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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-13-2008, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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CBS Sports: The all-time TUF Top 10

Originally Posted by CBS SPORTS

1. Forrest Griffin: Griffin is 7-2 in his nine fights in the Octagon with his only losses coming to Tito Ortiz at UFC 59 and Keith Jardine at UFC 66. But the loss to Ortiz is one that many have disputed, with a strong sentiment that Griffin was the rightful winner. After notching a couple of wins against tailor-made opponents such as Elvis Sinosic and Bill Mahood, the UFC officially took the training wheels off at UFC 59 when Griffin met Ortiz, and since then he has faced a steady diet of top competition (with the exception of Hector Ramirez at UFC 72) and holds career victories against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who he won the UFC light heavyweight title from in July at UFC 86. The Rua and Jackson wins are intriguing because both were consensus top 10 light heavyweights who established themselves outside of the UFC competing in Japan for the new-defunct PRIDE organization. The wins over the PRIDE veterans make it impossible for those to argue that he's nothing more than a UFC creation and that he hasn't proved himself vs. the world's best.

2. Rashad Evans: The UFC has failed to really market Evans as a superstar, but he has done everything asked of him and has a resume worthy of suggesting that he's entitled to greater stardom. Record-wise, he is 16-0-1 according to the UFC and 12-0-1 according to other outlets. But regardless of which record you acknowledge, he's still undefeated and owns notable wins over Liddell, Stephan Bonnar, and Michael Bisping and is also now considered a top 10 light heavyweight by Sherdog, MMA Weekly, and the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts. One could make a strong case that Evans is a long way off from ever achieving Griffin's level of stardom, but if the two face each other in December, then he will get a chance to make up a lot of ground.

3. Kenny Florian: When Florian appeared on TUF 1 he did so as a grossly undersized middleweight who relied heavily on his jiu-jitsu credentials and razor sharp elbows to survive. Since then, he has transformed himself in a lean, mean fighting machine and shows little resemblance to the fighter who was introduced to the American public in early 2005. After losing to Diego Sanchez in the middleweight final at the conclusion of the first season of TUF, Florian has posted a sterling record of 8-1 in the UFC with his lone defeat coming against Sean Sherk at UFC 64 in 2006 in a match to determine a new UFC lightweight champion. Florian was still able to take Sherk the distance and it should be noted that a year later Sherk had tested positive for performance enhancers and ultimately had to be stripped of the belt. And while he wasn't able to defeat Sherk, Florian holds notable wins over Roger Huerta, Joe Lauzon, Din Thomas, and Sam Stout.

4. Josh Koscheck: While he might not be a fan favorite, he certainly has garnered a great deal of respect from the critics; Koscheck is ranked as a top five welterweight by Sherdog, MMA Weekly, and WAMMA. He holds a 9-2 record in the UFC with notable wins over Dustin Hazelett, Diego Sanchez and Chris Lytle. While he can hardly be considered a dynamic striker, Koscheck has worked hard to evolve as a complete mixed martial artist instead of the fighter who relied almost exclusively on his world class wrestling ability during the first season of TUF.

5. Keith Jardine: Because he competed as a heavyweight and didn't make it to the show's finals, a lot of people don't associate Jardine with TUF. But sure enough, he was indeed on the show during its second season. While he's stuck in a crowded UFC light heavyweight division, Jardine has proved himself to be a legitimate threat that is capable of beating world class opponents. And if not for inconsistency, Jardine might be ranked even higher. While lopsided losses to Wanderlei Silva at UFC 84 and Houston Alexander at UFC 71 have hurt his stock, he had stock that could be hurt in the first place thanks to major wins over Griffin at UFC 66 and Liddell at UFC 76.

6. Diego Sanchez: Sanchez entered TUF with an 11-0 record and remained perfect following his first six UFC fights, notching notable wins over Karo Parisyan, Nick Diaz, John Alessio and Joe Riggs. But at UFC 69 his undefeated streak came to an end against Koscheck, a fighter he had defeated during the taping of TUF 1. While he has experienced some growing pains following back-to-back losses to Koscheck and then Jon Fitch at UFC 76, "The Nightmare" has regained some momentum with two consecutive wins. His standup looked much improved during a televised third-round TKO over Luigi Fioravanti during the live season finale of TUF 7, and with a victory over Thiago Alves on Oct. 25 at UFC 90, Sanchez will be able to secure his first welterweight title shot.

7. Joe Stevenson: Miscast as a welterweight after winning TUF 2's 170-pound tournament, Stevenson has made a home for himself in the UFC's lightweight division going 5-1 with his lone loss coming to B.J. Penn this past January at UFC 80 when the two fought for the then-vacant lightweight title. And there's no shame in losing to Penn, considered by many to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

8. Michael Bisping: With the lone exception of Evans, Bisping has beaten everyone that the UFC has put in front of him. Well, just about, as there are many who feel Matt Hamill deserved to win their clash at UFC 75 last September. It's his performance in the Hamill fight and his loss to Evans that have prevented me from ranking him higher even though he's clearly one of the biggest stars to be created by the show. But since moving to middleweight he has looked much more impressive and could soon be in a position to further enhance his profile once he starts facing bigger names.

9. Chris Leben: Some will dispute this ranking, but you've got to separate Chris Leben the fighter from Chris Leben the character. His raw credentials make him worthy of being considered as one of the top fighters ever to come out of TUF; he has an 18-4 overall record that includes a lifetime UFC record of 9-2. Outside of the Octagon he holds notable wins over Benji Radach and Mike Swick and inside of it he has defeated the likes of Terry Martin, Patrick Cote, Jorge Rivera and Jorge Santiago. His only losses are to Jason MacDonald at UFC 66 and Anderson Silva UFC Fight Night 5, and while the loss to Silva looked bad at the time, it doesn't look as bad now considering how many UFC middleweights Silva has made look that way. Is Leben one of the best middleweights in the UFC? Probably not, but he has proved to be a pretty damn good one.

10. Nate Diaz: This one wasn't an easy call. I gave consideration to Mike Swick (7-1 in the UFC), Marcus Davis (7-1 in the UFC) and even Matt Wiman (4-1 in the UFC). But at the end of the day, Diaz's initial UFC performances and upside potential were just too much to overlook. After winning the lightweight tournament for Season 5, the Cesar Gracie student has posted a perfect 3-0 record inside the UFC with submission wins over Junior Assuncao at UFC Fight Night 11; Alvin Robinson at UFC Fight Night 12; and Kurt Pellegrino at UFC Fight Night 13. By the time Penn has decided to permanently move up in weight, Diaz could find himself challenging for the UFC lightweight title.

I don't know if I agree with Jardine being at #5 other then that though I don't have any complaints off the top of my head.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-13-2008, 04:20 PM
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Pretty solid list. You tend to lose sight of the fact TUF has had a very positive effect on the UFC roster, until you see 10 great fighters like that listed together.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-14-2008, 05:47 AM
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TUF has produced soem very good fighters, but 8 of those guys are from TUF 1 and 2. Now time is on their side but I cant see some of the other guys from later seasons making it as big.

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