Best male Bellator fighter: Joe Warren
Before Chael Sonnen took his brash, brutally honest confidence and promo skills from the UFC to Bellator, the latter promotion had Joe Warren. Warren, the self-proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet,” was known for his own trash talk and was a component to Bellator’s early days. While he hasn’t had the best success in recent times, Warren will always have a place in Bellator history, becoming the first man to win Bellator championships in two different weight classes.
After winning gold medals in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2006 Pan American Championships and FILA World Championships and 2007 World Cup — as well as three straight United States Championships — Warren jumped into MMA by competing in DREAM’s 2009 Featherweight Grand Prix. Warren made it to the semifinals before getting submitted by current ONE superstar Bibiano Fernandes.
Warren then joined Bellator in 2010, winning the Bellator season two featherweight tournament by defeating Patricio “Pitbull” Freire in the final. At Bellator 27, Warren knocked out Joe Soto to win the Bellator featherweight championship. He didn’t defend the title, however. After defeating Marcos Galvao in a non-title catchweight bout, Warren was unsuccessful in the season five Bellator bantamweight tournament. Warren ultimately lost his championship to Pat Curran at Bellator 60.
Warren rebounded with five straight wins, which included defeating Travis Marx to win the season nine bantamweight tournament, defeating Rafael Silva to win the interim Bellator bantamweight title and besting Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 128 to become the undisputed champion. Warren, who became the oldest fighter to win a Bellator title, however, lost in his first title defense again — this time a rematch with Galvao. He is just 3-5 since losing the title — including losses to Dantas, Darrion Caldwell and Joe Taimanglo — and he may not have the best record, but he’s left his mark on the promotion.
- Thomas Albano