I’ve always been a bit of an oddball MMA fan when it comes to picking my “favorite” fighters. While respecting the otherworldly athleticism of a Jon Jones, the otherworldly physique of a Alistair Overeem, or the otherworldly riddum of a Georges St. Pierre, I would never list any of those guys in even my top 10 favorites. What can I say? Being a fan of Jon Jones (the fighter, at least) is just too easy for an anti-establishment renegade like myself — like being a Lakers fan in the early aughts or a Patriots fan ever.
This is all a way of saying that I always found myself drawn to fighters who were more, well, human. I’m talking about the “everymen” of the sport — the guys who started off on the coveted bar fighting circuit or doing a little training on the side before finding out that they had some translatable skills to bring to the game. I’m talking about your old school, cornfed, perpetually 40-year-old-looking dudes who may have never been a champion, but always made sure to 1) show up and 2) turn in a memorable, fan-pleasing performances. I’m talking about your Jeremy Horns, your Chris Lytles, and your Anthony Peroshes.
Which is why I’m both saddened and relieved to learn that, following a pair of tough first round losses to Sean O’Connell and Gian Villante, “The Hippo” will be hanging up his gloves for good.