Not everyone makes it to the big time. No matter how much hype some of these up and coming fighters had, many of them never were able to break into the league of elite MMA superstars. While a few may have made it to the level of achieving large endorsement deals or signing hefty contracts, these deals don’t guarantee stardom. Here are some of the biggest busts in UFC history. Are you searching for a Raleigh UFC gym? Call Gracie Raleigh today to learn about our programs.
When he came into the UFC back in 2007, Omigawa was a stout contender. However, after going 0-2, he was cut from the circuit and forced to drop to a different weight class. In 2009, he returned to the UFC in the 145-pound weight class and rejuvenated his career. Given his success and form in Japan, everyone expected that he would become an instant title contender. For his first UFC fight, he was paired against Chad Mendes and lost the bout. While there is no shame in a loss, Omigawa was never able to overcome the differences between U.S. and Japenese MMA and, as a result, he proved to be a big bust.
Japenese fighters are notorious for struggling in the UFC. Hioki hoped to be the exception when he entered the UFC in 2011. Having had an impressive record of 24-4-2 in the octagon and experience in Canada’s TKO cage fighting promotion, Hatsu was already an early favorite to challenge Jose Aldo for the UFC title. After a few early wins in the UFC, a string of devastating losses ended Hioki’s title shot and his career with a record of 3-5.
As the Bellator Lightweight champion and a two-time winner over Michael Chandler, Will Brooks was expected to rise quickly through the UFC ranks to the top of his 155-pound weight class. Though Brooks won his first UFC fight over Ross Pearson, several losses to Oliveira and Lentz were disappointing. While no one has been able to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong for Brooks, his name is now synonymous with a massive bust in UFC history.
When you look past that classic fight with Diego Sanchez, this big name fighter in the UFC has been mostly a disappointment. Arriving in the UFC as the StrikeForce Lightweight champion with an impressive record of 21-2, Melendez was expected to perform well in the UFC. In his debut, he fought for a UFC title against Benson Henderson. He lost the fight. Melendez’s next fight would earn him the nickname El Nino and become known as the Sanchez War. Despite his incredible success and a substantial promotional contract, he hasn’t lived up to all the hype that has surrounded him in the UFC. A string of losses and a suspension for performance-enhancing drug (PED) use have tarnished his reputation in the MMA world.
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Join us next time for more big busts in UFC history.