Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.

9. Rich Franklin

This man literally changed the perception of cage fighters. In the early noughties, the idea was that MMA fighters were thugs, plain and simple. Franklin was clean-cut and well-educated. The full-time math teacher was still working as an educator as a professional fighter.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.

Four years in his combat sports career he called a halt to his teaching. But he’d been working both sides of the game long enough to make a massive difference and change the image of an MMA fighter forever. Becoming a UFC middleweight champion will do that for you.

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