Fighters Who Couldn’t Live Up To Their Hype Once They Got To The UFC

UFC 235 Ben Askren vs Robbie Lawler
Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Making it to the UFC is a big deal for any MMA fighter. Many fighters dream of getting that elusive contract from the premier MMA promotion. There are some fighters who do so well outside the UFC, that fans campaign for the UFC to sign them.

Over the years, many fighters have signed with the UFC with huge hype behind them. Some of these fighters, such as Justin Gaethje, Israel Adesanya and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, have lived up to the hype. But this is not a list about the guys who lived up to the hype. Here is a look at the some of the fighters who couldn’t live up to their own hype once they got to the UFC.

05 Uriah Hall

There is no other TUF fighter that has been hyped up by the promotion more than Uriah Hall. After his amazing run in the 17th season of TUF, the fans were calling him the next Anderson Silva.

But the hype was too big for Hall to handle as he kicked off his career in the promotion with two back-to-back loses. Although his career has been resurgent lately, he is 8-7 in the UFC as of now.

04 Kimbo Slice

Kimbo Slice was coming in hot to the UFC after becoming an internet sensation in the mid 2000s. He was so hot, Dana himself said that he might create an Ultimate Fighter series with heavyweights just for Kimbo Slice if he wanted in. 

So he did, and Kimbo entered as the number two seed of The Ultimate Fighter season 10. But Slice did not live up to the hype, as he eventually lost to Roy Nelson in his first fight of the show. He left the company with a 1-1 record.

03 Will Brooks

At one point, Chicago’s own Will Brooks was one of the most dominant lightweights outside the UFC. He won the Bellator lightweight championship by defeating top lightweight Michael Chandler at Bellator 120 and proceeded to defend it two times before getting the call up to the UFC.

With all the hype behind him, Brooks entered the UFC in 2016 with a 17-1 record to his name. But as the story goes “Ill Will” could not deliver on his promise, as he lost three in a row after winning his debut in the UFC. With a 1-3 record in the promotion, he was cut from the UFC in 2018.

02 Hector Lombard

After a 24 fight win streak and becoming the first ever Bellator middleweight champion along the way, Hector Lombard was seen as a future champion in the UFC when his signing was announced.

But as fate would have it, Lombard would lose his promotional debut against Tim Boetsch and go on to mass a promotional record of 3-8-1. Hector also has the second longest losing streak in UFC history, losing his last six fights inside the Octagon.

01 Ben Askren

At one point of time, Ben Askren was considered one of the greatest welterweights in the world. The freestyle wrestling Olympian held welterweight gold in both Bellator and ONE Championship. And to this day he holds the record for the most consecutive title defences in Bellator history, with four. Fans were always speculating on how well “Funky” would do in the UFC.

Back in 2018 in an unprecedented move, Askren was brought in to the UFC by trading former UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship. With an 18-0 unbeaten record and many accolades to his name, “Funky” was seen as the future of the UFC welterweight division by many fans.

In his first fight in the promotion, Askren managed to pull off a controversial win over former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, and proceeded to call out the likes of Georges St-Pierre. But instead of GSP, he was matched up against the resurrected Jorge Masvidal for his second fight.

Askren would go on to make history in the fight, as he was the victim of the fastest knockout in the promotion’s history. After getting KOed in 5 seconds, Ben was then matched up with UFC veteran and BJJ ace Demian Maia in late 2019. “Funky” performed well at the beginning of the fight but was no match for Maia on the ground. After collecting his second loss in the promotion and career, Askren announced his retirement from the sport of MMA.

Which fighters do you think have spectacularly failed to live up to their hype in the UFC ?

See also: