MMA Five Ounces of Pain: The 10 biggest underachievers in MMA (according to CNBCsports)

Discussion in 'OT Bar' started by Atmosphere, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. Atmosphere

    Atmosphere PURPLE DREAM

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    Unless you're a diehard MMA fan, chances are you somehow missed a Hardcore Championship Fighting event that took place in Edmonton, Canada this past weekend in which former UFC welterweight contender Joe Riggs defeated Dan Chambers.

    For Riggs, it was a much needed win. He had not fought since a loss to Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 7 following a knee to the head at just 1:45 into the first round. That was last December.

    With the victory, Riggs' career will likely continue with Zuffa under the banner of the WEC, the sister-company of the UFC.

    While the win was clearly a positive, it still left me wondering how the enigmatic Riggs ended up as an afterthought on a show that was conducted miles away from the epicenter of MMA. He is clearly one of the sport's biggest underachievers, and it got me thinking: Where does Riggs rank on the list of biggest underachievers currently in MMA?

    Based on the Riggs question, I decided to compile a list of the 10 biggest underachievers in MMA and rank them in order. For the purposes of this article, I decided to present them from 10-to-1 instead of 1-to-10 because I always find countdowns that open with their No. 1 choice to be anti-climatic.

    Before I get to my list, I wanted to issue a disclaimer. While some people might consider this list to be negative, a fighter wasn't able to make this list unless he had talent to begin with.

    The odd thing is, despite the string of disappointing performances by the fighters on this list, I consider myself a fan of most of them. There's also no denying that the sport of MMA would be even more enjoyable to watch if any of the names on this list were able to compete to their full potential.

    10. Alistair Overeem: The Dutch-born kickboxer is a tremendous athlete who has lost to the likes of Chuck Liddell, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (twice), Ricardo Arona, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Fabricio Werdum. On the verge of breaking into the world's elite at 205 pounds, it seemed like the only thing that prevented Overeem from doing so was his lack of conditioning. After a 14-fight career in Pride, he is now competing for K-1's MMA promotion, Hero's. The problem is that Overeem is just fighting to keep himself relevant in MMA when he should be fighting to prove that he's one of the sport's best.

    9. Carter Williams: Williams shocked the kickboxing world in 2003 when he won K-1's U.S. Grand Prix at the age of 23. Entering the tournament as an 18-to-1 underdog, Williams took out the likes of Michael McDonald, Rick Roufus and Dewey Cooper on the way to the tournament title. The sky appeared to be the limit for Williams following his strong showing, but he's never come close to reaching his full potential in the years since. His disappointing ways have carried over into MMA when he showed up 20 pounds overweight for his June 22 bout on the undercard of the Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni main event. Williams was knocked out by Paul Buentello at 0:10 into the second round and it was later revealed he had tested positive for cocaine during a pre-fight drug screening. If "The Beast" spent less time at the club and more time at the gym, there's no telling how far he could go.

    8. Kevin Randleman: Considered a contemporary to fellow former standout college wrestlers such as Randy Couture and Mark Coleman, Randleman has failed to achieve even a small fraction of the success that they've accomplished in MMA. Randleman's downfall has been his insistence of relying almost exclusively on his world class wrestling ability. If he had devoted himself to a standup discipline he would have matched Coleman and Couture's level of success. Currently on suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after attempting to cheat a urine test, Randleman is rumored to be mounting a comeback while training under the guidance of Shawn Tompkins. Tompkins is currently one of the best striking coaches in MMA and could be exactly what Randleman needs.

    7. Frank Mir: Once the poster boy of the UFC's heavyweight division, Mir is currently known more for his excellent work as a commentator on WEC WrekCage on the Versus network. Mir hasn't been the same since being involved in a serious motorcycle accident several years back and based on his appearance during his comeback fights, looks to have slacked off on his conditioning. Few heavyweights have better submission skills than Mir so it would be a mistake to write him off just yet. Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, and if he doesn't show something against kickboxing standout Antoni Hardonk at UFC 74 on Aug. 25, then it might be time for Mir to focus solely on his broadcasting career.

    6. Evan Tanner: An original Team Quest member, Tanner is a well-rounded fighter with good submission wrestling and strong boxing skills. Unfortunately, personal demons outside of the fight game have derailed a brilliant career that has seen Tanner not only hold the UFC middleweight title but also defeat Phil Baroni, Robbie Lawler, Paul Buentello, Heath Herring and David Terrell. Now 36, time is not on Tanner's side. However, there still could be time for one more run at the title; he's reportedly back in training with Chute Boxe USA and might be making a comeback in the UFC this September.

