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Name a fighter you thought would become UFC Champ 🏆


Egg Shen
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Stealing this from Twitter. The actual replies on the thread are reminding of fighters i forgot even existed. Thought might stir up some old school discussion. Here's the original post:

 

Edited by Egg Shen
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  • Egg Shen changed the title to Name a fighter you thought would become UFC Champ 🏆
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Alistair Overeem too. For a division that was, at points, not very good at all, it did a good job of shutting out two of the best ever from the belt. And Big Nog from the undisputed belt.

Not to mention Lil Nog from the LHW.

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Little Nog peaked in his UFC debut unfortunately, knocking the shite out of Luiz Cane (there’s a forgotten fighter) in seconds. He’d been looking really good before that outside the UFC and I remember a fair bit of clamouring for them to sign him. His debut made it look like he was gonna be a proper contender, then it just fizzled out. I think injuries played a massive part in that, I remember him having a horrific run of getting hurt and fight cancellations at one point. At least he got to batter Tito though.

With a lot of those Pride (or PROID as Keith says) guys, them falling short in the UFC gets chalked up to coming off PEDs. I’m not saying it wasn’t a factor for some of them and in Overeem’s case it was a big part of it initially. He came in with so much buzz when he steamrolled Brock, by 2013/14 he was on a terrible losing streak and being talked about as maybe the biggest bust in UFC history. It took a long time for him to adjust but he did really well to claw his career back in later years.

But a lot of those guys came from Japan to the UFC as damaged goods from all the wars over there. Wanderlei especially started noticeably declining in 2005, a whole 2 years before the UFC got him. Big Nog had more war stories than Uncle Albert Trotter by the time he came to the UFC as well and still looked great in the Couture fight as late as 2009. He didn’t fully drop off a cliff form-wise until about 2010/11. PEDs are an easy way to explain it but if those guys really wanted to juice post-Pride, I don’t think they’d have had that difficult a time getting around the testing in the UFC in 2007 anyway. You look at Wandy in the Jardine fight and tell me the UFC were on top of PED use. Their testing was better than Pride’s because Pride’s didn’t exist. But they were still far from on the ball with it.

Anyway, yeah I’ve gone off on a tangent there but I really thought Cro Cop was gonna become champ. Bear in mind he’d just won the Pride GP at the end of 2006 and was coming in with momentum. The UFC Heavyweight division at that time was the dregs and Tim Sylvia had just beat Jeff Monson in an awful snoozer to defend the belt. Randy Couture hadn’t yet saved the division. I really thought Mirko was gonna come in and just chop Timmy down and reign for as long as he liked. Even when Randy won the belt just after Cro Cop’s debut, I thought Cro Cop’s takedown defence would be too much for old Randall and he’d kick him back into retirement permanently. Never saw that decline coming at all and I can’t remember many times I’ve been more genuinely shocked at a fight result as I was when Gonzaga wiped him out with his own finisher. I think more than anything else that fucked with Cro Cop mentally for a long time after. He’d been knocked out before but never like that. Looking back now, I don’t think those Sylvia or Couture fights would’ve been anywhere near as straight forward as I thought in early 2007 but at that time, you couldn’t have convinced me Mirko wasn’t the uncrowned King. At least until Fedor inevitably came into the UFC, which was obviously happening. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Crocop & Overeem are good shouts, but i'm looking at this more from an angle of young prospects you thought would become Champ but ultimately come nowhere near, so as we're talking heavyweights i'll give you:

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Todd Duffee.

Duffee may have been the most overhyped prospect in the history of Heavyweight MMA, but it was so easy to drink the cool-aid. When he debuted in the UFC as a 5-0 rookie the buzz was palpable, and then he starched Tim Hague (RIP) in 7 seconds. It felt like the dawning of a new era. It helped that Duffee was carved from stone and very much looked like what you'd expect a heavyweight contender to look like, plus he was fast, athletic and hit like a mule. He was in movies, on magazine covers, abit of a heavyweight Roger Huerta, despite having 1 UFC win!

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The fact that it came to a screeching halt in just his second fight about sums up his MMA career.

He was lumped in with Mike Russow, the complete opposite to Duffee. A slow, somewhat out of shape heavyweight who Duffee was expected to walk-through. It was all going to plan, until Russow pulled off one of the great comebacks to KO Duffee in round 3.

Financial disputes and being outspoken didnt help matters, Duffee was released and took an ill-advided short notice fight with Overeem in Japan for DREAM, he was obliterated in 19 seconds.

Since then Duffee has returned to the UFC but battled numerous injuries and illnesses, fighting just 4 times in 9 years. It just never happened for the bloke. In that time Frank Mir knocked him out cold, and in Duffee's only fight in the last 6 years he poked in the eye and went to a No Contest, says it all.hi-res-e48128f2887a382440120117ab80445e_crop_north.thumb.jpg.6c5752bfdd8f7250eeabef741a871d8a.jpg

 

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A couple that I bought into the hype for were Chris Horodecki and Tyson Griffin. 

