UnderGround Forums
 

UnderGround Forums >> Kazushi Sakuraba the greatest fighter of all time?


6/4/12 1:45 PM
Ignore | Vote Down | Vote Up
Underground Blog
1032 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/3/08
Posts: 9200
MixedMartialArts.com
 

This is one of a continuing series of blog entries on the greatest fighter of all time. The two most common choices are Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva. Another candidate is Dan Henderson.

Years ago, Dave Meltzer's F4WOnline did an admittedly pro-pro wrestling piece, that argues unequivocally the greatest fighter of all time is Kazushi Sakuraba.

After years of complete dominance over the Mixed Martial Arts world, Kazushi Sakuraba has been in a bit of a downfall, to understate it. Newer fans may be watching him for the first time and, after hearing all the hype, find themselves saying, "What's the big deal? This guy keeps on losing." And long-time fans, who jump from bandwagon to bandwagon, now like to say that Saku was over rated.

Not only is Sakuraba not over rated, he's the greatest fighter in the history of MMA. And not just the greatest fighter by a little bit, but by such a wide margin that his skill level may never actually be met by another competitor for generations, if ever.

In order to explain why I've made such a definitive statement, one must understand weight cutting.

In August of 2002, the best heavyweight fighter in the world, Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera fought Bob "The Beast" Sapp. Sapp had previously fought in exactly two MMA fights, while Noguiera was the Pride Heavyweight champion, a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, and had 19 fights in his career. Bob Sapp, the very definition of a novice, quite literally almost killed Noguiera during that match, and gave Rodrigo all he could handle for almost 12:00. The reason Sapp was able to do this?

Size.

One has to ignore the Sakuraba that currently exists. He's a shell of his former self. He has added considerable weight, though it mostly appears to be fat, as opposed to muscle. To get a picture of Sakuraba's true weight, one has to look at Saku in his prime.

Saku's weight was reported to be 183 lbs for his fights with Royce Gracie, Vitor Belfort, and all the rest. In the regular, non "combat sports", world 183 lbs is a big person, in MMA, that's incredibly small.

if Sakuraba properly cut weight, and being a former college wrestling star, there's no doubt he could, Saku would be a lightweight. Also, keep in mind that at 183 lbs, Saku's body was still far from ripped. In fact, at that weight, he still had enough fat on him that he had no visible abs.

Sakuraba is a lightweight. With that in mind, when one now takes a look at who Saku has defeated, it's not just incredible, it's basically impossible, except for the fact that Saku did it.

Saku holds victories over TWO top 10 Light HeavyWeight fighters, one former UFC HEAVYWEIGHT champion, a former UFC Welterweight champion, and four members of the legendary Gracie family. His only losses before his collapse, except for the fluke loss to Nino Schembri, were:
Wanderlei Silva when he was Pride MW (LHW under Unified Rules) champion;
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira then a top 10 LHW,
Mirko CroCop when he was a top 5 HW, and
Igor Vovchanchyn, then the #1 HW in the world.

Saku was clearly winning for the first 10 minutes of the Vovchanchyn fight, before he finally lost all his energy (which was the result of having fought for 90 minutes earlier in the night). By most accounts, Saku was competitive with "Lil Nog", was firmly in control of CroCop until suffering an unfortunate eye injury, and actually had Silva in a choke during the 2nd fight.

Sakuraba has fought and beat people who realistically outweigh him by anywhere from 30-50 pounds and has beaten most of them, or was at least very competitive against them.

Kazushi Sakuraba is a man who could realistically fight at 155 lbs, but who has fought and beaten some of the best in the world at 205 pounds, and who almost beat some of the best in the world at around 225 lbs. And not only beat people 50+ lbs bigger, but beat the most skilled people on earth at those higher weights. There will never be a man whose skill level is so great that he could routinely negate 50+ pounds. In the history of mixed martial arts, there is Kazushi Sakuraba, and then there is everyone else.

Read entire article...


6/4/12 1:48 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
kinkle
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/23/05
Posts: 7463
Yep, greatest fighter ever.
6/4/12 1:50 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Eyelasher
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 8/9/05
Posts: 2549
Signed.
6/4/12 1:55 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ephialtes
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/13/07
Posts: 366
LOL. This has got to be a joke. The greatest fighter ever? Not even close.
6/4/12 2:00 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
C Riv
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/23/09
Posts: 316
Greatest...maybe. But definitely the most awesome. Phone Post
6/4/12 2:02 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
kinkle
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/23/05
Posts: 7464
Ephialtes - LOL. This has got to be a joke. The greatest fighter ever? Not even close.

Tards gonna tard.
6/4/12 2:04 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
MartialArtsMixed
94 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/3/10
Posts: 6369
Saku beat everyone with his heart. Samurai spirit.
6/4/12 2:05 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Woodford Mike
41 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/23/10
Posts: 2062
Love Sakuraba, but I can't say greatest ever. Maybe biggest heart and most entertaining though. Phone Post
6/4/12 2:12 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Wasa-B
286 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 40407
"Greatest" is subjective. So is "best."

I liken Saku's greatness to someone like Randy's. Randy does not have the best win/loss record but, along with Sak, has the most dramatic wins/career and such great moments.

These moments are normally not understood by those who were not around. If that sounds snobbish or elitist, too bad because its mostly true. There are many things that numbers or stats simply cannot capture.