    5. David Loiseau: A talented striker who has a rare ability of defending himself when he gives his back to a fighter, Loiseau was on top of the world following a TKO victory over Evan Tanner at UFC Fight Night 2 in October of 2005. However, "The Crow" has been caught in a downward spiral ever since, beginning with a lackluster performance against Rich Franklin during a UFC middleweight title bout at UFC 58. Loiseau was then unceremoniously dropped by the UFC following another tentative effort during a unanimous decision loss to Mike Swick at UFC 63. Things seemed to be turning around for him after signing a lucrative three-fight deal with EliteXC. However, Loiseau looked like he was sleep walking during yet another unanimous decision loss, this time against Joey Villasenor at EliteXC's debut card on February 10. After snapping a three fight losing streak while fighting for the Art of War promotion on May 11, Loiseau will look to rebuild his once promising career. He's still only 27 and has been relatively injury free during his career. As such, there's a realistic opportunity for him to regain everything he lost so long as he starts fighting aggressively again.

    4. Yves Edwards: Watching Edwards in person compete for Bodog Fight in Trenton, N.J. on July 14 triggered a range of emotions as I watched him enter the ring to fight Jorge Masvidal. A personal favorite for several years, I was excited just for the chance to see Edwards fight but was depressed that he was doing so in an arena that was only one third full. Once one of the top lightweight strikers in the world, I was at a loss when trying to figure out why he wasn't competing for the UFC lightweight title in the middle of a packed arena. My perplexed state ended after Edwards was knocked out at 2:19 into the second round following a high kick by Masvidal. With five losses in his past six fights, Edwards needs to do some soul searching and see if he can get back to being the fighter who holds wins over the likes of Hermes Franca (twice), Josh Thomson, Rich Clementi and Dokonjonosuke Mishima.

    3. Joe Riggs: The inspiration for this column, Riggs is considered a beast when it comes to training. When I hear fighters who have trained with Riggs talk about him, they describe him as a future world champion. Injuries and issues outside of the cage have no doubt held him back, but there has to be a bigger reason why the fighter so many others have raved about comes up small in actual fights. Only 24, it's way too early in the game to write off a guy who once weighed over 300 pounds and has also had to deal with the death of an infant child. If Riggs can stay healthy, fight exclusively as a middleweight and remain focused, there's no reason why he still can't develop into an elite fighter. The tools are all there, he just needs to utilize them.

    2. B.J. Penn: You might be asking, what is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world doing on this list? But that's the issue; why are we talking about him as one of the best and not the best?

    Penn is the Roy Jones Jr. of MMA: he's a multi-dimensional fighter capable of being dominant in multiple weight classes. Like Jones, Penn possesses a level of athletic prowess unrivaled by most of his peers.

    If Penn dedicated himself to conditioning to the extent he did in his preparation for his fight against Jens Pulver at the TUF 5 finale he'd be capable of being the first fighter in history of holding the lightweight, welterweight and middleweight title on a simultaneous basis. There might be those who consider that a melodramatic statement, but how many fighters are out there who posses both Abu Dhabi grappling ability and K-1 standup skills?

    1. Vitor Belfort: In addition to being a former UFC light heavyweight champion, Belfort also holds career victories over Tank Abbott, Wanderlei Silva, Gilbert Yvel, Heath Herring, Marvin Eastman and Randy Couture (due to a cut from an inadvertent thumb poke). His list of career losses is even more impressive and includes Couture, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, and Dan Henderson. The bottom line is that Belfort was at one juncture a big time fighter who fought in big time fights.

    The fact that so many pundits talk about him in the past tense speaks volumes because he's only 30. If Belfort had solved the mental aspect of fighting we might be referring to him as the top 205-pound fighter in the world. He's one of the best natural boxers in the light heavyweight division and received a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu from Carlson Gracie.

    His next fight is scheduled for Sept. 22, but it won't be for the UFC in Anaheim, Calif. Instead, he'll be headlining for the UK-based Cage Rage promotion. There's still plenty of time for him to get it together and make another run, but it's unlikely to happen for a major promotion in North America. That's because Belfort tested positive for steroids following his loss to Henderson at Pride 32 and defied the Nevada State Athletic Commission's mandate by fighting before fully serving his nine-month suspension.

    Others who received consideration

    • K.J. Noons: Noons is a prodigy, having practiced martial arts since the age of five and being the son of a former professional kickboxer. He hasn't fought in an MMA bout since a disappointing loss to Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett during EliteXC's inaugural card on Feb. 10. Noons might be best served by putting his boxing career on hold and focusing solely on MMA. He'll get a shot at redemption when he competes in the main event of Showtime's debut ShoXC card on July 27 against Edson Berto. Once Noons improves his ground game, he'll be capable of competing for any promotion in the world.

    • Ricco Rodriguez: A former UFC heavyweight champion, Rodriguez has let himself go and now languishes on the small promotion circuit as a super heavyweight (265 pounds plus). He has more than enough ability on the ground to still be a relevant commodity as a light heavyweight for a major promotion if he would just get serious about his career.

    • David Terrell: Terrell was considered the future of the UFC's middleweight division after knocking out Matt Lindland just 24 seconds into the first round during his UFC debut on Aug. 24, 2004. He's fought just twice since the win due to various injuries but is rumored to be considering a comeback as a light heavyweight.

    • Gabe Ruediger: His TUF 5 meltdown has obscured his credentials: a fighter who had competed in the UFC prior to his failed foray into reality TV that also is a strong fighter on the ground. With a pro MMA record of 10-3, Ruediger was actually one of the favorites to win TUF 5 and would likely still have a valid UFC contract had he made weight. I don't think we've heard the last of him.

