The amount of punishment UFC fighters withstand has been glorified to an extent, but sometimes it becomes too excessive. At times, fans have questioned referees and cornermen for not stopping the fight and protecting fighters from themselves.
A lot of time and effort goes into preparing for the moment fighters step into the octagon. Therefore, it is understandable from the fighters' perspective why they would not want their corner throwing in the towel.
Many fighters have taken too much punishment during their careers and ended up paying the price for it once they retired. Perhaps, if more fighters are protected from themselves, they will be able to extend their careers. In turn, when it's time, they can walk away from the sport with their health relatively intact.
Here are 5 times UFC fighters were too tough for their own good.
#5. UFC featherweight contender Brian Ortega
This might be recency bias, but UFC 266 proved Brian Ortega was too tough for his own good. Ortega and Alexander Volkanovski had coached opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter and now fought in the main event. This what was Ortega’s second title opportunity – the first was a losing effort to then-champion Max Holloway.
In the build-up to the fight, it was no secret that Ortega’s biggest strength was his grappling. Ortega's best path to victory would be to use his grappling to takedown and submit the champion. Volkanovski was in control during the first two rounds and Ortega needed a great performance in the third round to shift the momentum.
Ortega caught Volkanovski in two submissions, both of which looked like they could put an end to the fight. The champion narrowly escaped and, with a burst of energy, got up and began landing heavy shots on Ortega.
Volkanovski kept the pressure on until the bell sounded, leaving Ortega requiring his cornermen to help him off the mat. Ortega was exhausted after exerting his energy on submission attempts, while Volkanovski maintained the same pace and aggression.
The fight could have been stopped, but Ortega told both the referee and the cageside doctor that he wanted to continue. Volkanovski would end up inflicting more punishment on Ortega before picking up a unanimous decision win.