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By: Jason Amadi, MMATorch Columnist
Troy writes: How would you rank Chuck Liddell, Forest Griffin, Randy Couture, The Gracie Family and Ken Shamrock in order of importance and contributions to the sport of MMA? Is there anyone else who deserves a slot above these five?
A: Of the given options, there's absolutely no way the Gracie family isn't at the top of this list. Rorion Gracie was one of the founders of the original UFC and obviously Royce Gracie was the star of the early UFC tournaments. The Gracie family also helped put Pride FC on the map with their feud with Japanese legend Kazhushi Sakuraba. So again, any list based on contributions to the sport of mixed martial arts absolutely must begin with the Gracie family.
Beyond the Gracie family, though, this whole thing gets pretty difficult. Chuck Liddell was unquestionably the biggest star of the bunch and was the face of the UFC and American mixed martial arts for a long time. However, the effect of the TUF Finale featuring Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar just can't be denied. I guess at the end of the day, Chuck Liddell was the UFC's biggest star long before and long after the original Ultimate Fighter, so I'll put him second and Forrest Griffin third.
That leaves Ken Shamrock and Randy Couture. You really have to put Couture above Shamrock because of how long he competed at the elite level and how successful he was in doing it. Couture captured multiple world championships, was a part of some of the biggest fights in UFC history and attained legendary status in the sport. Ken Shamrock was certainly a pioneer and his feud with Tito Ortiz helped take the UFC to the next level, but he just isn't a legend the way Randy Couture is a legend.
Sai writes: My question involves Big Nog. After having his arm broken by Frank Mir do you think his performance is going to be compromised?
A: If Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's next performance is compromised in any way, it'll be due to fact that he's spent the better part of the last two years recovering from surgeries and not actively competing. Over the last few years, "Minotauro" has probably spent more time having knee surgeries, hip surgeries and having screws put into his arm than he has training for fights.
That being said, he'll probably still defeat Cheick Kongo. Kongo has had more trouble dealing with punches than Nogueira has recently, while "Big Nog" has recently come into his own as power puncher. Nogueira is obviously leagues beyond Kongo on the ground, so even with all of the down time I still like Nog pretty big.
Nathan writes: Do you think it's fair that GSP gets a critiqued from everyone in the MMA world? I mean he gets criticized all the time for going five rounds, but don't you guys think it's more impressive to dominate someone for five rounds than perhaps a KO.
A: First of all, every great professional athlete gets scrutinized for something they do or don't do, and Georges St-Pierre's inability to finish fights is a perfectly valid criticism.
Second of all, the idea that it's more impressive to dominate for five rounds than finish a fight is a bit silly. Sure, if we're comparing a flash KO to Georges St-Pierre's domination of Jon Fitch, than yes, the twenty five minute beating is probably more impressive.
However, that isn't exactly the norm for a 25 minute Georges St-Pierre fight. We've seen guys like Dan Hardy go the distance with GSP and come out without a scratch. We've also seen St-Pierre bust up a Josh Koscheck's eye in the first few seconds of a fight and then never pick up the pace. Going the distance with a guy who was blind in one eye for the majority of the fight is probably going to garner criticism; and in my opinion, rightfully so.
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