fight vs. Mir began to unfold in typical Nogueira fashion but the ending was one we had never seen. Nogueira was in trouble on multiple occasions in he first round but Mir was unable to put him away.

With four rounds to go, I was convinced it was only a matter of time until Nogueira turned the tide much like he did in PRIDE during epic encounters vs. Bob Sapp, Mark Coleman, and Semmy Schilt. But the comeback never happened and the legend who had never been TKO’d or submitted in a fight was finished by a man who just a few short years ago appeared to be on the brink of expulsion from the UFC.

Nogueira’s performance at UFC 92 cannot be considered anything but disappointing. Coming into the fight, I was a vocal critic of Mir’s well-earned reputation for having poor conditioning. But while Mir looked anything like a chiseled Adonis, one has to be fair in pointing out that Nogueira did not appear to be in peak physical condition either. As much as it pains me to say it, he was carrying a lot of weight last night and appeared to be a little pudgy.

But the most bitter pill to swallow was witnessing a man who used to train with the Cuban National Boxing Team get smoked in the standup aspect of the fight against a guy in Mir whose striking had been perceived as a weakness throughout his entire seven year career.

So where do Silva and Nogueira go from here? For Silva, there is no shortage of big-name opponents for him to be matched up with at 205 pounds in the UFC. But how many of them can he actually beat at this stage of his career? The UFC isn’t going to pay him six-figures a fight to lose in devastating fashion.

However, economics are the least of the concerns regarding Silva’s UFC future. This is a human life we are talking about and there are other factors that need to be addressed. Silva has been the victim of several brutal knockouts over the course of a relatively short span. It’s important to not forget that former UFC competitor Sean Salmon had his license suspended in the state of California because he absorbed one brutal KO too many. Another bad knockout for Silva and the Nevada State Athletic Commission may find itself in a position where it has to intervene.

During a recent interview leading up to UFC 92, Silva once again was asked the question about whether he’d consider a move to middleweight. Unlike the past, he didn’t rule the possibility out. But forget about considering the move, it’s time to just go ahead and make it. Silva is not what he once was and can no longer swim with the sharks in the UFC’s stacked light heavyweight division. He needs to move down in weight in an attempt to reinvent himself in a division that isn’t anywhere near as deep as 205 and contains fewer power punchers.

For Nogueira, I’d say he just needs some time off but he was already coming off a long layoff following his stint as a coach on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Perhaps the answer isn’t time off but to simply get right back into the cage within the next 2-3 months against a mid-tier heavyweight that he can dominate?

Whether my recommendations for the next career moves for Silva and Nogueira are the proper courses of action is uncertain. But one thing I am certain of is that both are in the midst of prolonged downward spirals and the free-falls both are experiencing need to come to an end soon before they hit rock bottom.

41 COMMENTS
  • ap says:

    great article sam. i was hoping one of the regular mma blogs i visit would write about this. its the biggest story of the night that won’t get talked about a lot in the mainstream. a note on nog, since he’s been in the ufc he’s just looked so slow and doesn’t even attempt to get out the way of punches anymore. after near finishes by herring and sylvia it was only a matter of time. but damn i’d never thoguht it’d be frank mir!!!

    its a damn shame the “new” mma fan will never experience the wanderlei, nog, crocop, henderson of old.

    but i guess the ufc fan is witnessing it too with the decline of couture, liddell, hughes.

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  • matt says:

    Sam great article. While it is heartbreaking to see the demise of the old guard, the influx of young stars is great.

    Forrest, rashad, Brock, Mir, and Kongo are future stars.

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  • Lesnar says:

    Nog and Wandy have taken some brutal punishments in their careers.That is taking it’s toll and age is catching up.They should retire soon or at least take a nice break.

