UFC Hall of Fame Resumes

On May 28th and 29th the UFC will host another fan expo in preparation for UFC 114.  The custom has been to elect at least one fighter into the UFC Hall of Fame.  So, if another fighter is going in, who will it be?

Fighter: Matt Hughes
UFC Record: 17-5
Key Wins: Carlos Newton (x2), Frank Trigg (x2), Royce Gracie, Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, Sean Sherk, Matt Serra, Hayato Sakurai, Renzo Gracie
Other Credentials: The most likely candidate for a may induction. Hughes is on the tail end of a career that saw him as the long time UFC welterweight champion. There was a long period when Hughes seemed unbeatable. While he was not the UFC’s most popular fighter he certainly had his share of fans. Hughes’ strong wrestling and powerful ground and pound made him a force in the UFC. If one just glances at his key wins they will find an impressive resume in and of itself. His induction into the UFC Hall of Fame is inevitable.
HOF Verdict: Lock

Fighter: Tito Ortiz
UFC Record: 14-7-1
Key Wins: Guy Mezger, Wanderlei Silva, Evan Tanner, Ken Shamrock (x3), Forrest Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Vladimir Matyushenko, Patrick Cote
Other Credentials: Perhaps Ortiz will be remembered for his long standing feud with UFC president, Dana White more than anything else. While Ortiz is certainly a polarizing figure, we cannot deny that there was a point when he was the best in the light heavyweight division. The former UFC light heavyweight champ successfully defended his belt more than anyone else in the weight classes history. Also, we cannot forget that while Ortiz may have more haters than anyone else, he is immensely popular. The two time Ultimate Fighter coach built his “brand” well and performed inside the cage for a long period of time. With his glory days most likely behind him Ortiz will look to pad his resume even more. A May induction may be likely as his June match with Liddell could feature the second time UFC Hall of Famers squared off.  With some new drama with his girlfriend, Jenna Jameson and questions surrounding his coaching stint on TUF his selection may be in jeopardy.
HOF Verdict: Lock

Fighter: Anderson Silva
UFC Record:11-0 (PRIDE: 2-2)
Key Wins: Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson, Patrick Cote, Nate Marquardt, Rich Franklin (2), Demian Maia
Other Credentials: I believe that when all is said and done Silva will hold most major records in the UFC. Having gone 10-0 to start his UFC career Silva has cleaned out the middleweight division and could probably clean out the light heavyweight division if he wanted to. Silva is the best pound for pound fighter in the world. The only question has to be how long he will fight. I think he wins as long as he fights. Who can beat him?  His recent antic in the octagon have hurt his legacy and he will need to impress to gain back his fan base.
HOF Verdict:Lock

Fighter: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
UFC Record:3-2 (PRIDE: 17-3)
Key Wins: Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Heath Herring (x3), Josh Barnett, Mirko Cro Cop. Bob Sapp, Dan Henderson, Mark Coleman, Semmy Schilt, Bob Sapp, Ricco Rodriguez, Sergei Kharitonov,
Other Credentials: His UFC record may not be impressive, but if PRIDE records are considered (and they are) then Nogueira could very well leap from everyone and have the strongest resume for the UFC Hall of fame. Nogueira dominated PRIDE. Big Nog became the first guy to win both PRIDE and UFC heavyweight titles and he looks to build upon that still. His resume does not even do justice to what he has meant to the sport. Nogueira is greatly respected by everyone in the fight game, perhaps in an unparalleled way. I cannot think of one guy (maybe Couture) that is more well respected among the fight world than Nogueira. He should already be in and his induction is past due. I’d like to see him inducted in May, but I’d say he may have another year or two before we find him in.
HOF Verdict: Lock

Fighter: Mirko Cro Cop
UFC Record:3-3 (PRIDE: 18-4)
Key Wins: Josh Barnett (x3), Aleksander Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Igor Vovchanchyn, Heath Herring
Other Credentials: He hasn’t performed well in the UFC, but his PRIDE career would earn him a spot. Cro Cop was once the most feared striker in MMA. His kicks were brutal. Something happened to Cro Cop mentally since joining the UFC, but that does not change his resume from PRIDE being as good as anyones. Cro Cop’s head kicks made him one the most popular guys in PRIDE.
HOF Verdict: Lock

Fighter: B.J. Penn
UFC Record:11-5
Key Wins: Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian. Georges St. Pierre, Sean Sherk, Jens Pulver, Matt Hughes, Caol Uno, Matt Serra
Other Credentials: I think B.J. could quit now and have a case to be a hall of famer. However, Penn is not done. He wants to cement his legacy. Penn always had talent and put it on display, however he seemed to lack the drive. I do not know if there is a more naturally gifted fighter out there than Penn. Now he has the drive. He has looked better than ever in his last few fights and has seemed unstoppable at lightweight. Penn has held both the lightweight and welterweight titles inside the UFC and he is not done.  I think it is safe to say that Penn is the best lightweight fighter ever, despite his controversial loss to Frank Edgar. Period.
HOF Verdict: Lock

