Henderson tore through opponents like Rafael Cavalcante, Renato Sobral, and Fedor Emelianenko before coming out victorious in an all-time classic with Mauricio Rua. The win earned him a title-shot and “Hendo” appeared to be on track for a tilt with champion Jon Jones. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury sidelining him for a few months and Jones was promptly matched with Vitor Belfort. A subsequent showdown with Chael Sonnen including duties as a TUF coach took Jones out for a bit, forcing Henderson to fight Lyoto Machida who ended up winning a narrow Split Decision. Hoping to find a more satisfying result, Henderson then faced Rashad Evans this past summer…and once again lost a closely-contested Split Decision. Who needs black cats when you have MMA judging?
Sure, Hamill is lucky to own a win over light heavyweight king Jon Jones but consider the beating he took to earn the disqualification nod. Likewise, Hamill has been forced to face a few other former title-holders during his run in the UFC such as Tito Ortiz and Quinton Jackson not to mention the likes of Tim Boetsch, Mark Munoz, Rich Franklin, and Alexander Gustafsson. Throw in the highly controversial decision loss Hamill suffered to Michael Bisping and you’ve got a guy who has dealt with a lot of adversity in the Octagon.
Pierce may be on a four-fight winning streak but the string of success could total ten straight victories. Pierce came up short on the scorecards in Split Decision defeats to Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks, both of whom are among the division’s top talents and past/current top contenders. In reality, Pierce probably would have locked horns with champion Georges St-Pierre had both efforts, maybe either, gone his way.
Poor Cruz! The bantamweight champion has been out of action for nearly two years with most of the time coming as the result of back-to-back ACL tears. Cruz originally injured his knee while training for a fight with rival Urijah Faber, then repeated the grisly feat months later while rehabbing the affliction. After two surgeries and so much ring rust it’s impossible to know what Cruz will show up when he returns…or if he returns, based on the misfortune the talented 135er has experienced over the past few years (including a nasty broken hand to boot).
Though Pettis has shed the dark cloud hovering over his career, at least for the most part, “Showtime” has dealt with a ton of disappointment over the past few years. The 26-year old was set to receive a title-shot upon entering the UFC after winning WEC’s belt but saw the opportunity shelved when then-champ Frankie Edgar fought to a draw with Gray Maynard. Pettis ended up accepting a clash with Clay Guida and failed to stymie the seasoned grappler’s takedown attempts, losing on the scorecards as a result. He also lost out on a featherweight title-shot after banging up his knee a month out from the match-up. In truth, he’s seen lots of time on the sidelines for health-related reasons, and even he’s currently out with a knee injury sustained in his successful showing against Benson Henderson at UFC 164.
With the calendar reading Friday the 13th it seems logical to look at a few
UFC fighters who have dealt with their share of bad luck in the Octagon. In some cases, injuries have ravaged otherwise brilliant careers. In others, fate dictated a disappointing defeat or questionable judging brought down hopes of a title-shot. In all, the involved athletes simply couldn’t catch a break…unless it involved a bone, of course. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)