(DISCLAIMER) I understand that rankings are 100% subjective, and that two people could watch the same fighter progress through his whole career, and end up thinking exact opposite things about said fighter. But I'm going to try to break down, and decipher, where some of these guys stand, in the eyes of its smartest fans (yes, that is us BElitists).
Alright, time for the 4th installment of this little series I'm doing here.
Last time, Wanderlei took home an overwhelming 81% of votes, all saying that, Yes, The Axe Murderer, is absolutely one of the few elite fighters of all time.
For our next fighter, we will be looking at one of the most recognizable veterans of the sport. A man who has proved that fighting at 40 plus years of age doesn't mean that you are washed up. Randy is a guy who has been with the UFC longer then anyone else (well kinda... Vitordebuted with the UFC at 12, and Randy and Tito debuted on UFC 13). His first fight was at UFC 13 only the second UFCfight with weight classes, which shows just how long Randy has been involved in the fight game.
Prior to fighting, Randy served in the Army, then went on to have a very decorated amature wrestling career, both in the Olympics as well as at Oklahoma State University.
NOW, on to the debate!
1. He's one of only two men to hold a championship (for the UFC) in two different weight classes. A Heavyweight Champion and a Light Heavyweight champion, Couture has fought, and beaten some of the best fighters of his time. This in its self is amazing. Couple it with the fact that while fighting at heavyweight, he was often undersized, and that when he went on his last title run, he had been retired for over a year....It's really quite an amazing feat.
2. More impressively about his championship runs was the amount of title fights that Randy was in. Out of 29 career fights, Randy was in an amazing 15(!) titlefights. That means that more then half of his fights were for a championship.
Randy has fought and beaten notable fighters such as Maurice Smith, Kevin Randleman, Pedro Rizzo (x's 2), Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Vitor Belfort, Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga all in title fights. These are fighters who are legends in themselves, but the fact that Randy was able to bounce back and forth between LHW and HW makes it all the more impressive.
3. He's 47years old, and he's still winning! Sure, wins over James Toney means ZERO for Randy's legacy, and a win over Mark Coleman is about 10 years to late, but a win over Brandon Vera certainly is impressive, even if it wasn't the most spectacular win of his career.
In fact, since he's turned 40 Randy holds wins over Ortiz, Belfort, Mike Van Arsdale, Sylvia, Gonzaga, Vera, Coleman, and Toney.
1. Of his 15 title fights, he's 9-6, which is far from stellar. Sure, he's fighting the best of the best, but still, with losses to Ricco Rodriguez, Josh Barnett, Vitor, Chuck (x's 2) and Brock, its hard to say that Couture was one of the most elite fighters of all time.
2. 19-10. Sure 6 of his losses were for the title, so that means they were to some great fighters, but Randy also has notable losses to Enson Inoue, Mikhail Illoukhine, and Valentijn Overeem (and Big Nog, but that's not really a knock against him).
3. He missed out on some of the biggest fights. Sure, the lack of co-promotion is the nature of the sport. And there will always be fights that we want, yet miss out on. But think about Couture vs. Coleman (circa 2003), or Frye, Severn, Fedor, CroCop, Vovchanchyn, Wanderlei, Henderson, Rampage ect... Couture fought some great fighters, but he doesn't hold wins over any of the great LHW or HW fighters outside of Rizzo, Tito, Chuck and Vitor.
So there it is. Should Randy go down as a pioneer of the sport, and a fighter that should be considered the absolute best of the best? Or was he a good fighter, who has been slightly overrated in his more recent years?