Hector Lombard and four other most disappointing debuts in the UFCPosted on July 22, 2012, 07:56 PM by Mike Searson
When it comes to MMA promotions, the UFC is the biggest kid on the block. The best fighters in the world fight in the Octagon and the competitive level is second to none. Very often fighters will have successful runs in second and third tier promotions and go on to success in the UFC. However, there are a few that follow that same pattern only to find themselves totally outclassed in their Octagon debut.
If it is "UFC Jitters", it is usually bypassed by the second fight. However, if it goes beyond that, usually the fighter was sold on hype. The following five fighters have had the most disappointing debuts in the history ogf the UFC.
Kyle Bradley came into the UFC riding a 7-fight win streak. He made his UFC debut at UFC 81 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was to fight Chris Lytle who was coming in off a loss to Thiago Alves. Lytle knocked Bradley out in 33 seconds and Bradley hugged the referee for stopping the fight. Bradley was only a moderate underdog at that point, so for his next UFC bout he decided to cut down to the Lightweight division and was handed his second loss by Joe Lauzon as a 2nd round TKO at UFC Fight Night 15. He did have a single 1 in the win column of his UFC record, a controversial stoppage by Referee Yves Lavigne at UFC 98 over Phillipe Nover. After his sole UFC win, he went on to face Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 20. After losing by decision, he was cut from the UFC.
Bradley returned to fighting on a few local promotions in the South and has seen a moderate degree of success return.
Heath Herring was a long time PRIDE veteran who faced Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira for the title in that organization back in 2001. Despite his loss, he was considered a viable contender, but suffered back to back losses to Fedor and Cro Cop. Herring's greatest notoriety came from a 2005 K-1 event. As Herring and his opponent, Yoshihiro Nakao, faced off in the pre-fight staredown, Nakao gave him a quick kiss on the lips. Herring responded by decking Nakao and ended the fight before it ever started. When the UFC acquired the World Fighting Alliance, The Texas Crazy Horse went with them, making his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 8 in 2007. Herring was touted as someone who would shake up the Heavyweight division and a huge odds favorite. His debut resulted in a unanimous decision loss to Jake O'Brien.
Herring had two UFC wins after that, including one over Cheick Kongo, but lost again to Big Nog and finally Brock Lesnar back in 2008. After his loss to Lesnar, he quietly retired from fighting.
Australian Heavyweight Brad Morris came to the UFC off a 10-2 record. He made his debut against Cain Velasquez at UFC 83 in Montreal, Canada. Morris was defeated via first-round TKO. For his next UFC event, he dropped down to the Light Heavyweight division to face Jason Brilz in Omaha, Nebraska at UFC Fight Night 15. Brilz defeated the Aussie by TKO at 2:54 in the second round. Morris was dropped by the UFC and returned to the Australian fight circuit in 2010, where he suffered another set of back to back losses.
You cannot mention disappointing debuts without mentioning Kimbo Slice. Kimbo rose to fame through YouTube and a series of "backyard fights" near his home in Florida. On the one hand, most knowledgeable fight followers had written him off; on the other, he was immensely popular on the internet and it was thought he would bring this large fan base with him. After 3 wins and a KO loss in Elite FC, he tried to get into the UFC. UFC President Dana White made it conditional if he appeared on the promotion's reality show: The Ultimate Fighter. On the first fight of the show, Slice lost to Roy Nelson. He won via unanimous decision on the show's finale and made his official debut at UFC 113 versus Matt Mitrione, losing in the second round via a TKO. He was released from his contract the following day.
Slice has gone on to a somewhat successful pro-boxing career having a record of 5-0 at this time.
Lombard made his UFC debut after being the Bellator Middleweight Champion and was on a 20-fight win streak A fourth degree judo black belt and Brazilian jiujitsu black belt with 17 TKO/KO wins, the Cuban fighter seemed to be the only man capable of dethroning UFC's Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. At UFC 149 in Canada, he promised a "beautiful fight" against Tim Boetsch.
The result was anything, but. The fight was hyped as a potential war and it just simply failed to deliver. Lombard threw a lot of single shots with no follow up and what looked like no aggression. Boetsch fought a little too cautious as well and there are those who thought the decision should have gone to Lombard.
Already, fans and UFC's Dana White are calling for him to drop to 170; although a weight drop did nothing to help 2 fighters on this list. A fighter of his caliber can survive a rough bump in his career like this. However, it has to go down as one of the biggest disappointing UFC debuts of all time.
So, here's my list, let's see yours. This is my opinion only and while I am a long time fight fan, I went for a few years not following UFC and took the time to pursue other promotions. Fill us in on some I might have missed.