A fighter with any glimpse of potential often falls short of their ultimate goal, which is normally a championship.
Hard work and dedication, mixed with the will of a warrior still isn't enough for most fighters in the world today. Hell, most of them barely even scrape by with the help of sponsors plastered all over their fight gear.
Two fighters who know this to be true are about to lock horns come September 23 in Saitama, Japan.
Dan "The Handler" Hornbuckle, coming off a brutal head-kick victory over Japanese sensation, Akihiri Gono, is set to square-off against Nick "The Goat" Thompson. Thompson most recently came off of a loss to Strikeforce contender, Tim Kennedy.
Both at the age of 28, could easily be labeled as a "journey-man" in the steadily-rising sport of MMA.
Nick "The Goat" Thompson
Although he lost four out of seven to begin his career, Thompson has a record of 38-11-1 through six years of training.
His experience once landed him inside the UFC's octagon, where he compiled a record of 1-1 before being released and falling back into American obscurity.
He eventually found himself fighting for the promotional efforts of Bodog Fight, where he claimed the welterweight championship over the much smaller fan-favorite, Eddie Alvarez.
Since the beginning of 2006, Thompson has gone 16-3 with a dominant wrestling game and ever-improving strikes, fighting the likes of Karo Parisyan, Chris Wilson, Eddie Alvarez, Jake Shields, and Paul Daley.
Thompson will look to get the lanky Hornbuckle onto his back and end the fight with either a submission or ground-and-pound, no bones about it. Yes, he's improving in his striking game, but his bread and butter is his ground attack.
Dan "The Handler" Hornbuckle
Hornbuckle's travels have been far less fruitful through the years. He racked up a 15-1 record fighting throughout the Midwest, primarily out of his home state of Indiana. The most amazing part about those 15 victories is that he finished his opponents in 14 of them.
Some readers will question, "Against who?"
It's true that Hornbuckle hasn't really fought the best-of-the-best, which is exactly why he chose to test his skills across the seas with World Victory Road's "Sengoku".
Although his debut was unsuccessful against Mike Pyle due to triangle choke, Hornbuckle proved that he wasn't about to duck any competition.
A few fights later, he improved his record to 18-2 with a brutal knock-out over Akihiri Gono, which sent the always-entertaining star to the emergency room.
Like his opponent, Hornbuckle's strengths revolve around his ground attack. His lurch-like striking is effective, but his all-around ground game is his deadliest weapon.
Both fighters have won a majority of their fights due to their attributes in the ground attack.
Unless the MMA Gods are experimenting with the newest drug available, the winner of this fight will most likely be the one who can maintain their position on top.
Undoubtedly, whoever wins will more than likely secure their place inside the hearts of the Japanese-faithful, as well as a suitable paying opportunity in upcoming Sengoku events.