MMA historian Jonathan Snowden put together a top 10 heavyweights of all time list, and two of them are fighting at UFC 110:
4. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filopovic: Filopovic was a devastating striker and seemed to have grapple repellent. When someone tried to take him down in his prime it’s like they slid right off of him. The problem with “Cro Cop” was always in his head. He was a man who wilted under pressure. When he did win the big one, the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix, it was against a light heavyweight, a middleweight and an exhausted Josh Barnett. His UFC tenure has done little to add to his legacy.
2. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Born in Vitória da Conquista, Brazil, was there any doubt he would thrive and conquer? No one had better submissions than Nogueira in heavyweight history. His grip was like iron and some of the sport’s best fell victim to his armbar or triangle. He could never beat Fedor (although things were looking good in his second try before a cut stoppage) but he defeated most of the others on this list head to head.
Here’s his criteria:
Like baseball and other sports, the best way to judge fighters is based on how they competed within their own era, against contemporaries. With that standard in mind, I asked myself who the top heavyweight fighters of all time were.
I have to agree with Snowden here. This puts me in a different camp than our own Leland Roling and Jordan Breen, who feel that there can be no comparison between the well-trained and well-rounded athletes of the modern era and the pioneers of the sport.
In my mind, baseball settled this dispute a long time ago and it should work for all sports. The only true judge of an athlete’s mettle is how he performs against the best of his era. Sure Barry Bonds is incontestably the superior physical specimen to
Lou Gehrig Babe Ruth, but when you’re talking about greatness, it’s an easy call to pick Ruth. By that gauge, Cro Cop and Nogueira are clearly in the elite ranks.
* thanks for the correction baseball geeks.
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