Kenny Florian and the Top MMA Fighters Who Have Never Won a Belt in the UFC
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Hello, everybody. It's good to be back writing again after more than two and a half months away
This article is inspired by Kenny Florian's decision loss to Gray Maynard at UFC 118. Gray Maynard may be an excellent lightweight, but many people expected Kenny to pull out the win. The betting lines were ridiculous. Mr. Florian is not the first person in the UFC to have their hopes dashed. This list will detail a few of the many fighters to have stepped up and fallen.
This list WILL include fighters who won their championships with Pride and other promotions. This is about UFC belts ONLY.
This is also my first MMA article, so please be gentle in the comments section!
10.Joe "Daddy" Stevenson
This is honestly one of the saddest pictures I have seen involving Americans who aren't homeless. Look at this guy, getting his ass kicked completely, and in every way, shape, and form. He is bleeding from multiple cuts on his face, and it looks almost like he is wearing a mask on his face—a mask of his own hemoglobin.
I also noticed on his Wikipedia page, there is a reason he is nicknamed "Daddy." The guy had two kids with two wives, and just turned 28. A lot of babies for the guy so far!
Anyway, his recent losses have come as a bit of a surprise to me. Despite fighting some of the best around for the past seven fights, four of them have been losses.
Although, a lot of people have lost to BJ Penn, George Sotiropolous, Diego Sanchez, and Kenny Florian, no?
He is a very skilled fighter with great Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. He is a black belt in both, which is very impressive, especially for his young age.
Here are a few of the many fighters Joe has defeated:
Melvin Guillard (also fighting at UFC 119)
9.Nate "The Great" Marquardt
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Quite possibly the most well-rounded fighter in the entire Middleweight division of MMA, he has the skill to one day become a champion.
The thing is, he will have to dethrone Silva, if he wants it any time soon.
That really, is not very likely. So, instead, we shall focus on the things he has done in the past.
He was a King of Pancrase champion on a few occasions. One championship fight he was in with Ricardo Almeida, apparently ended up quite unpleasantly.
Marquardt's changing positions while in a choke kind of fooled the ref into thinking it was a tap. It in fact, was not, so Marquardt kept trying to fight and Almeida held the choke.
Almeida was called off, and when they were standing again, Marquardt hit him, which then made both corners rush in and pull the fighters back.
Although, Renzo Gracie, who was cornering Almeida went ahead and kicked Nate right in the head. Marquardt congratulated Almeida once everything was settles, although you gotta admit....I would be furious if a guy kicked me in the head like that!
Also, is it me or are the Gracies in the middle of every in-ring brawl? The Mayhem/Shields situation, where Cesar Gracie people kicked the living hell out of Mayhem while he was down, as well. I find it rather odd these things only happen with the Gracies....and Diaz brothers of course.
Nate has gone from being great at submissions, to being great with his stand-up and wrestling as well. Truly, a very well-rounded fighter to a T.
He is scheduled to fight Rousimar Palhares in September 15th at UFC Fight Night.
Nate Marquardt has defeated:
Demian Maia (although, I feel that if the fight went past that first punch, he would have eventually lost)
And Shonie Carter
8.Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez
Diego Sanchez has both a fantastic intensity, and an epic nickname
Diego is a wrestler, yet he is very skilled in all ways. He is a good striker, and quite good with his submissions.
He also worked at UPS while training for MMA, and honestly...I can see him in the outfit.
After fighting Josh Koscheck when he was first in the Welterweight division, he was very sick. At first, the diagnosis was he had Hepatitis C, but knowing that was incorrect, he proceeded with the fight as planned. The next day he had a hole in his leg "The size of a coffee cup" and found out it was a staph infection.
Quite frankly, that would be disturbing to have that situation go down, no?
He is also a devout follower of Tony Robbins. Yes, the infomercial Guru behind only Vince from Sham Wow/Slap Chop commercials and Ron Popeil.
But to get back to the fighting, he has moved back to Welterweight. In his first fight back, he lost a unanimous decision to future sensation John Hathaway.
