UFC: Top 7 fighters between 1993 and 1998
On 12th November 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship debuted, pitting fighting styles from around the world against each other in a bid to determine the most effective fighting style.
From there, the UFC exploded in popularity and the Octagon hosted exciting battles between an array of diverse, dynamic and highly skilled personalities.
This countdown looks at the seven best performers from the first five years of the UFC's existence.
Please note fighter records encompass UFC results only, in the period between the 12th November 1993 and the 21st December 1998.
#7 Tank Abbott (8-7)
In July 1995, a man by the name of David “Tank” Abbott exploded onto the scene at UFC 6, destroying John Matua in the First Round by knockout in just 18 seconds. So ferocious was the beating Abbott inflicted on him, Matua suffered convulsions post-match. Abbott next defeated the giant, Paul Varelans, taking the big man down with ground and pound.
However, Abbott’s limitations as a fighter would be exposed in the UFC tournament final versus Oleg Taktarov. Beyond his dazzling striking skills, Abbott lacked the inclination to grapple and wrestle. Furthermore, he lacked the aptitude to defend takedowns and a wrestler’s guard. Abbott was submitted by Taktarov after 17 minutes of gruelling action.
Abbott’s stock grew when he defeated UFC 4 tournament winner Steve Jennum and took UFC 5 tournament winner, Dan Severn to a decision at the Ultimate Ultimate1995 event.
“Tank” reached the final of the Ultimate Ultimate 1996 event, which once again illustrated the story of his career as he devastated Cal Worsham and Steve Nelmark with punches before he succumbed to the superior wrestling skills of Don Frye in the final. Abbott was unfortunate, as he very nearly KO’d Frye early in the fight before he gave Frye too much room during a flurry of punches, allowing him to skillfully slide across Abbott’s back and lock in a rear naked choke for the win.
As more skilled fighters began entering the Octagon, Abbott’s fortunes diminished. He lost his next two bouts as well before rounding out 1997 with an underwhelming decision victory over the unheralded Yoji Anjo, who won none of his six career fights.
Abbot returned to action on 15th May 1998, defeating no-name, Hugo Duarte before succumbing to the more accomplished Pedro Rizzo at UFC Brazil in October. His loss to Rizzo was Abbott’s final MMA fight for five years.
Dominating opponents with his dynamic brawling, Abbott was one of the most popular performers of the era. Despite his limitations, “Tank” was pure box office.