For some 4th July fun we thought we might take a look at some candidates for the greatest All American Mixed Martial Arts fighter of all time.
To get through the qualifying round we decided a fighter had to be All American, A Champion in a major promotion and to exemplify the qualities for a true ambassador in the sport of MMA.
All three candidates we feel make the grade with those criteria in mind, all champions in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and all truly excellent sportsmen who inside and outside of the cage have promoted what it is to be a combat athlete.
First up is a name I believe everyone would equate as an All American Fight Hero.
Randy Couture needs little introduction. Former US Army Sergeant, Randy Couture exemplifies what a sportsman and Combat athlete should be.
During his tenures in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), he became a three-time UFC Heavyweight Champion, two-time UFC Light heavyweight Champion, an interim UFC Light heavyweight Champion, making him a six-time UFC Champion and the UFC 13 Heavyweight Tournament winner. He was the first of seven fighters to hold two UFC championship titles in two different divisions. (Source Wikipedia)
Outside of the cage Randy has been an iconic figure as a sportsman who has pressed the time honoured martial arts virtues of humility, strength and determination, he has inspired generations of fighters including a keynote speech at Revgear University in 2017.
Randy was an obvious choice for the UFC Hall of Fame and an obvious choice in our 4th July celebration but is he your choice for All American MMA Fighter of All Time?
Perhaps less obvious a choice to Randy but no less valid, is the thinking man’s fighter in Rich Franklin. A veteran of 37 professional fights during his 13-year career, Franklin compiled a record of 29-7, 1 NC (14-6 UFC), which included wins over UFC Hall of Famers Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell, former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner, and former PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva.
Rich attained UFC MW Gold in 2005 and few from the time will forget Rich’s first MW title defence at UFC 58 in 2006 with a highlight reel knockout of Nate Quarry.
Franklin lost his UFC title to Brazilian MMA legend Anderson Silva who went on to be one of the longest reigning champions in the history of the sport. Franklin’s many epic battles in the cage came to an end with the announcement of his retirement in 2015, four years later he joined Randy Couture entering the UFC hall of fame in 2019.
Outside of the cage Rich Franklin has been an ambassador for the sport, engaged in public speaking including Revgear University and TedX.
The only fighter on our list who is still active with an upcoming fight against REVEAR Fighter Stipe Mioic at UFC 251, Daniel Cormier needs little introduction to MMA fans around the world.
His Olympic credentials could have got him on this list alone but when you look at the sheer list of championship belts Cormier has held then he clearly must be our final candidate. In the UFC, having held the heavyweight and light heavyweight world championships simultaneously. Cormier is the second fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously and is the first to defend titles in two different divisions.
The warmth of the man’s character and the skills and determination he has shown as a combat athlete make Daniel Cormier our final pick but will he be your choice for the greatest All American Fighter of all time!