10 Olympians who have competed in the UFC
Ask any budding athlete what their dream is and they will tell you that it is to win Olympic gold for their country. But only a handful of them never lose sight of their goal and persevere towards it with monk-like focus and sacrifice.
Just to don the nation's colours and step on the Olympic field symbolizes an athlete's eliteness. But only a select few possess the elusive mix of qualities that propel them from that stratosphere to the summit.
So what happens after you've made it to the Olympics and etched your name in sporting history? Those for whom medals were just out of reach actually throw themselves back into the seething waves for one more quest for treasure.
Some become teachers and re-invest their rare knowledge into the next generation of promising sportsters. Others seek out new challenges; unfamiliar ones that stoke the competitive flame that is their life force.
Here we take look at those icons who, unsatisfied even after reaching the final frontier of sports, crossed over to the world of MMA in search of new conquests.
#10 Mark Coleman
Many amateur wrestlers-turned-mixed martial artists revere Mark Coleman as a pathbreaker. A standout high school and collegiate wrestler, Coleman applied his imposing wrestling skills to MMA and literally coined the term "ground and pound".
"The Godfather of ground and pound" finished seventh overall in Freestyle wrestling at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and created ripples in the nascent MMA landscape by winning his first two tournaments, UFC 10 and 11.
Coleman wasn't done there; he became the first UFC Heavyweight champion in history after tapping out Dan Severn via neck crank at UFC 12. In 1999, Coleman would make the journey to Japan to fight in PRIDE, and a year later won the Open Weight Grand Prix Tournament.
After a loss to Antonio "Big Nog" Nogueira at PRIDE 16, Coleman took a sabbatical to found Team Hammer House, which turned out big names like Phil Baroni and Kevin Randleman. The most memorable part of his return to PRIDE was the brawl with Team Chute Boxe members after his fight with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at PRIDE 31. In the first round, Shogun landed awkwardly after a takedown from Coleman and dislocated his elbow.
Coleman, who didn't see this, proceeded to ground and pound the incapacitated Brazilian for a few seconds before the observant referee pushed him away. Shogun's corner, which included Wanderlei Silva and Murilo Rua, presuming that the strikes were deliberate, stormed the ring. Phil Baroni, who was in Coleman's corner, rushed to his aid and a fracas ensued. Coleman extended the olive branch after the incident but Chute Boxe turned him away.
Coleman returned to the UFC after a shoddy run in PRIDE and was booked to face then Heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar at UFC 87. He pulled out due to an injury and faced Randy Couture at UFC 109. A submission loss would lead to Coleman being shown the door from his old stomping ground. He retired a few years later.
Apart from MMA, Coleman also wrestled for promotions like NJPW, AJPW and Hustle. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame at UFC 82, which made his fight with Randy Couture the only one in the promotion's history to feature two HOFers who were active fighters.