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The Eras of MMA (Part 3: The Modern Age, 2003-Present)

If you missed it, check out parts 1 and 2 of this series.

The Fedor Emelianenko Era: 3/03-present

Fedor’s dominance over MMA’s heavyweight division is such that, had he been born a few hundred years ago, they might have burned him for being a witch.  At least they might have tried, though he would certainly have armbarred the entire mob and then calmly collected their pitchforks.  Fedor is the rare fighter with devastating one-punch knockout power on the feet and deft submission skills off his back.  In other words, you are never really winning against Fedor; you’re just temporarily not losing. 

Fedor’s run through Pride’s heavyweight class was like Sherman’s March to the Sea, only much more efficient.  He beat everyone there was to beat and he did it convincingly.  His list of victims includes former UFC champs like Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, as well as Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Coleman, and even Hong Man Choi.  In fact, the only barrier to Fedor’s continued reign of terror is his own refusal to sign with the UFC, where more heavyweights are waiting to be conquered.  Will he ever cave in and do to the UFC’s big men what he did to Pride’s?  It’s doubtful, though until he loses you really can’t begrudge him the title of the world’s best heavyweight.

The Anderson Silva Era: 10/06-present

When Silva burst on the UFC scene and messed up Chris Leben like he had just popped a Hot Pocket in the microwave and wanted to get done before it got cold backstage, we should have known that we were witnessing a new era.  When he pushed Rich Franklin’s nose to the side of his face a few months later, there was little doubt.  Back in his early days as UFC middleweight champ, Silva was as elusive as he was ferocious.  He dispatched challengers like Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson with relative ease, and even went up a weight class to punish James Irvin‘s insolence.

Now the Silva pendulum has swung more in the elusive direction, and he seems fine with that.  But when he feels like hurting someone there are few men who do it better than “The Spider.”  He combines knockout power with an unpredictable attack that seems to find holes in your defense even when you’re devoted solely to protecting your pretty face.  His upcoming light heavyweight fight with Forrest Griffin is a testament to how thoroughly he has ravaged his own division.  If only he’d rediscover the monster he unleashed on poor Leben.  Poor, poor Leben.

The Georges St. Pierre Era: 11/06-present

Instead of talking about what GSP does well, it might be simpler to talk about what he lacks.  Nah, screw it.  Nothing really comes to mind.  The guy is a machine.  His cardio is unmatched and his athleticism allows him to do things that most people can only do in video games.  He came up the ranks fast and got a title shot against Matt Hughes in only his third UFC fight, though he wasn’t quite mentally ready for it.  The submission loss helped him come back harder than ever, resulting in an impressive run through the likes of “Mayhem” Miller, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg, and B.J. Penn

He destroyed Matt Hughes twice, beat B.J. Penn once more (though there is that greasing thing still staining his otherwise squeaky clean image) and tossed in wins over contenders like Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch just for the hell of it.  His upset loss to Matt Serra raised some questions about his chin and overall mental approach, but he’s since quieted those concerns and remains the man to beat in the welterweight class.

The Lyoto Machida Era: 5/09-???

In case you haven’t heard, Machida’s one-sided shellacking of Rashad Evans heralded the dawn of “The Machida Era.”  We know this because UFC employees keep saying it, but also because if he fights as flawlessly as he did against the man we’re now calling “Suga,” there aren’t many people in the UFC’s 205-pound class who seem to present a problem for him, at least on paper. 

Up until a few months ago Machida was known as the guy you couldn’t hit, but who would hit you just enough to win.  Then he knocked out Thiago Silva and Evans back to back and now he’s the guy you still can’t hit who will make a fool out of you with his karate skillz, yo.  Who knows how long his reign will last, or even if it will turn out to be a reign at all, but at the moment “The Dragon” seems to be putting the “martial arts” back in mixed martial arts, as well as putting karate dojos back in business.

Did we miss any?  Go ‘head and let us know in the comments, as we know you will.

Cagepotato Comments

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KingAtRock- June 12, 2009 at 10:37 am
Thanks again for posting my highlight video CP! Love this series "the eras of mma".

No Mirko? I do have a HL for him too ya know :)
Seth_Bacon- June 12, 2009 at 12:03 am
Great Series!

