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Thread: The Official PRIDE FC Appreciation Thread

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    The Official PRIDE FC Appreciation Thread

    I can't believe we don't have a Pride thread, or maybe we did years ago and when they went under the mods deleted it.

    Let's talk about our favorite fights, events, moments, etc.

    I'll start it off. Let's talk about one of the best Pride cards, Pride 25 Body Blow.



    This card had one of the first Pride fights I ever saw on Fox Sports when they would do that 1 hour highlight show with Jay Glazier and Frank Trigg/Bas Rutten. Rampage v. The Monster. And the post-fight with Wandy and Rampage. Plus this card has Fedor challenging Big Nog for the HW championship, Anderson Silva v. Carlos Newton, a shocking ending to Schembri v. Sakuraba. Plus it features Pride vets like Dan Henderson, Lil' Nog, Otsuka, and the legend that is Akira Shoji. I watched the card over the last 2 nights, still holds up in 2017 like it did years ago.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Yeah, I love the PRIDE events. Still hold up. Watched the Diaz/Gomi fight yesterday, hell of a scrap, both men hurt then the gogoplata finish. That card was superb with the Shogun KO of Reem, Sokoudjo looking like a killer and Hendo/Wanderlei 2.

    I think what benefits its replay value over pre-merger UFC is that it feels massive. The big screaming lady introducing all the stars, the big entrances, the music, confetti and absurd cheques for the winners. Bas and Mauro/Quadros having a bit of back and forth without the generic answers from the fighters. It's completely different. If you watch, say, UFC 52, it feels dated because it is nearly identical presentation from the modern UFC just terribly produced. PRIDE still feels modern.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    100% AGREE.

    I remember the first Pride ppv I ever ordered, I think it was like the only one I was ever able to order and that was the Fedor-Coleman 2 card in Vegas. Starts off with a 20 second KO from Robbie Lawler and ends with a battered Mark Coleman trying to get his 2 little daughters to say hi to Fedor while they're crying over their old ass dad being beat to death for 2-3 rounds.

    But yeah man, Pride just always felt like a spectacle. UFC's presentation is very basic, very boxing-like. I actually liked UFC back in the early Zuffa days with the WWE style entrances that Bellator and Strikeforce adopted with the pyro, video screen, etc. Part of me really wants the screaming lady to introduce Bellator fighters especially the one coming up with Fedor. She was amazing.

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    GP OG Percussion's Avatar
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    maldives
    Absolutely adored Pride. The spectacle, the ruleset, the roster, the commentary ... even the freakshow junk. It was the height of mma for me. Felt like anything could happen on any night and I was privy to seeing an industry defining event every show. There was such a sense of weight and magnitude that came through the screen palpably. Nothing whatsoever homogenous like today's mainstream fight landscape.

    Even had this badboy ...



    ... that me and friend of mine played continuously.

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    Multiversal Champion OD50's Avatar
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    sweden
    I watched the UFC first waay back in 1995 but PRIDE FC is what made me a fan of MMA. Think I got into it around 2002-2003 when the K-1 vs. PRIDE rivalry was red hot.

    I actually bought my first PRIDE DVD's when I was in France for the K-1 show in Bercy in 2003. I bought two DVDs (think it was something like PRIDE 22 and 24) in a multi-media store, and I bought some Martial Arts magazine because you got the PRIDE 25 DVD with it, only with Japanese or French commentary though. I remember there being an advertisement for PRIDE 26 in the magazine and it said "Heath Herring (USA) vs. Mirko Crocop (CRO), I was pissed because I was a big Crocop fan from K-1 and was sure he would get smashed by Herring.

    sometimes it's good to be wrong..

    I have that PS2 PRIDE game as well, I sucked pretty badly at it though and got wrecked most of the time. Different cover here in Europe though..

    Last edited by OD50; May 5th, 2017 at 5:10 AM.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    I remember Wal Mart starting selling a Bushido 3-pack, 1-3. Outside of the Fox Sports show that was really the first time I ever got to see a full event whereas on Fox Sports it was just random fights they would talk about. Then Best Buy sold 5 disc sets of the numbered events and they also had some of the Grand Prix stuff. I've probably spent $500 on Pride DVD's through Wal Mart and Best Buy lol.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Would the best time for a Pride v. UFC event have been 2004-2005?

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    I honestly don't see anything other than a thorough thrashing by PRIDE guys up until 2006 or so. If you match up the top 5's against the top 5's you can honestly only say 170 fighters in UFC were better, but PRIDE didn't host that division! Take 2005:

    Fedor > Tim
    Cro Cop > Arlovski
    Big Nog > Monson

    The rest of the UFC HW division was a joke, a guy like Fujita probably would've handled Paul Buentello never mind a Barnett or Aleks.

    Shogun > Chuck
    Wand > Randy (toughest style match up, given how Arona did)
    Rampage > Tito

    That's not accounting that I'd favour Arona against the UFC guys. After that again you've got guys like Mike Van Arsdale who get wrecked by Yoshida nevermind Reem or Lil Nog. Forrest and Stephan were pre-prime so would struggle against top 10 PRIDE guys at the time.

