Though the UFC has become the big dog in the world of MMA, it used to have far more competition back in the day. While it was still on the come up, many other organizations held the MMA world's attention. One of the biggest promotions in that time was the Pride Fighting Championships.
It may no longer be with us, but Pride brought some of the best fighters in the world together to have some of the best fights the sport has ever seen. Many former Pride fighters transitioned to different promotions and later went on to the UFC. Here are six of the best UFC fighters to ever compete in Pride.
6. Quinton Rampage Jackson
Rampage became a fan favorite in the Octagon, but fought much of his early career in Pride. Rampage became legendary for his vicious slams that he would do to his opponents. Rampage's slam was considered one of the deadliest moves in MMA because of the force that he could generate in that short period of time. He moved on from Pride and would eventually become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
4. Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua
Shogun had a pretty stellar Pride career. He won the 2005 Middleweight Tournament and went 12-1 in the promotion. He then moved on to the UFC where he picked up countless post fight awards. He competed for the light heavyweight belt multiple times, eventually winning it when he knocked out Lyoto Machida. And with one of the greatest nicknames in MMA history, he will definitely live on once he retires.
3. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
"Big Nog" is having a big month as he got to carry the Olympic torch prior to the Opening Ceremony and he now gets to watch the event in his home country. He broke out into the Pride scene and went 18-3-0 (1) during his time in the promotion. He was the first Pride Heavyweight Champion and would have been one of the best Pride fighters ever if it wasn't for Fedor. He joined the UFC in 2007 and won the Interim Heavyweight Championship in his second fight. He won multiple postfight awards and was a fan favorite in the heavyweight division for many years.
2. Dan Henderson
Henderson has found success in every promotion he has fought in, whether it was Pride, Strikeforce or the UFC. Though he won the UFC 17 Middleweight tournament, he moved on to Pride shortly after, where he went 13-5. He fought in three weight classes and held belts in both the welterweight and middleweight division. In the UFC, he has earned a Fight of the Year award in 2011, may have one of the best knockouts ever at UFC 100 and is competing for the middleweight championship later this year. He truly was a great champion for the sport and if he follows through on his statement that he will retire after the Bisping fight, he will be missed.
1. Wanderlei Silva
Silva had an absolutely tremendous career in Pride. With one of the longest runs with the promotion, Silva competed in Pride from 1999 to 2007 and compiled a 22-4-1 (1NC) record. He won and defended the Middleweight Championship multiple time and only lost it when him and Henderson fought in one of the greatest Pride fights ever. Two of his losses came when he was fighting at heavyweight, showing he was willing to fight anyone. He competed for the belt back in the early days of the UFC and was constantly a contender for Fight of the Year or Knockout of the Year contender and was always exciting to watch.