The 411 MMA Top 10 09.09.13: Top Ten Journeymen
Posted by Alex Rella on 09.09.2013
From Chris Lytle, Jeremy Horn and Gardy Goodridge to Yves Edwards, Dennis Hallman and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 journeymen fighters of all time!
Top Ten Journeymen
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. I'm mixing things up a little this week. Last week I talked about the best UFC lightweight title fight and I usually follow it up with the best non title ones, but I decided to go in a different direction. I've been doing this column for awhile now and I'm getting a little tired of always talking about the legends and classic fights. So this week I'm going to talk about the other guys: the journeymen of MMA.
In boxing, the term journeymen is used to describe the fighters that were used and served up to young prospects or up and coming fighters. They had experience, but couldn't beat the more skilled fighters. In MMA and for purpose of this list, I take it to mean that the fighter fought a lot over a very long career, but could never really reach that highest level. I really don't mean this as an insult to any of these guys, as they all had nice careers and many challenged for titles or almost won tournaments. So what are the requirements this week? You have to have fought a lot over a fairly long period of time. The least amount in the top ten was 41 fights and 13 years. They also can't have won a title and the fighters listed are mostly either retired or at the end of their careers.
A self proclaimed gatekeeper, Gary Goodridge starts this week's list off in the tenth spot. A K-1 kickboxing tournament winner, Canadian amateur boxing champion, and world arm wrestling champion, Goodridge may not have had the most illustrious fighting career but it was definitely active. Goodridge first competed in MMA when he reached the finals of the UFC 8 tournament. Big Daddy would also reach the semis of UFC 10. He later moved to Pride where he did fairly well defeating guys like Don Frye and Oleg Taktarov, but he lost to all the top Pride heavyweights of that era. Goodridge retired with a 23-23-1 record and having lost his last eight fights. Unfortunately, Goodridge fought well past the point he should have and ended up getting knocked out way too many times. He now suffers from dementia pugilistica or a condition commonly called punch drunk syndrome.
9: Jason MacDonald
He doesn't have as many fights as the other guys on the list, but I think MacDonald fits the bill. Jason MacDonald retired earlier this year with a 25-16 record with wins over Ed Herman, Chris Leben, Joe Doerksen, Jason Lambert, and Vernon White. He was never really able to breakthrough to that high level of middleweights in the UFC, but even his losses against Rich Franklin, Yushin Okami, and Demian Maia were all good competitive fights. He wanted to retire after one more fight in Canada, but unfortunately the UFC released him last year after back to back losses. He now runs his own gym and small promotion in Canada.
8: Yves Edwards
One of the few guys on this list to still be with the UFC, Yves Edwards comes in at the eight spot. Now 36, the Bahamian fighter has been competing since 1997 mostly at lightweight. Edwards has competed all over in the UFC, PRIDE, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator and EliteXC. The biggest win of his career was an awesome flying head kick against Josh Thomson at UFC 49. The only time he fought for gold was when KJ Noons knocked him out defending the Elite XC title. Other than that, Edwards has lost to every other high level fighter. Still an exciting fighter with good knockout power, but Edwards has lost two in a row now and a third could be his last in the UFC.
7: Joe Doerksen
He came up in the top Canadian list not too long ago and he makes another appearance this week. Joe Doerksen has had a long career that has brought him all over the world to compete and his 49 wins are very respectable. Doerksen has never been overly successful in the UFC, but he's won in almost every smaller promotion out there and was the middleweight number one contender in the WEC back in 2007. He does have wins over Patrick Cote, Chris Leben, and Tom Lawlor. El Dirte was released from the UFC back in 2010, but he continued to fight in Canada. He hasn't fought since last September so maybe he is retired at 35, but if not he could still come close to winning 60 fights in his career.
6: Dennis Hallman
Dennis Hallman's biggest claim to fame is submitting a young Matt Hughes twice. It only took him a combined 38 seconds for both and it's a huge accomplishment considering Hughes only lost 9 times and only BJ Penn and GSP beat him twice. Other than that, Hallman's biggest wins are over Karo Parisyan and John Makdessi. Hallman has a nice 52-14-2 (1) record and unsuccessfully challenged Jens Pulver for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 33. He's competed at 195 lbs through lightweight over his career and returned to fighting last week for the first time since 2011. I always thought a third fight between Hallman and Hughes would be cool to see.
