Heavyweight Alistair Overeem was brought into the UFC after stringing together a ten-fight winning streak featuring success against Mark Hunt and Fabricio Werdum. The devastating Dutchman started out strong too, putting former champ Brock Lesnar away with strikes in his Octagon debut. However, he was caught with PEDs in his system a few months later and hasn’t been the same fighter since, dropping back-to-back knockouts in bouts against Antonio Silva and Travis Browne. While he has a favorable match-up in the horizon against Frank Mir, Overeem has his back against the wall and is destined for free agency if he fails to find victory. “The Outlaw” is one of England’s biggest stars based on his success in the U.K., flashy personality, and penchant for putting foes away via TKO. He even looked like a legitimate contender after earning a quartet of consecutive victories to start his UFC run out. Hardy then went 0-4 including two stoppages and two one-sided decisions. He bounced back nicely with success against Amir Sadollah and Duane Ludwig, but Hardy is unlikely to ever get back to the top of the contendership heap based on his performances against top foes. He’s also got a heart issue possibly preventing him from fighting again, casting an even larger shadow over his future in the Octagon Many fans felt Jake Shields was the answer to beating champion Georges St-Pierre based on the former Strikeforce title-holder’s grappling ability and success against the likes of Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit, and Dan Henderson. However, he barely got by Martin Kampmann and was beaten in a fairly one-sided fashion by GSP shortly thereafter. He’s 2-1 since, so in that regard Shields has performed well, but both of his wins were plodding affairs and he also tested positive for a banned substance during the span. If he loses to Demian Maia in a matter of weeks, Shields could very well end up fighting for his job in the following fight. At 12-1 and withstatus as a superstar in Japan, Yoshihiro Akiyama seemed like he would make an impact on the UFC’s middleweight division. Unfortunately, his only taste of success came in an exciting Split Decision over Alan Belcher. “Sexyama” promptly went 0-4 with two stoppages and hasn’t seen action since a February 2012 stumble to Jake Shields. Anyone who has been following the UFC for awhile undoubtedly remembers the Brandon Vera who tore through a few heavyweights and boasted of the ability to hold gold in two divisions. Likewise, Vera’s stint on the sidelines based on a contractual dispute is probably equally fresh in the minds of many. After sitting out for nearly a year Vera came back and dropped two straight tilts. He then decided to move down to 205 pounds and racked up a 4-4 mark, returning to heavyweight for his latest effort netting yet ANOTHER defeat.
There are a lot of components involved when it comes to finding consistent success inside the Octagon. Without the right training camp, dedication to one’s craft, ability to stay healthy, avoiding problems outside of the cage, and numerous other factors in place there’s a good chance a fighter will only make it to a certain level before fizzling out. While such runs are commendable, they’re also commonplace, allowing the cream to truly rise to the top. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)