By Matt Kaplan
Matt “The Law” Lindland has been clinching, smothering, and dirty boxing his way through the MMA world since the days of wrestling shoes in the Octagon. He’s fought alongside and against some of the very best in the world and was a fixture in the top-ten middleweight rankings for years.
A 2000 Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling silver medalist and Team Quest charter member, Lindland went 9-3 during his UFC middleweight tenure and earned a 2002 title shot against champion Murilo Bustamante. After leaving the UFC (Google his UFC 54 t-shirt controversy), he moved up in weight classes to fight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Fedor Emelianenko (in Russia), he won his two IFL Super Fights as the coach of the Portland Wolfpack/Team Quest, and he was the hardcore fan’s dream opponent for Anderson Silva.
Although Lindland has been inactive for nearly a year-and-a-half, he has yet to hang up his fingerless gloves. “I’ve never won a world title, so it’s kind of hard to retire,” explained the 42-year-old Lindland, whose focus today is on leading wrestling and MMA seminars, overseeing his SportFight promotion, and coaching his Team Quest MMA fighters.
Inspired by Ring Magazine’s “The Best I’ve Faced” series, here’s the legendary Matt “The Law” Lindland looking back on a long, hard-fought career and remembering those opponents who stand out across the following categories:
Best boxing: Vitor Belfort. With boxing it all starts with your footwork, your movement, and he has explosive hands and hips. And not just the night I fought him. He’s got consistently good boxing.