Any fighter in the sport of mixed martial arts knows that losing is part of the job. No man can be perfect every night out and it's the best who realize this.
Every year in the UFC, fighters come along that look unstoppable, or at least good enough to earn the infamous, "next big thing" label.
Brock Lesnar is a primary example. Lesnar brought his fame from the WWE arena and earned a shot in the UFC after just one professional fight. Although he finished with a 5-3 career record before diverticulitis took his MMA career, he won the UFC Heavyweight title in just his fourth professional fight and defended it two more times for an unprecedented, yet underachieving career.
While it is hard to peg just a few guys who fit the description in the UFC, performances in big UFC fights separates a few fighters from the pack.
The five fighters on this list entered the UFC with high expectations and may have even notched big victories with the promotion, but key losses have plagued their shot at truly elite status.
Here are the 5 most underachieving fighters in the UFC today.
UFC Record: 1-2
Key Losses: Tim Boetsch and Yushin Okami
Hector Lombard made his UFC debut on July 21, 2012 after reigning as the Bellator Fighting Championship Middleweight Champion for about three years. His 26-fight unbeaten streak heading into his long awaited debut had fans buzzing about the power-punching Lombard.
Whether it was because of nerves, or if "Lightning" was finally revealed as simply a one-dimensional fighter, his split decision loss to Tim Boetsch in his opening fight saw him land just 47 of 99 strikes.
Lombard rebounded with a stellar knockout win over veteran Rousimar Palhares, but returned to simply searching for a one-punch knockout in a split decision loss to Yushin Okami in March.
Lombard has crazy knockout power when he lands a good shot, but he simply can't rely on his power in the UFC. He will get another shot to get it together against Nate Marquardt at UFC 166, but as of today, Hector Lombard has been significantly less than advertised heading into the UFC.
More fights will either move him up on this list or off of it completely.
UFC Record: 5-6
Key Losses: Shawn Jordan, Mirko Cro-Cop, Lavar Johnson
Pat "HD" Barry entered the UFC back in 2008 with a 3-0 MMA record and a tremendous kickboxing background. The former K1 standout recorded a career 15-5 kickboxing record before making the transition to MMA.
His ability to stand and strike with the best of the best warranted much praise early on in his career, but Barry has failed to utilize his strengths to achieve success in the UFC.
In all of Barry's six losses in the Octagon, he has either been knocked out or submitted, and usually emphatically so. Even with five wins in the UFC, Barry has severely underachieved.
He is an engaging fighter who comes to throw down every fight, but his last bout against Shawn Jordan, one that saw him knocked out in under a minute, showed that he doesn't have the chin or composure to become an elite mixed martial artist.
Despite underachieving, at least you can count on one thing when Pat Barry enters the Octagon—someone is getting finished.
UFC Record: 14-7
Key Losses: Brock Lesnar, Junior dos Santos, Shane Carwin
Although Frank Mir is a former heavyweight champion in the UFC, his poor performances time and time again against the elite fighters in the division has caused him to underachieve.
Mir is one of the best submission fighters in the heavyweight division and probably in the entire UFC. He holds nine career submission wins in his 16 victories and became the first man to ever submit Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in December of 2011.
Frank Mir has spent almost his entire professional career with the promotion since debuting in 2001, but has never been able to bring his striking to the level of his submission game. He won the UFC title in 2004 ,but was knocked out in his very next fight against Marcio Cruz, a fighter with a career 8-3 record.
He won the title again in 2008, but has gone 0-3 in his last three title fights since then, getting knocked out by Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin and Junior dos Santos.
There may not be a more confident fighter in all of the UFC, but Mir's performance against the best in the division has caused the man with the most underrated ground game to severely underachieve.
UFC Record: 12-8
Key Losses: Donald Cerrone, Joe Lauzon, Jim Miller
At 31 years of age, a man known as "The Young Assassin" has already amassed 45 professional fights in his career. His crisp boxing and knockout power put him on the map early in his UFC career, but death by the same sword he has always swung has made him a big underachiever.
Melvin Guillard is a fighter who has been with the UFC since 2005. When Guillard is on his game, no lightweight can match the speed and power of his strikes, but when he's off, he is off the grid.
Guillard is infamous for gaining momentum with big wins only to drop a few in a row by getting too hyped up.
His big knockout win over Shane Roller in 2011 garnered him some consideration for a future title shot until he was submitted in his next two fights by Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller. He responded with a unanimous decision victory, but then was knocked out by Donald Cerrone and beaten by Jamie Varner in his next two.
A big knockout win over Mac Danzig last month has Guillard back on the winning track, but if he wants to stay there he will have to find some consistency with training, striking and poise.
Guillard has the athletic gifts to give any fighter a run for his money and the power to knock them out when he is focused. His lack of both in big fights has put him on this list, however.
UFC Record: 13-5
Key Losses: Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort
Michael Bisping has a very solid 13-5 record in his UFC career which has made him one of the best and most marketable fighters on the roster. But his five career losses, all of which have come in the UFC, have come at times that Bisping was knocking on the door to a title shot.
"The Count" has long been a favorite in the UFC since joining the promotion in 2006, acquiring as many fans as he has critics. His excellent kickboxing background and ability to adjust and improve every fight has moved him up the ranks in the middleweight division.
But every time Bisping gains some momentum for a No. 1 contender spot, he chokes.
No one will ever forget perhaps the most devastating knockout in UFC history Bisping suffered at the hands of Dan Henderson at UFC 100.
After that defeat Bisping went on a 5-1 tear before losing a No. 1 contender eliminator to Chael Sonnen, a fight many thought he actually might have won. He rebounded with a big win over Brian Stann, but was knocked out by Vitor Belfort shortly after, losing his shot at the middleweight crown yet again.
Bisping always gets better every time he steps into the Octagon, but his ability to get caught in crunch time has outweighed his ability to adjust in his career.
He is certainly one of the best fighters in the UFC, but until he at least finds a way to fight for a title, he will always be a huge underachiever within the promotion.
UFC Record: 6-4
Key Losses: Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida
Is Dan Henderson arguably one of the best mixed martial artists of all time? Yes.
Has he ever achieved significant success inside of the Octagon. No.
"Hendo" has always been a fighter defying the odds, as he is still fighting in the UFC at the ripe age of 42. Henderson has fought, and beaten some of the best to ever do it—including Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Wanderlei Silva.
Every big fight he has found himself in as a member of the UFC, however, has ended in disappointment.
After becoming the Pride Champion in 2007, Henderson fought Quinton Rampage Jackson to unify the light heavyweight titles, but lost by unanimous decision. Seven months later Henderson got a crack at the UFC middleweight strap, but was submitted by Anderson Silva in the second round.
Henderson rejoined the UFC in 2011 after winning the light heavyweight title under the Strikeforce banner. His first bout back with the UFC against Mauricio Shogun Rua will go down as one of the best fights of all time, and showed that Henderson is truly a fighter's fighter.
An injury forced him out of a title shot at Jon Jones, but upon returning Henderson looked tentative and slow against Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, losing both bouts by split decisions.
Dan Henderson is one of the best to ever step inside of the Octagon and he has beaten some of the best to ever fight in mixed martial arts. But the only title that has eluded him in his career is a UFC belt.
Henderson will be renowned for his skills regardless, but if he can never win a UFC title he will always be an elite fighter that underachieved with the promotion.