The seven great ones

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Following GSP's and Aldo's departure to weigh in, the five remaining champions pose for photos and horse around with the crowd. Photo: Marcelo Dunlop.

The seven champions attending the show figured on the official program for UFC 129 as far back as the 18th of April, but it was hard for someone who’s covered MMA since the days it was called vale-tudo to believe everyone would make it. There’s none of that with Dana White’s UFC, though – if it’s been scheduled to happen it happens.

The Ricoh Centre, (which once hosted horse fairs and is now the arena for the Toronto Marlies hockey team) made history. At 5:23 pm local time the seven sat side by side, to the delight of the fans overrunning the stands, at an event that was free to attend and impeccably organized.

Joe Rogan assumed the microphone and led the festivities. Dominick Cruz (bantamweight), José Aldo (featherweight), Frankie Edgar (lightweight), GSP (welterweight), Anderson Silva (middleweight), Jon Jones (light heavyweight) and Cain Velasquez (heavyweight) were received with a deafening roar. A sign of good things to come for the stadium.

Also incredible is realizing the versatility possessed by the seven champions, with their crisp-punching hands and slick ground games. Toronto’s UFC truly is the start of a new era, or at least it seemed that way today, with the seven monsters assembled in their tuxedos.

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