    Hendo > Franklin
    Filho > Tanner
    Bustamante > Lindland

    Then after that I don't fancy the Loiseau's and Quarry's over Kang and Gono at the time.

    Obviously with style match ups (I think Wand was always a good match up for Chuck; giving Tito and Randy guys with bad TDD - Randy vs. Shogun? Tito vs. Lil Nog at that point?) the UFC guys would have stood a chance, but talentwise that PRIDE roster was superb.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Yeah it would definitely depend on the match up. And the rules. Either way, 2003-2005 was probably Pride's peak years, well they didn't exactly last much longer after 2005 but you get my point. The Heavyweight division in the UFC wouldn't stand a chance, maybe Arlovski depending on who he fought would be the 1 guy I could see doing pretty well. But the lighter fighters, for me it's a toss up depending on the fight. Would Shogun maul Chuck? Hard to say because Chuck was just hitting his prime years around this time and if Shogun can't kick you in the head while you're on the ground does that change his chances? Shogun was so scary when he was in his early 20's, not a care in the world and you could tell by the way he fought. He did shit and it just worked, kind of like Anderson, it wasn't even like a game plan it was just throw everything I know at you and we'll adapt as the fight goes on type approach. Probably a big reason why someone like McGregor is so good, he doesn't train specifically for one fighter each time, he just trains to be the best.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Yeah that Shogun smashes Chuck to bits. Too much power, too much pressure, too good a chin. Chuck didn't fight a good striker his whole title reign.

    On the PRIDE subject, anybody think Arona would have been the best in a cage at 205 in that era? What a beastly top game. With the cage and lack of discipline for stalling I think he beats everyone.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Possible. Arona is one of those unsung guys who literally fell off the face of the Earth. It wasn't like a Paulo Filho situation where Paulo went from the 2nd coming to a complete washup in the matter of a year due to drugs. Arona was very good.

    Shogun, Chuck, and BJ Penn are my 3 favorites of all time and I remember people were really wanting that Wandy-Chuck fight for obvious reasons but I'm in the back like, what about Shogun v. The World? haha.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Hughes vs. Sakuraba for me is the most interesting fight that never happened. I don't think it's possible to rate Sakuraba because he fought against so many bigger guys. Like play Hughes vs. the 205lb division in your head and it seems ridiculous, but him and Saku were a similar size. Hughes in fact might even be the naturally larger man.

    August 2005:

    Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski
    Wanderlei Silva vs. Chuck Liddell
    Rampage Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz
    Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Matt Hughes
    Dan Henderson vs. Rich Franklin
    Mirko Cro Cop vs. Tim Sylvia
    Takanori Gomi vs. Sean Sherk

    That would have been a competitive best of 7. At that time you can see every non-heavyweight fight to go either way skill by skill, and heavyweight by virtue is more unpredictable than the other divisions.

    Damn I wish Fedor and Gomi came over with the merger. I think Gomi's skills were weaning but Fedor would have reigned at least until the super heavyweight era (and maybe beyond). 2007 was a weird year though so Randy would have cut and beat him!

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    Multiversal Champion OD50's Avatar
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    sweden
    USADA > Arona.

    Seriously though, yeah he would have been a nightmare for most guys.

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    Multiversal Champion OD50's Avatar
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    sweden
    Many fights that never happened and the ones that did came a little bit too late, Franklin/Hendo in 2009, Fedor/AA in 2008 and Liddell/Wand in 2007 (just days from 2008).

    All those fights should have happened 2003-2005.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    I remember watching the MW Grand Prix and Dana White was asked who he would like from Pride to come to the UFC and without hesitation he answered Sakuraba. Now he had actually been in the UFC, won a tournament I believe, pre-Zuffa era. But yeah the guy was fucking great in terms of what you wanted out of a fighter. Charismatic, entertaining, decent skills for his time. I remember the first time I saw a fight of his, it was that one against Rickson Gracie where he just beats the shit out of Rickson's legs, I think it was on one of those Fox Sports shows that would showcase Pride fights from the past. They pretty much had an entire episode showing him beat Rickson, I believe Renzo, and I'm not sure about the last fight, maybe against that skitzo Ryan I can't remember for the life of me.

    One of the things I loved about Pride was that whole Japan v. Brazil rivalry that dated back what, to the early 40's/50's?

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD50 View Post
    Many fights that never happened and the ones that did came a little bit too late, Franklin/Hendo in 2009, Fedor/AA in 2008 and Liddell/Wand in 2007 (just days from 2008).

    All those fights should have happened 2003-2005.
    Best part is, all 3 of those fights were great and pretty much went exactly how I figured they would have. Maybe not so much domination out of Chuck like he did against Wandy but a victory nonetheless.

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    Multiversal Champion OD50's Avatar
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    sweden
    Fedor/AA was in January 2009, my bad.

