Jamie Varner's Foot and 4 Freakish Displays of Toughness from UFC 173

Hunter HomistekCorrespondent IMay 26, 2014

Jamie Varner's Foot and 4 Freakish Displays of Toughness from UFC 173

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    MMA fighters are not normal people. 

    They're wired differently. They're tougher. Crazier, even. 

    At UFC 173, this unnatural toughness was on full display during the night's main card, as almost every fight featured something that left the average male viewer cowering in a corner, contemplating his own existence and wondering just how tough that "Mom" tattoo really makes him.

    Sit down, settle in, grab a beer if it helps you feel a little more masculine and click on to recap these insane moments of grit and perseverance from UFC 173.

No Foot? No Problem.

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    Jamie Varner's foot exploded in the first round of his pay-per-view opener against James Krause, and he slugged it out until the final bell in Round 1 anyway. 

    He could not stand up, but he did not sit down. 

    That's awesome. 

    Varner's showcase at UFC 173 provided a perfect example of the heart and determination that runs wild in the world of MMA. Despite flailing to the ground in a heap on multiple occasions, Varner stood time and time again, bouncing back to his feet foot to lob bombs at Krause in hopes of ending the fight. 

    Oh, and Krause was punching, kneeing and kicking Varner all the while. It's not like Varner got to sit back, nurse his injury and try to fight around it. He was in the middle of a full-fledged fight, and he still hung tough and made it to the end of the round, where the doctor was forced to call the fight. 

    Officially, Varner broke two bones and tore ligaments in his foot. 

    But he was still fighting. That's pretty remarkable. 

Say Cheese!

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    You have to be a certain kind of tough to smile as a powerhouse like Jake Ellenberger takes you to the mat and attempts to secure back mount. 

    Robbie Lawler is a certain kind of tough. 

    In their UFC 173 tilt, Ellenberger completed a beautiful takedown against Lawler and started to secure a dominant position in hopes of locking in a fight-ending choke. 

    Robbie Lawler smiled, exploded and rolled out of harm's way. 

    ...He smiled. 

    A 170-pound beast wanted to pop his head off with a choke, and he smiled. 

    Robbie Lawler, ladies and gentlemen. 

    There is no fear or worry in this man, and his brief photo-op showed just how tough and confident he is inside the UFC Octagon. 

Now Is Not the Time for Jokes...

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    Pretend with me. 

    You're in the Octagon with a former Olympic wrestler and undefeated mixed martial artist. His name is Daniel Cormier, but that really doesn't matter. 

    What matters is that this man weighs 30 pounds more than you, and he's tossing you on your head and punching you in the jaw. 

    You're getting crushed. 

    After two rounds of utter humiliation, Cormier takes your back in Round 3, sinks in a rear-naked choke and sends you to the land of the unconscious before you have a chance to tap out. 

    You're awakened by a flashlight, loud cheering and a monstrous man parading around the Octagon with his hand in the air. 

    What's he so happy about? He looks kind of familiar...

    All of this happens in a matter of 15 minutes.

    What do you do? 

    If you're Dan Henderson, you throw your arm around Joe Rogan and tell jokes in a post-fight speech. 

    That...that's not normal. 

    Henderson was so calm and relaxed after being ragdolled and choked out by Cormier that I have to wonder if his brain is truly the same as mine. Is the "Hendo" a rare species from ancient times?

    His reaction was so far from reasonable, so insanely brawny, that fans really have no choice to but applaud him and his undeniable toughness. 

My Brain Stopped Working. Better Keep Fighting.

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    Don't mistake the intention of this slide. 

    TJ Dillashaw obliterated Renan Barao at UFC 173. He absolutely smashed the Brazilian en route to becoming the new bantamweight king. 

    But Barao's toughness deserves mention. 

    In Round 1 of their main event showdown, Dillashaw crushed Barao with a right hand that sent the former champion tumbling to the mat. 

    Barao's eyes rolled back. He went limp. 

    The fight was over. 

    Or not. 

    Somehow, Barao managed to recover, even fighting off a rear-naked choke attempt from Dillashaw while he was still woozy. 

    He survived and fought another four rounds after this, somehow staying upright and firing back with wild, looping punches. Barao never looked good inside the cage with Dillashaw, but there is no denying his resolve. 

    "The Baron" went down swinging, reminding us that, even when they lose, MMA fighters are tougher than us.