    • Chris Lytle: Known for his excellent standup, Lytle's ground game is extremely underrated. A fighter with his talents is capable of a lot more than what he has accomplished thus far.


    SOURCE BOXING - CBS SportsLine.com
     
  2. jmx2323

    jmx2323 OT Supporter

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    good list, i agree with it for the most part
     
  3. checkii

    checkii ฝรั่งตาน้ำข้าว

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    krazy horse shoudl have gotten a nod as well. too many to really list, bu i think the guy did a decent job pickign names, but a terrible job explaining why. poorly written, but a good concept
     
  4. Atmosphere

    Atmosphere PURPLE DREAM

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    if it weren't for his improvement and drop in weight classes, i'd put Ninja in the Dishonorable Mention category



    sans the Rampage fight :o
     
  5. Optamix

    Optamix New Member

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    Though I agree(somewhat with BJ Penn) I would have dropped him and stuck Ricco Rodriguez somewhere in the list.

    Good read though.
     
  6. MyLittleAirport

    MyLittleAirport OT Supporter

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    No Yoon Dong Sik?

    Motherfucker was thrown into the game with only Judo under his belt and finally achieves a win over a vicious striker after a war??

    A crime!
     
  7. apman0000

    apman0000 OT Supporter

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    carter should be in the top 3 on that list IMo and BJ s shouldn't be listed
     
  8. Phill A. Peno

    Phill A. Peno It's Filipino, stupid. OTTC, Cycling Crew, WRX Cr OT Supporter

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    Good read, a LOT better than I expected.
     
  9. 2ofdem

    2ofdem OT Supporter

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    Brandon Vera
     
  10. checkii

    checkii ฝรั่งตาน้ำข้าว

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    wtf are you talking about?
     
  11. MyLittleAirport

    MyLittleAirport OT Supporter

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    ooO.. wait... underachievers.. scratch that yoon dong sik off :o
     
  12. ITR06

    ITR06 OT Supporter

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    fuck first guy that poped in my head was vitor. I was looking at his record the other day on sherdog, remembering all the great fights he has put on. I always tend to scroll over his age thinking he was around the same age as couture, reading this column and seeing he is only 30 baffles me more why he is not 1 of the top contenders.
     
  13. bpa00

    bpa00 New Member

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    Pretty good list.... I'm not sure about Carter Williams, although he is a huge disappointment, he is really a k-1 fighter who occasionally dabbles in MMA....
     
  14. drakkon

    drakkon Member

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    and coke :rofl:
     
  15. 2ofdem

    2ofdem OT Supporter

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    For a guy so talented he has never looked like being a contender in any weight division or organisation. Be that his managements fault or his but he has not acheived anywhere near what he should have hence underacheived.
     
  16. Neal&Bob

    Neal&Bob New Member

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    he roided his ass off back in the day, same with coleman and a lot of others. Its hard for some to keep that conditioning/strength w/o steroids. Hell, Vitor just failed a drug test on his last fight for christ sake.
     
  17. Jeebus

    Jeebus Well-Known Member

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    KNOCK KNOCK! LOL!
    I came here with low expectations since it was a major network's article, but for the most part its pretty right-on. :cool:
     
  18. checkii

    checkii ฝรั่งตาน้ำข้าว

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    what are you talkigng about?
    he's had 6 of his 8 fights pretty much in the past 2 years, finishing off every person, has looked like plenty much of a contender, was offered a title shot, and has just been unable to fight for the past 6 months due to legal problems, but will likely get to fight one or two times before the end of 07. How the hell is that under achieving?
     
  19. tidbits

    tidbits the POPE

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    I would disagree that Penn has K-1 calibre standup, the other points about him I do agree with.
     
  20. Jeebus

    Jeebus Well-Known Member

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    I think his sister being raped and killed sorta fucked him up for a bit.
     
  21. checkii

    checkii ฝรั่งตาน้ำข้าว

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    Agreed. he has great MMA striking, not a K-1 striker though.
     
  22. SCirone

    SCirone Moderator

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    Take a look at his fight record and the day his siter went missing
     
  23. Atmosphere

    Atmosphere PURPLE DREAM

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    he has beef with the UFC due to money and contractual issues, not talent
     
  24. checkii

    checkii ฝรั่งตาน้ำข้าว

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    its no beef with the UFC, he is stuck in litigation with his old manager and can't fight or renew his contract until the litigation is over. Dana isnt going to have him fight without propper representation and the ability to resign with the end of the current contract.

    court should be done in a week or two, i am pretty sure he has a new manager waiting in the wings, then its a matter of workign things out with the UFC which I cant imagine will be too tough.
     
  25. Atmosphere

    Atmosphere PURPLE DREAM

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    not beef like Trigg, Penn, or Barrnett's beef, but he just wanted more money and the UFC wasn't willing for the longest time. that's why he signed with the WFA(?) before they tanked, wasn't it?
     

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