    Wand had been brutally KO'd by Hendo and CC right before the Chuck fight, don't think he ever was 100% again after that. The perfect timing for Chuck/Wand would have been the 2003 GP finals, Rampage just had to fuck that up though..

    Likewise, Rashad Evans probably put the nail in the coffin of Chuck's chin and career, was one of the worst KO's I've ever seen.
    Last edited by OD50; May 10th, 2017 at 3:14 PM.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Yeah but in hindsight, the rivalry between Wandy and Rampage has to be considered one of the top 10 of all time in MMA. I don't think Chuck/Wandy would have been that heated. I still remember when they (chuck/wandy) had that face off in the Octagon I just can't remember when it was. They were so close to fighting in the UFC, and I think it was prior to that OPGW so Wandy's brain weren't scrambled just yet. Crazy that he was able to last against Cro Cop in their first fight with those K-1 meets Pride rules but that OPGW fight, wasn't even a contest really.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Yeah those 2 knockouts plus the Mark Hunt fight knocked Wand about. Amazing to think that he's fighting in a PPV main event 10 years after he was presumed done!

    I think the Rich Franklin that lost to Hendo was better than in his prime, whereas Hendo had regressed a bit. I think in 2006 when both reigned, Dan would have beat him a little more decisively. Odd to think though that most of us think of Anderson Silva taking Rich's soul in retrospect, when he beat Liddell and Wanderlei and ran Hendo close long after those fights. Rich was good.

    The thing I find odd historically about PRIDE is how little the titles got defended. Predominantly because of tournaments. I wonder how different things would have been if more traditional matchmaking was applied. 2005 for example - with Rampage destroying Arona to earn a title shot (and losing), Little Nog was probably the top ranked contender at the time. Would he have beat Silva? Likewise a Kharitonov after his win against Werdum - 13-1, only loss to Big Nog - does he box Fedor up and win the belt? Guys that aren't classed in that upper bracket of legends, particularly Nog, were probably denied that just by the structure of the organisation.
    Last edited by Fanny Batter; May 10th, 2017 at 3:52 PM.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Yeah I have like 20 Pride events on DVD due to the 5 disc sets I bought and I think Wanderlai only defended his title against 2 people, Sakuraba and Rampage lol. Oh and Henderson, forgot for a second I had that title fight between those 2 AND their first fight. So yeah, Wandy was what, champ for about 5-6 years and he only defended it 3 times against Sak, 2 times against Rampage, and once against Hendo before losing. But he was obviously still very active. Still...imagine today if Bisping wins the belt and his next fight is against some 2-1 American. Wandy had some fights, Fedor as well, where they were against pro wrestlers and shit like that while still champion. While having multiple contender's ready to fight lol.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Half those weren't defences! Rampage 2 was, other than that it was a couple of fights against Japanese chaps (Kanehara and Kondo?) in 2002. Saku 1 was pre-title, 2 was for the inaugural belt and 3 was in a Grand Prix.

    I genuinely don't think Silva would have been nearly as big a legend without the GP's. Yoshida x2, Nakamura, Sakuraba and Fujita got him in to 2 semis and a final, with only that final win against Rampage being a truly good win. It was a great win streak (going into Final Conflict '05), but look at the list of guys he managed to miss who were around 205 and fought in PRIDE - Reem, Lil Nog, Shogun, Vitor, Vovchanchen, Anderson, Randleman - any of those guys would've had a chance against him. Alas, the record books say champion for 5 years, a GP win and 2 semi finals.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Ah shit you are correct FB, my bad lol.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Re-watching Body Blow, just a great card especially if you were trying to introduce someone to Pride. Arguably the 2 greatest fighters of all time are on this card, Anderson and Fedor. It's funny, the card before it was fucking boring but had Big Nog v. Hendo which was odd watching but understanding that was damn near 20 years ago is crazy.

    Up next is Bad to the Bone which was pretty bad ass if you guys remember. It had Fedor v. Fujita where Fujita smashed Fedor and almost knocked him out in one of the funniest wobble moments ever. Plus, sorry if I'm ruining this one but it has Anderson losing to Takase which was such a strange loss. The Chonan loss with the flying heel hook was insane so I get it, but Silva could not get off his back and on his feet long enough. Then it felt like he just gave up out of frustration lol.

    But I do remember that Chonan loss was a fight Fox Sports would show quite often as well as Anderson beating Carlos Newton.

  24. #24
    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Body Blow is insane just by how many guys on that card are, more than 17 years later, are now all time greats. At the time, Carlos Newton and Kevin Randleman were the former UFC champions as well as Big Nog as reigning PRIDE champion. Fedor starts his reign as #1 heavyweight and defacto P4P king by beating Big Nog, Dan Henderson briefly had a claim for the latter, and Rampage was certainly the greatest light heavyweight in the world at one point. Sakuraba is an icon. Lil Nog was ranked at 205 for going on 15 years (retiring next month!). Then there's Anderson, who officially took the mantle off Fedor when he destroyed Forest Griffin I'd say. Not only that, the card is spectacular with some big finishes and upsets. If I remember right that Sakuraba loss was the biggest upset in terms of odds up to that point. Anderson's MJ entrance! Legendary.

