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Rose Namajunas calls her MMA Mount Rushmore

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Highlights

  • Namajunas explained why four former UFC champions stood out from the crowd for her.
  • “Thug Rose” paid tribute to “special fighter” Anderson Silva.
  • Namajunas also recognized Ronda Rousey for her role in establishing female MMA.


To make it onto a UFC MMA Mount Rushmore champion's MMA roster, a fighter must have done something very special that puts him head and shoulders above the many other athletes who have donned the 4-ounce gloves. Since 1993, the year the UFC was founded, there have been countless champions and stars, but only a handful of combat artists who transcended the sport.

In an exclusive interview with GIVEMESPORT, two-time UFC strawweight champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas revealed her top four fighters who stand out from the rest – along with the reasons why they deserve their spot.


Anderson Silva

MMA record: 34-11 (23 KOs, 3 SUBs), UFC wins: 17, best win: Chael Sonnen x 2

Anderson Silva in the UFC


Forget YouTube boxing, forget the bad fights that ended his UFC career, Anderson Silva should be remembered for his incredible 16-fight winning streak in the promotion's middleweight division. During this winning streak, the Brazilian sensation didn't play it safe and refused to take the win. Instead, he leaned into the fire, hanging his hands and jutting his chin, looking for a return shot that would end the fight. His win over Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 was a perfect showcase of Silva's skills. He baited his opponent and then struck like a cobra to obliterate them. An underrated fight in Silva's career was his monumental comeback win against trash-talking, wrestling-heavy bully Chael Sonnen at UFC 117. This proved that Silva wasn't just a pretty boy kickboxer. It showed he could dig deep and pull a win out of the fire, and oh boy did he do that. After being dominated for more than four rounds, the Brazilian champion pulled off a triangle choke submission with less than three minutes left in the fight, something straight out of fighting tradition.


Namajunas about Silva:

“Anderson Silva kind of had that kind of aura about him. No matter the time, people are excited for this moment, but they're just on a roll. I think that's what you have to have to be on this Mount Rushmore and that's special, something special.”

Daniel Cormier

MMA record: 22-3 (10 KOs, 5 SUBs), UFC wins: 10, best win: Stipe Miocic

Daniel Cormier at a UFC weigh-in

Daniel Cormier, better known as “DC,” is a fan-favorite martial artist due to his lovable personality, but the former Olympian is also a killer on fight nights. If “Cormier wasn't crushing his opponents like a rag doll with his elite grappling, you could see him taking them out with his underrated power.” The Louisiana native is also one of nine UFC fighters to hold titles in two different divisions have won. Some may see his losses to Jon Jones as a reason to downplay Cormier's greatness, but what he accomplished in the UFC's light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions is nothing short of legendary. From facing fighters like Alexander Gustafsson and Josh Barnett to knocking out UFC's all-time heavyweight star Stipe Miocic to become a double champion, Daniel Cormier has been able to do it all at his best. By his late 30s, Cormier was already taking part in competitions at the highest levels in the world. Unfortunately, he failed to get the job done against Miocic in his final career, but true fight fans will always remember how great his career was.


Namajunas in Cormier:

“DC, he was a two-division champion. You have to have all two division champions up there, right? Because there are very few who ever manage to become champion. And then there are even fewer who manage to become double champions.”

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Ronda Rousey

MMA record: 12-2 (3 KOs, 9 SUBs), UFC wins: 6, best win: Miesha Tate

Ronda Rousey after a UFC win

Surprisingly, Ronda Rousey doesn't get the respect she deserves for her MMA career from some quarters. From Strikeforce to her fights in the UFC, Ronda was a force of nature – many compared her to a top-notch Mike Tyson. Like “Iron Mike,” Rousey let her opponents beat her before the cage door closed. Her career began with an incredible 12-fight finishing streak that was one of the best runs in MMA history. To date, “Rowdy” holds the record for the most consecutive UFC title defenses by a female fighter with six. In this run, the former Olympic bronze medalist cut through the competition like a hot knife through butter. Ronda would destroy her opponents in less than a minute using her world-class judo background. Many will view the way she ended her MMA career as a reason to downplay her greatness, but what she accomplished at the peak of her UFC run will be reflected throughout history. Rousey claimed in a recent interview that she still believes it should be considered a female MMA GOAT – and Namajunas agrees:


“Ronda, I feel like she was the first, she got us into the UFC. Like she's the reason women are in the UFC right now. You know, maybe in an alternate reality, like it was someone else. Maybe that's it.” You know, maybe it would have been me, but because she was in the place she was at the time she was, just being in movies and doing everything “Yeah, like When she came in, it was special.”

Georges St Pierre

MMA record: 26-2 (8 KOs, 6 SUBs), UFC wins: 21 best win: Matt Hughes x 2

Georges St. Pierre as UFC champion

Georges St-Pierre ticks all the boxes a serious fight fan needs on Mount Rushmore. The all-time great fought against the who's who of his era, moved up a weight class and avenged both losses of his career. It goes without saying how great St. Pierre's character is, but his strong competitive spirit and will to win made him an incredibly consistent player. The Canadian fighter has a presence and aura that is noble and statesmanlike, but when the cage door closed, his spirit in the mixed martial arts chess game was supreme. A promising prospect early in his career, St-Pierre hit his first hurdle in the form of a top-notch Matt Hughes. After recalibrating his game plan and expanding his skills, GSP knocked out Hughes in the rematch and later submitted him in their trilogy fight. His classic performances against Nick Diaz and Josh Koscheck were other perfect examples of how GSP managed to avoid his opponents' strengths while exploiting their weaknesses.


Namajunas on St-Pierre:

“GSP. I just feel like I don't know. He was just like, “Almost Mr. Perfect,” you know what I mean? Although he probably didn't have that, such an aura that I just always felt like everything he did was Mr. Perfect.

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