5 UFC Champions that were very lucky to win the Belt.
Luck is a part of everyday life. Regardless of the business, regardless of the person, every one of us needs a little bit of luck in whatever task we may undertake. Our beloved sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) isn’t any different.
The outcomes of MMA fights are decided by luck as much as they are by hard work and skills. It takes a good combination of all these factors (skills, athleticism, luck, etc) in order to emerge victorious out of something as challenging as an MMA fight.
The MMA fighters deserve every bit of adulation that they get, however, one can’t ignore the fact that a select few MMA fighters that reached the pinnacle of the sport; were aided just a bit more by their luck rather than their hard work and skills.
In the top MMA promotion as of today, the Ultimate fighting Championship (UFC), such stories of underdogs emerging as the kings and queens of their respective weight-classes are not unheard of. Now, our aim isn’t to discredit these UFC champions in any way but to merely highlight the fact that despite not being the top fighters at the time of their championship reigns, these UFC fighters have tasted gold.
A select few(un) lucky UFC champs have made our list:
#5 Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping is a former kick-boxer and the current UFC Middleweight (MW/185 pound) champion of the world. He has trained in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) since the age of eight. He has a solid kickboxing foundation, good grappling and a high-volume style of striking.
Bisping has been in several number-one contender match-ups in the history of the UFC MW division, against Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson and many others. Each time he was on the brink of a title shot, he’d get knocked down.
And each time he’d get knocked down, he‘d dust himself up and rise again. Bisping’s work ethic and heart are unquestionable. However, as is the case with several mid-tier fighters, Bisping’s skill-set has always been limited.
Now mind you, Bisping has a well-rounded MMA game. But the catch is that although his overall MMA game is balanced, he doesn’t excel at any one aspect of MMA. In spite of the fact that he is a former kickboxer, Bisping doesn’t pack much power in his strikes. In fact, he relies on his grappling and constant takedown attempts combined with a high-volume striking style, in order to outwork his opponents.
Bisping lost yet another number 1 contender fight against lanky MW star, Luke Rockhold. Rockhold beat Bisping by a one-armed guillotine that was preceded by a head-kick. Rockhold went on to win the UFC MW title, and then faced Bisping in his first title defence.
Bisping stepped in on 17 days notice to face Rockhold, after Rockhold’s original opponent Chris Weidman pulled out from the fight owing to an injury.
Bisping went on to knock down Rockhold with a huge left hook and followed up with another on a stunned Rockhold. ‘The Count’ went on to score an incredible first-round finish over an opponent that had dominated him just 18 months prior to their rematch.
And he did all of this at 37 years of age.
Now and here’s the catch; Bisping faced Dan ‘Hendo’ Henderson in a rematch from their UFC100 fight, in his first title defense. Henderson had knocked Bisping out cold in their first encounter and in their rematch at UFC 204, Hendo almost did it again.
In fact, the 46-year-old Hendo, went on to knock down Bisping twice in the rematch and almost finished him with follow-up strikes. Nevertheless, Bisping survived and barely outworked Hendo, thereby defending his MW strap for the first time.
Now with a future fight with either Yoel Romero or Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza for Bisping, he seems to be headed toward a world of trouble in 2017. If a past-his-prime 46-year-old Hendo can beat Bisping from pillar-to-post, imagine what ‘The Soldier of God’ or ‘Jacare’ would do to the current UFC MW champion.
Besides, Bisping is infamous for getting rocked even by mid-tier journeyman fighters, right from C.B. Dolloway to Denis Kang (yes, you heard it right, Dennis Kang!).
On that note, it’s safe to assume that the UFC MW strap will be changing hands in 2017, and if it doesn’t, don’t be surprised. Lady luck has a penchant for shining on the outspoken British champion.