Samoa - It's hard to take all of his Pancrase wins as legit. That was an org with admitted works and angles on putting fighters over.
If Ken was such a well rounded fighter why did he look absolutely lost against a guy with 2 fights in UFC I?
He never won a tournament in NHB. He never went on a run to make up for the not winning one. He had horribly boring fights repeatedly and lost against guys like Fujita.
He has a win and a loss with Severn; that's about it in the 90's after getting in the UFC non-Pancrase fights. Draw with Oleg too I guess in a boring fight with his former training partner. Draw and a loss to Royce. That's the sum of his non-Pancrase 1990's NHB career.
It's just my opinion. I can be wrong.
I brought up the suspect Pancrase fights in question, and hypothetically altered his record to reflect them for sake of argument.
If Pancrase doesn't count, then legends like Funaki and Bas would not be legends.
"""If Ken was such a well rounded fighter why did he look absolutely lost against a guy with 2 fights in UFC I?"""
^^ you mean Royce? Not sure I'm following you on that one. ---- If you mean Royce, everybody lost to Royce until Ken took him the distance. Sakuraba would beat him years later. Royce with the gi in those days was something nobody understood how to handle. Ken did the best, and very arguably beat him the second time around.
The Fujita fight was after his comeback, and if you read my original post you quoted, not part of the era I considered Ken to be "at one time very arguably the best". That said, Fujita was no joke back then. A big tough dude who even had Fedor rocked. And come on man... you know Ken was kicking his ass before completely gassing out to the point of severe heart problems. There was something wrong with Ken in that fight, and he was still whooping Fujita's ass.
The "loss" to Severn was tainted by weird last minute rule changes. One of the worst fights ever. Hard to really look at that as a loss for Ken or a win for Severn.
Ken did hold back against Oleg. Yeah.. that's a bit disappointing. But he still controlled and all but dominated him. He clearly proved he was the superior fighter.
And you can't overlook Ken's UFC wins over Pat Smith, Leininger, Kimo, and Brian Johnson. These were all very tough fighters for the time, and Leininger a legit Judoka. Ken manhandled these guys. These fights weren't even close.
You are correct that Ken had a couple boring fights. I am not defending those other that to say he is not the only fighter to have them.
You are also correct that Ken underachieved.
But he still proved, head-to-head, that he was one of the best fighters of that era. This is based on how he looked against other champions from that era.