UFC Hall of Fame: Pioneer Wing
UFC Hall of Fame: Pioneer Wing
Pioneer Wing: Don Frye
One of the progenitors of the modern mixed martial artist, Don
Frye brought pro boxing, Div-I wrestling and black belt judo skills
to the UFC. “The Predator” is a two-time UFC tournament
champion who fought who’s who of his era while engaging in
some the most thrilling fights of all time.
Pioneer Wing: Matt Hughes
Two UFC welterweight title reigns, seven successful title defenses and victories over the likes of BJ Penn, Georges St-Pierre, Royce Gracie, Matt Serra - and all the others – established Matt Hughes as one of the greatest fighters of any era.
Pioneer Wing: Minotauro Nogueira
The only fighter to win world titles in both the UFC Octagon and
PRIDE FC ring – Minotauro Nogueira has been called the
greatest submission specialist in the history of the heavyweight
division. “Big Nog” was also impossibly courageous, beating the
best heavyweights in a ring or cage by sheer tough-mindedness.
Pioneer Wing: Tito Ortiz
Bleached blonde trash-talker Tito Ortiz was the face – and attitude - of the UFC in the early 2000s. An outstanding wrestler with powerful hands, the Huntington Beach Bad Boy reigned as UFC light heavyweight champion for three-and-a-half years and left an indelible mark in the Octagon.
Pioneer Wing: Pat Miletich
Pat Miletich was an innovator and trailblazer, inventing many of the techniques and training methods which are used by UFC athletes to this day. The Croatian Sensation had few peers in the Octagon, as proven by his UFC 16 tournament win and record-setting four defenses as the first UFC welterweight champion.
Pioneer Wing: Chuck Liddell
Chuck Liddell is the epitome of what it means to be a UFC fighter. “The Iceman” reigned as UFC light heavyweight champion from 2005 to 2007, helping thrust the sport in the mainstream as the UFC’s flagship star during the boom period. In a 12-year career he defeated the likes of Jeff Monson, Kevin Randleman, Vitor Belfort, Randy Couture (twice), Tito Ortiz (twice) and Alistair Overeem. His last great performance came at UFC 79 in December 2007, where he outfought Wanderlei Silva in the fight of the year. The Iceman’s record for the most knockouts – 10 – in UFC history still stands today.
Pioneer Wing: Mark Coleman
The godfather of ground and pound, Mark Coleman invented a new avenue of attack for fighters who, like him, were world class wrestlers with natural born punching power. “The Hammer” did it all: winning two UFC tournaments, two UFC titles and – long after been written off – the PRIDE FC Openweight Grand Prix.
Pioneer Wing: Dan Severn
An Olympic-level wrestler, Dan Severn entered the UFC to prove that wrestling was the ultimate martial art. “The Beast” won the UFC 5 tournament, Ultimate Ultimate 1995 tournament and UFC Superfight championships during an astonishing 18-year career.
Pioneer Wing: Ken Shamrock
A colossus of the formative years of the sport, the legendary Ken Shamrock personified the UFC in a way few others have ever matched. “The World’s Most Dangerous Man,” annexed the UFC Superfight title along with two King of Pancrase championships while defeating a who’s who of his era.
Pioneer Wing: Royce Gracie
Royce Gracie was the original UFC tournament champion from November 1993 and the man who single-handedly destroyed the Hollywood and dojo myths about what real fighting was. It is no exaggeration that Gracie’s sublime demonstrations of ground-fighting against much larger opponents did more to evolve martial arts in one night than anything in centuries. Gracie would underline his dominance over his era by returning to win the second and fourth UFC tournaments. Gracie’s records for the most consecutive UFC wins – 11 – and most submissions in the UFC – seven – still stand two decades later.
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