Bj Penn? Rich Franklin? Georges St. Pierre? Anderson Silva? Is there a formula to this system? How can greatness be calculated? Surely not by a known formula. What truly makes a man stand out among others? Fighters can be remembered for one amazing performance, or an amazing title reign, or just being marketable. Records? Only slightly relevant. What we tend to think of as a hall of famer is a guy who's name is known even by the guys with the least knowledge of MMA. It can be a matter of personal opinion, or it can be the outcry of the entire MMA community. Who is truly deserving of this great honor? I would like to take a look at some well known UFC warriors and see what makes them some obvious candidates for this honor:
Bj "The Prodigy" Penn, 16-7-2: A well-documented and well-respected mixed martial artist, Bj Penn is a fan favorite with a fantastic background in the UFC. He has attained glory in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions, holding the title in both divisions. He is one of the most well rounded fighters in the world, with dominant boxing, masterful jiu jitsu, and surprising takedown defense. Although he is a great fighter, his legacy has been tainted by his most recent lightweight performances, back-to-back losses to Frankie Edgar, and a lack of motivation that has been a recurring problem throughout his career. After the Frankie Edgar losses, he defeated Matt Hughes in impressive fashion, knocking out the hall of famer and former champion in the first round of their rubber match at UFC 123. Again, he impressed in his most recent octagon appearance, surprising fight fans everywhere, including his opponent, Jon Fitch, coming in as a big underdog and utilizing a gameplan nobody expected, and although the fight was ruled a draw, Penn showed there is still a lot of fight left in him. Aside from a rocky path, Penn's legacy is a strong one and he may still be one of the best fighters out there.
Rich "Ace" Franklin, 28-6-0, 1 NC: Although he has a great legacy, and a record to show for it, I believe that if he doesn't get into the hall of fame at the next time a spot is awarded he will not get in. He is good fighter, and aside from some less than stellar performances, he has defeated some great fighters in his career. He took the middleweight title from Evan Tanner and defended it twice, with a highlight reel knockout of Nate Quarry and a Decision victory over David Loiseau. In his next title defense he was absolutely embarrassed by Anderson Silva, who manhandled the champ in the clinch and defeated him in the first round. Franklin then went on to defeat both Jason MacDonald and Yushin Okami for another title shot at Anderson Silva. Another fight with Silva, another loss by TKO, and Rich knew he would not beat this man. He went on another two fight win streak, and defeated Matt Hamill at Light Heavyweight. He then lost a split decision to Dan Henderson, defeated the legendary Wanderlei Silva, was knocked out by Vitor Belfort, knocked out hall of famer Chuck Liddell, and in his most recent appearance, lost a decision to former champ and TUF winner Forrest Griffin. He has defeated some of the legends of the sport, and his only losses have come to future and former champs and legendary fighters. I think his addition to the hall of fame is overdue, but at this point I'm just not sure if Dana White and the UFC think so too.
Georges "Rush" St. Pierre, 22-2-0: World welterweight champion, among the best pound for pound fighters in the world, and a master of all of the aspects of MMA, GSP is still in his prime and some may say it is too early to consider him for the hall of fame, I strongly disagree. His career is already legendary, and although he has been criticized for not being a finisher, he has thoroughly dominated the most respected welterweights out there, including the likes of Bj Penn, Matt Hughes, Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, Josh Koscheck, and Jake Shields, all in title defenses. He has only two losses in his career, one to Matt Hughes by submission and one to Matt Serra by TKO, and GSP avenged both losses in impressive fashion. He is the best welterweight fighter in the world, and challengers for his title are dwindling. Not too many people seem good enough to defeat GSP, and he is likely to rein for a long time.
Anderson "The Spider" Silva, 28-4-0: Muay Thai specialist, Jiu Jitsu black belt, pound for pound great, UFC middleweight champion, so many good things to say about Anderson Silva, yet some people seem to dislike him. His infamous performances against Demian Maia and Thales Leites may be the reason he receives such criticism. People should not let these performances overshadow the otherwise amazing career of Anderson Silva. His title rein is record breaking, his skill set is unmatched, and his only losses have been by some kind of unprecedented finish, one by flying leg lock and one by disqualification. Aside from these two losses he has wins over the most well known middleweights, as he took the middleweight division by storm, defeating Chris Leben and then defeated Rich Franklin for the title at UFC 64 and has defended that title 9 times since, all against top notch competition. Even now, Anderson continues to impress in and out of the cage, be it a front kick knockout of Vitor Belfort or his learning of English for his fans. Anderson is a good candidate for UFC hall of famer, even with the controversy that has sometimes surrounded him.