(We’ll give “The Robot” this, he never left a *victory* in the hands of the judges.)
Of all the fighters to be kept around by the UFC for longer than they should have, the story of Steve Cantwell‘s inexplicably long run with the promotion is perhaps the most confounding. That is not a knock on Mr. Cantwell, but more of a general observation. After defeating Brian Stann at WEC 35 to win the WEC’s last Light Heavyweight championship (not to mention a bit of redemption), Cantwell kicked off his UFC career in memorable fashion, snapping Razak Al-Hassan’s arm and then gloating over it like a serial killer at UFC: Fight for the Troops back in December of 2008. Unfortunately for “The Robot,” the win would be both his first and last while under the UFC banner.
Cantwell’s next fight would be an entertaining three round kickboxing match with Luiz Cane, a fellow light heavyweight prospect who has fallen on hard times as of late, at UFC 97. It was shortly thereafter where those following Cantwell (including Joe Rogan) began to notice a change in Cantwell’s character, at least when he stepped into the ring. His next four losses, which came to Brian Stann, Cyrille Diabate, Mike Massenzio, and Riki Fukuda, respectively, were marked by an all but total lack of striking defense on Cantwell’s part, who seemed as if he was literally trying to absorb as much damage as possible en route to defeat. All four of those losses came by way of unanimous decision, and all four would see Cantwell fail to engage with any sense of urgency on the feet while having his face put through a meat grinder in the process. None of his fights were incredibly memorable, and most of them took place on the undercard, yet Cantwell stuck around for as long as he possibly could.
Like we said, we’re not here to kick a man while he’s down, but rather to wish him the best at wherever he may land in the future. We just wish we could have seen a little more of that sociopathic fire in his eyes over the last couple years.
News of Cantwell’s release comes amidst a plethora of UFC firings, the complete list of which awaits you after the jump.