Fighter: Wanderlei Silva
UFC Record: 3-5 (PRIDE: 22-4)
Key Wins: Keith Jardine, Dan Henderson, Quinton Jackson (x2), Ricardo Arona, Kazushi Sakuraba (x3), Guy Mezger, Michael Bisping
Other Credentials: He has not impressed in the UFC. However, he was a legend in PRIDE. His aggressive striking made him wildly popular. “The Axe Murderer” hopes to re-vitalize his career and UFC 110 at middleweight. The new UFC fan may not be aware of Silva’s PRIDE career, which may cause him to lose some luster, but he should be in for being one the guys in PRIDE. A new run at middleweight may have renewed Silva.
HOF Verdict: Lock

Fighter: Vitor Belfort
UFC Record: 8-3 (PRIDE: 5-3)
Key Wins: Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, Tank Abbott, Gilbert Yvel, Heath Herring, Rich Franklin
Other Credentials: Some people would make an argument for Belfort to be in. I would not complain if he was. However, his career has been up and down. “The Phenom” entered the UFC in impressive fashion. He has fought at heavyweight, light heavyweight, and is now a top contender at middleweight. Belfort has a storied career, but I think he needs a few more signature wins to cement his spot. A few more solid wins would really help his chances.
HOF Verdict: Likely. More work to do.

Fighter: Rich Franklin
UFC Record: 12-4
Key Wins: Evan Tanner (x2), Ken Shamrock, Nate Quarry, Yushin Okami, Wanderlei Silva, Matt Hamill
Other Credentials: I like Franklin. He is very popular. He is a former champion, however he is hurt by the fact that he ran into a brick wall named Anderson Silva. Franklin walked through most of his other opponent, but lost twice to Anderson. I think the former middleweight champ has a great case for being a hall of famer. Rumors of a June bout with Randy Couture may bring an exciting fight that were Franklin were to win he would have another signature win on his record to help his case. I think “Ace” is likely in, mostly because of his being a former champ, his popularity and a strong relationship with the UFC. However, a few more wins before he hangs it up would help him.
HOF Verdict: Highly Possible.

Fighter: Lyoto Machida
UFC Record: 8-0
Key Wins: Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, Thiago Silva, B.J. Penn, Rich Franklin, Stephan Bonnar
Other Credentials: Machida is different and that helps him. He is a champion. He is charismatic. He is the first real karate fighter to succeed. I think Machida will eventually be in, but he is a ways a way. His career is far from over. He will get more wins and his hall of famer induction seems inevitable right now. A re-match with Shogun awaits.
HOF Verdict: Not Yet

Fighter: Georges St. Pierre
UFC Record:14-2
Key Wins: Karo Parisyan, Matt Hughes (x2), Matt Serra, B.J. Penn (x2), Thaigo Alves, Jon Fitch, Sean Sherk, Josh Koscheck, Frank Trigg, Jason Miller, Jay Hieron
Other Credentials: He is not done yet, but if he were to quit now he’d have to be in. He is greatly popular. He has wins over all the best in the world. He is not only a champion, but he is a dominant champion.
HOF Verdict: Lock

Fighter: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
UFC Record: 2-2 (PRIDE: 12-1)
Key Wins: Chuck Liddell, Mark Coleman, Alistair Overeem (x2), Kevin Randleman, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Ricardo Arona, Quinton Jackson
Other Credentials: He had a great PRIDE career and in many people’s minds is the UFC light heavyweight champion.  Nevertheless, he will get his chance again at the UFC belt in May.  A win and a title will greatly pad his resume.  However, one can see several MMA greats and UFC hall of famers on his list of victims already and Shogun is still young and has plenty of fight in him.  When it comes time for him to hang ’em up I don’t think this will be a questionable call.
HOF Verdict: Probable

Fighter: Evan Tanner
UFC Record: 11-6
Key Wins: Robbie Lawler, Phil Baroni (x2), David Terrell
Other Credentials: Tanner is a great story.  He was a likable guy.  He was a UFC champion.  He was popular.  He has some good wins.  However, his record in the UFC is not stellar.  I do not meant it to sound negative, but his tragic end may help his case to be in the UFC Hall of fame for sentimental reasons.  However, Tanner was a force in the UFC and that can never be taken away.  I wouldn’t fight his induction, but there are several guys out there more deserving as far as performance in the octagon in concerned.
HOF Verdict: Somewhat Possible

