The 411 MMA Top 10 01.28. Ten Actors That Could Have Competed in MMA
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at ten actors that could have competed in MMA. This week’s list is very hypothetical and meant to be fun, but all the guys on this list are legitimately dangerous. This isn’t just a list of the best action stars, it’s actors who have trained or competed in different fighting styles at some point in their lives. The list is ranked based on which actors that would have the best chance at competing in MMA in their physical primes. I think the top couple guys would have a legitimate chance at fighting today if they were younger.
• Liam Neeson- former amateur boxer and now trained in krav maga. I like to believe he’s as awesome in real life as he is in Taken.
• Ray Park- Darth Maul has trained in kickboxing and wushu.
Jason Statham has become the best action star of the past ten years. He grew up playing soccer and was on Britain’s national swimming team for twelve years. Statham does almost all his own stunts because he has trained in a variety of different backgrounds. This includes wing chun, karate, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts. The Transporter could do some damage if he wanted to.
Jackie Chan is known for being more a comedic type of action star, but he has some serious training. Chan’s first martial arts training came from practicing the at the Chinese Opera Research Institute. Chan’s primary style is in hapkido, which he has a black belt in. Chan also has black belt’s in judo and jiu jitsu, so he must have at least a solid ground game. With other training in kung fu and tae kwon do, Chan would probably have a more diverse style than most fighters today.
I personally think Sylvester Stallone is the greatest action star of all time and he achieved that status through his incredibly disciplined training. I came across his workout regiment while writing this column and it’s beyond ridiculous. I’m in pretty good shape and I can’t even imagine trying it. Stallone trained with former Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu and various pro and amateur boxers throughout his life. He’s been coached by Richard Giachetti in preparation for the Rocky movies and even got his body fat down to 2.8% for Rocky 3. Watch the special features on Rocky Balboa and you’ll see how legitimate this training was. There was also an interesting part about how he and real life boxer Antonio Tarver bloodied each other up while filming. He’s never had a real fight, but his dedication to fitness and boxing would make things interesting.
Mickey Rourke is the man and was robbed by Sean Penn for an academy award in 2009. But anyway, one of the reasons Rourke is so awesome is because of his boxing career. Rourke competed in amateur boxing from 1964-73 and started at only 12 years old. He finished with a 27-3 record before moving into acting full time. He returned to boxing in 1991 and went 6-0-2 before retiring in 1994. He claims to have been close to a title shot, but had to retire because of mental concerns. Rourke also trained with Freddie Roach. He probably wouldn’t have any kind of ground game, but his striking would definitely get him in some solid fights.
I personally think Steven Seagal is a tool, but it would be wrong not to list him here. Seagal began training in aikido as a teenager when he moved to Japan. If any of you are unfamiliar with aikido, it’s the technique of blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack. Seagal eventually reached the rank of 7th dan and gained the honorable title of shihan. He also became the first foreigner to operate an Aikido dojo in Japan. Seagal now trains with Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. There was even some recent trash talk between him and Randy Couture. I’d like to see Couture wreck him, but I’ve always been curious how a high level aikido practitioner would perform in MMA.
Yea Ivan Drago made this week’s list. As a teenager Lungdren trained in judo, gōjū-ryū and was most successful in kyokushin karate. He became a black belt in kyokushin after his two years in the Swedish Marine Corps. He won multiple tournaments including the heavyweight European and Australian championships. Lungdren hit his physical peak while training for Rocky 4. He trained intensely with Sylvester Stallone in body building and boxing. At 6 ft 5 ½ in and 250 pounds and his impressive karate background, Lungdren could have really messed some people up inside the octagon.
Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg began training in karate at ten years old and ballet at sixteen years old. He eventually got his blackbelt in shotokan karate and started competing at semi-contact karate around the same time. Van Damme had a 44-4 record and went 18-1 in kickboxing competing as a middleweight. Van Damme’s one loss was a due to a first round disqualification. That’s a pretty good resume. There have been talks for a couple years about him returning for one more fight, but I doubt it’ll happen. Van Damme is now a part time training partner of GSP at Tristar. I was hoping the video of the two guys training would be more badass, but he is in his fifties. I still hope Van Damme and Steven Seagal will fight at some point.
Jet Li is probably the most famous wushu practitioner in the world today. Li trained with some of the most renowned wushu coaches and is a master of a variety of different styles. He won fifteen gold medals and one silver medal in Chinese wushu championships, Li won his first at only twelve years old competing against adults. President Nixon even asked him to be his personal body guard after seeing him compete. Li retired from fighting at only nineteen to start his acting career. Li in his prime would be pretty good at bantamweight or featherweight.
Bruce Lee weighed only 160 pounds and he could have beaten any lightweight or welterweight. I think GSP and Matt Hughes would have beaten him because their superior wrestling, but even then it’s a tossup. Lee started training in wing chun at 13 in Hong Kong and became a high school boxing champion while living in America. At 19, he opened his first school in Seattle and started to train his approaches towards wing chun. In 1967, Lee decided to change his fighting style after a fight with Wong Jack Man went too long. Lee created jeet kune do because he felt traditional martial arts was impractical when it came to street fighting. “The style of no style” placed an emphasis on practicality, flexibility, speed, and efficiency. This led to Lee’s victory in many fights. Lee’s level of fitness, speed, and strength were incredible. Lee could land a punch in around five 0.05 seconds from 3 feet away, and from 5 feet away it was around 0.08 seconds. He could cause also send a 300 lb bag to fly towards and hit the ceiling with a sidekick. He would have truly thrived had he been born about 30 years later.
Chuck Norris was the first real mixed martial artist. Norris first learned tang soo do karate while he was stationed in South Korea while with the US Airforce. Before getting into movies, Norris won kickboxing and full contact karate tournaments. Norris was the Professional Middleweight Karate champion for six consecutive years. In 1969, he won karate’s triple crown for the most tournament wins of the year, and the Fighter of the Year award by Black Belt Magazine. But Norris was a top fighter in other disciplines as well. He became the first westerner in the history of tae kwon do to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master. Norris was a solid wrestler and a top student under judo legend Gene Lebell. Norris is also a brown belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu as he was one of the first Americans to train with the Gracies and Machados. This lead to Norris creating his own hybrid fighting style called chun kuk do. Chuck Norris in his prime would have definitely held gold in the UFC. James Braddock vs Anderson Silva would be the best fight ever.
Go to 4:50 for the awesome fight scene at the end of Silent Rage. The whole movie is actually on youtube if you haven’t seen it before.
• So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left an actor out that you thought should be in the top 10.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
• Next week I’ll start ranking the top 20 fights in the history of Strikeforce.
Try not to die til next week.