UFC: Top 5 Most Unlikely Victors of the Last Three Years
Professional fighters move in two directions.
Some fighters—the most successful ones—constantly improve and regularly add weapons to their arsenals.
Dan Hardy can wrestle a little now, and Pat Barry is no longer helpless off his back. These two fighters illustrate one end of the spectrum.
On the other end are fighters who deteriorate and become shells of their former selves.
Because of this, some fighters' past victories look incredibly unlikely in retrospect, and a rematch would certainly not go the same way.
To honor this fact, let us take a look back through recent UFC history and handpick some matchups that crowned an unlikely victor.
No. 5: Johny Hendricks vs. Rick Story
Johny "Bigg Rigg" Hendricks has emerged as one of the sport's top welterweights in recent years.
The powerful wrestler with carbonite fists currently rides a five-fight winning streak inside the Octagon, and he has a penchant for knocking down top contenders like flies.
Because of his recent success and improvements, it comes as a shock that Bigg Rigg lost to Rick Story at the Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale in December 2010.
At the time, the two welterweights appeared evenly matched, and Story's win was not a huge shock. A tremendous wrestler in his own right, Story showed an ability to grind and control opponents inside the Octagon, and that led to his success.
However, since the win over Hendricks, Story is just 2-3 in UFC action, while Hendricks is a squeaky-clean 5-0.
Both men are slated to fight at UFC 158, but their opponents are of quite dissimilar calibers. Story will face Sean Pierson, while Hendricks will face top-10 threat Jake Ellenberger.
Needless to say, Story would not be expected to win a rematch against the man he defeated three short years ago.
No. 4: Travis Browne vs. Antonio Silva
Travis Browne had no business losing to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot.
The more agile and athletic fighter, Browne looked a step ahead of Silva in the early going of their matchup, but an unfortunate hamstring injury set him up for punishment.
Silva, with a one-legged foe in front of him, swooped in for the kill with power and precision.
Kudos to Bigfoot for securing the finish when it presented itself, but there is no way he takes a rematch against a healthy Browne.
No. 3: Erick Silva vs. Carlo Prater
Erick Silva literally did not get touched in his UFC 142 matchup against Carlo Prater.
He did not get submitted, either, nor did he get injured.
The fight ended in Round 1.
Take everything I have just told you into consideration and tell me who won the fight.
Thanks to some errant punches to the back of Prater's head coupled with questionable refereeing courtesy of Mario Yamasaki, Silva was disqualified from the bout and declared the night's loser.
Should Silva and Prater meet again (spoiler alert: they won't), you can bet the house on Silva.
No. 2: Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch
Tim Boetsch is my homeboy, but Mr. Hector Lombard would absolutely wreck him in a rematch of their UFC 149 affair.
After the bout, Lombard revealed that he was injured (via mmamania) before and during his fight with Boetsch, and these ailments undoubtedly played a large role in the bout's outcome.
On top of this, Lombard made his UFC debut in this fight, and the bright lights and big stage may have further affected his performance.
All things considered, a win for Boetsch in a rematch is a highly unlikely outcome—Lombard takes this one eight out of 10 times.
No. 1: Lyoto Machida vs. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson actually defeated Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida.
Let that one sink in.
While the two fighters were unquestionably elite athletes in the light heavyweight division at the time of their UFC 123 encounter, the two 205-pound athletes are currently at very different places in their respective careers.
The Dragon is wrapped up in a title eliminator with Dan Henderson at UFC 157, and Rampage is on his way out the door following a loss against rising star Glover Teixeira.
Furthermore, Rampage has not finished an opponent since 2008 despite cake matchups against the likes of Keith Jardine and Matt Hamill.
Give Machida those matchups and see what happens.
The current slower and less athletic version of Rampage would provide target practice for the razor-sharp Machida of today, and this fight would be an absolute beatdown.
Put plainly, Rampage would have no chance in a rematch with "The Dragon."