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5 MMA fighters who could have been pro boxers
The best MMA fighters in the world showcase a variety of skills, across numerous fighting disciplines. From Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to wrestling, from Muay Thai to pure boxing, and much more. MMA fighters have to be very good across all of these different areas in order to succeed at the highest levels, but which MMA guys could have turned into great professional boxers if they had turned to the Squared Circle instead of the Octagon at an early age? Check out the top 5 MMA fighters would could have been top-flight pro boxers.
1. Georges St. Pierre: GSP showcases great technical form with his boxing in the UFC. He also has good speed, reflexes and defense. In his last fight, against Josh Koscheck, he relied almost purely on his jab to win and control the encounter, badly busting up Koscheck's eye in the process. His raw athleticism, conditioning and technical form would translate excellently into the ring.
2. Anderson Silva: Silva has freakish striking abilities. While he is known more for his Muay Thai fighting and striking, his boxing is also strong. His reflexes and his ability to counter punch from all angles would make him lethal as a boxer. Rumors floated in the past of a cross-sport showdown with boxer Roy Jones Jr., a fighter who in his prime was the best pound for pound fighter in the world and showcased the same freakish, raw abilities and talents that The Spider does. His long, lean physique is also ideal for boxing.
3. B.J. Penn: Penn was the king of the lightweights in the UFC, and was able to bust up one opponent to the next with his standout boxing skills until Frankie Edgar one-upped him in two straight bouts. But Penn has more power in his shots than Edgar does, is a great counter puncher, and utilizes his defense to produce offensive output. His body, taller and leaner, is also more ideal for the boxing ring. His conditioning would need to be worked on but few fighters in any discipline across the globe have better starting skills than Penn does.
4. Vitor Belfort: A young Vitor Belfort, tearing through the UFC scene, was the equivalent to a young Mike Tyson intimidating the entire world as heavyweight champion. Both came into their primes at extremely young ages - each probably too young for his own good. Belfort, like Tyson, possesses insane and explosive knockout power which he unleashes with high speed and intensity. Also like Tyson, if you can survive the early onslaught, you can take him out of his element and drown him in deep waters. Still, his speed and power would have provided great success as a boxer as well.
5. Frankie Edgar: Frankie Edgar captured the lightweight crown from B.J. Penn (above), largely thanks to his ability to outdo Penn with what he does best: box. Edgar showcases very solid footwork, movement and angles, a strong jab, and a solid understanding of strict boxing form and defense. So why is he ranked lower than Penn? He's built more like a wrestler than a boxer, and at just 5'6" he would have trouble fighting at 154 lbs, or even 147 lbs in boxing, where boxers are more commonly 5'9" and up.
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