Jason “Mayhem” Miller was on the wrong end of a lopsided blitzkrieg at the TUF 14 Finale courtesy of Michael “The Count” Bisping. In so far as one-sided trouncings go and UFC hype trains being derailed, Mayhem isn’t the first and most definitely won’t be the last fighter to fail miserably when much was expected in a sport as unforgiving as MMA.
Don’t get me wrong, Mayhem isn’t just all hype and no substance—he’s a decent enough fighter, however, sometimes the pomp and pageantry as well as the eliteness of UFC combatants can overwhelm even the best of them.
Even though it’s not overly momentous (it could be if the rumours are true that he’s on the verge of being cut), Mayhem’s unsuccessful return to the Octagon since UFC 52 has to count as a bust.
At present, there are some fighters who have jumped ship to the UFC or have been head-hunted on the pretext of being something out of the ordinary, only to suffer ignominious defeats and sometimes a fast exit out of the Zuffa-based company.
Here’s a look at the five biggest busts currently residing in the UFC.
The former Strikeforce middleweight champion can count Dan “H-Bomb” Henderson, Paul “Semtex” Daley, Robbie “Ruthless” Lawler, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Martin “Hitman” Kampmann and Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit as some of his victims.
With wins over fighters of that calibre, Shields more or less was primed for UFC stardom.
In his second fight for the company, Shields was given the opportunity of vying for UFC glory in his battle with pound-for-pound welterweight king Georges “Rush” St-Pierre at UFC 129.
In a lackluster performance, he came up short, but hey, he was up against one of the best welterweights in MMA history, so for that he can be forgiven.
Nevertheless, his 53-second demolition at the hands of Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger a fight later is hard to swallow, given that so much was expected of him.
Though, his loss to Ellenberger could've been attributed to the passing away of his father at the time.
Still, I’ve taken that on board, but there’s no easy way of putting it—Shields is a bust.
What is there not to say about “The Axe Murderer?”
Pride legend, human steamroller, vicious decimator, in the realms of brutality dished out to opponents, Wanderlei Silva stands alone.
Silva is in a class of his own—nonpareil for all MMA eternity.
Therein laid the problem, when Silva made the switch to UFC, the media and the fans were expecting the unforgiving Silva of the Pride days, the same Silva that systematically destroyed the tough-as-nails Rampage not once, but twice.
In the end, what the UFC had acquired was a shell of the former Pride assassin—Silva had past his best, his punch resistance had gone and in some respects, he was a side show for those who’d never witnessed his sheer brutality in the flesh or anywhere else for that matter.
At present, Silva is 3-3 in the UFC having lost two of those (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Chris “The Crippler” Leben) via the same violent way he was so quick to administer to his opponents.
I would love to give Silva a pass for all that he’s given the fans and MMA in general, but the fact remains he failed on the biggest stage of them all and for that he’s a bust.
The self-proclaimed future of the light heavyweight division’s fall from grace has been meteoric to say the least.
One minute, Ryan Bader was in contendership for the UFC light heavyweight crown, the next he was headlining the televised preliminary card at UFC 139.
“Darth,” The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 winner, made a name for himself in the UFC by knocking out a fading Keith Jardine and also won a unanimous decision over Antônio Rogério “Little Nog” Nogueira.
Next stop for the NCAA Division I wrestler was the current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones.
Jones went on to dismantle Bader in two rounds via modified guillotine choke.
Needless to say, there was no disgrace in losing to Jones, given what he’s accomplished thus far in his career.
Be that as it may, it’s a different thing altogether when you call out an irrelevant former UFC light heavyweight champion in the guise of Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz as a stepping stone to get back in the 205 mix, but then to lose per se, is humiliation enough.
Though recently, Bader has made some headway by knocking out Jason Brilz at UFC 139, and is now slated to throw down with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 144—a tough matchup for any light heavyweight.
So, Bader makes the bust cut for the simple fact that he had the potential, but all that went up in smoke.
The UFC had high hopes for Brandon Vera, and he himself thought he was the next coming.
Initially, he contested at heavyweight where he defeated former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir via TKO.
After that win, things started looking rosy for “The Truth.”
In his next two fights, however, he lost to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum.
At that point, it seemed the 205-pound division would be a much better bet at achieving UFC gold.
It was not to be, he lost to Keith Jardine and, more embarrassingly, to an aging and soon-to-be-retired Randy “The Natural” Couture.
Then in the main-event of UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones, he was steamrolled by the latter which resulted in Vera suffering severe facial injuries due to elbow strikes—injuries that would later require surgery.
By then, The Truth was slowly beginning to manifest into a pathological lie.
Vera suffered his worst humiliation to date when at UFC 125, Thiago Silva not only rearranged his nose, but to add insult to injury, he proceeded to contemptuously b***h slap him at will.
The fight, however, was ruled a no contest as Silva failed a post-fight drug test.
Vera was subsequently released by the organization, but was later rehired due to the Silva fiasco.
As with Ryan Bader, once a headline and co-main event act, he now finds himself warming the hot seat of the preliminary Facebook card, as was witnessed in his win against Eliot Marshall at UFC 137.
If ever there was a bust, then Vera’s your man.
How the mighty have fallen.
And finally, the biggest bust of them all, Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy.
Hardy was part of a trio of top British fighters to pit their skills against the upper-echelon fighters that the world’s best mixed martial arts organization had to offer—Paul “Semtex” Daley and Michael “The Count” Bisping being the other two.
In his first foray at UFC 89, Hardy won a hard fought battle to clinch a split decision win over Akihiro Gono.
Next up for the Nottingham-born fighter was Rory Markham, a fight that Hardy looked every bit of what his sobriquet suggested—he blasted out Markham in 69 seconds of the first round.
If that was a sign of things to come, well, his next two fights would prove otherwise—two decision wins against Marc Davis and Mike “Quick” Swick and that’s all she wrote for the cowboy.
What ensued after those fights was definitely not High Noon material—he lost four matchups in succession.
Three of those losses though, came against Georges St-Pierre (UFC welterweight championship bout), a knockout to Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.
Still, disappointing whichever way you look at it.
Worse was to follow, as he got left high and dry in Brew City via submission, courtesy of Chris “Lights Out” Lytle who subsequently retired after that fight.
The nickname "The Outlaw" sounds more of a misnomer with every passing fight, and yet he’s still an employee of the UFC.
Is it nepotism on the part of the UFC brass or is it just a case of UFC supremo Lorenzo Fertitta's fondness for guys that like to war?