MMA Fighters Who Never Got Over the Hump

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2014

MMA Fighters Who Never Got Over the Hump

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    Andre Penner/Associated Press

    Maintaining acceleration in today's MMA is as difficult as pushing a car up a steep hill.

    You can try all you want, but you just can't quite get it over the hump.

    Well, like many tiresome arms aching in pain behind the back of an old Chevy, fighters experience the same sort of penetrating defeat throughout their careers.

    From one high point to another, they always seem to come up short while their efforts lay wayside.

    It's an unfortunate truth, but one that pays tribute to the overwhelming talent that has filled the MMA deep end for almost 10 years.

    Here are the five most prominent fighters who never could quite make it over that hump.

Melvin Guillard

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    With one of the best athletic pallets you'll ever see, former UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard just never could live up to his potential.

    With the power to knock out any opponent he could get his hands on, The Young Assassin certainly left his mark on one of the most consistently competitive weight classes around.

    However, despite his formidable strength, speed and toughness, Guillard's discipline, patience and unforgiving wrestling defense left him empty handed at the end of any promising run.

    The now 31-year-old did put on some good fights, though, and that's all that really matters at the end of the day

Jon Fitch

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    USA TODAY Sports

    It was difficult to put a fighter who has posted a 14-3-1 UFC record on this list.

    That's hardly the type of production that belongs on the same bulletin board as disappointing.

    However, when you take a step back and realize Jon Fitch did in fact have what it took to win the UFC Welterweight Championship, you begin to think he deserves his billing.

    As one of the very best grinders in the history of MMA, Fitch never seemed to wilt under the pressure of needing to suffice for lesser speed and versatility.

    It was Fitch's technique of suffocating his opponents into inevitable defeat that ultimately labeled him a lay-and-pray fighter, but it's the same offensive output that gave him that promotional stat line. 

Kenny Florian

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Kenny Florian may in fact be MMA's version of former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino—always one of the best around but never able to cash in on his overflowing talent and expertise.

    Like Marino, Florian also made it to the big show before, only to falter on the doorstep of excellence.

    Unlike Marino, Ken-Flo clawed his way to a championship opportunity on three separate occasions.

    Not to mention he also lost in the finale of the inaugural Ultimate Fighter middleweight tournament to Diego Sanchez (who could very well be on this list, too).

    In any case, Florian's overall success and brilliance often gets overlooked when mentioning the best lightweights of all time. 

Michael Bisping

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    USA TODAY Sports

    As it stands today, UFC middleweight mainstay Michael Bisping has never lost back-to-back outings throughout his entire 31-fight career.

    That's pretty impressive in itself, but even more so when you consider the Brit has only tasted defeat at the hands of Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Tim Kennedy.

    Including Kennedy, who is a former Strikeforce kingpin, Bisping's loss column is riddled with former UFC titleholders, world champions and pound-for-pound legends.

    While that's all good and dandy, it's a gigantic testament to the clutch factor that Bisping seemingly lacks.

    Whenever the spotlights were brightest or the stakes the highest, the quick-talking Englishman always pulled the short straw. 

Urijah Faber

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Reluctant is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about finishing this list with Urijah Faber, but at the end of the day, the former WEC featherweight prince has laid a goose egg in three UFC title fights.

    As a matter of fact, Faber's seven career defeats have all been in some sort of title fight.

    While it's amazing to comprehend a reality that offers a fighter who has won "every other fight," it's frustrating to know that a competitor of Faber's caliber just can't put the cherry on top of an extravagant career.

    Luckily, the California Kid should have one more shot to capture his first UFC strap and take out Dominick Cruz in the process.

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