Back around UFC 66, what ifs were the way of the world in MMA. With a star-filled roster, PRIDE was still thriving in Japan. Hardcore fans and devotees of Japanese fighting swore up and down that if PRIDE fighters ever got their hands on the stars of the UFC, it would be utter destruction.
Following the Dec. 30, 2006 event, Dana White announced the signing of PRIDE superstar Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic," Mitch Moss of ESPNRadio1100 became a hero to every PRIDE fan:
"Is there any fear or concern that by bringing everybody over that they might come over and completely dominate and crush these guys that you have signed up?"
Much of the gathered media laughed, yet many of them were thinking the same thing might happen. After the raucous laughter subsided, White said he wasn’t worried because all those fighters would be his and they’d get a chance to compete under the UFC banner.
As it turned out, even Moss asked a great question, but the PRIDE fighters, who were added mostly in 2008 and 2009, far from dominated. It’s actually been a tough run for most of them aside from Quinton Jackson and Anderson Silva. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, 34, is 2-1 with the UFC. This weekend at Ultimate Fight Night 24, he faces one of the new breed in 26-year-old former Penn State wrestler Phil Davis.
Yahoo!’s lead MMA writer Kevin Iole joined us to talk about what’s happened with the PRIDE fighters and "Lil Nog’s" chances against Davis.