10 MMA Fighters Who Squandered Their Natural Talent

Jeffrey McKinneyContributor IIINovember 15, 2011

10 MMA Fighters Who Squandered Their Natural Talent

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    Like any other sport, MMA has athletes who at one time or another seem destined for greatness. 

    Some fighters reach their full potential, while others just can't seem to get over the hump. 

    Whether you like a fighter or not, it's sad to see one who could have become greater than what they were. 

    Here's a list of those fighters who have wasted their talents. 

Lee Murray

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    Lee Murray was a middleweight from England who had won all of his fights by KO or submission.

    In fact, Murray had an MMA record of 8-2-1 (1).

    Murray, though,  was involved in trouble—which includes street brawls, allegedly knocking out Tito Ortiz, and being involved in a robbery that landed him in jail for 25 years.

Roger Huerta

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    When Roger Huerta faced Kenny Florian at UFC 87, he was 20-1-1 (1), was the first MMA fighter to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and was well on his way to a title shot.

    Huerta lost the fight to Florian, as well as three of his next four fights, left MMA to pursue acting and was involved in a street fight against a linebacker at the University of Texas.

    Huerta could have been one of the greatest fighters in MMA history.

    Instead, he is now trying to find the spark he once had. 

Ricardo Arona

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    With wins over Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Alistair Overeem and Wanderlie Silva, Ricardo Arona was one of the best MMA fighters during his time in PRIDE. 

    Although he never won a title there, he was looked at as one of the top contenders for the company. 

    Arona went 12-2 in his first 14 fights, but had a subpar 2-3 in his final five. 

    At age 33, Arona could still have some fight left in him, but he may never be the same fighter he once was. 

Paulo Filho

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    Much like Ricardo Arona, Filho may be one of the best fighters never to fight in the UFC.

    Filho had a good run in PRIDE and won the WEC middleweight title.

    In his first 21 fights, Filho was 20-1 and defeated fighters like Chael Sonnen, Melvin Manhoef and Murlio Rua.

    Filho would go 2-3-2 in his next seven fights.

    After a battle with substance abuse, Filho retired from MMA. 

Kevin Randleman

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    Kevin Randleman could have been one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. 

    After winning the UFC heavyweight title, Randleman became a household name in PRIDE, winning his first three fights there and defeating Mirko Cro Cop while he was in his prime. 

    Since the Cro Cop fight, Randleman has gone 2-9, which includes two four-fight losing streaks. 

Brandon Vera

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    After winning his first eight fights, Brandon Vera had people thinking that he was going to run through the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions.

    Vera was supposed to fight Tim Sylvia for the heavyweight title, but a contract dispute put an end to that. 

    Vera returned nearly a year after he was supposed to get a title shot and lost to Sylvia. 

    In his last 10 fights, Vera has gone 4-5 (1) and was cut by the UFC only to be brought back after Thiago Silva failed a drug test after their fight. 

    Vera was able to get back in the win column last month, but he will never be what he once was. 

BJ Penn

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    B.J. Penn will go down as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history.

    He will also be one of the most debated fighters because of how much better he could have been. 

    Despite being the only man besides Randy Couture to win a UFC title in two different weight divisions, Penn was often criticized for coming into fights unmotivated and out of shape. 

    At just 32 years old, Penn decided it was time for him to hang up the gloves for now. 

    Penn only posted a 1-3-1 record in his last five fights. 

Karo Parisyan

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    Once upon a time, Karo Parisyan was one of the best welterweights in the UFC. 

    Parisyan had wins over Chris Lytle, Nick Diaz and Matt Serra. 

    Parisyan has had his fair share of trouble and personal issues, though. 

    After originally defeating Dong Hyun Kim, Parisyan tested positive for banned pain killers. 

    Parisyan was given many chances to fight in the UFC, but after having panic attacks that caused him to be pulled from fights and a quick loss to Dennis Hallman, Parisyan was cut from the UFC once again. 

Nate Marquardt

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    For years Nate Marquardt was one of the best middleweights in the UFC.

    Marquardt was one of the top contenders in the division and was always a couple of fights away from another title shot.

    Despite his greatness, Marquardt has had his issues.

    Marquardt tested positive for a banned substance in his UFC debut. Earlier in the year, Marquardt was cut from the UFC for failing medicals after having high levels of testosterone.  

Fedor Emelianenko

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    Fedor is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.

    His record of going unbeaten in nearly 10 years may never be topped.

    So how is he a waste of talent?

    Because of his management, Fedor never got the chance to fight some of the greatest fighters in the UFC.

    Fedor has beaten some big names in MMA, but he has also faced fighters who were never top-level fighters.