Friday, February 11, 2011

Black fighters who have excelled in MMA

In celebration of Black History Month, here are some notable African American (and Canadian American fighters).

Editorial Note: If there are some fighters who are not on here, my fullest apologies. I chose to leave out fighters like Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo and Paul Daley, mainly because Black History month is celebrated in Canada and the U.S.

Jon Jones (12-1)

Jon “Bones” Jones, who has a background in Muay Thai, Greco Roman Wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, has been labeled by many as the future of the UFC. Although the hype around him has reached new limits, Jones is still a formidable fighter.

Jones has only lost one of his 12 fights, (a DQ over Matt Hamil in December 2009). His most recent win came from a submission victory over Ryan Bader via a modified guillotine choke.

After his win over Bader, Jones will replace Rashad Evans in the Light Heavyweight title match against Mauricio Rua at UFC 128.

Quinton Jackson (31-8)

Perhaps one of most well known fighters around the world, “Rampage” Jackson is a man who talks a lot of smack, but can also back it up when it comes to a fight. He known for his wrestling background, as well as his power, which he can use to knock out his opponents, or slam them on the canvas.

During his career, Jackson has not only captured the UFC Light Heavyweight title and a runner up in the 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, but has also had rivalries with a who’s who list of fighters, including Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, and Rashad Evans. Jackson would go on to coach against Evans during the Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights season, and eventually lose their fight via decision back in May 2010.

Jackson‘s most recent win was against Lyoto Machida last November. He was originally scheduled to fight Thiago Silva at UFC 130, however he will now face Evans in a rematch.

Rashad Evans (15-1-1)

Fans were first treated to Rashad Evans during the Ultimate Fighter 2, where he won the heavyweight competition on that show. Prior to the UFC, Evans had won his first five fights, and even won the Gladiator Challenge Light Heavyweight tournament.

After the Ultimate Fighter, Evans would go on to defeat fighters such as Chuck Liddell, Michael Bisping, and even Forrest Griffin, who defeated for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship. After losing the title to Lyoto Machida, Evans would score a decision victory over Thiago Silva and coach against Quinton Jackson in The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights. He would later go on to defeat Jackson in late May 2010.

Evans was expected to face Mauricio Rua for the UFC Light Heavyweight title, but had to pull out of the fight due to injury. He will now face Quinton Jackson in a rematch, at UFC 130.

Antonio McKee (25-4-2)

McKee is a brown belt in Judo and has an extensive background in wrestling. Despite having many wins on his record, he was the subject of criticism due to having the majority of his fights (19 of them wins) going to decision. He is the current MFC Lightweight champion.

McKee signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC in September 2010. He would make his debut against Jacob Volkmann at UFC 125 where he would lose by decision. After the loss, he was cut by the promotion.

After being cut from the UFC, McKee returned to Maximum Fighting Championships where he will defend his title against Drew Fickett on the 25th.

Muhammed Lawal (7-1)

The fighter known as “King Mo” has been capturing the attention of MMA fans in Japan and in the United States with his flashy entrances and persona. In his first two years of MMA he had won seven fights and captured the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title. He would lose the title to Rafael Cavalcante in August 2010.

In addition to his MMA career, Lawal has an extensive amateur wrestling background. Prior to his MMA career, he was a Division I All American and a Big 12 champion.

Recently, Lawal has undergone knee surgery. He has stated that 2011 would be the year he gets his belt back.

Ben Henderson (12-2)

Henderon has a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and was an All American wrestler in college. In his MMA career, he is a former WEC lightweight champion and WEC interim lightweight champion.

At the last WEC event, Henderson put on a show with opponent Anthony Pettis. Despite putting on a valiant effort, he ended losing the match by decision.

Henderson will make his UFC debut at UFC 129.

Josh Koscheck (15-5)

Koshcheck has been a long time UFC fighter, since competition in the first season of the Ultimate Fighter back in 2005.  He has also become one of the sport's most notable trash talkers.

After earning victories over fighters like Frank Trigg, Chris Lytle, and Diego Sanchez, Koscheck’s biggest career moment to date would be defeating Paul Daley to become the number one contender for the UFC Welterweight title, and becoming a coach on the Ultimate Fighter 12.

After The Ultimate Fighter season 12, he lost to Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre back in December 2010. Despite not winning the belt from St. Pierre, Koscheck is still ranked one the top 10 welterweight fighters in MMA.

Yves Edwards (40-16-1)

Edwards is one of MMA’s more experienced fighters.

Since debuting in 1997, Edwards has fought in several organizations, including UFC, Pride FC, Bodogg Fight FC, Elite XC, and Strikeforce. Edwards practices a variety of martial arts, including a self created style he called “Thug-Jitsu.”

His most recent win was a submission victory, over up and comer Cody McKenzie.

Demetrious Johnson (9-1)

Known to the fans as “Mighty Mouse”, Johnson won his first six fights before debuting in the WEC. In his debut, he would lose to Brad Pickett by decision.

Despite the loss, Johnson would go on his next two fights in the WEC.

In his UFC debut, Johnson spoiled the hyped up debut of Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto.

Jason High (13-3)

From Kansas City, Jason High has fought in Canada, Japan, and the United States.  He gained notaritey in the Dream promotion where he made it to the finals of their Welterweight Grand Prix.  He lost in the finals to Marius Zaromskis.

Since the loss, he has won four out of his five last fights (the only loss coming from Charlie Brennerman in the UFC)

High recently signed with Strikeforce and will debut in 2011.

  Honorable and not so honorable mentions

Kevin Randleman (17-15) - one of MMA’s more seasoned fighters, this former UFC Heavyweight champion has come up against some of the best fighters, both in Pride and in the UFC. Although he turned 40, Randleman has said he will continue his career.

Carlos Newton (15-14) - Newton is a former UFC Welterweight champion and a UFC 17 tournament runner up. He was also a longtime fighter in Pride, and a coach in the International Fight League. He is expected to fight in May 2011.

Herchel Walker (2-0) At 48 years old, this former NFL player has already acquired two wins on his record, including a first-round knock out victory over Scott Carson. Walker said that he will continue his MMA career.

Gary Goodridge (23-23-1) - Goodridge has fought in several organizations. His earliest accomplishments include being a finalist in the UFC 8 tournament, and a quarterfinalist in the 2000 Pride Grand Prix.

Bobby Lashley (5-1) - was on a five-fight winning streak before losing to Chad Griggs back in August 2010. He was taken out on a stretcher and has not fought since the loss to Griggs.

Bob Sapp (11-6-1) - Although he has not had as much success as his peers, Sapp has been a kick boxer, pro wrestler, and a football player. Sapp was supposed to fight at the Dream Dynamite 2010 show, but did not due to contract issues.  He is scheduled to fight sometime in March 2011.

Kimbo Slice (4-2) - Had a brief stint in the Ultimate Fighter season 10, and a win in the UFC. Slice has been reported to pursue careers in boxing and pro wrestling.

James Toney (0-1) - former boxing champion James Toney decided he would pursue a career in MMA.  According to reports, he hounded UFC president Dana White for a fight with one of the UFC's top guys. Toney got his wish, but in his first MMA match he got schooled by Randy Couture at UFC 118, (this didn't stop the UFC from paying him $500,000). He most recently called out Quinton Jackson.

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