    I liked the numbered events, and Bushido, but you just couldn't beat either a Shockwave or particularly a Grand Prix event. They were the pinnacle of PRIDE. The mad introductions at the start of Total Elimination is what we live for.

  25. #25
    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanny Batter View Post
    Body Blow is insane just by how many guys on that card are, more than 17 years later, are now all time greats. At the time, Carlos Newton and Kevin Randleman were the former UFC champions as well as Big Nog as reigning PRIDE champion. Fedor starts his reign as #1 heavyweight and defacto P4P king by beating Big Nog, Dan Henderson briefly had a claim for the latter, and Rampage was certainly the greatest light heavyweight in the world at one point. Sakuraba is an icon. Lil Nog was ranked at 205 for going on 15 years (retiring next month!). Then there's Anderson, who officially took the mantle off Fedor when he destroyed Forest Griffin I'd say. Not only that, the card is spectacular with some big finishes and upsets. If I remember right that Sakuraba loss was the biggest upset in terms of odds up to that point. Anderson's MJ entrance! Legendary.

    I liked the numbered events, and Bushido, but you just couldn't beat either a Shockwave or particularly a Grand Prix event. They were the pinnacle of PRIDE. The mad introductions at the start of Total Elimination is what we live for.
    I have a couple of the Grand Prixs and quite a few Bushidos. Shockwaves are like Mania to me. Fedor v Big Nog @ Shockwave 2004 is a great fight among many over the years.

    There will never be another promotion like it. It came about at the right time, with the right people both in front and behind the camera. Trying to predict another Pride would be impossible at the moment. There were so many factors in what made it special that you would have a hard time creating now.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Yeah, completely of it's time. The monopoly of TIME is the main thing. UFC has 6 hours of live fights every Saturday. As the clear market leader, it's hard to gain a market share against them without an off season. Even if the best of RIZIN, Bellator, PFL and ONE formed a conglomerate and poached a couple of top tier guys off the UFC, they still wouldn't have the equity to compete, and would piss through money if they could put on cards that would garner eyeballs over UFC.

    Oversaturation aside, the lack of drug testing, less money in the game, the lack of compliance with athletic commissions, were all things that made PRIDE PRIDE. The roster was amazing, but there's no way some of them get regulated. They'd literally have an equivalent of WWF Superstars and have Wanderlei Silva squash undersized cans to keep him busy. I loved it. I love the UFC model as a whole, but when they get a star, man wouldn't it be great if they could have them on the TV prelims wracking up the stoppages against losers. They do it for guys who aren't that good (Sage, Paige), could you imagine the stars they could make if a guy like Ian Heinisch or whoever could run off 6 squashes in a year rather than going to 29-28 decisions against similar opponents.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanny Batter View Post
    Yeah, completely of it's time. The monopoly of TIME is the main thing. UFC has 6 hours of live fights every Saturday. As the clear market leader, it's hard to gain a market share against them without an off season. Even if the best of RIZIN, Bellator, PFL and ONE formed a conglomerate and poached a couple of top tier guys off the UFC, they still wouldn't have the equity to compete, and would piss through money if they could put on cards that would garner eyeballs over UFC.

    Oversaturation aside, the lack of drug testing, less money in the game, the lack of compliance with athletic commissions, were all things that made PRIDE PRIDE. The roster was amazing, but there's no way some of them get regulated. They'd literally have an equivalent of WWF Superstars and have Wanderlei Silva squash undersized cans to keep him busy. I loved it. I love the UFC model as a whole, but when they get a star, man wouldn't it be great if they could have them on the TV prelims wracking up the stoppages against losers. They do it for guys who aren't that good (Sage, Paige), could you imagine the stars they could make if a guy like Ian Heinisch or whoever could run off 6 squashes in a year rather than going to 29-28 decisions against similar opponents.
    Yeah man sign of the times lol.

    I mean to be honest, I wouldn't mind seeing some shit like Jon Jones v. whoever won the Gold in freestyle wrestling 10 years ago haha. That is what would intrigue me so much about Pride. You had guys that we all know were legit as fuck killers, but sometimes they'd wind up fighting Jushin Thunder Liger. I mean, some of those Japanese wrestlers were legit tough, it was just that outside of the fluke win here and there, Sakuraba was the only guy doing shit until Gomi came along from Japan. Everyone else just getting wrecked but even then, I loved that whole weird triangle of Brazil v. Japan v. North America. Sprinkle in Fedor and some other European guys like Overeem, fucking brutal.