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  • Odedh says:

    for me one thing that has to be mentioned are that the Gloves in Pride were 50% bigger then in the UFC 6oz vs 4oz so two fighters who’s instincts are to go ahead full force knowing they can take the punishment with 6oz gloves like silva and nog, suddenly can go down when hit with the same power with 4oz gloves instead. For me that’s the primary reason why Nog was KO for the 1st time yesterday, for Silva another problem is that the 205 division contains much bigger people in the UFC then in Pride since all of the weight cutting which doesn’t happen so much in Japan. Also does anyone know if in Pride they used to weigh fighters a day before the fight ilke in the UFC or in the day of the fight?

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  • demonianray says:

    Nog needs to fight Randy. That fight HAS to happen.

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  • 5percentbodyfat says:

    I’m sorry Sam, I’m going to have to disagree with you again, mainly on Wand, where the problem is not that Wand isn’t a great fighter or didn’t look good against the competition he faced in Japan, but that his greatness was built on a really bad foundation.

    - there is a reason why Wand looks smaller, and I mean a lot smaller
    - I cite the second Page fight where I though the Ref helped him out a lot, basically saving him from a KO.
    - the overall success of Pride in the UFC hasn’t been all that great, almost dismal.
    - there’s the glove size
    -Two things pop out to me that show some correlation: Wand hasn’t been the same since the Cro Cop fight and he hasn’t been the same since fighting in Vegas.
    -How many times have I seen Wand fight a less than quality Japanese opponent to fluff up his record.

    Sam, I think we at least I must conclude that maybe Wand was just a little overrated.

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  • Kevin Miller says:

    i agree it’s hard watching guys you grew up wanting to be like go down, but i think you’re not giving credit where credit is due.

    Mir looked amazing last night. his combo’s were on point, and i don’t think anyone including nog was ready for that. Mir just looked like a different fighter and i was impressed with his performance

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  • Robert says:

    Odedh, you bring up a good point about the gloves, but I think it has little to do with the fact that both Wand and Nogueira are completely shopworn fighters at this point with little tread left. All those tough fights in Pride over the years took a toll. Also matt I’d hold off on calling Kongo a future star. I mean in all honesty he got beat by Herring ( who may be a solid fighter but the top guys beat) and then he beat up two guys who the UFC matched him up with to look good. Evenson will be gone and Al-Turk had a 6 and 3 record in the UK before their fight.

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  • Davey D says:

    During it’s time, Pride FC was the best MMA event in the worldworld. The UFC certainly sped by them like a speeding bullet and ended up buy it’s biggest competiton. PRIDE was such a spectacale and the entetainment value was sky-high. I’ll never forget it.

    I also believe Nogueira vs. Couture should be booked in 2009. That is a fight should’ve already happen with the HW title at stake. It didn’t and so we move on. Minotauro’s place in history is set. He can fight anyone and I won’t pick against him.

    Wanderlei should move to MW. 205 isn’t for him anymore, at least not in the UFC. I hope the both of these Legend’s can overcome their defeat.

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  • glock says:

    what matt said.

    I’ll add I don’t think Nogs problem was the gloves…….Head trauma is cumulative, once you crack that egg it only can get worse so I’d like to see them both exercise some self preservation. They ARE legends, and in a room of scary guys these 2 scare everyone.
    I like it way and want it to stay that way. it’s up to people a lot smarter than me to figure how best to do that. It ain’t gonna be easy either, Ali couldn’t stop , Sugar ray Leonard couldn’t, Hearns, Foreman, The Golden Boy has hopefully seen the light, the list goes on and on……
    Neither is ready for the “glue factory” but now is the time for some serious planning as Sam alludes to.

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  • jimbo says:

    Wand got caught by a great shot, it happens and its not the end for him. Id love to see them fight again Wand was ahead up till that point in my opinion. I agree 185 is a better place for him ultimately

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  • jj says:

    Not speaking about any fighter in particular, but it could be that some of Pride’s stars are less successful in the UFC due to the drug testing policies. Many credible people have popped the question. Another factor is the Unified Rules. Wanderlei and many other Chute Boxers used stomps and soccer kicks better than anyone else and lost a serious weapon of domination when they switched over.