"like he had just popped a Hot Pocket in the microwave and wanted to get done before it got cold backstage" is the greatest simile ever used in mma reporting. ever. win.
UFC fan- June 11, 2009 at 11:54 pm
Oh you fedor nuthuggers are off the wall crazy as hell.
Fedor wouldn't sign a contract when he was being offered more money than he was ever offered before, and his stupid managment fucked that up. Theres no way him or his crazy goons would allow a 1 fight deal, renewed each fight, hes to full of his own self worth, and because of nuthuggin dudes like YOU guys he will always believe his own hype. I still say he is a wannabee, and he has fought OLD UFC EX-champs and all you guys can say is he beat UFC ex champs, thats it? thats your claim to fame? Thats so damn sad.
He beat cro-crop and nog, and you think that somehow is gonna impress me? Both of those guys are pathetic, out dated, slow dinosaurs. ESPECIALLY crowcrap, pro-flop, or whatever his name is.
LOCKCAPSHAL- June 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm
Randy Corture, poor Randy old and feeble
parchy mcthirst- June 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm
fedor = best p4p hands down

forgotten eras = bas rutten and gomi (like fedor vs bas said)
2phresh- June 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm

i 2nd that
BigCuev- June 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm
I want to see Thiago Alves take off! He's been really impressive as of late!
RJeezy- June 11, 2009 at 3:40 pm
The funny thing is that if Fedor came to the UFC then all the sudden Brock hasn't ever really fought anyone, Mir was never that good, Carwin is a one trick pony, etc. And then people would be complaining he hasn't fought Cigano or whoever is the new UFC superduperstar in the making.
I'd rather see him fight Barnett and Overeem over anyone in the UFC right now.
Savage- June 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm
ok im sorry but i have to let this out. Fedor is no man, he is a Terminator sent back into time to destroy john conner but some where along his mission he malfunctioned and started fighting in MMA. So how do you defeat Fador??? just watch the terminator movies to get some ideas.
Redmoose- June 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm
Big Nog and Gomi eras?
NateGetsIrate- June 11, 2009 at 2:36 pm
I totally agree with Kazi.

If DW was so sure of Fedor being a scrub, he'd give him the same deal he just gave Cro Cop.
Keyser Soze- June 11, 2009 at 2:34 pm
Although I agree with a lot of the posts regarding this topic, the one particular comment I don't agree with is the one calling Patrick Cote a bitch. For the most part, Cote kept pressing forward, not pulling a Kalib Starnes cameo (a la vs. Nate Quarry). He blew his knee out... he didn't quit (and wouldn't have) or get ko'ed or subbed. If the inference is Cote not being a top-5 middleweight... Silva ruined Franklin twice, Marquart, Henderson, and hammered Leben senseless. When Silva fights an aggressive fighter, it seems to kick him into high gear and he responds accordingly. Leites was undeserving, and I agree completely.

As for the "Machida" era... a little quick on the draw (in my opinion). Evans was a placeholder champ. Does Machida even have a chin? FIghters can be as elusive as hell, sooner or later they will get tagged. Machida's a better striker, Rampage definitely has KO counter power. Just ask Liddell or Wanderlei. When someone catches Machida (and it will happen), it'll be just like GSP vs. Serra 1. Did that really just happen??? WTF???

Anderson Silva and Machida have said they won't fight each other. Four factors will make this fight happen, sooner or later, just as a GSP vs. Silva fight will.

1. UFC fans want to see the best matchups they can, superfights are rare, Penn's a WW can. That was just a rematch.

2. Anderson Silva wants to fight the best fighters, weight classes aside. Machida just might be one of them.

3. The media and publicity surrounding Silva and Machida. Sooner or later they'll both be curious and eager to find out. Especially if one gets more heralded.

4. Money talks and bullsh*t walks. DW and Zuffa have deep pocketbooks, and the right percentages of PPV draws to Machida/Silva or GSP/Silva will lock it in.

I won't consider Machida the real deal until I see him take some solid blows and keep coming back for more.
Kazi- June 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm
@ UFC fan

What are you like 18? Calling Fedor a wanna-be, doesn't magically make ambiguous, open-ended UFC contracts a smart move.

