Halloween has a tendency to blow things out of proportion from movies coming out for the season, to theme parks who decorate in a spooky theme, to various haunted house attractions, to local spooky legends. MMA has also had a tendency to blow fighters out of proportion, if they are able to pull off an upset, or come from their root discipline with many accolades that don’t translate to MMA.
Here we go with the top ten fighters that have been blown out of proportion in some way. Just to clarify this doesn’t cover aging vets or longtime UFC fighters:
~ 10 ~
Thomas Ramirez is remembered primarily because of the man he faced in his only fight. The UFC 8: David vs. Goliath tournament was in Puerto Rico, which was Ramirez’s home. He was advertised as having over 200 street fight wins with no losses, essentially making him a 1990’s era Kimbo Slice.
The 410 pound fighter was the Goliath in the first round match up, but the David in the match just so happened to be a man named Don Frye. Frye set a UFC record in that match that lasted for more then a decade at eight seconds and Ramirez never fought again.
~ 9 ~
John Matua came into the UFC 6: Clash of the Titans tournament supposedly with a background in Kuialua, the Hawaiian art of bone crushing, and a billed weight of 400 pounds. In the first round of the tournament he met a man named David “Tank” Abbott who had a beer belly and wore what would become known as MMA gloves.
Abbott was the shorter fighter and everyone automatically thought he was going to lose to the larger man. However, Abbott surprised everyone by making quick work of Matua, knocking him out in only twenty seconds. Abbott would advance to the finals of the tournament and would have a longtime career in MMA, while Matua would fight four more times only winning once in 2000.
~ 8 ~
James “the Sandman” Irvin burst onto the scene in 2003, fighting primarily for the Gladiator Challenge before making it into the early WEC and UFC. After loosing to Mike Kyle and Stephan Bonnar, Irvin fought in regional shows including the young Strikeforce promotion before finding himself in the UFC again. In his second UFC stint, he was able to win against similar strikers like Houston Alexander and Hector Ramirez.
However he wasn’t able to pull wins against elite level fighters like Thiago Silva and Anderson Silva, or even other average fighters like Alessio Sakara and Igor Pokrajac, the last match of which sent him job hunting. Since then he’s gone 3-3-1 in regional and smaller international promotions and hasn’t fought in over a year.
~ 7 ~
This is the first example on this list of a better then average fighter, excelling in a thin talent pool on the regional circuit, then floundering against fighters his level or higher. After finishing his judo career in 2004, Lombard transitioned into MMA and did well enough to fight towards the end of the Pride Fighting Championships.
He went 0-2 in the promotion against Akihiro Gono and Gegard Mousasi before the promotion ended and found himself in the regional circuit again before becoming the first Bellator Middleweight Champion. He went undefeated in all eight of his fights with the rising promotion and fought occasionally in regional promotions before finally signing with the UFC. It was in his UFC debut at UFC 149 that he finally tasted defeat for the first time in six years against Tim Boetsch and now finds himself moving down to welterweight.
~ 6 ~
One has to ask the question of how a fighter can go 24-7 outside the UFC and at one point be ranked in the top 10 middleweights in the world, then go only 1-5 in the UFC. This is the incredibly rare case with Jorge Santiago who also got a rare three stints in the UFC. Santiago went 11-5 on the regional circuit before going 1-2 in his first stint in the UFC.
He then went to international promotions where he won tournaments in the late Strikeforce and World Victory Road promotions and the Middleweight Championship in the latter promotion. He then went into a pattern of two losses, two wins, and two losses in his next six fights with his second and third stints in the UFC, and is now fighting for World Series of Fighting.
~ 5 ~
Yoshihiro Akiyama in addition to being overrated is also considered controversial in Japan. After finishing his judo career in 2004, Akiyama then fought his first sixteen fights in various Fighting and Entertainment Group events, winning a Hero’s Grand Prix and going 13-1 with two controversial no contests.
He then finally went into the UFC as a highly touted prospect but had a lackluster debut against Alan Belcher. He then dropped his next four fights, despite moving down to welterweight in his last outing against Jake Shields. He’s now expected to get at least one more shot at welterweight and if he suffers his fifth loss, will probably be sent packing.
~ 4 ~
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou was one of several Pride imports to the UFC that didn’t work out. Sokoudjou went 2-1 on regional shows before going into Pride and beating the likes of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona.
He then fought in the UFC but went 1-2 and found himself out of a job. He then went on this up and down span of fighting for Affliction, Dream, and Strikeforce. After that Sokoudjou has gone on an up and down pattern on the regional circuit.
~ 3 ~
Houston Alexander is not only one of the most overrated fighters, but is probably one of the most one dimensional fighters as well. Alexander went 6-1 with one no contest right off of the bat in his career. He then burst onto the scene in the UFC with highlight knockouts against the likes of Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara.
However, he then dropped the next three fights and was given permission to fight a regional fight which he won, but then was cut after his disappointing loss against Kimbo Slice. Since then he’s gone 6-5 with one no contest on the regional circuit.
~ 2 ~
Joe Son is probably the most overrated fighter who didn’t win a match in MMA. Son came into the UFC supposedly having created the art of Joe Son Do, which was basically his made up fighting style.
Having managed Kimo Leopoldo, he fought in UFC 4 against Keith Hackney who choked him out. He then fought in Pride twice and once on a regional card. Now he’s serving a life sentence for crimes before his MMA career.
~ 1 ~
There is no doubt that Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson is probably the most overrated fighter in the history of MMA. Kimbo Slice made a name for himself on the internet with street fights, where he won all but one fight. After fighting an exhibition fight with Ray Mercer, he was recruited by EliteXC to essentially become their poster boy.
He won his first three fights before loosing to Seth Petruzelli, who was described as “Rocky,” then fought in the UFC twice following his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter and was cut. He is now in boxing, currently undefeated at 7-0.
Anyone other fighters that you think are overrated? Leave a comment!