It's a cold world, this MMA world. Cold game, this MMA game. One minute, you're on top of the world. Next minute, you're fighting Sokoudjou open-weight in some interstate-forsaken, Oklahoma backyard fenced-in area while the dogs are out on the chat piles looking for dinner lizards what ain't got five eye sockets.
All that to say, here are 10 active fighters who once had it all. Just like Bogey and Bacall. But now they find themselves consigned to the cinders of what was and what could have been. It's a bitter brew, bro. I pour my Nos on the ground in their honor. Just kidding. I can't find Nos anywhere.
Yes, I realize Todd Duffee was probably never actually a contender. Not in any promotion or any imagination. We're using that term loosely for this list. Hopefully it will all still make some sense.
But in Duffee's case, he belongs because of that record seven-second KO of Tim Hague that set off a meteoric rise back in 2009. But the fall was just as precipitous after he dropped two straight (one a 19-second brutalizing in the DREAM promotion from one Alistair Overeem). He now finds himself without a promotion.
Don't look at me like that, Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto. Don't even.
Because you remember as well as anyone that tidal wave of hype that swept you into the UFC. You lost every one of your fights in the Octagon, all three of them, and haven't really been heard from since.
And to think you were once considered one of the best lighter-weight fighters on the planet.
Actually, I don't think Mark Hominick is in such dire straits here, relatively speaking. Yes, he's dropped three in a row. And no, he's ranked nowhere near where he was just a year-and-a-half ago, when he fought Jose Aldo for the featherweight title.
He still went the distance with Aldo, though, and beat the pulp out of the champ toward the end. He followed that up with a seven-second KO loss to the Korean Zombie...bad loss, but still just a flash knockout. Hominick is still a good fighter, with excellent boxing for an MMA guy. I think he'll get back on track against Pablo Garza at UFC 154.
Sometimes it's a slow descent from the top of the mountain. Sometimes it just takes one fight.
The latter befell Mark Munoz in July, when Chris Weidman hammered him into the canvas and then nailed his coffin lid shut. Seems like a long time ago that Munoz was on the short list of middleweight title challengers.
All is not lost for Jake Shields just yet. But, as with a lot of other much-ballyhooed fighters who entered the UFC from other promotions, the former Strikeforce middleweight champ's Octagon tenure hasn't exactly matched expectations.
Losing to GSP is one thing: There's not a great deal of career harm in that, even if GSP did sort of beat him at his own game. But then he got Kay Tee Eff Oh'd by Jake Ellenberger. Lately, he's stuck fighting Akiyama (who flirted with this list himself) in the middle of a main card. At least, during those times when he's not suspended, as he is now.
Sad, but true.
Plenty of guys lose their fastball and slowly fade with age. But Forrest Griffin's arc is much steeper than most. Not just a former contender but a former champ, Griffin can't seem to beat his way out of a bowl of egg whites these days.
Talk about one-fight plummets. I don't think I've ever seen a fighter's stock fall so far after one fight than did Hector Lombard's after his 15-minute stand-around loss to Tim Boetsch at UFC 149.
Everyone acted surprised when Rich Franklin went down at the hands of 40-year-old Cung Le. But it really wasn't all that shocking. He's been on the novelty circuit since 2009.
A 40-year-old, glass-jawed Chuck Liddell, the aforementioned Griffin and catchweight fights with opponents like an almost 36-year-old Wanderlei Silva do not a serious hit list make. He's been a pretender in Ace's clothing for three years now.
This might be one of the sadder ones on the list. Junior dos Santos didn't just take away Frank Mir's contender status. Maybe I'm just being maudlin, but JDS broke a man in the cage that night at UFC 146.
He is MMA's walking one-man "Behind the Music" episode, minus the debauchery.
He was 37-1, a WEC champ and a pound-for-pound regular. Just three years ago, he was to the pound-for-pound list what Jose Aldo is to it now. And then...the bottom just fell out.
He went to the UFC when the WEC folded, went a lackluster 2-2 and then got released. Now he's in the World Series of Fighting. He lost to Marlon Moraes on Nov. 3 and the beat went on.
It's sad. He seems like a decent guy. Why did this happen? I don't know, but there's no steeper fall from grace among today's MMA fighters than that of Miguel Torres.