    And keep in mind, I'm still educating myself on the last 2 years or so of Pride. I have been finding cheap DVDs of events post 2004 as I only really have the Shockwave stuff and a few GP and Bushidos. I'm glad the UFC snatched up Pride when they did because that roster at that time up until shit maybe when GSP stepped away.....How do you even compare it to any other era? I know it was a big era, 10 years I'm talking....but holy fuck just going back to those first 2-3 years.

    Think about it....(Sorry for the rant) but does Jon Jones for example have the legacy without that stellar roster?

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Yeah, despite the influx of names they managed to add through the exposure of TUF, the UFC before the acquisition of PRIDE was still full of relatively average fighters in big positions. Mike Van Arsdale, Marcio Cruz, Nate Quarry and the like. Decent enough but unranked surely when PRIDE and Rumble on the Rock fighters were accounted for? Then they buy PRIDE, and to a lesser extent WFA (Machida, Rampage) and all of a sudden the cards were full of ranked superstars. I do miss the anticipation of a big name UFC debut, was the last one Cyborg? Ben Askren at a push.

    The roster transformation between 2005 and 2013 is insane. Every couple of years it seemed there was a huge influx. 2005 with TUF, 2007 with PRIDE, 2010 WEC, 2013 Strikeforce. Not just a couple of acquisitions, full rosters worth of talent coming over. Full new weight classes with the latter two. Different world.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanny Batter View Post
    Yeah, despite the influx of names they managed to add through the exposure of TUF, the UFC before the acquisition of PRIDE was still full of relatively average fighters in big positions. Mike Van Arsdale, Marcio Cruz, Nate Quarry and the like. Decent enough but unranked surely when PRIDE and Rumble on the Rock fighters were accounted for? Then they buy PRIDE, and to a lesser extent WFA (Machida, Rampage) and all of a sudden the cards were full of ranked superstars. I do miss the anticipation of a big name UFC debut, was the last one Cyborg? Ben Askren at a push.

    The roster transformation between 2005 and 2013 is insane. Every couple of years it seemed there was a huge influx. 2005 with TUF, 2007 with PRIDE, 2010 WEC, 2013 Strikeforce. Not just a couple of acquisitions, full rosters worth of talent coming over. Full new weight classes with the latter two. Different world.
    Yeah I can't think of anyone outside of the UFC that wasn't already in the UFC at a high level that would be a big WOW moment. Cyborg, Gaethje, and Askren all came from smaller promotions but at least there were enough die hards to justify the level of that anticipation. Cyborg for sure, I think in terms of name value she was relevant even in the mainstream thanks in part to the Ronda rivalry always kind of keeping her name out there haha.

    RIght now, I mean if Bader came over from Bellator, that's a big deal in the fight world but he was already a top 5 UFC LHW prior to leaving. Right now nobody on the horizon jumps out that wasn't already touched by the UFC.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    As I said, the UFC saturation of the product as they got rolling with the FOX deal (particularly around the switch to FS1) meant that people just had no reason to watch the other promotions, and still don't. Strikeforce closed about half a year before the rebranding to FS1 and pretty much a card a week, and I guess that's what has put paid to stars being made elsewhere. Gaethje and Moraes were by no means stars but were respected champions of the regional scene, similar to the two RIZIN champions that are debuting soon but slightly more esteemed as WSOF had a slightly bigger audience than RIZIN. Cyborg was a star because she built her brand in Strikeforce when they had access to big names and putting on unopposed shows. As you say, even a Douglas Lima would come in with minimal fanfare compared to how, well, any of those top PRIDE guys did between 2007 and 2009 (I think Gomi waited until then?). Fedor would cause a splash, but again, product of a time when UFC didn't monopolise time.

    I wish they brought the brand back for one off shows in Japan, with PRIDE rules. Just have the maddest cunts in the sport throw down, no high rankings, just fun fights. Shogun, Reem and Anderson involved, with something like Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit 2 in the main event.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanny Batter View Post
    As I said, the UFC saturation of the product as they got rolling with the FOX deal (particularly around the switch to FS1) meant that people just had no reason to watch the other promotions, and still don't. Strikeforce closed about half a year before the rebranding to FS1 and pretty much a card a week, and I guess that's what has put paid to stars being made elsewhere. Gaethje and Moraes were by no means stars but were respected champions of the regional scene, similar to the two RIZIN champions that are debuting soon but slightly more esteemed as WSOF had a slightly bigger audience than RIZIN. Cyborg was a star because she built her brand in Strikeforce when they had access to big names and putting on unopposed shows. As you say, even a Douglas Lima would come in with minimal fanfare compared to how, well, any of those top PRIDE guys did between 2007 and 2009 (I think Gomi waited until then?). Fedor would cause a splash, but again, product of a time when UFC didn't monopolise time.

    I wish they brought the brand back for one off shows in Japan, with PRIDE rules. Just have the maddest cunts in the sport throw down, no high rankings, just fun fights. Shogun, Reem and Anderson involved, with something like Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit 2 in the main event.
    That would be wild and kind of in the vein of WWE doing those ECW One Night Stand shows I guess. Kind of shocked more of the old school Pride guys re-signed with the UFC and didn't say fuck it like Vitor and go to Japan, get ripped up, and start Chute Box soccer kicking everyone.

