Wasted Potential: Top Seven Failed Hype Trains in UFC History


With an expanding roster and bottomless bank account, the UFC is able to tactically market promotional newcomers, rising prospects, and evolving contenders like no other mixed martial arts (MMA) outlet in the world.

The organization’s efforts are understandable to say the least. In order to continuously grow into the billion dollar company that it is today, the UFC must stand by its readily-available talent.

But in many cases, the promotion’s abundant marketing schemes, self-assuring build ups, and over-the-top billings prove downright futile. Whether it’s a young prospect incapable of scaling his talent against higher competition or a recently acquired veteran succumbing to the overwhelming pressure of the Octagon, the UFC has struck out more than it would like to admit.

In accordance with those gutter balls, here are the top seven failed hype trains in promotional history.

Paige VanZant 27) Paige VanZant

Following the ascension of former champion Ronda Rousey, the UFC desperately attempted to market fellow female star Paige VanZant.

At just 21 years of age, and having only recorded a 3-1 professional record before entering the promotion back in 2014, it seemed like the UFC was desperately reaching for a beautiful and talented face to lead the newly created strawweight division.

While “12 Gauge” did train at the infamous Team Alpha Male, her accolades were not on par with her perceived greatness. Despite her relative inexperience and unproven track record, VanZant become one of only a handful of UFC fighters to exclusively sign with Reebook back in early 2015.

In predictive fashion, VanZant was unable to maintain her spotlighted climb atop the 115-pound roster, losing to a more well-rounded Rose Namajunus back at UFC Fight Night 80 this past December.

During that five-round beatdown, the highly-touted PVZ looked pedestrian at best. And after being taken down eight times, she saw her monstrous UFC stock instantaneously dwindle when Namajunas finished the fight by way of submission in the fifth round.

  • Greg

    Gomi being on this list is fucking stupid. Anyone that watched more than just the UFC knew Gomi, Kid Yamamoto among others were shot before getting to the UFC.

    • Dan Hiergesell

      He headlined his UFC debut. Name the last fighter to do that. Brock Lesnar didn’t even do it. It’s all we need to know to say he was over-hyped.

  • leonaidis

    No Brock Lesnar? Is that because he had the belt before starting to verbaly tap to punches?

    • Louis Castro

      Yes. I would say it’s because he did actually win the title and decisively beat two top ranked fighters. And he actually entered with pretty low expectations

  • xians421

    CroCop just never recovered from his exploded testicle.

  • Darren Graham

    Bait to click

  • Roundhouse40

    Joe Rogan is a play-by-play commentator, not a colour commentator.

  • dodger71

    Why is Team Alpha Male “infamous”? Does the author mean “famous”?