Photo by Esther Lin
Don't call it a comeback ... actually, do.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) may be a relatively young organization, having been founded and beginning operations in 1993. That's 18 short years and, so far, an estimated 176 total events held by the company.
That's a lot of fights, y'all.
With that much action inside the Octagon, there are bound to be numerous occasions in which fight fans have been treated to feats of incredible resolve and historical significance.
Forget all the knockouts and the submissions -- I'm talking about the instances in which a fighter is faced with extreme adversity and he's forced to dig deep within himself, to his very core, to find that extra push, that drive, to overcome.
In tune with that, the most recent episode of "Ultimate Insider" has showcased the top eight comebacks in UFC history.
Let's run 'em down:
Fat guys can punch too. Muscle-bound marauder Todd Duffee was all the rage headed into the 2010 Memorial Day weekend UFC event, "Rampage vs. Evans." By the time it was over, he was a heaping pile of mush, full of failed hopes and dreams. A short Octagon exit later and he was last seen getting "demolished" by Alistair Overeem. Goodnight, Duffee.
Shane Carwin came dangerously close to finishing Brock Lesnar via first round knockout after landing multiple bombs on the former WWE superstar's grill. He also, quite suddenly, turned MMA fans the world over into biochemistry majors, introducing legions of fans to the term lactic acidosis when he gassed out inside the first round and couldn't get the necessary oxygen to fuel his considerable frame. Lesnar used it against him and submitted the beefy blaster with an arm-triangle in the second. Thanks for playing.
You know how Pat Barry is constantly talking about how he likes to kick people in the neck but we rarely see him do so, at least not in active mixed martial arts competition? That's exactly what Paul Taylor did to Marcus Davis across the pond back in Sept. 2007. Only, "The Irish Hand Grenade" was "relentless" and came roaring back to grab an arm, torquing his way into the annals of UFC lore. His winning "Submission of the Night" and "Fight of the Night" were just icing on the proverbial cake.
5. Frank Mir spoils Brock Lesnar's Octagon debut at UFC 81
Who's this pro wrasslin' guy and what is he doing inside the Octagon where the fights are "as real as it gets?" Well, for starters, he's kicking the ever loving crap out of a former heavyweight champion in his first fight with the organization. Man, he's really taking it to him. This thing will be over any min... wait a damn minute, here. Holy bejeebus, Mir just snatched his knee and nearly snapped it in half. Lesnar is smiling but he's obviously pissed off. I wonder if he'll ever get to avenge this loss?
This is as close as it gets to a real life version of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots. Chris Leben is the red robot; you know, the one that can always seemingly take an immeasurable number of shots without his head ever popping up. Terry Martin is the blue robot; the one that throws at a much higher volume and always looks like he'll win but as soon as he eats one right in the breadbasket, that's it, he's done. So goes the story of Leben vs. Martin on Spike TV in Sept. 2007. "The Crippler" sent the "Dangerous" one crashing to the canvas after shutting down his systems with about a minute left in the fight. Overload.
The world of sports, and its various leagues, is littered with memorable moments that will forever be personified by images of legendary feats of immaculate strength and courageousness. If there is any moment in MMA that qualifies, it's when Matt Hughes, after absorbing a disgusting nut shot, eating a few punches and slipping out of a submission, picked Frank Trigg up, ran him across the cage and slammed him to the mat. UFC President Dana White is fond of recalling this as his favorite moment since he's been the leader of the world's largest fight promotion and it's difficult to disagree with his opinion on this one. What makes it even more special is Hughes went on to finish the fight by way of rear-naked choke, the same submission he did in the first meeting between the two and the same submission he slipped out of just moments prior. Can't make this stuff up, ladies and sirs.
2. Scott Smith smashes Pete Sell at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 4 Finale
There are times when physical pain can translate through the television medium from one individual to another. For instance, when Scott Smith was dealt a vicious left hook straight to his floating ribs, fight fans watching at home literally felt his pain. Pete Sell, the man responsible for the world's collective hurt, came rushing in for the kill when he saw his foe doubled over in pain. But Smith's "Hands of Steel" don't just disappear when he's rocked and right as "Drago" was loading up for the finishing blow, Smith put one straight on his chin and sent him off to la-la land. KTFO, FTW.
Anyone can run their mouth. It takes someone special to run their mouth and then go out and back up their big talk. It takes a truly unique individual to run their mouth and go out and back up their big talk against the greatest fighter walking the Earth today. Chael Sonnen did all of the above ... for about 23 minutes. The problem? The fight was 25 minutes and a big mouth doesn't help a whole hell of a lot when a "Spider" has you tangled up in his web, choking the life out of you. And so came to pass the greatest come from behind victory in UFC history, when Anderson Silva slapped on a triangle and forced the tap to retain his title and cement his dominance of the world.
What do you think? Agree with the list?
Give us your qualms with the above rankings and be sure to include your own. Have at it, Maniacs.