Hello everyone and welcome to the year 2016!
I wanted to start the year off with something positive. You know I like the occasional rant, but on the whole, I prefer to focus on the positive and uniting. With that in mind, I decided to write a few words about some of the most likable UFC fighters. You know, these guys who no matter what their fight record is (and it’s pretty impressive), you just cannot NOT like them. That statement alone just cost every respective champion his/her spot in this list, because let’s face it… the minute a fighter succeeds, s/he attracts almost as much hate as s/he does adoration.
No, these guys are not perfect (no one is). They have lost a few times. Experienced some big disappointments. But when most of us MMA fans see their names on an upcoming fight card, we immediately smile, knowing at least one fight is sure to be a good one. In addition to that, personality does come into the picture. There are plenty of good UFC fighters who fight well. But some guys generate something that makes it virtually impossible to dislike. Definition of Charisma?
These guys are the 5 most likable UFC fighters. You might say that if you do NOT like these guys, you should probably ask yourself “Why am I following MMA?”:
– One more caveat – There are a few relatively new fighters who may enter this list, but I’d like to give them some more time. So no Conor for you!
The 5 most likable UFC fighters:
Record: 25-6-0, 1NC
Notable Wins: Joe Lauzon, Melvin Guillard, Charles Oliveira, Gleison Tibau, Duane Ludwig
Why we love him: When you think about the fight game and the reason we love it, one thing seems to be common among most MMA fans (well, educated MMA fans at least) – It’s about respect. You’d be hard pressed to find a guy who fights like a lion inside the cage and shows respect outside of it, more than Jim. No nonsense, let’s fight now and be friends when this is over. Nothing personal. Jim is a true and gritty scrapper and with skills up the wazoo. He’s been involved in some of the most entertaining fights in UFC history and still manages to stay relevant without resorting to shticks. It’s true that PPV sales need some “shenanigans” but the sport needs the Jim Millers to maintain credibility and respect. Jim Miller is a true Mixed Martial Artist.
Notable Wins: Nick Diaz, Thiago Alves, Martin Kampman, Rory MacDonald, Dan Hardy
Why we love him: One of my personal favorites, Carlos Condit is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the game. 28 (TWENTY EIGHT) finishes inside the cage, WEC Welterweight champion, UFC interim Welterweight champion. The credits roll can run all night. He’s a natural alright… When Condit fights, it’s to finish and make a statement (and I will not be dragged into the Nick Diaz debate, Carlos won. Move along). Again, respectful and limits the “trash talk” to the bare minimum, and even when he needs to do some “promoting” it looks awkward which shows how unnatural this is for him. I personally hope to see him with the belt tomorrow. But even if that doesn’t happen, Carlos is one of these guys you simply have to like.
Notable Wins: Nick Diaz, Takanori Gomi, Paulo Thiago, Clay Guida, Kenny Florian
Why we love him: The first ultimate fighter winner insists on being an ultimate fighter. In his head, Diego is the best there was/is/ever-will-be and he goes into every fight with this mentality. Diego took some punishment in his fights but there is simply no quit in him. Another one who’s not a big trash talker. Promotion work, sure, but mostly about himself and not his opponent. He may never win a belt, but he won our hearts.
Notable Wins: Jeremy Stephens, Melvin Guillard, Michael Chiesa, Takanori Gomi, Jens Pulver
Why we love him: When you look at Joe for the first time, it’s deceiving. This scrawny kid is a fighter??? are you kidding me? When you watch him actually fight, you understand why Joe’s the UFC Bonus recipients leader. As with everyone in this list, he doesn’t win ’em all. But he’s always there to entertain, to fight his heart out and (quite literally) to bleed it out for the fans and for his legacy. I doubt that Joe thinks titles. I think Joe is one of these true-at-heart Mixed Martial Artists. A purist if you’d like. A guy you just have to like.
Record: 28-6-0, 1NC
Notable Wins: Jamie Varner, Charles Oliveira, Dennis Siver, Melvin Guillard, Evan Dunham, Edson Barboza, Jim Miller
Why we love him: Donald is likely the odd man out in this group. But then again, Donald is the odd man out period. Yeah, Cerrone likes the occasional verbal confrontation, but it always look like it’s tongue in cheek. With a smile. Inside the cage, Cerrone is as tough as they come. With 20 finishes, some of which are real highlight reel material, and a very impressive list of “victims”, Cerrone is one of UFC’s best ever LWs. Outside the cage, Cerrone manages to combine being a very hard worker with constantly looking for challenges. Always ready to fight (both mentally as well as physically), The Cowboy will (and has more than once) take on opponents on the fly. Donald Cerrone is one of these guys who combine a very deep well of skills with a just enough of a colorful personality. My favorite UFC fighter and likely one of the most revered member of the UFC.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this post as much as you enjoy watching these guys at their trade. If you think I left someone out (and I most likely did), feel free to leave a comment. and of course…
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May all your wishes come true.
‘Till next time,