This article is sad but true.
Newer fans who “train UFC” or brag about being undefeated in street fights after they “go black” may never get to know the greatness of some of the fighters on this list. These are the people that faded towards the end of their careers and we mean it went downhill fast. They may have been champions, legends, or just all around solid but their record in recent years doesn’t reflect it.
The criteria is simple. The fighter has to be a former champion, a perennial top contender, or widely considered to be a legend who has a recent record not indicative of just how good they were at their peak. This means that more than a few heavyweights will make this list.
It’s all a bit subjective but let’s have some fun.
7. Fedor Emelianenko
The Russian Pride heavyweight champion who once held the pound for pound number one spot in his pocket is at the bottom of this list. In fairness he hasn’t lost too much of his potency but keeping it 100 we can say that newer fans will see this man and ask why he is considered the best ever. He is 7-5 since 2013 and while that isn’t bad it isn’t great either.
Pretend for a moment you didn’t know Emelianenko’s past accomplishments and you saw him lose to a fighter who competed as a middleweight in Dan Henderson, UFC gatekeeper types Matt Mitrione, Bigfoot Silva, and Ryan Bader. His recent record doesn’t scream great it screams pretty good.
6. Nick Diaz
Editor Jack Bratcher and I are HUGE Nick Diaz fans but even we can’t defend his record since 2012. He is 0-2-1 with losses to GSP, Carlos Condit, and the no contest stemming from both he and Anderson Silva failing drug tests for their scrap back in 2015. While Nick may remain in the spotlight with drunken/high TMZ videos and interviews the newer fans won’t understand what the hype is about.
Stockton slap FTW.
5. Frank Mir
Another heavyweight here to no one’s surprise is a former 2 time UFC champion (one was interim) and has challenged for the belt 3 more times counting his unification bout with Brock Lesnar. He was the epitome of what a heavyweight could be. He had a ground game that wasn’t just lay and pray or ground and pound. Mir could submit people which at the time wasn’t that common in the 265 pound limit division believe it or not. From 2001-2008 he was a submission machine and made 7 fighters a victim of his BJJ skills.
Unfortunately he is an abysmal 2-8 between 2012 and 2018 and there is no way you could convince newer fans of his importance without access to YouTube and even then it might be hard. After all, the man he beat for the heavyweight title is next on our list.
4. Tim Sylvia
Stand and bland, jab and pray, and poopy pants are words associated with former heavyweight king Tim Sylvia. Tim was a beast especially before his arm break loss to Frank Mir and while some may say it was because of no drug testing he was still a beast. Tim’s body shape changed significantly after the Mir loss but he was still the monster he was before Frank took the belt. He beat Andrei Arlovski twice at a time when Arlovski was the most intimidating heavyweight in the UFC.
When Tim started to fall from grace was UFC 68 where I was in attendance to watch Randy Couture stun the world by dominating the big man. Tim’s loss to Fedor was nothing to be ashamed of because this was before the Russian fell from grace. It was his near record setting knockout at the hands of aging boxer Ray Mercer and the image of the 6’8″ giant falling stiff like a tree to the canvas that cinched it.
The final nail in the coffin was when he was declared too unfit to fight for Reality Fighting in 2015 with his manager claiming his being “super fat” as a reason. Tim thankfully retired.
Newer fans will appreciate him as much as they do #3….
3. Wanderlei Silva
Here is another ex-Pride champ turned UFC washout that was once considered to be the best fighter in the world at 205 pounds. The Axe Murderer was crushing the likes of Rampage Jackson and Dan Henderson, and even drew with heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop. Nostalgia keeps him in the hearts of most that don’t want to examine his record as closely as a subjective fan.
Silva’s list of victories contain virtual unknowns mixed with some questionable records for the most part with a Sakuraba, Arona, and Henderson sprinkled throughout. He was brutal and fearless which made up for it. Not trying to discredit but we keep it 100.
Here’s where it goes down the tubes.
Pride Conflict in September of 2006 can be pinpointed as the genesis of Wand’s spiral. He was knocked out cold by a Cro Cop head kick and in his next fight, the seemingly unstoppable Brazilian would be knocked out by Dan Henderson. From the time he couldn’t remember what hit him in his fight with Cro Cop to his last bout in 2018 he went an unflattering 4-9 with 5 of them being by TKO/KO. Sad.
2. Chuck Liddell
This one hurts. For those of you pissed off at what I said about Wand just sit back and read this about Chuck.
Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell was once thought of as the baddest man on the planet. He knocked out Tito Ortiz making him a hero to the scores of people cringing while listening to Ortiz’s mouth running non-stop.
Chuck was a vital component that helped launch the UFC in to the stratosphere back in 2005 alongside the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. His fight with Randy Couture at UFC 52 generated tremendous buzz and Liddell would finally hold the gold after knocking Randy out. He was now the light heavyweight champion and the best in the world right?
Sadly the list of Chuck’s victims as champ is not that impressive with names like Vernon White, Jeremy Horn, and Babalu Sobral. They don’t suck but they weren’t top tier fighers either. There were also rematches with Randy and Tito and both had the same result as last time. Fans even thought he would beat Mike Tyson..just…wow.
It was when Chuck fought Rampage Jackson for a second time hoping to get revenge for a loss in Pride that you could see the floor crack underneath him. Chuck was knocked out easily in 1:53 of round one and just like that the old Chuck was gone and a less than stellar version remained.
Here’s what happened after that. Liddell embarrassingly lost a decision to Keith Jardine and that alone should make anyone mad about my Wand comments feel euphoric. Chuck fought and beat Wanderlei Silva in a bout that should have happened years ago while they were in their primes. Then he went on a run that made him a meme… He was knocked out four times in a row with the last coming at the hands of Rich Franklin who had one broken arm at that point in the fight. Then it hit rock bottom.
Chuck’s last fight was one that never should have happened. At near 50 years old he fought Tito Ortiz again and was knocked out in a bout that consisted of Liddell looking like he was in slow motion while getting clowned by Tito. It doesn’t get much lower or does it?
1. BJ Penn
Let’s start with his recent run shall we.
He is on a record setting 7 fight losing streak and just got knocked out cold by a bum outside of a night club. He is tentatively scheduled to face Nik Lentz later this year but who knows if BJ will be allowed to after scrapping outside of The Octagon. If he won it might not be that big of a deal but he was slept and his head bounced off the concrete.
Penn was incredible in his prime. Just amazing. He was a champion in two weight classes beating the seemingly invincible Matt Hughes easily in their first clash and taking his welterweight belt. Later he would win the UFC lightweight belt and destroy his competition.
Let’s go back further than that and remind newer fans that Baby J fought at middleweight and fearlessly faced a 225 pound Lyoto Machida in an openweight clash taking the fight to a decision. Those types of things made him a legend.
Competing again at welterweight in the UFC he would lose a decision to GSP in a bout that some thought he won at UFC 58. His next fight ended badly as he was TKO’d by Matt Hughes but as he always did before he would bounce back. Penn would run off three in a row eventually capturing the vacant lightweight title. This was a great time to be a BJ Penn fan but the joy wouldn’t last..
BJ would lose his return fight against welterweight GSP but recover yet again with two more lightweight defenses setting the record at 3.
Penn would lose twice to Frankie Edgar and never recover. One win against Matt Hughes closing out their trilogy and a draw with Jon Fitch would be his last fight without an L. He is currently on a 7 fight losing streak setting an unfortunate record.
We can only hope Dana refuses to let him fight again before he sustains any more damage and his legacy is too far gone to ever be able to defend him as one of the best.
Did we miss anyone out? Let us know in the comments.