The UFC 100: Stuck in the 80s

By E. Spencer Kyte (espencerkyte@mmaratings.net)

We’re certainly not talking about bad synth-pop, hair metal and sitcom classics like Who’s the Boss and The Facts of Life.

Instead, we’re moving on in the Keyboard Kimura UFC 100, our countdown of the Greatest Fighters in UFC History and we kick off this round with another Ultimate Fighter winner.

90. Kendall Grove
UFC Record: 5-2
Victories Over: Alan Belcher, Evan Tanner, Jason Day

I can already hear the Nate Diaz fans calling me every name in the book for having the pride of Stockton below the winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Season 3. Grove was actually pretty close to being bounced from the UFC after consecutive losses, but strong wins over the late Evan Tanner and Jason “Dooms” Day showed he deserved to stay in the UFC and earned him a place at #90.

89. Thales Leites
UFC Record: 5-2
Victories Over: Pete Sell, Nate Marquardt, Drew McFedries

Proving that fighting in a title fight recently doesn’t automatically vault you up the rankings, Leites’ only win over a top tier opponent is against Marquardt, which truthfully was more of a loss for Nate the Great than a win for Leites.

88. Brandon Vera
UFC Record: 6-3
Victories Over: Justin Eilers, Assuerio Silva, Frank Mir

We all know Vera is where he is today because of that win over Mir, a brutal beating that lasted less than 90 seconds and propelled “The Truth” into getting his ass handed to him by Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum. Other than the wins mentioned above, he’s beaten no one of consequence. If it wasn’t for the UFC’s desire to expand into the Filipino market, Vera would be gone.

87. Luis Cane
UFC Record: 3-1
Victories Over: Jason Lambert, Sokoudjou, Steve Cantwell

Now here is a guy who could rocket up this list in the next couple years. His three wins inside the Octagon are all solid wins – Lambert is tough as nails and holds a win over Babalu, Sokoudjou strong as the come (for the first round) and Cantwell looked great in his debut. He’s currently the odd man out in the LHW picture, but that won’t last for long.

86. Cheick Kongo
UFC Record: 7-3
Victories Over: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Mostapha Al-Turk, Antoni Hardonk

You would think seven wins in the UFC including one over Cro Cop would get you higher up this list? You would think that… Truth is, the Cro Cop who came to the UFC wasn’t the same lethal Cro Cop we all loved in Pride, and really not a single guy that Kongo has defeated made their way onto this list. Not even Cro Cop.

85. Cain Velasquez
UFC Record: 5-0
Victories Over: Jake O’Brien, Denis Stojnic, Cheick Kongo

Another member of the 80s ensemble who could certainly climb the ladder in a hurry, Velasquez needs a couple more notable wins to have me completely sold on his future. I think he’s got the goods, but I also think he’s a year or two away from being dominant. Don’t even get me started on the UFC’s decision to put him in the cage with Shane Carwin at UFC 104…. brutal!

84. Roger Huerta
UFC Record: 6-1
Victories Over: Jason Dent, Leonard Garcia, Clay Guida

I don’t care about Sports Illustrated covers (unless they’re mine) and I don’t care about a balls-to-the-wall style that makes for exciting fights. Huerta has beaten a guy who was just on TUF 9 (Dent), a featherweight (Garcia) and Clay Guida amongst his six UFC wins. Guida is solid, but he came awful close to losing that fight don’t forget. We’ll see what happens when he gets in the cage with “The Bully” Gray Maynard at Fight Night 19 in September.

83. Nick Diaz
UFC Record: 6-4
Victories Over: Robbie Lawler, Drew Fickett, Gleison Tibau

Listen, Diaz is a much better fighter now than he was in the UFC and so hold onto your complaints. He was just a kid and just figuring it all out, as was Lawler when they met at UFC 47. And it’s not like he lost to stiffs either – Karo Parisyan, Diego Sanchez, Joe Riggs and Sean Sherk make up his four losses. Bring him back to the UFC and watch him climb this list.

82. Hermes Franca
UFC Record: 6-4
Victories Over: Caol Uno, Jamie Varner, Spencer Fisher

Before you start booing me, his losses are to Frankie Edgar, Sean Sherk, Yves Edwards and Josh “The Punk” Thomson. The win over Uno came just after he fought BJ Penn to a draw for the Lightweight title, Jamie Varner hasn’t lost since and Spencer Fisher will be making an appearance a little later. He may have crazy hair, but Franca is legit.

81. Fabricio Werdum
UFC Record: 2-2
Victories Over: Gabriel Gonzaga, Brandon Vera

The record may be 50/50 but the competition was always stiff, as Werdum’s two losses are to Andrei Arlovski and Junior dos Santos. Despite recent events, Arlovski was still dangerous at UFC 70 and dos Santos landed a killer punch that put him on the fast track to stardom. And that’s just his losses. Personally, I wish the UFC had kept Werdum around as he would make an excellent “prove yourself” opponent for some of the young up and comers.

Tomorrow we tackles the 70’s and if you’re getting to us late, you can find the rest of the list below:

Now tell me – this list is like crack for all you MMA addicts out there, isn’t it?
It’s okay… I’m hooked too.

Originally posted at Keyboard Kimura.

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