Fighter: Forrest Griffin
UFC Record:8-4
Key Wins: Shogun Rua, Quinton Jackson, Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar (x2)
Other Credentials: Maybe the most popular UFC fighter.  I know Forrest is a former UFC champion who has a great resume in and of itself, however Griffin’s hall of fame resume could be summed up in one fight…Stephan Bonnar.  His fight with Bonnar to become the first Ultimate Fighter winner is the fight Dana White and many point to as THE fight that saved the UFC and launched the sport of MMA into worldwide popularity.  Griffin is not to be viewed as a one hit wonder though.  He followed that achievement with several keys wins and he keeps going.  He will be a UFC Hall of Famer and is a legend in the sport.
HOF Verdict: Likely…Most Assuredly

Fighter: Frank Shamrock
UFC Record: 5-0
Key Wins:
Jeremy Horn, Tito Ortiz
Other Credentials: Some would make more of a case for Shamrock.  He was a former champion who notched a big win over Tito Ortiz, however he did not spend enough time in the UFC to really make a strong case for him.  Plus, he and Dana White do not see eye to eye so I cannot imagine Shamrock being in.  He is one of the old school guys that really built the sport, but I don’t know if UFC Hall of Famer is something Shamrock has earned.
HOF Verdict: Doubtful

Fighter: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
UFC Record: 5-1 (PRIDE: 13-5)
Key Wins: Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Keith Jardine, Chuck Liddell (x2), Ricardo Arona, Igor Vovchanchyn, Murilo Bustamante, Matt Lindland, Kevin Randleman, Ikuhisa Minowa
Other Credentials: I think his induction depends on a few things.  First, his relationship with the UFC which is hurt right now due to Jackson’s role as B.A. Baracus in the A Team movie.  That issue seems to be mended. Second, his fight with Rashad Evans, which is set to go down at the end of the month.  Jackson is a champion in the UFC and a solid PRIDE fighter.  He has a great resume of wins and he has improved since his days in PRIDE.  I think Jackson could make another run at the title.  I really think he should be considered, but hopefully he has more big slams under his belt.
HOF Verdict: Probable

Fighter: Pat Miletich
UFC Record: 8-2
Key Wins:
Other Credentials: Yes, a former champion, but no big named wins.  Perhaps Miletich’s case is as much for being the legendary coach of Miletich fighting systems as it is for his performance inside the octagon. Simply put his UFC career was not long enough and he was not dominant enough.  Great fighter.  Great coach.  Great guy.  UFC all-star team?  certainly.  UFC hall of fame?  doubt it.
HOF Verdict: Doubtful

Fighter: Frank Mir
UFC Record:11-5
Key Wins: Cheick Kongo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Brock Lesnar, Tim Sylvia, Pete Williams, Tank Abbott
Other Credentials: We could make a good case for Mir.  A multiple time champion.  Several solid wins.  Mir’s career really took a hit with his nearly career ending motorcycle accident.  He appears to be back and will fight for the UFC interim heavyweight title in March.  Another title run would certainly help his case and he may get another crack at Lesnar down the road.  I really think Mir has the skills to be a Hall of Famer and I think he could be there when all is said and done, but as of today he is not there.  The question is can he hang with the new blood in the UFC?  So far…not so much.
HOF Verdict: Not Yet.

Fighter: Brock Lesnar
UFC Record:3-1
Key Wins: Frank Mir, Randy Couture, Heath Herring
Other Credentials: It may sound crazy putting a guy with a 3-1 record in this conversation, but this guy is the exception to the rule.  Lesnar is the UFC heavyweight champion and he looks to be a dominant champion.  He already has huge wins over guys like Mir and Couture and he shows no signs of letting up.  Lesnar’s real case for the hall has to be in  being a  WWE guys transitioning to MMA.  He brought with him a huge fan base and his popularity is great.  People  pay to see Lesnar more than any other guy on the UFC roster.  He backs it up too.  Eventually he will be a no-brainer.  However, he has some work to do and health permitting he could be a long time champion.  Fully recovered Lesnar will face Carwin in July to pad his resume.
HOF Verdict: Not Yet

Fighter: Jon Fitch
UFC Record:12-1
Key Wins: Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves, Brock Larson, Akihiro Gono, Chris Wilson, Paulo Thiago
Other Credentials: Doesn’t have a title under his belt and that hurts him.  However, he keeps winning.  Fitch has beaten everyone he has faced except St. Pierre.  I think he has big wins and a large amount of wins, but is that enough?  Possibly.  If he keeps racking up the wins he could easily be a hall of famer.  A re-match with St. Pierre appears to be on the horizon and a win there pretty much gives him a chance.
HOF Verdict: Not Yet

Fighter: Josh Koscheck
UFC Record:12-4
Key Wins:
Diego Sanchez, Frank Trigg, Anthony Johnson
Other Credentials
HOF Verdict:
Not Yet

Fighter: Jens Pulver
UFC Record:
6-3 (WEC:1-5; PRIDE: 2-2)
Key Wins:
B.J. Penn, Caol Uno, Dennis Hallman
Other Credentials
HOF Verdict:
Doubtful

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