    While some Brazilians aren’t doing as good after the changeover from Pride it can’t be said for all of them. Anderson Silva is an obvious exemption who is doing even better in the UFC than he did in Pride. While Nog had some impressive wins in Pride it has to be said that Marc Coleman, Semmy Schilt and Bob Sapp are one dimension fighters who never evolved the rest of their game (or in Bob Sapps case at all).

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  • joykiller says:

    Man, it just makes me sad. The only thing that is missing is to see Fedor be knocked out by A. Arlovski. I hope it doesn’t happen at least in the near future.

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  • 5percentbodyfat says:

    Hey two things I don’t think got enough attention,

    CB Dollaway I though tapped out when he was being submitted.

    Rashad Evans acting a fool in the ring once again. Yes he did win, and I think he’s a great fighter, but he basically motioned Griffen toward his you know.

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  • Handover Fist says:

    With most sports, people argue about weather or not a given player from a previous era could play in today’s game. Usually those era’s cover decades, but in MMA I think they can be described in months.

    This sport and the abilities of the athletes in it are growing so fast and the talent pool is getting so deep, that a fighter that stood out just a couple of years ago can quickly be swallowed up by the pack.

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  • Robert says:

    jj the reason these Pride fighters are “less than successful now” is because a lot of them came to the UFC at the end of their careers. Wand, Nogueira, Gono, Chonan, Herring, and CroCop have all past their prime. There’s still hope for Shogun and don’t forget Rampage and Anderson Silva fought in Pride long before their UFC success.

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  • Cathedron says:

    This love for Pride always boggles my mind. Pride was one step away from pro wrestling. Tons of easy fights to pad records. Fighters being paid extra if they LOST to the bigger name. Less popular fighters being forced to cut weight beyond the limits of their division just so they’d be weak for a fight. Tournaments that were highly suspect in the favor of the star fighters. Refs and judges that were obviously favoring popular fighters (they made American refs and judges look positively fantastic by comparison). The list goes on and on.

    Pride was shady as hell and their “superhero” stars were more hype than reality. Now, they have to prove themselves and some of them are doing well while others are finding that they are closer to mediocre than super without Pride’s “special effects” making them look good.

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  • Robert says:

    “Cathedron” that’s an asinine statement. Like the UFC doesn’t pad records look at Kongo’s last two opponents or Huerta’s first 4 or 5 and the signings of all the Brits who are no better than some of the Japanese tomato cans Pride had. If you don’t think some “shady” bullshit goes on behind the scenes with Zuffa you’re completely naive.

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  • screwface says:

    jj and robert you both made 2 very valid points. yes the fighters in question are pretty much at the end of thier career runs, still better then the avg fighters, but not as good as the hype they once lived up too. but also yes drug testing policies are quite different now in ufc then they once were in pride japan. steroids are frowned upon but no where is it more hated then usa. japan loves it when a japanese fighter wins
    and refs and policies always went out of their way to give em every chance too in their organizations, drawback was non-japanese fighters took advantage of some of these policies or lack there of as well, which is why we always saw monster size dudes in pride. i know some agree and some disagree but this is my opinion :)

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  • glock says:

    5percentbodyfat on December 28th, 2008 1:03 pm

    “Hey two things I don’t think got enough attention,

    CB Dollaway I though tapped out when he was being submitted.”

    I thought he tapped too !! , on the left, the side away from the ref, then he worked his way loose it looked like

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  • CubanLinx says:

    Cathedron, i think you hit it on the nail.

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  • 5percentbodyfat says:

    Yeah, it was a blatant tap out, he double tapped. Someone needs to go back and look at the tape.

    A couple more notes:

    - to say Anderson Silva was a Pride fighter is like saying Roger Clemens was a NL pitcher since he had that year with the Astros.

    - Are these guys getting to the end of their careers, maybe and does someone have a particular KO count maybe. But the correlation is there between the switch from UFC to Pride, and the difficulties that are arising. I believe for Wand it started when he started fighting in Vegas.