With Chris Horodecki it was at a time when there wasn't an awful lot of MMA about but I'd discovered torrents, so I was watching bits of IFL. I was also watching "Inside MMA" fairly regularly and I think they did a good job of hyping him up, and I was convinced he would end up in the UFC (or probably more WEC at the time because of the lighter weight classes) title picture. Even when he lost one in the IFL I was still keen on watching him in  WEC and sure he would do well, but it just didn't quite pan out for him. I think he had a couple of injuries early in his career which probably didn't help him. 

I think a lot of people were big on Tyson Griffin. I remember the UFC website had an article on him hyping him up, and one of my mates was absolutely convinced he would go on to be champion, I was very interested too. I suppose he had a good run really, the fight with Edgar was brilliant and even though he lost I think that fight helped generate a lot of interest in both fighters. He then fought a lot of top guys and had some good victories, but then it just seemed to fall off a cliff for him and he just faded away to the prelims and was cut from the UFC. 

Edited by kev2050
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Horodecki is a great shout. 

Weirdly enough, he was another fighter associated with Bas Rutten. Horodecki was a pretty big deal outside of the UFC back in the day, one of those propsects that had a real presence amongst the internet fans. He was beating notable names in the IFL before running into Ryan Schultz for a second time (Horodecki won their first fight by TKO). Schultz put Hordecki into a seatbelt position and proceeded to beat the piss of him. It was a big shock at the time.

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Horodecki never really got back on track, he alternated wins and losses the rest of his career, but i always liked to watch Horodecki fight. The guys still only 34 too. Shows how young he was when there was all that buzz around him.

Edited by Egg Shen
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A slightly different entry. 

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I love me some pro wrestling in MMA and whilst my belief that Chael would actually win the belt only lasted around 15 minutes or so, those 15 minutes had me on the edge of my seat and will forever be etched into my brain.

Anderson at that time was such a dominant force and nobody really believed Uncle Chael had much of a shot at dethroning him. There was lots of talk post fight about Anderson's broken rib and the rematch afterwards cemented the difference in ability, but on that night on August 7th 2010, I was ready to believe. 

Has there ever been a better example of snatching defeat from the Jaws of victory in such a high profile UFC title fight? 

 

 

 

 

Still undefeated. 

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100% on board with Kev’s two there.

Tyson Griffin was part of that first wave of new 155ers that came in when the UFC resurrected the division in 2006. Him, Clay Guida, Roger Huerta, Frankie Edgar and a few others were absolutely tearing it up back then. Everyone bums 155 now but that crop of guys in 2006/07 really got the ball rolling on what has since become probably the strongest division in the sport. And Tyson Griffin might’ve been the one who people had the highest expectations for at that time. He was still really young, had the wrestling background but could strike, was Randy Couture’s protégé back when Randy was the man, and he had a knockout win over Urijah Faber. At the time he was the only man to beat Faber. On top of that he was ridiculously exciting to watch. To this day, you’ll be hard pressed to find another fighter who’s had a 3 fight stretch the quality of Griffins consecutive barnburners against Edgar, Guida and Thiago Tavares between February and September 2007. I’ve said it a lot on here over the years but back when Griffin vs Edgar happened, you’d never have predicted that their career trajectories would go so differently. If anything, I think most saw Griffin as having the brighter future. I think most felt like Griffin and Edgar would go on to have a trilogy down the line, possibly for UFC gold, they both looked so promising. Kind of weird how it ended up being Griffin’s teammate Gray Maynard who went on to have those wars with Edgar for the title.

As for Horodecki, he had so much potential. Mad how he just fizzled out but if you look back at the timeline of it, I think the death of his coach Shawn Tompkins had a big impact on him. He was never the same after that. Same with Mark Hominick. They both dropped right off a cliff and never got back on track. It’s a shame because Horodecki had some cracking fights, especially in the IFL. I think I reviewed his crazy scrap against Shad Lierly in that Best Fights Of 2000-09 thread a while ago. But whether it was too many wars too soon or the death of Tompkins, he just fell off. Doesn’t do him justice but whenever I hear or read Horodecki’s name now, the very first thing that pops into my head is him getting his face kicked in by Anthony Njokuani in WEC…

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shit, id forgotten all about that Njokuani KO.

Accordign to Linkdin, Tyson Griffin is now a life coach. I remember reading stories of he had battles with alcohol a few years ago, nice to he has his shit in order.

That Faber KO was another of those little Sherdog message board gems that always popped up. Because Faber was the main man at the time people always used to share the clip/gif of him being KO'd by Griffin because it was only blotch on his record.

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