He was completely dominated, and I feel he should never have switched back. He should stick with Lightweight, as he has a much better strength advantage there.
Anyway, Diego Sanchez has given these fighters Nightmares:
And Mike Guymon
7.Renato "Babalu" Sobral
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That half-head right there is one of the most hated men in the sport. Up until the David Heath fight, he was actually a fan favorite, but we all know what he did on that night. It was truly one of the most disgusting showings of a lack of sportsmanship I have EVER seen. It was just plain awful.
Babalu, before becoming a great submissionist, was a great wrestler, being the Brazilian National Champion.
He is well known for his aggressive style, and quite frankly, it is one of my favorites. Aggressive and good submissions, exactly how I try to model my own fighting style. By the way, still learning, so please Angel....don't beat me up!
After being released by the UFC, he has joined Strikeforce in a non-exclusive deal and still fights with a few other promotions.
Renato has wins over:
Chael Sonnen. Also, it was of course the way Sonnen always loses. Sonnen takes someone down, and they proceed to strangle him in a triangle choke. He should have learned that by now, considering he has lost like seven fights that way.
Mike Van Arsdale
Mauricio Rua. Yes, that Mauricio Rua.
And Travis Fulton
6. Dan "Hendo" Henderson
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Now before you dismiss my list here and now, please take notice that Hendo had a number of quality wins, despite being nicknamed "Decision Dan" in his early days.
I feel the win against Bisping is probably enough to make him a little worthy of the spot. He is still probably picking up pieces of his face after that fight.
Henderson is well known for having a chin like a gorilla, and the strength of one to boot.
He has never been knocked out. Almost everyone else has been KO'd, from George St. Pierre to Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueria. Yet, despite all of the other fallen names, Hendo has survived.
The former Olympic wrestler has shown that he has what it takes to take both you and your hopes of winning to the ground and pummel your face.
Despite his recent loss to Jake Shields, I feel like he is still a legitimate fighter. I have to bring it up again, but that Bisping KTFO was RIDICULOUS. He not only broke his face in the punch, but he then proceeded to leap into the air and throw his forearm into the guys face.
I understand they had their differences on The Ultimate Fighter and whatnot, but that was just plain brutal.
Dan Henderson has defeated:
The oh-so-great Vitor Belfort
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria
And Gilbert Yvel
A very nice list of names there, huh?
5. Kenny "K-Flo" Florian
Kenny Florian: The man who could never finish his quest for a title is a fan favorite and most likely who you were expecting to be first on the list.
The thing is, despite all of his accomplishments, he cannot be first. He has not had as lengthy a career as either of the men ahead of him, meaning I feel he can still make it. It is just going to be a very tough road knowing how crazy good the Lightweight division has become.
Florian has the skill to be able to beat just about anyone. His submissions are top-notch, and his Muay Thai is excellent. Also, you can not forget about his "Razor sharp" elbows, as Joe Rogan described them.
He came very close to winning in the Ultimate Fighter as a middleweight, but lost to Diego Sanchez in the final bout.
His history of losing in title fights began when he fought Sean Sherk for the vacant belt in 2006. He lost via unanimous decision.
The second time around, he just so happened to be fighting the greatest Lightweight of all time. Not a great time to do so as well, because a BJ Penn with hair is the most terrifying of all.
BJ had completely dominated Florian for the vast majority of the fight until in the fourth, when he took him down with ease. That eventually led to the second best Rear Naked Choke of all time. Literally, it was like a viper strike. So crazy fast, I highly doubt anyone would have been able to prevent it.
Despite his losses, Florian has defeated the likes of:
Joe "Daddy" Stevenson (still the second greatest nickname ever)
4. Mirko "Cro Cop" Flipovich
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That image right there signifies the past few years for our beloved Croatian. Also, I did not know that Croatian had a second A in it. Thank you, Spell Check.
Just a small little bio on Mr. Flipovich would include the fact that he had a "membership in the Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit, Croatia's elite Police Special Forces tactical unit," where he apparently was far more manly than you or I.
