Have you ever watched a fighter and thought to yourself: 'if he was around X years ago, he could have been a Champion?'
Well I have, and here's a list of those fighters whom I believe would have achieved success if they were spawned just slightly before their time. This is not a serious list, in fact, it's probably because I am so bored with revising for my exams that I made it.
When he could have been a champion: In the UFC, between 2004-2006
Mark Hunt could have been a UFC Heavyweight champion. In my mind, there is no doubt that if Hunt didn't spend 2004-2006 frolicking in Pride dropping the Atomic Butt Drop on Wanderlei's head, watching Cro-Cop's kicks bounce off his cranium without flinching, and attempting to put a kimura on a fat Russian formerly known as the "Greatest of All Time", then there is a huge possibility that he could have gone over to the UFC, KO'd all of the contenders (a light-heavyweight, Vera; a lard-ass, Sylvia; and a glass-jawed Belarusian, Arlovski), and stood head and shoulders above the rest as undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World.
And admit it, we all wanted, and still want, to see the day that the Super Samoan holds the UFC gold.
Joseph Benavidez - era active: 2006-present
When he could have been a champion: In the WEC, from 2008 - onwards (still a possibility however)
The fact that Benavidez is 27, but only started fighting in 2006 is a bit of a mixed blessing. When put into context, by the time he had his first professional fight, the then long-reigning Bantamweight champion, Miguel Torres, had compiled a ridiculous 304-1 record against bums and cans that don't even have their own Wikipedia page; yet this was ignored by the critics who crooned that he was one of the best P4P fighters at the time. Given Benavidez's utter destruction of Torres when they fought, he must be kicking himself that he didn't get his butt-chinned coach and WEC's posterboy, Urijah Faber, to push him into the WEC earlier, where he could have gone on to open that vaginal gash on Torres' forehead a couple years sooner and reign as WEC champion.
Benavidez's bad luck regarding timing continued because when the WEC did deem him worthy of a title shot, he had his dreams shattered by him by the greasy haired, widow-peaked Dominick Cruz, who beat him not just once, but twice - and for a laugh, would also go on to beat Benavidez's mentor as well.
Fortunately for Benavidez, the Dwarf's campaign for Equal Rights forced the UFC to open up a Flyweight Division, so Benavidez's hopes of becoming champion are still alive. That is, until Cruz decides to drop down just to prevent him from doing so and knowing Cruz, with his hatred of all of the Team Alpha Midgets, that's actually a possibility.
Bob Sapp - era active: 2002 - present
When he could have been a champion: c. 1000 b.c.
The idea of Bob Sapp being a champion in any form of Martial Arts in the modern age is frankly, ridiculous. His last 20 fights have all played out in the same matter:
Fight Starts - 30 seconds of Bum Rushing by Sapp - Opponent Covers Up - Opponent lands one punch/knee on Sapp - Sapp falls to the ground, his face in an utmost expression of pain - Opponent wins.
However, in the biblical times, wars were usually won when the King sent his "Champion Soldier" (often the biggest fucker in his army, see: Goliath) into the fray to tear the opponent from limb to limb, and to rape, pillage and steal all he saw. Bob Sapp is 6'5 and over 300 lb of muscle. If he was born 3000 years earlier, we would probably be studying David and Sapp in the Bible, complete with Sapp's death via slingshot as well.