MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. It is still a relatively new sport, but has caught on like wild fire within the past couple of years. It involves athletes from across the world using a variety of different martial arts to reign supreme over their opponent.
What most people don’t know is that the biggest MMA organization in the world, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championshp), has actually been around for over 20 years, so the sport does have a fairly extensive history. That history has been littered with numerous superstars, prominent figures, fan favorites and villains in various promotions around the world, from different countries all over the world.
These fighters range from your American heroes like Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell and villains like Tito Ortiz, all the way to the Russian that many consider the greatest of all time, Fedor Emelianenko.
With a majority of these past heroes of the cage long retired now that it is 2015, have you ever found yourself wondering what some of your favorite fighters have been up to these past couple of years? If so, you have come to the right place. In this list, we’ll look at the Top 15 “Where are they now” stories in MMA. Some of these fighters were big names and others weren’t. Some have been retired for years and others only for a short time.
However, one thing that all of the men on this list have in common is that they have a life after fighting that is worth sharing. Read on and enjoy!
15. Brian Ebersole
This man is without a doubt one of the lesser known fighters on this list, but has a very interesting story. By the time Ebersole joined the UFC, he was already a veteran of more than 60 pro MMA fights. Though he is not officially retired from the UFC, most people feel he is unlikely to return. The reason bring that he is the current head coach at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand, which is a very successful MMA gym. He is regarded as a fantastic coach, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see him hang up the gloves for good and continue to coach the next generation of fighters.
14. Mark Hominick
Mark Hominick is one of the more recent retirements on this list. We included him on the list because he has managed to do something that a lot of fighters haven’t, which is to set up a good life for himself and his family post-fighting. Hominick’s last fight was in late 2012, and since then, he has been hard at work to become an entrepreneurial success. Hominick owns and operates a very successful MMA training center in London, Ontario named Adrenaline MMA Training & Fitness.
13. Roger Huerta
Huerta was a former mainstay in the UFC’s Lightweight division form 2006-09 and has been in the cage with some of the best fighters at his weight class. Huerta, like Ebersole, is also a head trainer at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand. After ending his career fighting in the USA with a few consecutive losses, Huerta then moved on to ONE Championship, which is the biggest MMA promotion in Asia. There, Huerta has seen a career revitalization and is among the top fighters at his weight class in the promotion.
12. Georges St-Pierre
This is another fighter that technically hasn’t “retired,” but is thought to be done with fighting. GSP is without a doubt one of the best fighters of all time and perhaps the most popular fighter in UFC history. The reason Georges is on this list is because of the huge impact he has had on the sport since his departure. GSP is one of the leading advocates of a sport clean from PEDs and is thought to have been a major catalyst of the recent crackdown on PEDs in the UFC. GSP currently lives in Montreal and continues to train and assist at Tristar gym. He also featured in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
11. Gerard Gordeau
Gordeau is famous for being a member of the first ever UFC card at UFC 1. He is also the first ever victor of a UFC fight, as his fight was first on that fateful night. Gordeau also made the finals, where he lost to Royce Gracie. Gordeau hasn’t participated in an MMA fight since 1995 and he now lives in the Netherlands, where he operates his own gym with his brothers called “Dojo Kamakura.” He has had some world famous guests at his gym, including the man who defeated him at UFC 1, Royce Gracie.
10. Royce Gracie
Gracie and his family are considered royalty in the sport of BJJ and Royce is often seen as one of the reasons the UFC is incredibly popular, along with being one of the most influential men in the history of MMA. Royce Gracie was a skinny, young man in a Gi at UFC 1 who no one thought had a chance. They turned out to be incredibly wrong. Gracie ended up winning UFC 1, as well as UFC 2 and UFC 4. He also holds the record for the most consecutive submission victories in the UFC with 11. Nowadays, Gracie is still involved with the MMA scene and is now the official brand ambassador for Bellator.