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  • 5percentbodyfat says:

    Oh yeah one more thing before I get on out of here, for those talking about the UFC giving their fighters cup cakes, there is a HUGE difference.

    Clearly with PRIDE , well after a fighter has become a star in the organization there would the fluffing up of a record filled with lesser fighters. The only fight I can actually think about that wasn’t a well put together fight in a fighter’s career after they were a star was maybe Babalou vs. Chuck…… and Cote and Silva, only because Silva emptied out his division.

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  • glock says:

    I dunno , It seemed so obvious to me I started to jump up and the other guys just shot me a quizzical look as they kept fighting so I said “he tapped ! “”Did you see that?”
    They said “no!” in 3 part harmony, so I figured it must have just been the Margaritas I was guzzling, and the rest is history as they say.
    I can’t believe with all the millions of eyeballs on it that we’re the only ones that thought we saw that.
    I guess it’s like the ole’ “if a tree falls in the forest and the ref doesn’t see it……”

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  • screwface says:

    i saw him tap once like he was thinking about tapping, but then changed his mind. same thing he did in his past few fights. subconsciously just wants to tap but when his brain realized what hes doin stops it from a full fledged tap :p just the way i saw it.

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  • glock says:

    Maybe he was on auto pilot, I just read on MMAjunkie part of Rogans interview where he said,

    “Following the bout, Dollaway told Rogan he didn’t actually remember his slick choke escape.

    “I don’t remember it,” Dollaway said. “Maybe it was close, but I didn’t feel it. I got out, did what I needed to do and pounded him out.”

    Blood flow to the brain slows , things start getting weird,autopilot from training kicks in and you “unconsciously”, involuntary “tap” then all of a sudden bloods flowing again and the autopilot has you pounding away ……

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  • James says:

    cb tapped …im with screw , in both fights vs amir he did the same quick tap …i hope the next time someone gets him in a sub (pref an arm bar or something limbworthy) they crank the shit out of it and hold on a little longer than necessary…and was it me or did he sound xtra gay in the post fight interview ?(not that there’s anything wrong with that)

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  • Crash says:

    Even if Nog never fights again, in my opinion he was the best fighter to ever step into a ring, I saw him in a adcc fight and he is a monster

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  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    One thing about Pride that will always stand out was the mystique.
    The fact that it was in Japan,that it was difficult (for me anyways) to gain access too, reading internet reports about it,then finally finding a guy to get that video tape from made the whole thing an incredible experience ,and each event was always a way over the top spectacle,and just blew my mind.
    Alot of those fighters were Superheroes at the time.
    In some ways it was like watching an effing Van Damme movie.
    Except it was REAL.(well,you know what I mean)
    I think there might be something to the fact that in Japan some fighters are treated and revered like superheroes,and in America they might not be .
    Either way,it’s cool to see Rampage get some satisfaction,and Mir get some personal redemption.
    They both kinda sounded like they’d been whacked by the ole catharsis stick at the end of the night….facing their demons and all that.
    Vandy and Big Nog still have some good match ups ahead of them,although they may not be in title contention again.

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  • JJ Docker says:

    “This love for Pride always boggles my mind. Pride was one step away from pro wrestling. Tons of easy fights to pad records. Fighters being paid extra if they LOST to the bigger name. Less popular fighters being forced to cut weight beyond the limits of their division just so they’d be weak for a fight. Tournaments that were highly suspect in the favor of the star fighters. Refs and judges that were obviously favoring popular fighters (they made American refs and judges look positively fantastic by comparison). The list goes on and on.

