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Respect The MMA Gatekeepers

Gatekeepers should be revered. These fighters often fail to receive the respect they deserve, caught in a purgatory between the more exciting up and comers and the top dogs of their respective divisions. Their records should be weighted to account for the consistently high quality of opponents.

It seems the best that these fighters can ask for is fan-favorite status or the recognition that they are always game for anyone at any time. But what about respect for their fighting abilities? Do you have any idea how difficult it is to remain in the top-five or even 10 in any sport, nevertheless the fight game, for years and years? Do you realize how valuable it is to have guys that can serve as consistent benchmarks for greatness?

Gatekeepers should be revered, and I’m here to point out four who deserve our gratitude and respect.

 

Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone

In my opinion, this guy is the ultimate Gatekeeper. Most wins in UFC history, most knockouts in UFC history, most head kick knockouts in UFC history, and is just an overall badass willing to fight anyone, anytime in two different divisions.

And win or lose, he will put on a smile, drink a beer, and show respect to his competitors and the sport. This dude is still ranked #5 (Sherdog) coming off a close fight with Anthony Pettis, another Gatekeeper in his own right.

There’s been a lot of chatter that Donald is past his prime and should hang up his gloves, but have you seen the list of fighter’s he’s lost to? Anthony Pettis (close decision), Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, Leon Edwards, Darren Till, Robbie Lawler, and Jorge Masvidal. Why don’t you throw that assembly line of fighters at every fighter breaching the top ten and see where their records fall.

And in between those brutal fights, Cowboy took out Yancy Medeiros, Mike Perry, Alexander Hernandez, and Al Iaquinta. If you’re not familiar with Al, he lasted five rounds with Khabib on short notice, easily defeated Kevin Lee, Ko’d Diego Sanchez, and took a decision from Jorge Masvidal.

Donald didn’t’ just beat Iaquinta, he destroyed him just over a year ago, and fans and critics alike have the audacity to say he’s washed. He’s a Gatekeeper folks; probably “THE GATEKEEPER” so, get it straight.

 

Alistair "The Reem" Overeem

This dude is a legend. How the hell is he still smashing up and comers like Walt Harris!? Sure, he can’t find his way home without GPS courtesy of a Ngannou Shoryuken, but he proved in the Walt fight that he can still take a punch.

Here is another guy who only fights top-notch competition and has the losses and battle scars to prove it. Curtis Blaydes, Stipe Miocic, and Jairzinho Rozenstruk are the only fighters outside of Francis Ngannou to have their hand raised against “The Reem” in his last ten fights.

He is currently ranked #9, has been in the top 10 forever, and is always a win or two away from a championship shot. Show the man some respect, because this dude embodies the spirit of MMA and has proven as much in Pride, Glory and the UFC.

 

Yoel "Soldier of God" Romero

We have no idea how old Yoel really is. We have no idea what kind of Cuban science experiments he went through as a child. Joe Rogan claims that Dana White claims that a doctor claims that his eye ligaments are four times the thickness of a normal human. We know that the guy is yoked and makes us want to hit the gym after every weigh-in. We know his peers say he hits like a truck and that he’s made of steel (Luke Rockhold).

He has been near the top of the Middleweight division for years and is known to change the course of fighters’ careers. He never gets knocked out, and your only hope is a tough fought decision if you care to breach the top 5 at Middleweight. Can you really compare his 13-5 record with those lower in the division when his losses have been decisions to Robert Whitaker, Paulo Costa, and Israel Adesanya?

Many even believe he won one of the Whitaker fights and the Costa fight. Why don’t we focus on the fact that he completely dismantled Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman’s title hopes whilst almost knocking their heads clear off? Dude is to be feared and cheered.

 

"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler

“Ruthless” is my personal favorite. I actually thought about the many parallels between “Ruthless” and “The Reem” when I was writing about the latter. They both have been fighting forever at the highest of levels. Robbie has been bringing the intensity since 2001!

There are honestly too many amazing fights to even mention, but he has been an invaluable measuring stick for the elite at Welterweight. My personal favorites were his war with Rory McDonald, where he paid a lip for a nose and a victory and the first twenty seconds of his welcoming party for Ben Askren’s. I love Robbie and always want him back in title contention because he is the original gladiator who always puts on a show and can grunt through mostly anything while swinging bombs.

I love the OGs who have somehow managed to survive while so many other amazing fighters come and go. Just do some diligence and check out the arsenal of murderers that make up Robbie’s last 20 fights.

 

Gatekeepers as DFS Underdogs

Now given that this is a fantasy sports site, I’d like to display how this information can help you in playing DFS. I think you have to look at experience level and weighted records. I think Gatekeepers should be part of your lineups if they are fighting up and comers. I would take a look at Vegas lines and comfortably attribute 100-150 points to Gatekeeper status.

Now is it a perfect science? No, you troll, but take a look at the names I’ve mentioned above and the honorable mentions below and pad their Vegas odds against less experienced, surging competitors. Overeem vs. Walt Harris and Stephen Thompson vs. Vincente Luque were the perfect examples, but hindsight is 20/20.

 

Honorable Mentions

Raphael Dos Anjos, Nate Diaz, Ronald Souza, Stephen Thompson, Edson Barboza, Junior Dos Santos, Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson, Volkan Oezdemir, Kevin Gastelum, Demian Maia, Anthony Pettis, Frankie Edgar, Jeremy Stephens.

Thanks for reading folks. Find me at @BrettMitchellFB




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