    Going back to people coming and the fanfare behind them....To this day I still can't wrap my head around how Conor McGregor, who wasn't really on any radar prior to the UFC due to fighting smaller shows for Cage Warriors, blew the fuck up. I don't remember anyone a year prior to his debut going "The UFC needs to snatch up the biggest star not signed to the UFC" and then how he just lived up to every single ounce of hype like no one before him and no one since.

    It's fascinating how much the UFC reminds me of the WWE. The UFC were able to mold McGregor into a top tier star, kind of like how WWE did John Cena. No real opposition but dude still delivered and has that 50/50 crowd where you either love or hate the guy. But then the UFC since has tried to make the next McGregor. So they took Sage and Paige (I literally just realized those 2 lab experiments are named like identical twins), fail. New toy is this cornball O'Malley. Problem is fight fans see this shit a mile away and that's why we champion fighters like Max Holloway, Amanda Nunes, and even Jon fucking Jones because we know they weren't fighters being created in a lab in Dana's 40 room mansion.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    The UFC are good at promoting the brand, but I don't think they can ever take much credit for the individual stars that spring up. The individuals are the reason behind it, as they get the attention with their actions, and they build their fanbase by winning. They've never really taken an unassuming guy and made a star of them regardless of their efforts. I'm talking pre-Sonnen Anderson and Mighty Mouse. The formula for success is wait for somebody charismatic to come along and do their job for them.

    I think O'Malley has a better chance at being a star than Sage and Paige, because he's confident in his own skin, and he does show next level potential as a fighter. Paige would have been if she was a better fighter, poorly matched for me. Had no business in there with Rose, and that changed the trajectory of her career. Sage was a decent fighter but, again, this obsession with rushing kids through the ranks hurt him. Not that Barbarena was a world beater, but he was good, and Sage needed another year of regional level fighters as he built his skills in the gym.

    I think guys like Shogun are happy to stay around as they're not losing every fight in the UFC. He must wake up and have the any given Sunday feeling when he fights, that he still has enough to beat the best if he wakes up on the right side of bed. Vitor had lost that towards the end. Psychologically he was always a different beast. How many fights did he have where he just lost the mojo and became a punching bag mid fight? He needs to be on the tack I think to push past that.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanny Batter View Post
    The UFC are good at promoting the brand, but I don't think they can ever take much credit for the individual stars that spring up. The individuals are the reason behind it, as they get the attention with their actions, and they build their fanbase by winning. They've never really taken an unassuming guy and made a star of them regardless of their efforts. I'm talking pre-Sonnen Anderson and Mighty Mouse. The formula for success is wait for somebody charismatic to come along and do their job for them.

    I think O'Malley has a better chance at being a star than Sage and Paige, because he's confident in his own skin, and he does show next level potential as a fighter. Paige would have been if she was a better fighter, poorly matched for me. Had no business in there with Rose, and that changed the trajectory of her career. Sage was a decent fighter but, again, this obsession with rushing kids through the ranks hurt him. Not that Barbarena was a world beater, but he was good, and Sage needed another year of regional level fighters as he built his skills in the gym.

    I think guys like Shogun are happy to stay around as they're not losing every fight in the UFC. He must wake up and have the any given Sunday feeling when he fights, that he still has enough to beat the best if he wakes up on the right side of bed. Vitor had lost that towards the end. Psychologically he was always a different beast. How many fights did he have where he just lost the mojo and became a punching bag mid fight? He needs to be on the tack I think to push past that.
    I think it's the Vince-Hogan, chicken and the egg argument lol. Without the UFC's platform and brand, you don't have a stage big enough to fully expand and without the right players you can't expand the brand. You weren't going to just take Barry Windham, slap the Real American song on him and create a phenomenon that changes worldwide pop culture. Just like Hulk Hogan wasn't going to be be able to reach the level he did with Verne Gagne or Inoki.

    Imagine Conor McGregor spending the last 7-8 years, however long it's been, in Bellator. The platform just isn't there. Floyd Mayweather isn't watching Bellator going "Yep coming out of retirement for that shit!" Brock Lesnar isn't going to Strikeforce despite the platform because they lack the brand. Ronda Rousey was in Strikeforce, but does she reach the level she's at today if she never comes to the UFC? The UFC also has to find the right players, because as we've seen, even the phonies like Colby Covington can't generate numbers. You can't just slide someone in the Chael Sonnen, Lesnar or Conor role and expect the same results.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Yeah, the sheer juggernaut of content makes the UFC brand the vehicle behind the superstars. They're still the only company that can hype potential superstars all over TV, use the PPV vehicle to enhance them etc. Plus, it is quite fair generally - all the genuine superstars they've had have also been very good fighters. It's not as if they find Kurt Russell on the street and give him a world title by beating a taxi driver. What is given is earned.

