UFC 136 Results: Chael Sonnen and 5 Fighters Who Proved Cage Rust Is a Myth
When fighters are unable to enter the cage for an extended period of time, fans and analysts alike quickly point to ring rust as being a major factor in their next bout.
Whether they were out due to injury or poor circumstances, mixed martial artists that are inactive for a significant length of time do not usually find success when the reenter the cage.
Saturday's UFC 136 was a perfect example as to why this notion of ring rust may not be all it's cracked up to be.
Two top warriors shook off the dust and battled their way to take the victory.
UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar bounced back from a ten month layoff to retain the title while former middleweight top contender Chael Sonnen took the win over Brian Stann after being out for over a year.
Here are the top six fighters that prove ring rust may be just a myth.
6. Frankie Edgar
At Saturday night's UFC 136, UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar showed that ring rust does not affect everyone equally.
Edgar last fought at UFC 125 on January 1, facing top contender Gray Maynard in a bout that was ruled a draw.
Their rematch was 10 months in the making, as injuries to both parties forced Edgar and Maynard to wait until October to settle the score.
Initially, Edgar was again rocked early in the fight, absorbing massive blows from Maynard in the first round.
However, Edgar battled back in the second round, taking the upper hand and showing that he has improved greatly since their last fight. In the fourth round, Edgar finally defeated his rival, knocking Maynard out with a flurry of punches against the cage.
Not letting the layoff affect his skills, Edgar defended his belt in emphatic fashion.
5. Josh Koscheck
After coaching the 12th season of the Ultimate Fighter, Josh Koscheck finally got his rematch against UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 124.
The bout proved to be a bloody and painful one for the challenger, as St-Pierre's vicious jab battered Koscheck's eye, a major factor in the unanimous decision win for the champion.
Koscheck's eye was so battered that air pockets formed around his broken orbital bone, preventing him from flying and forcing him to take a 10-month layoff before coming back to the Octagon.
Facing Matt Hughes at UFC 135, Koscheck did not miss a beat, as he viciously handed Hughes a first-round knockout, possibly retiring the UFC Hall of Famer.
This exciting win for the former top contender showed that ring rust was not a factor for Koscheck.
4. Jorge Rivera
Veteran middleweight Jorge Rivera is no stranger to extended layoffs.
At UFC 67 in February 2007, Rivera was knocked out in just 14 seconds by former UFC middleweight Terry Martin. Rivera broke his jaw in that fight and was unable to fight again for almost a year.
Rivera came back at UFC 80 in January 2008, taking on Ultimate Fighter alum Kendall Grove.
Wasting no time, Rivera came out swinging and knocked out Grove just 1:20 into the first round.
This win was an impressive comeback for Rivera after suffering such a harsh injury.
3. Rashad Evans
No fighter has had worse luck with delays in his fights more than Rashad Evans.
The former UFC light-heavyweight champion was poised to take on then-champion Shogun Rua after he defeated Rampage Jackson at UFC 114. Rua was coming off an injury after defeating Lyoto Machida for the title and was due to be ready for Evans at UFC 128 in March.
Evans had an opportunity to take a fight prior to his planned bout with Rua but opted to wait for the title.
However, Evans then suffered an injury himself, allowing former teammate Jon Jones to take the belt.
The former champion was then scheduled to take on rising prospect Phil Davis at UFC 133, but an injury to Davis made Tito Ortiz step up to take on Evans.
Finally with an opponent and back in the Octagon, Evans looked fantastic in his rematch with Ortiz, knocking him out in the second round.
Now forced to wait yet again before getting his shot at the title, Evans should have no trouble with the layoff this time around and will likely take a fight as he waits for the winner of Jones versus Machida.
2. Chael Sonnen
UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen was able to shake off the ring rust when he took on Brian Stann this weekend at UFC 136.
Suspended indefinitely after testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone, Sonnen was out of the fight game for over a year after he almost took the title from UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 117.
Sonnen also had to deal with a money-laundering scandal that almost landed him in jail.
Finally back in the Octagon at UFC 136, Sonnen imposed his will on Stann, repeatedly taking him down and smothering him from the top.
Sonnen ended the fight with an arm triangle and possibly won himself another date with Silva.
1. Brock Lesnar
The former UFC heavyweight champion took the title from Randy Couture in November 2008, finishing the five-time champion in the second round of UFC 91.
Lesnar was ready to take on then-interim champion Frank Mir in a title unification bout at UFC 98, but the fight was postponed due to a knee injury to Mir.
Facing each other at UFC 100, Lesnar brutally beat down the former champion, taking another second-round TKO win.
Lesnar then suffered from diverticulitis, a digestive disease that sidelined him for almost a year. Questions arose as to whether he would ever fight again.
Fortunately, Lesnar returned against Shane Carwin at UFC 116. Rocked hard in the first round, Lesnar battled back in the second, taking down Carwin and finishing him with an arm triangle choke.
This amazing bounce back from a long layoff and a serious illness makes Lesnar one of the best examples as to why ring rust may be a fallacy.
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