If you're reading this article, it either means you were willing to accept the notion of Tim Sylvia as the 15th greatest fighter in UFC history or you didn't read yesterday's installment and hadn't gotten to that part yet. So now you know...
And now, if you're still reading this, it means you're curious to see how the scoring system ranks the fighters as we get into the top 10 all time. First, here's a rundown of the fighters listed to this point:
No. 20 (tie): Lyoto Machida - 38 points
No. 20 (tie): Vitor Belfort - 38 points
No. 18 (tie): Junior dos Santos - 40 points
No. 18 (tie): Benson Henderson - 40 points
No. 17: Frankie Edgar - 41 points
No. 16: Andrei Arlovski - 43 points
No. 15: Tim Sylvia - 44 points
No. 14: Jose Aldo - 47 points
No. 12 (tie): Frank Shamrock - 48 points
No. 12 (tie): Rich Franklin - 48 points
No. 11 Royce Gracie - 50 points
On to the top 10:
No. 10 Cain Velasquez - 51 points
Because heavyweight is the UFC's oldest division, there is a temptation to romanticize the fighters of old and favor them more than the men competing in the division today. Cain Velasquez's accomplishments make it impossible to ignore what we're seeing before our eyes.
In his 12 UFC fights, Velasquez has looked vulnerable for probably less than a minute. Aside from some anxious moments against Cheick Kongo and the time he spent face down eating punches in the first fight against Junior dos Santos, Velasquez has dominated every other moment he's spent in the cage. His seven-fight win streak is the second longest in heavyweight history and his two title defenses are tied for the most as a heavyweight.
Outlook: Velasquez's last five fights have been against the same two opponents (dos Santos and Antonio Silva). It's unclear who his next opponent will be, but at least it will be someone he hasn't beaten yet. The next few fights will tell us a lot about his ability to beat all contenders, not just the same ones. Based on past performance, we may have a new record for most consecutive heavyweight title defenses before too long.
No. 9 Pat Miletich - 57 points
Fans are always careful to mention Frank Shamrock as the forgotten champion from the UFC's dark ages, but they don't always remember to add Pat Miletich as well. Like Shamrock, Miletich ushered a new weight class into existence and dominated it for two years. The difference between them and the reason that Miletich ranks above Shamrock on this list is that Miletich was simply more prolific.
To start, Miletich began his UFC career by winning a UFC tournament, something that Shamrock couldn't do. He then proceeded to win the weight class belt, which we call welterweight but was then called lightweight. By the time he lost his belt to Carlos Newton, he has won seven straight fights and defended his title four times. He picked up one more stoppage win before losing to Matt Lindland and exiting the UFC. Miletich has the shortest career of anyone in the top 10, fighting only 10 times, but because of the lengthy title reign and the tournament win (he's one of only five men to win a tournament and a title), his status is solidified in the top 10.
Outlook: To the fans that came along around the time of TUF, Miletich is probably better known as a coach and trainer than as a fighter. There was a time when three of the four UFC champions were affiliated with Miletich Fighting Systems. He may not have been as flashy as other, more popular fighters, but he is undoubtedly one of the UFC's greatest.
No. 8 BJ Penn - 61 points
The fact that Penn shows up so high on this list is a bit of a miracle, considering that he never won more than three fights in a row. He burst on the scene with three first-round knockouts, but lost his first title shot to Jens Pulver. Six years later, he emerged as an absolute terror at lightweight, finishing his first three opponents at 155 pounds, and then lost his next fight in a return to welterweight for a rematch against Georges St-Pierre.
Penn gets high marks for winning two titles in two weight classes and defending his lightweight title three times. He was a consistent finisher, winning 11 of 12 fights by stoppage. But Penn also benefits more than anyone from the one point this system gives to fighters when they lose or draw in a title fight. Penn has five losses and one draw in title competition. His six "non-wins" in championship fights are more than any other fighter in UFC history.
Outlook: Until a couple of months ago, it seemed like Penn was content to stay retired. He's now decided to reinvent himself as a featherweight and try to become the first man to win titles in three different weight classes. He has to get through Frankie Edgar first (and make weight before that), but you can never count out BJ Penn. Another title and a few defenses would vault him up the points list, maybe even into the top five.
No. 7 Chuck Liddell - 62 points
Liddell may be the most popular UFC fighter of all time. Like Rich Franklin, his period of greatest dominance came at precisely the right moment to capitalize on the UFC's growing popularity. He was a coach on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and won the Light Heavyweight Title in the first pay-per-view after the conclusion of the show. He was an instant star and his fights became mega events where a knockout was inevitable. For four fights, that meant defending his title. That inevitability worked the other way when he relinquished the belt to Rampage Jackson and proceeded to lose five of his last six UFC fights, with four losses by knockout.
He also benefited from a fighting style that was easy to understand and brutally effective. While we can only give seven points for Liddell's longest win streak, it should be noted that those seven straight wins were comprised of seven straight knockouts. No other fighter has more than four consecutive KO/TKO wins in UFC history.
Outlook: The UFC will hopefully generate many stars in the future, but Liddell will always be the first one to cross over into the mainstream. The list of fighters he beat in his dominant period is not as impressive as the murderer's row faced by some other fighters on the list, but that seven straight KO record is going to stand for a long time.
No. 6 Tito Ortiz - 68 points
Ortiz belongs in the category with Vitor Belfort and Randy Couture of fighters from the old days that were fortunate enough to stick around long enough to see the UFC become a sensation. He may not have had the widest audience while he was the most dominant fighter of his era, but he parlayed that into prominence and success even after he was no longer the nightmare matchup he had been previously.
If we gave points just for showing up, Ortiz would be ranked even higher. His 27 fights in the UFC are the most ever. He won 15 of those fights, tied for sixth most all-time. Until Jon Jones surpassed it, his five title defenses were the most ever by a light heavyweight.
Outlook: There was a time when it looked like Ortiz was going to be the Michael Jordan of the UFC. When the company needed a spokesperson or needed to build around a star, Ortiz was the go-to guy. Things didn't quite work out that way and Ortiz's recent move to Bellator will probably mean even less promotional muscle behind his legacy, but his accomplishments are undeniable and his status among the greatest ever can't be taken away.
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