For the most part, the cream rises to the top in the sport of mixed martial arts. As political as the matchmaking can get, especially as promotions try to balance entertainment with sport, generally speaking, a fighter will eventually get opportunities he deserves. After all, there's only so long you can ignore success in the cage.
No system, however, is perfect. Over the course of 19 years, there have been a handful of fighters who didn't really get a chance to thrive. These are the men who could have, and likely would have, done even more with their careers if they had only gotten the opportunity.