UFC 153: Rick Story and 5 Fighters Who Have Had Their Hype Trains Derailed
It happens to all of us. A fighter takes the MMA scene by storm, and everyone rushes to predict greatness. Unfortunately in the cutthroat world of MMA, those predictions tend to fall short more often than not.
An example of a prediction falling through is Rick Story. He lost his UFC debut at UFC 99 but won six straight bouts including wins over BJJ whiz Dustin Hazelett, wrestling champion Johny Hendricks and Muay Thai striker Thiago Alves.
Unfortunately for Story, his momentum has stopped dead in its tracks recently—just like the fighters on this list. They all had a number of passengers aboard their hype train but have seen it run off the tracks as of late. 2012 hasn't been kind to a number of "can't-miss" fighters, leaving many to head back to the drawing board for 2013.
Rick Story didn't get his UFC career going in the right way as he dropped a decision to John Hathaway at UFC 99. But the Washington native rattled off six consecutive victories to bring himself back into the title picture.
Included in that streak were wins over the highly touted Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves. Story ruined any momentum he gained by losing to Charlie Brenneman following the Nate Marquardt debacle and dropped a unanimous decision to Martin Kampmann. The Kampmann bout in particular was indicative that Story wasn't ready for the elite welterweights in the world.
Story won his last time out against Brock Jardine in June and will have a chance to get momentum back on his side as he faces the dangerous grappler Demian Maia at UFC 153.
Travis Browne appeared to be a star in the making. He had impressive physical gifts along with legitimate talent. A prospect in 2011, Browne catapulted himself to being a household name after a superman punch KO of Stefan Struve at UFC 130.
Browne amazed fans even more with a flying knee followed by an arm triangle submission of Chad Griggs at UFC 145 in April. The Jackson's MMA fighter faced his toughest test yet when he squared off against Antonio Silva on Oct. 5.
An apparent leg injury hobbled Browne until Silva was able to win the fight following a thunderous right hand.
Browne may get a pass from fans and UFC brass due to the leg injury, but the loss still remains on his record. Although Silva is a talented fighter, nobody would consider him a top-10 guy at this point.
Browne will be sidelined for two to four months following a torn hamstring, but luckily, surgery will not be necessary.
Edson Barboza was touted as the next Anderson Silva due to his flashy strikes. His KO of Terry Etim will forever live in MMA highlights, but all that didn't seem to phase Jamie Varner.
Barboza was undefeated coming into UFC 146 and was believed to use the veteran as a name to build his own career off of. Varner failed to get the memo and controlled the action from the opening second. Barboza seemed overwhelmed in the contest and was stopped in the first round.
The loss for Barboza will give him a bit of a wake-up call that every fighter in the UFC is going to be a tough match up and make him a better fighter in the long run. Everyone loses; it's just a matter of what you do after the loss that defines a fighter's career.
Phil Davis is one of the most decorated collegiate wrestlers to ever enter the Octagon. After winning a national championship at Penn State, Davis transitioned into a career in MMA.
All seemed to be going smoothly for "Mr. Wonderful" as he was racking up wins every time he stepped into the cage. A "Phil-mura" submission of Tim Boetsch became Davis' highlight reel finish to propel him into superstardom.
Davis was matched up with another solid wrestler in Rashad Evans in Jan. 2012. The winner was to receive the next crack at UFC champion Jon Jones, but Davis never seemed to understand what was at stake. He repeatedly failed to use his footwork and allowed Evans to grind out a decision victory.
Davis welcomed Wagner Prado to the UFC in Aug. but an eye poke ended the fight as a no contest. The two are expected to rematch each other at UFC 153.
Hector Lombard entered the UFC with one of the greatest resumes in recent memory. The judo champion and former Bellator middleweight champion hadn't lost in nearly six years prior to facing Tim Boetsch.
Lombard didn't seem to be himself as he literally stood flat-footed for the entire contest. There were moments where Lombard was able to land some strikes and secure a takedown but for the most part, Lombard looked for the one-punch KO. Despite dropping Boetsch, Lombard lost via split decision.
The loss only validated the contingent of UFC fighters that claimed Lombard was fighting "cans" in Bellator and wasn't ready for UFC level opponents. Lombard's chest injury also likely played a large part in the Cuban's ineffective offense.
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