Who was the best MMA fighter from early to mid 90s

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kneeblock

Don't it always seem to go
Apr 18, 2015
10,095
18,793
Early to mid? Hard to say because not enough folks had fought one another but if we're capping mid at 1996, then I'd say Coleman, Rutten or Funaki.
 

Johnny 90

Lower-end Stan
May 21, 2020
85
57
My answer would be Royce Gracie. He defeated both Shamrock and Severn in their prime and won 3 UFC tournaments. The UFC 5 Superfight was so awful that if it was fought with modern MMA rules, Shamrock would have been given the red card and disqualified for stalling. Shamrock also lost twice to Minoru Suzuki in Pancrase so he is definitely out of contention. Severn was the finalist in UFC 4, won UFC 5 and Ultimate Ultimate 1995.
 

kneeblock

Don't it always seem to go
Apr 18, 2015
10,095
18,793
I'm capping it at the end of 1995
Mid in a decade usually means the middle years. Early is 1990-1992, mid is usually the longer period with 1993-1996. Late is typically 1997-1999.

NHB kicked off in the US in 1993, but was going on in Japan, with a mix of worked fights, and to a lesser extent Brazil, where it was largely criminalized, in the early 90s. If you say 1993-1995 is the mid-90s, you're biasing the question to competition in one promotion and largely one country. Also it conveniently caps the period before better, multi-skilled competitors emerged.

Shamrock/Suzuki 2 is widely acknowledged to be a work and the Gracie machinations in selecting Royce's opponents are pretty well known. Still, Royce is a reasonable pick because he did beat a lot of people in an era when the implications of style clashes in combat weren't widely understood. Also, he remained undefeated during the period even though he had a year of inactivity. I stick with Coleman, Rutten and Funaki because of their strength of schedule and stick with beginning of 93 to end of 96 as the periodization. Still, Royce was the first and should always be considered among the best for what he achieved, especially in open weight competition.
 

Saloth Sar

Let's take a little trip to the countryside
Dec 1, 2015
5,736
9,827
Mid in a decade usually means the middle years. Early is 1990-1992, mid is usually the longer period with 1993-1996. Late is typically 1997-1999.

NHB kicked off in the US in 1993, but was going on in Japan, with a mix of worked fights, and to a lesser extent Brazil, where it was largely criminalized, in the early 90s. If you say 1993-1995 is the mid-90s, you're biasing the question to competition in one promotion and largely one country. Also it conveniently caps the period before better, multi-skilled competitors emerged.

Shamrock/Suzuki 2 is widely acknowledged to be a work and the Gracie machinations in selecting Royce's opponents are pretty well known. Still, Royce is a reasonable pick because he did beat a lot of people in an era when the implications of style clashes in combat weren't widely understood. Also, he remained undefeated during the period even though he had a year of inactivity. I stick with Coleman, Rutten and Funaki because of their strength of schedule and stick with beginning of 93 to end of 96 as the periodization. Still, Royce was the first and should always be considered among the best for what he achieved, especially in open weight competition.
I don't count slapfighting as MMA, but even if I did, the answer is still Royce. His victory over Shamrock bridges that gap.

I'm actually dumbfounded that this is even up for debate.
 

Johnny 90

Lower-end Stan
May 21, 2020
85
57
Mid in a decade usually means the middle years. Early is 1990-1992, mid is usually the longer period with 1993-1996. Late is typically 1997-1999.

NHB kicked off in the US in 1993, but was going on in Japan, with a mix of worked fights, and to a lesser extent Brazil, where it was largely criminalized, in the early 90s. If you say 1993-1995 is the mid-90s, you're biasing the question to competition in one promotion and largely one country. Also it conveniently caps the period before better, multi-skilled competitors emerged.

Shamrock/Suzuki 2 is widely acknowledged to be a work and the Gracie machinations in selecting Royce's opponents are pretty well known. Still, Royce is a reasonable pick because he did beat a lot of people in an era when the implications of style clashes in combat weren't widely understood. Also, he remained undefeated during the period even though he had a year of inactivity. I stick with Coleman, Rutten and Funaki because of their strength of schedule and stick with beginning of 93 to end of 96 as the periodization. Still, Royce was the first and should always be considered among the best for what he achieved, especially in open weight competition.
Good answer, but my question is, would a prime Ken Shamrock beat a prime Coleman or Kerr or a Couture. I beleive Couture would demolish Shamrock even if they fight now