9. Shane Carwin
Shane Carwin was one of the scariest fighters in the UFC’s Heavyweight division during his tenure. The former interim UFC Heavyweight champion, Carwin has been rumored by some to have had the biggest hands in UFC history. Carwin retired from the sport in 2013 due to a variety of injuries. Since retiring, Carwin is working as a volunteer wrestling coach, as well as being a successful engineer, a job he also held throughout his UFC career. The fact that he was able to hold a job as an engineer, while also fighting the scariest men in the world is a huge accomplishment.
8. Ken Shamrock
Shamrock has had quite the history in combat sports and entertainment. He was a successful UFC fighter as well as a successful pro wrestler in the WWE. He was also part of one of the most heated rivalries in UFC history with Tito Ortiz. Shamrock has been out of MMA competition since 2010, was dabbling in pro wrestling again, and was thought to have been retired from the sport of MMA. However, in a shocking announcement, it was announced that the 51 year old Ken Shamrock would be headlining an upcoming Bellator card against Kimbo Slice.
7. Matt Serra
Matt Serra went down in the MMA history books as the man who pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the sport of MMA when he defeated Georges St-Pierre to win the Welterweight world title. He was almost a 10-1 underdog in that fight. He ultimately lost the title in a rematch against GSP. Serra retired in 2010 and now trains fighters with Ray Longo under the team name Serra/Longo Competition Team. Some fighters currently trained by Serra are UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman, as well as TUF finalist Al Iaquinta.
6. Tito Ortiz
Tito Ortiz is perhaps the most controversial and disliked fighter in MMA history. Between his epic battles with Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell, Ortiz was almost always in the spotlight throughout his MMA career. On top of that, Ortiz also had numerous issues with UFC President Dana White, which culminated in them agreeing to fight each other, which never actually happened. Ortiz isn’t currently retired and fights for Bellator, but has also been successful post-UFC due to his fight management company as well as his apparel brand, “Team Punishment.”
5. Randy Couture
This man is an absolute legend. Randy Couture is perhaps best known for his unbelievable trilogy with Chuck Liddell, as well as being one of the oldest combatants in UFC history. Couture was 47 years old when he finally retired from the sport. He is a former champion in both the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight divisions and is without a doubt one of the most influential fighters in the UFC. Since his retirement, Couture has begun to dabble in acting and has starred in the Expendables series, as well as appearing on Dancing with the Stars.
4. Chuck Liddell
If you had fans select their favorite fighter in UFC history, it’s very likely that you’d see Liddell at the top of the list. Liddell was an absolute machine in the octagon. The man was never invovled in a boring fight and was famous for his overhand right that put many men to sleep. He was also famous for his aggression and throwing everything into each punch. Liddell retired in 2010 and was named the Executive VP of Business Development for UFC, as well as being the owner of multiple restaurants.
3. Mirko Cro Cop
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is an absolute legend in MMA, known more or his time in the mid 2000s with PRIDE. Throughout his career in PRIDE, Cro Cop was known for his absolutely hellacious left high kick. There was even a saying for it: “Right leg: hospital, Left leg: cemetery.” Cro Cop is actually still actively fighting and has had a career revitalization in the last year, to the point that he is actually returning to the UFC for the first time since 2011 to headline a fight card in Poland.
2. Tank Abbott
David “Tank” Abbott was an early icon in the sport of MMA and was also one of the first to wear the traditional MMA gloves that all fighters are required to wear now. Tank Abbott had a very fan friendly style that can be described as “bar room brawling.” He also had a body that made him one of the most relatable fighters in the world. He used simple grit and toughness to win fights and that resonated with the fans. Since being out of the spotlight, Abbott has looked to continue his MMA career, albeit unsuccessfully. He is also the author of his biography, titled “Bar Brawler.”
1. Fedor Emelianenko
Coming in at number one on this list is the Russian Heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor was the undisputed #1 pound for pound fighter during the mid-2000s while fighting in PRIDE. He was somewhat undersized as a Heavyweight, but more than made up for it with his skill and determination. He is still seen by many as the best Heavyweight of all time. Fedor retired in 2012, but still remains the head of the Russian MMA union. Also, Fedor recently did some promotional work for Bellator, sparking the conversation that he may be looking at returning to MMA, though nothing has been announced
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