The UFC has had many fighters come and go, some with success and some with disappointment. Some guys come into the UFC riding momentum and win streaks, but some just can’t live up to the hype. Not every fighter can be Jon Jones or Anderson Silva, and most fighters know that from the start.
The UFC is a cut throat business where a two-fight losing streak can tear down a fighter’s dream. Year after year we hear, about the next big thing in MMA. Maybe sometimes the expectations are set a little bit too high.
This isn’t about the guys who lived up to the hype, but rather about the guys who never had a chance to live up to that hype. Don’t be disappointed by this list.
Jorge Santiago was an interesting fighter after he made his return to the octagon this past May. Santiago burst onto the scene all the way back in 2006 when he knocked out Justin Levens with a knee at UFC Fight Night 5. He then got knocked out by Chris Leben and Alan Belcher and received his walking papers.
Dana White threw him right into the fire as his comeback fight was against highly touted prospect Brian Stann.
Stann dismantled Santiago as he finished him in the second round with punches. Santiago was then given another contender when he took on Demian Maia at UFC 136. He lost a decision in a very lackluster performance.
Santiago was then released from the UFC a couple of weeks back. That hype train was derailed quickly, as he finished with a UFC record of 1-4. Only if his cool sunglasses had the power to get him wins in the UFC.
Nebraska native Houston Alexander was once known as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport.
Alexander came into the UFC with a 6-1 record. He was thrown into a fight with Keith Jardine in his debut. Jardine was coming off of a win over Forrest Griffin and felt Houston didn’t deserve to fight him.
Alexander shut him up in 48 seconds as he ran through the “Dean of Mean.” Houston Alexander then messed up Alessio Sakara in a little over a minute.
He then may have been biting off more than he could chew as he faced Thiago Silva and was knocked out in the first round. Alexander would never see a UFC win again as he was knocked out in eight seconds by James Irvin, then followed up with consecutive UFC losses to Eric Schafer and Kimbo Slice.
Maybe “The Assassin” wasn’t ready for the spotlight or maybe he was too old for the sport. Alexander is now 39 years of age and bouncing around organizations. He should have thought about working on his robot punching style...then maybe, just maybe he would still be around.
Ok I’ll probably take some heat for this one. Kevin Ferguson, who is better known as Kimbo Slice, appeared in the spotlight after he beat up random dude after random dude on YouTube. Kimbo got a shot in EliteXC and knocked out Bo Cantrell in 19 seconds.
Kimbo then beat Tank Abbott and then nearly escaped against James Thompson. Everybody knows what happened next, he got knocked out by a legit fighter in Seth Petruzelli and EliteXC hit the ground harder than Kimbo did.
Dana White decided to give the Internet superstar a chance on The Ultimate Fighter 10. The season was captivating, but he was laid on by Roy Nelson and knocked out of the show. Dana then gave him a dream matchup against Houston Alexander at the finale. He won the decision in one of the worst fights known to man.
Somehow, the UFC convinced everyone that Kimbo is a contender as he was put on the main card of UFC 113 against Matt Mitrione. He got beaten up and was then sent walking after the fight.
Maybe not a huge disappointment because he didn’t have that much hype going into his UFC career, but regardless, people wanted to see him in the octagon, and he let people down.
Don’t fear the beard.
Karo Parisyan was once touted as one of the top prospects in Mixed Martial Arts as he holds wins over Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, Matt Serra and Nick Thompson. Those four wins all came in a row and all in the UFC.
The Judo king would drop a decision to Diego Sanchez, but then seemed poised for a title run after he reeled off three wins in a row. “The Heat” Parisyan was knocked out by Thiago Alves then defeated Dong Hyun Kim via decision.
The win was changed to a No Decision as Parisyan tested positive for painkillers. Then the downward spiral began, as he was also suspended for nine months.
Parisyan pulled out of a fight with Dustin Hazelett on the Thursday before UFC 106 and cited personal issues.
“The Heat” just recently made his unexpected UFC comeback at UFC 123 when he was stopped by Dennis Hallman. He had all the potential in the world, but couldn’t get his head in the right place. It’s more sad than disappointing.
It wasn’t long into Brandon Vera’s career before people started talking. Vera burst onto the UFC scene with a finish of Fabiano Scherner in his debut with some of the nastiest knees ever seen. He then ran through Justin Eilers and Assuerio Silva to get a marquee matchup against Frank Mir.
He dispatched Mir like no one ever had as he laid him out in a little over a minute. Vera may have spoken to soon, as he then said that he will be the first-ever fighter to hold titles in two divisions (light-heavyweight and heavyweight).
Vera lost a decision to Tim Sylvia and then was knocked out by Fabricio Werdum. Hypetrain derailed.
He did win three of his next four, but was then overmatched in his next three fights against Randy Couture, Jon Jones and Thiago Silva.
Vera will probably never reach a title fight, as he is now 34 years old and maybe he was simply overhyped. He claims to be re-born fight after fight, but he will most likely just remain a gatekeeper for the rest of his career.
Maybe Vera should change his nickname from the “Truth” to the “Disappointment.” That’s the truth.