Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Branson, Missouri
Damn, good thread, hope this doesn't get overlooked.
2000: Kazushi Sakuraba: Beat Mezger (As lame as it was, it's still a win), made Royce quit (Back when Royce was seen as unbeatable), subbed Renzo and smoked Ryan Gracie.
1999: Frank Shamrock. Had 2 fights, but 2 fights against solid opponents, and he shouldn't have gotten a draw in the Tamura one, since I thought he beat him. He finished Tito back when Tito was becoming quite the fighter, demolishing solid guys like Bohlander and Mezger. Also, Frank Shamrock was the most well-rounded fighter at that time.
1998: Frank Shamrock. Showed his dominance as champion, destroyed Igor Zinoviev in sickening fashion, beat Horn in a solid showing and smoked Lober.
1997: Maurice Smith. He beat the Hammer in a great fight, back when Coleman was THE MAN! He then beat Tank back when Tank didn't really suck. He became the first black UFC champion during that time period and had a pretty close fight against Couture (A fight in which all Randy did was lay on Mo).
As for 04, I think I'm going with BJ Penn. Penn fought at higher weight classes and beat guys like Hughes and Rodrigo Gracie, not to mention he smoked Bang Ludwig.