    Pride was shady as hell and their “superhero” stars were more hype than reality. Now, they have to prove themselves and some of them are doing well while others are finding that they are closer to mediocre than super without Pride’s “special effects” making them look good.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. The problem is that most MMA journalists/experts became interested in MMA when the UFC was putting on poor shows with a lack of real talent whilsts Pride was putting on spectacular cards with fascinating tournaments with properly (or overly) marketed fighters. The choice was an easy one; Pirde was amazing compared to the UFC at that point. As a result all of these people hold the older popular fighters in high regard and I’m sure, at times, this can distort their actual ability. Take Paul Filho, for example, a year and a half ago he was ranked 2nd or 3rd in most MW rankings and now the same people that constructed these rankings are conceding that perhaps he was never as good as everyone thought. Take Shogun Rua, for another example, looked invincible in Pride but gassed horribly and then was choked out in his first fight in the UFC. Take Cro Cop, for another, beat a can and then lost twice. What I am not saying is that all these are talentless or poor fighters or that all UFC fighters are amazing, this is not a Pride vs UFC article and if i had to choose between the two I would choose Pride anyday, but what I AM saying is that MMA writers perhaps need to possibly at least consider that the fighters they loved in Pride back when MMA was still evolving might not be quite as good as they were led to believe. I understand it is hard to get this perspective right when you are comparing fighters across brands, across countries, with different rules, a cage and a ring, different weight classes, and whatever else. But I don’t think Wand and Nog are as good as everyone thought. I don’t think Shogun is. I don’t think Gono is. I don’t think Cro Cop is. The list goes on and you get my point. Writers have to try and overlook their instinctive tendencies to support, favor or idolize Pride fighters that they fell in love with as they fell in love with the sport of MMA. I know exactly how difficult this, as I am faced with the same problem – I thought Nog would kill Mir and Wand would Rampage, but based on the evidence of last night, it is realistic.

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  • mike wolfe says:

    In addition to the excellent points already made, consider that MMA is different than most other sports, especially team sports. In other sports stars arise over time, usually several years or seasons. But in MMA today you have a wealth of highly skilled and conditioned athletes, and the margin of victory is the split second necessary to slip a punch and counter or to recognize and exploit a submission opportunity. The landscape changes quicker, and a win over an opponent does not predict the outcome of the next fight.

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  • ape says:

    That is B S! I guess if your not kissing Dana Wight’s A$$ your not a good fighter in his eyes!
    Nogueira is 31-4
    Wanderlei is 32-8
    Liddell is only 21-5
    Quinton 28-7
    Now you tell me whow is the better fighters.
    Let me tell you one more thing about Mr. Dana Wight I have seen he hates everyone form PRIDE except for his puppet Quinton. He talks more about Brock
    than he dose Anderson Silva.
    Nogeira & Wanderlei are two of many that still Respected, Skilled and Entertaining fighters in MMA.

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  • Imbecile says:

    Sam, I share yoru sentiment on both Wandy and Nogueira. But for me, it is beyond just Pride fighters, but the fall of the whole generation of fighters that really built the sport into the mainstream. Chuck Liddell has lost a step or two. Wandy looks like a shell of his former self, and no longer ripples with muscles or fights with the fury he once did. Nogueira looks like the wars he has put his body through have finally caught up with him, as he moves very slowly and looked like he saw none of the punches coming in. Matt Hughes looks barely interested in the sport, and for a guy who was so dominatingly powerful for so many years, he looked small and weak compared to Alves. CroCop is already nearly two years into a complete free-fall of his career, and it is hard to explain to new fans exactly how frightening a fighter he really was at one time. Randy Couture… well, surprisingly the oldest of this bunch may have the most left in him, but his time is running out and Lesnar presents an obstacle that may just have been too great for The Natural.

    Just like it was sad to see Jordan in his final comeback, when he wasn’t the dominant player he once was, it is sad to see this old guard getting outclassed by the new young guns. It is exciting for the new fighters, but for those of us that watched these guys grow up and now fade out in the sport, it is a bit of a sad thing. I will always love Nogueira vs. Sapp, Couture vs. Rizzo, Hughes vs. Newton, Wandy vs. Sakuraba, and all of those key fights that helped make this sport what it is.

    @ ape – I guess no matter what the topic, there is some moron on here that either loves or hates Dana White so much they make everything about him. For the record, it was only a few months ago that everyone was all over White for over-hyping Anderson Silva, and now, according to you, he promotes Lesnar while ignoring Silva? He also said it was his most exciting moment as UFC President to get Wanderlei Silva in the UFC. So much for your assessment that he hates all former Pride fighters. You sir, are a complete moron.