That is also where you get the typical name for him, "Cro Cop" as he was, well, a Croatian Cop. He was also a member of their parliament from 2003-2007
But those are things that have less to do with being in the octagon/ring.
He is famous for his left high kick and has said, "Right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery." You can also verify that with just about anyone he defeated in his career.
He was the first fighter to defeat the ever so skilled Bob Sapp, and he did it in a grand total of 86 seconds.
He won Sherdog's Most Outstanding Fighter in 2006.
He has defeated the likes of:
Choi Hong-Man (how the hell did he get his leg that high!?!)
Josh Barnett on three occasions
He has quite a list of wins, for sure.
3. Jon Fitch
The best wrestler in the division. Yes, I said it. Do you know what puts him ahead of GSP? The beard, most likely, but I feel he is the best ground fighter in the division. Not a great finisher by any means, but the fact is that he wins.
He began his journey to MMA when he was captain of the Purdue wrestling team. His coach, Tom Erikson, had been an MMA fighter and occasionally brought in other MMA fighters, including Mark Coleman and Gary Goodridge.
Basically, he was aware of he money and fame these guys were receiving and he decided he wanted to be among them.
The fact that he began his career in Light Heavy-Weight is baffling. The dude is obviously very lean and skinny, but that is more than thirty pounds in weight difference between that division and Welterweight, where he is now.
I just want to say—he has officially been married. Now, as a rule, he must start getting back into beard shape, or else he will have no chance against GSP, should St. Pierre defeat Koscheck.
Here are a few of the many people Jon Fitch has defeated in his UFC career:
Thiago Alves (twice)
Ben Saunders (8-1 at the time of their fight)
2. Jeremy "Gumby" Horn
Just look at Chael Sonnen to see why Jeremy Horn belongs on this list. He has defeated the terrible submission defense of Sonnen on three separate occasions. But then again, who hasn't at this point, right?
It also doesn't hurt that he has more than 50 wins by submission alone. A total of 86 wins out of 110 bouts. Half of his wins were by submission.
Matt Hughes has credited him with being the man who taught him most of what he knows about submissions.
Despite having 55 submission wins, he actually has said he uses catch wrestling, not so much Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, to win his fights.
He has said many times how he prefers to fight more often more than win. That is obvious, considering he has averaged more than eight fights per year since he first started in 1996.
Although he is very technically talented, he has said he often lack the motivation or focus to win every fight.
Also, let's not forget, he isn't exactly beating cans here. Just look at a few of the names on his list, and please note that many of these guys were in their prime:
Chuck Liddell, who did later avenge the loss. The point is, Horn beat him!
Dean Lister, who also later avenged his loss.
And he is set to fight again on September 23rd again Bryan Baker (13-2).
Wanderlei Silva: Despite being quite possibly the most dominant Light Heavy-Weight of all time, does belong at the top of this list.
UFC only, for championships and his reign of dominance was with the now defunct Pride F/C promotion.
Wanderlei Silva's style of fighting has been one of the fans' favorites.
His kamikaze manner of fighting has always been some of my favorites, especially when he hurts someone and just throws a flurry of punches until the fight is called.
Wanderlei has a professional record of 33-10 with 22 (T)KO wins in his career.
He also has the distinction of being the all-time record holder for most wins and knockouts in Pride history. That alone is enough to put him into first place.
He was the Sherdog Fighter of the Year in 2004.
He is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, to go along with his excellent Muay Thai.
His domination of Rampage in Pride was amazing. It was really Wandy in his prime. There was literally no stopping him in those days. I am almost surprised they didn't shut down the division.
From 1999-2004, he won 18 straight fights, excluding a draw against Mirko Cro Cop and a No Contest against Gilbert Yvel, where he accidentally kicked him in the groin.
He has defeated the likes of:
Keith Jardine—when he wasn't the butt of every MMA joke.
Kazushi Sakuraba, three times.
And most recently, Michael Bisping.
What Do You Think?
Thank you again for reading my article, with special thanks to Angel Rafael Cordero for convincing me to finally write again!
Also, thanks are in order to: James Ryan, Robert Gardner, Brian Oswald, and Colton Whittemore for inspiration!