In the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and its parent company, ZUFFA LLC, have a stranglehold on the best fighters in the world.
The promotion/company has literally made millions since its dubious inception, bringing the sport to the limelight. Fighters have went from having one raw style in the early days to now having three or more at their disposal by the time they enter the hallowed Octagon.
We have seen true legends of the sport emerge like Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and Fedor Emelianenko, to the current champions (and future legends) such as Georges St. PIerre and Anderson Silva. But as far as MMA goes, there are many more fighters than just those competing in the UFC.
Indeed, there are great fighters who -- in many peoples opinions -- will go down as some of the greatest even if they compete in the UFC. That raises the burning question: Are the best in the sport decided by the fans or an organization that claims to have to best fighters in the world?
Regardless of your opinion, which you are encourage to share in the comments section below, there are many greats outside of the UFC. Check them out after the jump:
10.) Bibiano Fernandes
Former Dream Featherweight Champion, who just this December, was supposed to be one of the guys who would make for a hell of a dream fight against Jose Aldo. That is until he ran into Hiroyuki Takaya who was the underdog in that fight and won with effective grappling and dominant wrestling.
Fernandes has fought all across the world, facing such fighters as Urijah Faber, Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto and Joachim Hansen. Although Fernandes has a good record, he isn't the best striker in the world and is a one dimensional Brazilian jiu-jitsu guy who has had trouble with most wrestlers.
Why is he ranked so low? Fernandes lost his fight against Takaya and barely defended his title against Joachim Hansen. Nothing to brag about.
9.) KSW Middleweight Champion Mamed Khalidov
This guy is solid just about everywhere, he's just retired Matt Linland with a first round Guillotine Choke and has victories over James Irvin, Igor Pokrajac & Tor Troeng and not to mention he's knocked Jorge Santhiago out cold as he was passing the guard!
Why is he ranked so low? Well, for starters, try spelling his first name! He lost to Jorge Santhiago in the rematch, never really had a big break in any major promotion and he isn't exactly knocking out and submitting the best guys in the world.
8.) Current Bellator Bantamweight Champion Zach Makovsky
He's a bantamweight who has been smashing through just about every fighter in his class in the Bellator rankings rather easily. He's a powerful 135-pound powerhouse with a beautiful double leg.
Why is he ranked so low? Name one of his last opponents ... didn't think so. He's good, but lets get him up against some tough competition, please.
7.) Current Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Christian M'Pumbu
M'Pumbu is an exciting southpaw with some great combinations and highlight-reel knockouts. He's thrashed every guy he fought at in the 205-pound Bellator division.
Why is he ranked low? Well, his biggest win is over Stefan Struve. And the guys who he finished weren't that good. In addition, all three of his losses are to guys who are just about unheard of.
6.) Patricio Freire
This guy is a beast with brutal knockout power and technically crisp stand up. He will fight Joe Warren for the second time, only this time it will be for Warren's featherweight belt.
Why is he ranked low? Freire had his chance and he blew it. He let his cardio play a factor in the fight with Warren and got grinded out. It's a great possibility that Warren may just have his number.
5.) Current Bellator Heavyweight Champion Cole Konrad
Cole Konrad is a powerhouse, who has been riding high since he made a transition to the sport as a decorated wrestler.
Why is he ranked high? Konrad is Lesnar 2.0 ... just without the muscles and bravado. He's younger, faster and possibly just as strong -- just not cut like a Greek God. He has a solid base that can get him very far in the sport if he keeps evolving.
4.) Current Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren
He is a tough SOB. He's got the heart. He can sell a fight. And he's a good wrestler to boot!
Why is he ranked high? Because he knows what it takes to win ... and does it more often than not.
3.) Current Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren
Askren is one of the best wrestlers today in MMA, despite being an extremely unspectacular fighter. He sure knows how to promote a fight, however, and come away with wins when they matter most. Askren is undefeated and holds notable wins over Nick Thompson and Lyman Good. He's a dominant wrestler and if yuo look at the history books, wrestlers are dominant in MMA.
Why is he ranked high? Who beats this guy in Bellator right now? He's a wrestler who has decided to work on his striking at Roufus MMA. If he can somehow get as good at striking as he did wrestling, he'll definitely be a force to be reckoned with.
2.) Current Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard
Lombard is a great Judo practioner with an all around dangerous fighting style. He fights to finish most of the time and he isn't afraid to say what he wants to.
Why isn't he number 1? He hasn't exactly faced that much well known competition or guys who people even recognize. He still is a serious threat to many top 10 UFC middleweights in the game today.
1.) Current Bellator LIghtweight Champion Eddie Alvarez
He's definitely one of the top five lightweights in the game today. He boasts top knotch boxing and a good wrestling base to fall back on. He holds notable victories over Pat Curran, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Joachim Hansen and Toby Imada.
Why is he Number 1? He's a bad man. Good power, solid chin and good wrestling. His competition may not be top 10, but they are well respected veterans and up and comers.
Comment on the poll, and state your top 10 fighters not under contract with the UFC/ZUFFA ... don't be shy!
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