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  • JJ Docker says:

    I agree with Imbecile. It may be pedantic but I’ll put it out there that if you don’t know that Dana’s surname is spelt White and not ‘Wight’, you won’t really know too much about MMA, let alone the UFC.
    And in response to your point, records have little to do with how talented a fighter is. Randy doesn’t have the best record statistically but that’s because he’s spent most of his career fighting great fighters and/or champions of the sport. Comparing records is an inaccurate and definitely moronic way of deciding who are the better fighters.

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  • Davey D says:

    One thing Pride FC did for me was make me realize just how big this sport can become. PRIDE filled super area’s in Japan with 50,000 plus on the regular. Even though it was just Japan. Attendence like that is amazing. The two show’s in the US were excellent as well.

    Furthermore, the game was played far different than that in the Octagon. The UFC is now the one to carry MMA and showcase it at the highest level. The game might be played different in many places but the Octagon is where best compete today. All road’s lead there to reign supreme (with Fedor as an exception, even he should join).

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  • john says:

    the way i see it is, randy,chuck,hughes,wandy,nog,tito,ken shamrock, frank shamrock,coleman,randleman, severn, royse gracie, basically all the idols of the past should retire, and then bammmmmm, bring them all back for one card and i guarantee the biggest buy of all times, make it happen dana

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  • jimbo says:

    The Pride drug polices / difference in striking rules are certainly valid points.
    I dont believe its a age thing for Nog and Wand as much as they have been fighting for so long. Really it just wasnot either of thier nights. Wand got caught and id love to see a rematch at the end of 09. Also Nog vs Coture & maybe Wand vs Franklin or Chuck need to happen in 09 !!!

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  • ultmma says:

    Age catches up with all great athletes. These two have been through nothing but wars in their career.

    This isn’t a Pride vs. UFC thing lol with the explicative cares any more

    Nog needs to fighting in the low 230s for him to be successful and Wandy needs to drop down to 185 or become a gate keeper for 205 a la Tito Ortiz with his fights versus Forrest, Rashad and Machida in 06-07

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  • s00nertp says:

    Sam,
    This article was brilliant, I wish I could have articulated my feelings as well as you did.

    Every point you made was right next to my heart. Wanderlei and Nogueria were 2 of the first fighters I saw that dazzled & amazed me, though for different reasons. They were very much similar to how others feel about Michael Jordan for me. Sure I admired Gracie, and the old school UFC originals.. but these were the brilliant new 3rd generation fighters that defined the sport for me.

    Thank you, I appreciate how you honored their legacy and voiced my feelings.

    (I believe there are 4 generations of fighters:
    1) Gracie, the JJ generation. He proved you needed a ground game (either JJ defense or JJ skills) to win.
    2) Sakuraba, JJ/Standup. He proved you needed ground + standup.
    3) Wanderlei, Muay Thai. He proved it was most effective with ground game, standup, and Muay Thai combos.
    4) Miguel Torres, GSP, Anderson Silva, Urijah Faber. They have it all: JJ (not just ground defense), standup combos, vicious Muay Thai.)

    You dont need to be 4th generation to win, but those are the Michael Jordans of MMA. Sure 2nd generation fighters like Rashad will win and move up, but that is not what I love. I love the 4th generation wizards that can do it all.

    Nogueria to me was an unusual 3rd generation fighter with the best defensive technique against standup & Muay Thai.

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  • yourmomma says:

    Game planning game planning GAME PLANNING..

    s00nertp BJ Penn should be added into your 2nd,3rd, and 4th.

    How can you leave him out?

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  • s00nertp says:

    well, I was just giving the example of one weight class for 1,2,3.

    In 4, I opened it up to all weight classes and listed a few obvious choices.

    You are right though BJ Penn is another example of a fighter who has it all.

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