5: Brian Ebersole
Brian Ebersole is an interesting guy. Besides his "hairrow" and awful manscaping, Ebersole has competed from heavyweight all the way down to welterweight. Currently competing in the UFC, Ebersole has a 50151 (1) record. The one no-contest was due to him and fellow journeyman Shannon Ritch working a fight, which kept him out of the top organizations for a couple years. Ebersole has wins over Emanuel Newton, Chris Lytle, Dennis Hallman, and Carlos Newton. He hasn't fought since losing to James Head by split decision at UFC 149 and has since talked about cutting down to lightweight.
4: Jeff Monson
Jeff Monson is just one of those fighters I randomly like to watch fight. Yea he's got that whole anarchist stuff which is a bit of a turnoff, but the guy has had a long career with some good fights. His career is winding down now, but I always thought it was cool to see a shorter guy compete against other much larger heavyweights. At only 5'9, Nelson is a decorated grappler with a 49-15-1 record. A former UFC number one contender that has wins over Alexander Emelianenko, Roy Nelson, Travis Fulton, Ricco Rodriguez, Sergei Kharitonov, and Mark Kerr. He has a fight coming up with Vinny Magalhaes in November.
3: Chris Lytle
I was torn on putting Chris Lytle on the list this week. Originally I thought he was too good for the journeymen list, but then I looked at all his wins and losses. While he had an okay 31-18-5 record, he only went 10-10 in the UFC against the top welterweights in the world. Lytle was always an exciting fighter with ten post fight award bonuses, but he never really broke through to that top level. He beat Dan Hardy, Matt Brown, and Matt Serra, but he lost to Hughes, Nick Diaz, Josh Koscheck, Thiago Alves, and to Serra in the TUF 4 finals. He went out in proper exciting fashion against Hardy in 2011 and he has said multiple times since then that he would come back if the UFC needed him to fight on short notice.
2: Jeremy Horn
Jeremy Horn has had a pretty successful career that includes 115 fights with an 89-21-5 record. Horn was one of those top Miletich Fighting System guys, but now he runs his own camp Elite Performance. While he has no official belt or ranking, Horn is a highly decorated grappler having 60 wins by submission and is the only person to ever submit Chuck Liddell. A two time number one contender for the UFC light heavyweight title, Horn has also competed in the WEC, PRIDE, Bellator, and Pancrase. He has other victories over guys like Gilbert Yvel, Forrest Griffin, David Loiseau, Travis Fulton, Chael Sonnen, and Josh Burkman. He hasn't competed since 2011, so he's most likely retired these days.
1: Travis Fulton
The Ironman Travis Fulton is the ultimate journeyman of MMA. Fulton was only seventeen when he started competing back in 1996. He had no formal training and had to lie and say he was his older brother in order to fight. The man is still competing today and has an unmatched record of 249-49-10 (1). Fulton has competed in some of the biggest companies like the UFC, WEC, and Pancrase, but it was never for extended periods of time. He was in the main event of the WEC's first show though. While Fulton has such a large amount of wins, he's never been able to defeat top guys. His biggest wins are against Joe Riggs and Heath Herring, but he's lost to Renato Sobral, Ricco Rodriguez, Evan Tanner, Dan Severn, Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin, Jeremy Horn, Ben Rothwell, Vladimir Matyushenko, and most recently Andrei Arlovski. Once had a thirty nine fight winning streak, Fulton also has a 19-32 boxing record. Most of his fights have been in smaller promotions in Iowa where he has consistently been the ranked the best heavyweight in the state. He may not have the most decorated career, but his record is something nobody will come close to topping.
So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fighter out that you thought should be in the top 10.
As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
Save the date: Sept 20, Pro Wrestling Syndicate returns to Rahway NJ with a stacked card. Jake Roberts is the commissioner with Kevin Matthews, Matt Hardy, Bonesaw, Starman, Justin Credible, Dan Maff, Big O, Pat Buck, Little Mac, The Almighty Sheik and more wrestling.
Next week will be the ten most heated feuds.