Also, some of the things Meltzer noted on there are obvious things that are overlooked by those in denial. Saku in his prime was smaller than GSP and was fighting the best MWs, LHWs and HWs on the planet.

He also, like Coleman, Maurice, changed the game. Saku vs Royce is arguably still the biggest and most important fight in this sport's history. Then to top it off, after that 90 min game changer, he go's on to fight the #1 HW in the world and gives him a real good go (though I think Igor should have gotten the dec in regulation).

As for his actual ability, his combination of wrestling and submissions are still rivaled by onl a few but he was still the first to very strong in both elements.

Then there his creativity, heart and entertaining factors.

6/4/12 2:14 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
overEZ
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 3/3/06
Posts: 1779
Greatest fighter of all time = stupid unrealistic subjective title

So many great fighters for different reasons.

Sakuraba = one of the all time greats
6/4/12 2:18 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
disbeliever
318 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 9/27/03
Posts: 19236
No doubt one of the greatest MMA fighters ever, and most likely the MMA fighter with the most heart.
6/4/12 2:20 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
D241
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/20/09
Posts: 8536
Joshua J King -  I agree. I'd love to hear Dana's response to this. Phone Post

 Just want to put it out there that it's definitely arguable that Sakuraba is the GOAT. I have him as top 4 in company with Fedor/Anderson/Henderson
6/4/12 2:20 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
joe_mama
17 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/8/11
Posts: 126
To be fair, this article was written a while back. His legacy these days is so badly tarnished it's hard to remember the last time he was held in high esteem. Poor guy needs to be retired already. It'd be the same if they kept on trotting Chuck Liddell out there, people would be saying he's not a top lhw, never was etc.
6/4/12 2:20 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
SirHONKEY
65 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 8/31/11
Posts: 27
SAKU! Phone Post
6/4/12 2:26 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Wasa-B
286 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 40410
GSP24 - Anderson Silva is the GOAT. No doubt about it.<br><br>I love Sakuraba but he's maybe top 25.


Wouldnt it be like totally awesome if people who make outrageous claims actually were required to back them up?

Like, other than Anderson (who i also agree is the GOAT but that Saku has some things that Anderson doesnt), who are these other 23 that rank above Saku?

Im all ears. Cant wait to see who these 23 other GOATs are to round out your top 25.

Lets go....
6/4/12 2:32 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
46and2
28 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 5/31/07
Posts: 5379
When you think about how scared people are to move up just ONE weight class, and realize that Saku was a LW fighting LHWs, sometimes HWs, it certainly makes him one of the GOATs in my book.

Top 5 easy due to the weight differences I would say...

Lots of Newbs gonna jack this thread, though.
6/4/12 2:33 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
D241
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/20/09
Posts: 8537
 get comfortable Wasa-B, that might take a while
6/4/12 2:37 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
D241
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/20/09
Posts: 8538
joe_mama - To be fair, this article was written a while back. His legacy these days is so badly tarnished it's hard to remember the last time he was held in high esteem. Poor guy needs to be retired already. It'd be the same if they kept on trotting Chuck Liddell out there, people would be saying he's not a top lhw, never was etc.

 Nope. You are seeing new fans who didn't watch Sakuraba back in the day. These newer fans, and trust me, there is a LOT more newer fans than longtime hardcores, they cannot appreciate his accomplishments because they are only privy to todays fight game.

It took me a while to realize this, but once you do, you will feel a little old, but you'll also be able to know comfortably that who you think is great and why, is completely justified.   Look at 46and2's post. He can remember Sakuraba for the legend he is and why because he knows his history, because he was present when it was happening.

Same with all the greats, Hughes, Liddell, Randy, Fedor, Sakuraba.  The comments people make post career or towards the end of their careers, are comments that never were thought of when they were in their prime doing their thing.

Be ready to see it with Anderson as well. I kinda already have with his Chael fight.
6/4/12 2:38 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Kirik
1601 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 47823
The Underground, Mayor for Life
GSP24 -  Anderson Silva is the GOAT. No doubt about it.

I love Sakuraba but he's maybe top 25. Phone Post

 I would love to see an objective list of 25 P4P all time fighters that a rational human being would rate above Kazushi Sakuraba.
6/4/12 2:45 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Jack Skellington
715 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 5/27/09
Posts: 14906
proud Sak fan here

dream match would be Sak - Anderson Silva (both in their primes)
6/4/12 2:46 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
voorhees
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 13627
Agree w/this thread.
6/4/12 2:47 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
KZTT_MMAfan55
85 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/4/10
Posts: 2083
Good read Phone Post
6/4/12 2:50 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
quick2tap
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 10/15/02
Posts: 338
He may not be the greatest P4P of all time but he was certainly my favorite.

I often wonder how differently things might have gone for the rest of his career had he not broken his collerbone in the 2nd W Silva fight. He was doing very well in that fight and was reportedly sick as a dog for the first one. Who knows.....Silva may have just had his number stylistically just like Sak had the Gracies' number.
6/4/12 2:51 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
MickColins
139 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/14/08
Posts: 8210
Great? Yes. GOAT? No. Had sketchy fights and overstayed. Phone Post
6/4/12 2:51 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
sakurabasHeadBeatAronasKnee
2 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/11/11
Posts: 221
In Phone Post

Reply Post

You must log in to post a reply. Click here to login.