    I would love a few more PRIDE level mismatches though. Not at the top level, but I'd see nowt wrong in seeing a talented, raw, charismatic fighter solely fight over matched fighters on prelims until they're ready for the step up. How Bellator groomed AJ McKee would be the template to use for me. They have a tendency to throw potential to the wolves too quickly. That Roosevelt Roberts dude for example, skilled, interesting look, talks well, gets put in with a crafty vet like Jim Miller and gets found out.

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    Midcarder JuveLeo's Avatar
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    Pride GP 2003 was amazing. Having Chuck there representing the UFC was pretty hype at the time. I remember dying to see Chuck vs Wanderlei, but unfortunately, Rampage crushed those dreams.

    Quinton vs Wanderlei was also a great match in the beginning. A lot of back and forth action... then Wanderlei got him in the clinch and simply just destroyed him.

    I have a lot of great memories watching Pride. I loved the different rules and the circus mismatches. At their peak, Pride was definitely better than the UFC in my opinion. Their roster was way deeper.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuveLeo View Post
    Pride GP 2003 was amazing. Having Chuck there representing the UFC was pretty hype at the time. I remember dying to see Chuck vs Wanderlei, but unfortunately, Rampage crushed those dreams.

    Quinton vs Wanderlei was also a great match in the beginning. A lot of back and forth action... then Wanderlei got him in the clinch and simply just destroyed him.

    I have a lot of great memories watching Pride. I loved the different rules and the circus mismatches. At their peak, Pride was definitely better than the UFC in my opinion. Their roster was way deeper.
    Yes to all of this.

    It is crazy looking back 10-15 years and how deep LHW and HW were that when Pride dissolved, the UFC and even Strikeforce benefited greatly. It made Strikeforce a true competitor and alternative, especially when they were the first to really highlight the women.

    I would have LOVED a Pride v. UFC Grand Prix. I know after Chuck beat Couture the first time he flat out said he wanted Wanderlai and I remember there was a ppv where they both did a face off and Wandy was rocking a Pride shirt. I was happy we got to see it as it was pretty much each guy's last great fight imo.

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    Midcarder JuveLeo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nash Diesel View Post

    I would have LOVED a Pride v. UFC Grand Prix. I know after Chuck beat Couture the first time he flat out said he wanted Wanderlai and I remember there was a ppv where they both did a face off and Wandy was rocking a Pride shirt. I was happy we got to see it as it was pretty much each guy's last great fight imo.
    That would have been amazing. I remember there was a deal that some Pride fighters were supposed to fight in the UFC after Chuck's GP showings, but they did not uphold their part of the deal. I remember Dana White being pissed saying no UFC fighter would fight in Pride again. It's a shame really... if Pride and Sakakibara cooperated, we might have gotten a Pride vs UFC event.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuveLeo View Post
    That would have been amazing. I remember there was a deal that some Pride fighters were supposed to fight in the UFC after Chuck's GP showings, but they did not uphold their part of the deal. I remember Dana White being pissed saying no UFC fighter would fight in Pride again. It's a shame really... if Pride and Sakakibara cooperated, we might have gotten a Pride vs UFC event.
    I remember during commentary during one of the Chuck fights and even a few years back, Dana flat out said he wanted Sakuraba to come and fight for the UFC again. That would have been pretty cool and probably why, to my knowledge, he's the only Pride guy in the HOF.

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    Midcarder JuveLeo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nash Diesel View Post
    I remember during commentary during one of the Chuck fights and even a few years back, Dana flat out said he wanted Sakuraba to come and fight for the UFC again. That would have been pretty cool and probably why, to my knowledge, he's the only Pride guy in the HOF.
    That would have been cool. I'm not sure how Sakuraba would have faired in the UFC during that time, but it would've been exciting to see. True pioneer of the sport and very respected by a lot of fighters

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    Midcarder JuveLeo's Avatar
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    This was a great time in MMA history. We still got the fight a year or two later, but i would have loved to see them challenge each other in their prime.

    Also, Wanderlei's mess up still cracks me up to this day lol.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuveLeo View Post
    That would have been cool. I'm not sure how Sakuraba would have faired in the UFC during that time, but it would've been exciting to see. True pioneer of the sport and very respected by a lot of fighters
    It's hard to say in 2003-2004, mainly because I'm not sure where he would fight. I'm not sure why the UFC didn't have a 185 division for 3 years from 2002-2005. Knowing him he wouldn't cut weight so he'd be fighting up against Tito, Chuck, Randy, Vitor......DAMN those would have been great fights just to see but yeah, probably not wins for Sak.

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    I think the PRIDE #1 would have handled the UFC #1 up until Wand got kicked about by Mark Hunt. That effectively ended him. He went 4-1 after but solely against lower Japanese opposition as well as the disputed decision over Arona. I think Chuck beats him at any point after that. Before then, he was granite and would've eventually got to Chuck in the clinch. I think he'd have handled the top 5 the UFC had to offer still, he was competitive in those Rich Franklin fights way past his prime. I think the rest of PRIDE's top 5 would have handled Chuck - Rampage and Shogun did of course, but Henderson and Minotoro were bad match ups as well. What a beastly division. Tempted to bang on Total Elimination 2005 - mad that 7 of the first 8 fighters that night are guaranteed Hall of Famers, so stacked.