If Fedor would have such a tough time in the UFC , why doesn't Dana White sign him on a fight to fight basis? They could have him fight every HW contender, before he got a shot at the title.

I'm not saying he'd win, but I don't understand the "he's scared" logic as to why he doesn't sign w/ the UFC.
Young Vagabond87- June 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm
lol ... has beens out of their prime? you talk alot of shit. alot of the young heavyweights in the ufc would get handled by him hands down. and didnt he beat big nog and mirko cro cop in their prime?

lol and how is he a wannabe? he already beat two former ufc champs that once dominated the HW division. you're just pissed cause you know fedor is the real deal and ufc doesn't have him.

and by the way dana white fucked it up whith his shady contract
Young Vagabond87- June 11, 2009 at 2:04 pm
cause he still has yet to beat ken shamrock and he wasn't too dominant in pancrase.
Young Vagabond87- June 11, 2009 at 2:02 pm
you forgot 3 people
takanori gomi
hayato mach sakurai
rumina sato
CubicleMan- June 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm
What about the Rickson Gracie Era, he was 400-0 for crying out loud.

He was so elusive during his fights that people didn't even see him win the 389 fights that weren't caught on camera.
NECROPHYTE- June 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm
Chuck Norris Era: Year 1-infinity
Fedor vs. Bas- June 11, 2009 at 12:06 pm
I love the "Era Posts" but I think you missed two fighters.

As stated above, Big Nog needed to be added, but HOW DID YOU MISS...

Bas "El Guapo" Rutten???

I mean it wasn't mostly in the UFC, it was Pancrase... but he fought the Shamrocks back then which is one of the MMA "royal" families. (Royal used very loosely)

He is 28-4-1. He is one of the pioneers of the sport and he went from 1995 - 2006 with a record of 21-0-1!!! Ok it was really 1995 - 1999 with 20-0-1 and then one win in 2006 but still. How many liver kicks does he need to have to make this list?

Out of his wins he was:
He had 12 TKO's, 13 Sub's and ONLY 3 wins be decision.

Seriously Ben, any reason for leaving him out??
My Fight Wiffa Cheeto- June 11, 2009 at 11:58 am

"Rest assured that Randy Couture was the subject of much talk around the water cooler at the Cage Potato offices (more of a state of mind than a place, really) prior to this feature."

So the CP offices are like Team Hammerhouse? Do you and Goldberg just tell dick and fart jokes to like the bloody elbow writers on your front porch?
UFC fan- June 11, 2009 at 11:45 am
Sorry it is still my opinion that Fedor hasn't fought anyone but hasbeens out of there prime or cans. There are a LOT of young heavyweights that I think he would have a hard time with in the UFC, and not just the top tier ones.
But his stupid ass, and his crazy management team have fucked him out of a chance to find out.
He is nothing but a wannabee until he can PROVE different, paper don't mean shit. And if this miracle fight ever happens with him and Couture it also wont mean shit, Randy is done, and been done for awhile. That train has left forever and ever.
parchy mcthirst- June 11, 2009 at 11:26 am
its a little too early to give machida an official era...kinda some rubbish. let him at least fight some top contenders as challengers for the lhw belt
831 Son- June 11, 2009 at 11:26 am
Anderson fought two inferior opponents the last fights, therefore, I wouldnt say he is starting to be elusive because hes been one of the most elusive fighters in UFC history since he started fighting.. So I wouldnt say the pendelum is starting to swing in the elusive direction. He fought two little bitches, that were not on his level, so Anderson just played with them. Hes gonna work Forest though.

Oh and one more thing, Fuck you haters.
831 Son- June 11, 2009 at 11:08 am
Haha nice C-Bus. EXTREME!
C-Bus Allstar- June 11, 2009 at 11:00 am
k Says:
Thu, 06/11/2009 - 12:50

"you are never really winning against Fedor; you’re just temporarily not losing."

Best quote this site has ever had.

I would have to agree whole-heartedly. Fucking Hilarious line.. I almost spit Mountain Dew all over my screen. FUCKIN' EXTREME!