Imagining an MMA Hall of Fame: The Shoo-Ins

Bas Rutten

By Todd Martin Aug 3, 2014
Bas Rutten closed his career on a 22-fight unbeaten streak. | Photo: J. Sherwood/

Bas Rutten
“El Guapo”
Pancrase (1993-98); Ultimate Fighting Championship (1999); World Fighting Alliance (2006)


When Pancrase brought a Dutch kickboxer to its first event, it was not supposed to lead to big things. The Pancrase fighters were training hard on catch wrestling in the dojo, and one-dimensional strikers were not thought to present a lot of danger to their techniques. However, Rutten was a different breed. A highly intelligent and charismatic figure, “El Guapo” discovered quickly where the sport was going and took to cross training. He built a ground game from scratch to go with excellent striking and soon became dominant. After starting his career 7-4 while learning the game, he never lost again. It is a shame his body gave out, because Rutten would have been one of the sport’s top attractions as it exploded in popularity.

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