    It was definitely the better promotion until just before it's closure. The penultimate card is legendary with Shogun/Reem, Diaz/Gomi and Wand/Hendo. I don't think it would be unfair to say they would have had probably 75% of ranked fighters in 2005/6.

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    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanny Batter View Post
    I think the PRIDE #1 would have handled the UFC #1 up until Wand got kicked about by Mark Hunt. That effectively ended him. He went 4-1 after but solely against lower Japanese opposition as well as the disputed decision over Arona. I think Chuck beats him at any point after that. Before then, he was granite and would've eventually got to Chuck in the clinch. I think he'd have handled the top 5 the UFC had to offer still, he was competitive in those Rich Franklin fights way past his prime. I think the rest of PRIDE's top 5 would have handled Chuck - Rampage and Shogun did of course, but Henderson and Minotoro were bad match ups as well. What a beastly division. Tempted to bang on Total Elimination 2005 - mad that 7 of the first 8 fighters that night are guaranteed Hall of Famers, so stacked.

    It was definitely the better promotion until just before it's closure. The penultimate card is legendary with Shogun/Reem, Diaz/Gomi and Wand/Hendo. I don't think it would be unfair to say they would have had probably 75% of ranked fighters in 2005/6.
    Wandy's Pride record is incredible isn't it? I wish he would have stayed retired after KOing Brian Stann. Just felt like that was the way to go but you know with fighters, sometimes those wins make you think you can still go especially in your mid 30's.

    I would have definitely had a tough time calling Chuck v. Wanderlai.

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    Midcarder JuveLeo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nash Diesel View Post
    It's hard to say in 2003-2004, mainly because I'm not sure where he would fight. I'm not sure why the UFC didn't have a 185 division for 3 years from 2002-2005. Knowing him he wouldn't cut weight so he'd be fighting up against Tito, Chuck, Randy, Vitor......DAMN those would have been great fights just to see but yeah, probably not wins for Sak.
    The UFC still had a middleweight division, but with no champion. Murlio Bustamante leaving for Pride as champ messed everything up. I don't understand why they took 3 years to determine two top contenders for a title fight though. But then again, the MW division was really weak during those years. I think Sakuraba would have done well

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    GO ON LAD Fanny Batter's Avatar
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    Wanderlei's career is weird in that he crushed a hell of a lot of cans, but when he stepped up to face Sakuraba and Rampage he was as devastating then as he was against an Owama or Kanehara. I guess on one hand it's great that he had the win streak and the iconic highlight reel, but man it's a shame we never got Wanderlei vs. Lil Nog, Overeem, Vitor 2 etc. That Grand Prix in 2005, as legendary as it was, robbed us of some potential classic Wanderlei matches - his half of the draw was full of grapplers, the other side was those 3, Shogun, Rampage, Hendo, Kondo and fucking Igor. Yet we got Wand vs. Yoshida, Nakamura and Arona. I guess it's worth questioning whether the Wanderlei of 2005 would've actually got through any of those guys on the other side, Kondo aside? I think he has enough of a chin to take out Reem, but Lil Nog was probably always a nightmare matchup with him considering the boxing and toughness in his prime. Might be the most underrated guy in PRIDE, went 8-2 in the organisation but he's known for the tight loss against Shogun and the upset KO by Sokoudjou. Beat Sakuraba, Mezger, Overeem twice and submitted Dan Henderson. If he gets the nod against Shogun in that fight (I do think Rua won based on ground control, but Lil Nog won the stand up exchanges more often - super close fight even for PRIDE scoring, one I'll rewatch before their fight this month), their career trajectories may have completely changed. You'd have fancied him to beat Overeem in the semis considering the 2-0 head to head, and there would have been a Brazilian Top Team conflict for the final, so presumably one would have pulled rank, or a coin flip and fought the alternate (Nakamura?). Margins in this sport. Imagine that - Arona controls Lil Nog to win the GP, then goes on to beat Wanderlei in the rematch for the title because he isn't fighting coming off a KO loss 4 months earlier. Or Lil Nog wins it and fights a fading Wanderlei for the title at Shockwave. Shogun doesn't have that magical 2 win night that made his career, based on two scorecards going against him. Lil Nog actually gets a shot at a big one based on those scorecards going in his favour. That's why I love Grand Prix's, the great What If? Chuck vs. Wand at Final Conflict 2003 is a big one, but how about the bracket flipping in 2004 to separate Fedor and Nog - if that headbutt happens, Sergei (if he beat Ogawa of course) would have fought Ron Waterman(!) in the final and obviously likely have won and made himself a star in that top bracket. Even still, that fight with Nogueira was close. Margins.

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