As Americans, we love Canadians, and why not? Canada gave us Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Ferguson Jenkins, and an array of great professional athletes.
But the Canadian exports don't stop with hockey, basketball and baseball. MMA and the UFC have some great athletes who hail from the north. To commemorate Canada Day today, let's look at some of the greats of MMA past, present and future.
Pop open a can of Molson and enjoy.
5. Elias Theodorou (Mississauga, Ontario)
The winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Canada vs. Australia is one the UFC's rising stars. This Roman Reigns, long-haired look alike is 12-1 in his career, and seems destined for a title shot if he can put a few more wins together. He's coming off a victory over Sam Alvey at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Thompson. Theodorou definitely has the potential to be the future and face of the UFC one day.
4. Sarah Kaufman (Victoria, British Columbia)
Kaufman is one of women's MMA's most underrated fighters. She may not have been able to last very long with Ronda Rousey inside the cage, but put her in there with Holly Holm or Miesha Tate and see what happens (we already know, Kaufman holds a decision victory over Tate).
Kaufman has excellent standup, and she can take a punch. She's well-conditioned and centered when she steps inside the cage. While Kaufman has lost her last two fights, she's coming back strong. Not only is she a good representation of Canada, she's also a great ambassador for women's MMA.
3. Rory MacDonald (Quesnell, British Columbia)
The man may look like the American Psycho, but he's actually a Canadian mauler. MacDonald, with his cold eyes and powerful right hand, is a man to be feared, even if he has not yet captured the elusive championship gold.
MacDonald is a proud Canadian who represents the country well. MacDonald recently lost a fight to Stephen Thompson, but he will undoubtedly be back. He had a string of bad luck in fights against Robbie Lawler, but don't county this dangerous Canadian out yet. When the smoke clears, it's likely that we will see this guy wearing some kind of championship gold.
2. Brock Lesnar (Maryfield, Saskatchewan)
Lesnar makes his home in Canada these days, so he counts. Deal with it, Lesnar haters. Lesnar, a prolific hunter, loves the wide open spaces and rural nature of his new home. In short, The Beast Incarnate likes nature, not people. But when he interacts with people he tends to destroy them. Just ask Shane Carwin, Frank Mir, Heath Herring, and The Undertaker.
Lesnar will take you to Suplex City, for real or for fake, and neither one is going to feel very good. Lesnar, the only man to win the WWE heavyweight championship and the UFC heavyweight championship, will battle Mark Hunt at UFC 200. He may very well become the hunted, but even if he loses, Lesnar will always represent Canada well.
1. Georges St-Pierre (Saint-Isidore, Montérégie, Quebec)
Canada's superman is something special. The "retired" former welterweight champion revolutionized the sport, taking athleticism to the highest level. With tremendous conditioning, an amazing ground game, and solid striking, GSP is a consummate mixed martial artist.
It's hard to imagine a better role model for what an MMA fighter should look like. GSP, of course, walked away from the sport early, after escaping a Johny Hendricks fight with a split decision victory. GSP, however, probably will be back, and when he is, look for some gigantic PPV numbers. Superman, of course, will return, to save us all.
Photos via MMAWeekly.com