It’s been a long time since December 8, 2007, when Mac Danzig won the Season 6 finale of The Ultimate Fighter, and to say it’s been a rough road since that time is a serious understatement.
Danzig was head and shoulders above all the other fighters on that season of the show (save perhaps for George Sotiropoulos), and his finale bout against Tommy Speer saw Danzig take out the bigger, stronger wrestler with such ease it was anti-climatic.
Perhaps it was the authority with which Danzig secured the contract for that season that made it look as if he would enjoy the same levels of success seen by previous winners such as Forrest Griffin, Diego Sanchez, Michael Bisping and others.
Then, after his first pay-per-view appearance and victory (over Mark Bocek), Danzig began to see a reversal of fortunes. He lost his next three fights, and since then he has been battling to win two in a row.
More than a few times it seemed as though Danzig was inches away from being cut, only to come back and save his career, especially in his bout with Joe Stevenson, the winner of Season 2 of TUF. But Danzig ended that night early, putting Stevenson to sleep via KO early in the first round.
With a win over Efrain Escudero via decision in his last outing, Danzig is now looking to make it two in a row this coming Saturday night as he steps into the octagon against Takanori Gomi in Macau.
Danzig has had nine fights since he ran over Speer in 2007, and as of now he is 4-5. Even for a man with as much experience, ability and grit as Danzig, things must be getting a little desperate.
No one ever said the fight game was easy, and for damn good reason because it is incredibly unpredictable—fighters can be losing more times than not, only to turn a corner in training and then they are mowing over everyone—but for a guy with the potential of Danzig, it looked like it would be a lot easier than this.
Pinpointing the reasons for Danzig’s lack of success is harder than people think. He’s got knockout power and knows how to deliver it, he is in good condition, he has a solid chin and a respectable ground game that no doubt is getting better by the day, and he really loves to fight.
And yet, we’ve seen him lose fights it looked like he should have won, at least on paper. Whatever is going on behind closed doors, Danzig can’t seem to find footing solid enough to allow him to get a winning streak started.
The majority of the losses Danzig has suffered in the UFC (most of them via decision) are akin to the tale of the two Indians who are about to enter Grizzly country. One Indian stops and begins to wrap his moccasins tighter than usual.
The other Indian looks at this and says: “Why bother? You know you can’t outrun the bear.”
The other Indian nods and smiles and says: “I don’t have to. I just have to outrun you.”
It’s seemed like many a time Danzig was simply a step or two behind the other guy, and that was enough to see him defeated.
But when looking at Danzig, it is clear he still has all the necessary tools to start winning back-to-back bouts. He’s one of those rare fighters who can confound expectations and turn that corner; he’s just got to find the right street first.
When he faces Gomi on Nov. 10, he’s got a good chance to get another victory under his belt, which he sorely needs right now. Gomi has the power in his hands to put Danzig to sleep, but Danzig should be able to take Gomi to the mat and submit him if he is as exacting and focused as we’ve seen him be in the past.
Danzig can indeed live up to all the potential he showed us years ago, but he has to start now. He’s not as young as he used to be, and after a while, talking about potential seems too much like daydreaming when the hour is growing late.