MMA Fighters & Boxing Counterparts: Part 1

Anderson Silva & Randy Couture

By Jason Probst Oct 8, 2008
Pedro Wrobel/

In MMA, Anderson Silva is
the closest thing to Roy
Jones, Jr.
Anderson Silva = Roy Jones, Jr.

With unorthodox moves galore, Roy Jones Jr. fought with a rhythm and timing that left opponents paralyzed. You couldn’t outpoint him, and the prospect of forcing a down-and-dirty slugfest left you open to all kinds of debilitating punches.

In Jones’ prime -- 1993-2003 -- he established superiority over foes early, discouraging them from attacking with superior quickness and the ability to shut down any type of offense. Then he picked them apart, or, if he was feeling especially ruthless, took them out quickly. He was a riddle that seemed unsolvable. He also dominated future hall of fame entrants James Toney and Bernard Hopkins in one-sided decision wins before moving up the light heavyweight and heavyweight ladders, capturing belts there, as well.

If there’s a fighter that intimidates foes the most, it’s Silva. The Brazilian has a seemingly impregnable ground game. Should you take him down, that just throws you into a nest of bad outcomes, be it a submission or sweep. Standing with him seems like suicide, too. And like Jones, he can score big using strikes that are unconventional and impossible to train for. Whoever beats Silva will have to execute a perfect fight or catch lightning in a bottle.

Randy Couture = Archie Moore

When the ageless Moore finally won the light-heavyweight title in 1952, his excited cornermen were cheering in the ring after his one-sided decision win over the clever Joey Maxim. Moore, then 36 years young, admonished them to calm down, stating he should have won the title several years before. He had a good argument, too, as he carried a 139-19-9 record into the match.

Moore’s late ascension to the top of the game -- he spent years building up fan followings in a string of scattered fight clubs in San Diego, Cleveland, Boston and South America -- meant he had to rely on knowledge and old-man guile. But when he got to the top, he ruled with masterful strokes. Making nine defenses, he held the title for an astonishing 10 years and challenged for the heavyweight title twice, losing to Rocky Marciano and Floyd Patterson.

Couture’s path is similar because of how late he got into MMA. As an ex-college wrestling standout, he managed to overcome the age handicap and get smarter with his approaches to training and fighting, knocking off a series of younger studs in Vitor Belfort, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. Moore pulled a similar trick, taking three of four bouts against the clever Harold Johnson and besting heavyweight contender Nino Valdes, among others. What made Moore such a great fighter was his willingness to fight the guys with whom nobody wanted to deal, and Couture has been a reliable poster boy killer for UFC.

Now 45 and facing Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 on Nov. 15, Couture has a tough assignment but won’t surprise anyone if he pulls it off.
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