5 times the aura of a UFC champion was destroyed completely
While all champions in MMA gain a certain amount of respect, sometimes a fighter can win so often and so impressively that they gain an aura of invincibility, like nobody can even touch them, let alone beat them and take their title.
Everyone has to lose eventually, though, and while it’s possible to lose in a way in which an aura remains untouched – see TJ Dillashaw’s tight Bantamweight Title loss to Dominick Cruz for instance – sometimes a champion can lose so badly that their aura is destroyed for good and they no longer carry the same reputation that they once did.
Here are five prime examples.
#5 Rich Franklin vs. Anderson Silva
Going into his Middleweight title defence against Anderson Silva at UFC 64, Rich Franklin was seen as practically an unbeatable fighter thanks to his incredible blend of skills in all areas, his huge heart, and his incredible cardio.
He’d gained even more of an aura of invincibility when his insane training regime was aired on Spike TV, and he’d rolled over the likes of David Loiseau, Evan Tanner and Nathan Quarry since dropping to 185lbs and claiming the UFC’s title in 2005.
Anderson Silva had impressed in his UFC debut win over Chris Leben, but memories of his embarrassing loss to Ryo Chonan in PRIDE still lingered. While he was the best striker Franklin had ever fought, most people didn’t expect him to have the all-round skills to conquer ‘Ace’. They were painfully wrong.
While Franklin looked like the bigger man, he was thoroughly overpowered by Silva inside the clinch, and the Brazilian abused him with knees from close range en route to a nose-shattering first round TKO. It was as bad a loss as any UFC champion has ever taken.
Franklin would return, but never really regained the aura he had pre-Silva, particularly after being hammered in a rematch with the Brazilian.
His UFC record after UFC 64 was 7-5, and he retired in 2012 following a knockout loss to Cung Le.