6 Fighters Who Should Be On Deck For the UFC Hall of Fame

The UFC Hall of Fame inductions will take place in July as part of the UFC Fan Expo prior to UFC 200. In its short history, the UFC Hall of Fame has inducted many of the notable pioneers and champions of the sport including Royce Gracie, Dan Severn, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz and BJ Penn. The recent inductions of Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar did make the criteria for induction a bit more ambiguous, but there is no denying the impact their main event at the first TUF Finale had for the UFC and the growth of the sport. As the UFC 200 approaches, here are six fighters (really five and a family) that should be strong candidates for induction into the UFC Hall of Fame.

The Gracie Family: There would likely be no UFC if it weren’t for the Gracie family. After all, the first UFC was co-created by Rorion Gracie after Hollywood producers were enamored with his Gracie in Action videos that featured numerous Gracie Challenges that answered the question of “which martial arts style is the best?” In addition to creating the UFC, the Gracies were the early pioneers and stars of mixed martials arts during the early days in Brazil, Japan, and The United States. Royce Gracie won three UFC events and showed the world a smaller fighter can overcome a larger opponent with BJJ. Rickson went undefeated in Japan as he won two Vale Tudo tournaments and headlined the first two Pride events. A number of other Gracies including Renzo, Ryan, Ralph, and Royler also became global superstars in MMA and helped to expand BJJ and MMA throughout the world by conducting seminars and opening schools in major metropolitan areas. Renzo continues to coach and advise MMA fighters including former UFC champions Chris Weidman, Georges St. Pierre, Frankie Edgar, and Matt Serra. If any family, group, or camp is worthy of a mass induction, it is the Gracie family.

Georges St. Pierre: GSP is considered the best welterweight of all-time and accumulated a professional MMA record of 25-2 with an impressive UFC record of 19-2 and 12-2 record in UFC title fights. His major UFC records includes most wins in UFC history (19), most wins in UFC title fights (12), and second most consecutive successful title defenses (9). His key victories include Matt Hughes (2x), BJ Penn (2x), Matt Serra, Carlos Condit, and Sean Sherk. He was one of the UFC’s top all-time attractions, co-main eventing UFC 100 and drawing 57,000 fans to watch his UFC 129 main event against Jake Shields at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria: The recently retired Nogueria finished his professional MMA career with an impressive 34-10-1 record. In his 16-year fighting career in Brazil, Japan, and the United States, ‘Big Nog’ won the Pride heavyweight title, the Interim UFC heavyweight belt, and the 2000 Rings’ King of Kings tournament crown. During his run in Pride, he amassed a 17-3 record with one no contest with notable wins over Dan Henderson, Mark Coleman, Gary Goodridge, Bob Sapp, Enson Inoue, Ricco Rodriguez, Mirko Cro Cop, Heath Herring, Fabricio Werdum, and Josh Barnett. After Pride was purchased by Zuffa, Nogueria defeated Tim Sylvia for the interim heavyweight title. By the time he fought in the UFC, he had already been in a number of brutal wars in Pride, but was still able to defeat UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 102 in a Fight of the Night effort. He will always be remembered for his durability and warrior spirit.

Rich Franklin: The former math teacher turned UFC middleweight champion was always the consummate company man. He was one of the UFC’s biggest stars during the organization’s rapid growth in the mid-2000s and was heavily relied upon to be the face of the organization in many media interviews due to his clean-cut image and combination of brains and brawns. Franklin amassed a professional MMA record of 29-7 with a 14-6 record inside the Octagon. He won the UFC middleweight crown from Evan Tanner at UFC 53 in 2005 and defended the title twice before losing it to Anderson Silva. After two failed attempts to regain the belt from Silva, Franklin maintained his position as one of the top draws in the UFC by fighting the top light heavyweights and middleweights in the organization. The UFC relied heavily on Franklin to headline events, sometimes as a late replacement. His key victories include Evan Tanner (2x), Ken Shamrock, Chuck Liddell, and Wanderlei Silva (2x).

Don Frye: While Don Frye only fought in the UFC for only one year out of his long fifteen year career, he definitely made it count. In 1996, Frye amassed a 10-1 record in Octagon, winning UFC 8 and Ultimate Ultimate 96 Tournament Championships. The lone blemish to his record was a loss in the finals of UFC 10 to UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman. In 2001, Frye returned to MMA after a 4 year hiatus and became a very popular star in Japan with notable fights against Ken Shamrock, Mark Coleman, and Akebono. His legendary brawl with Yoshihiro Takayama, which he won by first round knockout, was voted ‘Fight of the Year’ in 2002. Overall, Frye had an impressive professional MMA record of 39-9-1, two UFC tournament crowns and is a true pioneer of the sport.

Mark Kerr: After a storied collegiate wrestling career that was highlighted by defeating UFC Hall of Famer in the finals of the 1992 NCAA Championships, Kerr started competing in Vale Tudo fights in Japan to help support his Olympic wrestling aspirations. In his first tournament in Japan, Kerr captured the Vale Tudo 3 crown in January 1997. As Don Frye departed the UFC at the end of 1996, Kerr filled the void left by Frye and went on to win the UFC 14 and 15 Heavyweight Tournaments. With those two tournament victories, Kerr joined Frye and UFC Hall of Famers Royce Gracie, Mark Coleman, and Dan Severn as the only UFC fighters to win two tournaments. Although, his record is 15-11 due to injuries and other issues, Kerr’s run during the early days of the UFC and MMA in Japan were very dominant as he compiled a 13-1 record with one no contest between 1997 and 2000.





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