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Eight Fighters We Wish Were Better Than They Actually Are

(Step 1. Absorb EVERY kick, Step 2. ??????, Step 3. Profit. Props to the brilliant cine-files over at Pajiba for the inspiration behind this article.) 

Mixed martial arts fans are perhaps the most ruthless group of people out there; a quick scroll down any one of our comments sections only confirms this. One minute, a certain fighter is praised as a ruthless, badass hombre cut from the same cloth as the greatest champions the sport has ever known, and the next, they’re being told to save themselves the embarrassment of another performance and just retire already. It’s a crazy sport.

But then there are those few and far between fighters that we choose to rally behind regardless of where they currently stand in the MMA ranking system. Sometimes it’s simply because they can make us laugh, and other times it’s their “go for broke” mentality that wins us over. Sure, they’ve dropped seven of their last eight, including one to a drunken bar patron who accidentally stumbled into the ring, but all of those fights were like totally awesome, bro, so who are we to complain when they are kept around while other, more talented fighters are let go?

Here are eight fighters we will continue to root for, no matter how quickly their performances make us silently wish otherwise.

#8 – Aaron Riley

(Even when Riley *doesn’t* lose a fight, he still loses the fight.) 
Current record: 30-13-1
Record in last five fights: 2-3

Aaron Riley‘s nickname could very well be “TUF Fodder,” because the man has fought nothing but The Ultimate Fighter alums, and often winners, for the better part of his UFC career. And it’s a shame, because the dude always brings the fight to these whippersnappers, but simply hasn’t been able to put any of them away. Most recently, he had his jaw broken again by TUF 13 winner Tony Ferguson at UFC 135. Back at UFC 105, he was made into mince meat by TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson. Set to square off against, you guessed it, TUF 12 alum Cody McKenzie, at UFC on FUEL 3 in May, Riley may be looking at his final chance to prove he can hang with these young guns before he is demoted to the Strikeforce roster. Speaking of a certain Alaskan native…

#7 – Cody McKenzie 

Current record: 12-2
Record in last five fights: 3-2

Don’t let the numbers fool you, Cody McKenzie is in dire straights. Coming off two rear-naked choke losses in a row, the inventor of “The McKenzietine” is in a must win situation against Aaron Riley come May 15th. Some of you may bash the “AK kid” for being a one-trick pony, and you are most certainly right, but let us not forget that this man once made Josh Koscheck eat crow in one of the greatest moments in TUF History. That alone warrants our worship, so here’s hoping McKenzie either finds a way to win against Riley or at least look good enough to get a fourth shot under the Zuffa banner.

#6 – Pat Barry

Current record: 7-4
Record in last five fights: 2-3

Pat Barry is one funny motherfucker. This we know. Sure, some of his jokes are a little out of date by internet terms, but the man is undoubtedly an entertainer. He is also 4-4 in the octagon thus far, and has been submitted by Tim Hague and KO’d by Cheick Kongo, the latter of which is nothing to complain about, but still, you get the point. Perhaps it is too early in Barry’s career to truly gauge his success, being that he is relatively new to the whole ground aspect of MMA. And he did show some improvement when he escaped that (poorly applied) armbar of Christian Morecraft‘s, right? In either case, “HD” won’t have to be worried about getting submitted when he takes on hard hitting Lavar Johnson at UFC on FOX 3 in May. Let’s just pray his chin holds up better than last time.

#5 – Gabriel Gonzaga
UFC 142 Gabriel Gonzaga
(I come to eat your children, but come to my mind, one reflection…)
Current record: 13-6
Record in last five fights: 3-2

After crushing any of Mirko Cro Cop‘s dreams of a UFC Heavyweight title back at UFC 70 with one of the most shocking victories in the history of the sport, hard times befell the mythical mountain creature known as “Napao.” He would get punched out by Randy Couture and Fabricio Werdum in his next two contests, and would spend the rest of his first octagon run picking up wins over sub-UFC competition sandwiched between violent knockout losses to the likes of Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos. Thankfully, Gonzaga has gone back to his BJJ roots as of late and scored two straight submission wins, because he will need to pull out every trick in his arsenal when he faces undefeated powerhouse Shane Del Rosario at UFC 146.

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Cagepotato Comments

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2Dogs- March 11, 2012 at 6:21 am
Personally I think Chris Leben walked into the ring and really could you have him in this list after hes slugged (and I do mean "slugged" it out with some of the best) the only way this guy would get better is if he beat up Galactus.
fatbellyfrank- March 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm
@ Mr-Misanthrophy, Is that really you dude??? happy days Mr Mis is back on CP!!!! WELCOME HOME MY BROTHER
fatbellyfrank- March 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm
^ Yeah G-Sot
RearNakedSpoon- March 10, 2012 at 7:01 am
George Sotiropoulos, Frank Mir and present day Shogun.
AlanBelcher619- March 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm
I think Yoshihiro Akiyama, Alessio Sakara, Tim Boetsch,Roy Nelson and arguably Stefan Struve should be on this list.
BaghdadBob- March 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm
And add fucking Court McGee or whatever his damn name is.
ChuckB- March 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm
I thought for sure Vitor Belfort was going to make the list, although he's been on a good streak lately he was in deep water not too long ago. Fighting with broken hands and all he has excuses but he is up again so I guess he doesn't deserve to be up there.
RwilsonR- March 9, 2012 at 10:59 am
Chris Lytle - don't get me wrong... he's great. But I just wish he could've taken that next step towards a title.
WuTangClan- March 9, 2012 at 10:30 am
Fix your melting face.
skeletor- March 9, 2012 at 7:54 am
J. Jones- March 9, 2012 at 5:24 am
Don't worry Jason, WuTang is just picking up where skeletor and Xeno failed. Let's not even mention the fact that I gave the proper credit in the opening caption, or that I have no fucking clue what Reddit is (a kind of cake?)
Crazy Croat- March 9, 2012 at 5:12 am
I made a new video -UFC style - check it out if you're mma fan -
Jason Moles- March 9, 2012 at 4:49 am
@ WuTangClan: SO it's okay for Chael to steal entire speeches, but it's not okay for JJ to get inspired by a list suited for the E channel and make it his own --- for an entirely different topic? Son I am disappoint.
samurai7- March 9, 2012 at 1:44 am
For the love of god please include BJ Fucking Penn on that list.
Mr_Misanthropy- March 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm
Dannnn Quinnnn. He's a regular fucking Adonis.
WuTangClan- March 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm
Danga steals ideas for posts from shit he sees on Reddit.

"Ten Actors We Wish Were More Talented Than They Are"
MrBlondeSL- March 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm
With that mustache and beard I swear Cody Mackenzie looks like the love guru.
Kimbo Lesnar- March 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm
Ha ha! LOVE that Cody gif. Never gets old. Hey, Anonymous could use that for an ad, with that Guy Fawkes face of his...
anderson wanderlei paulo thiago alves silva- March 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm
aaron simpson
houston alexander
roy nelson
Get Off Me- March 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm
Kenny Florian
cokeburglar- March 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm
How they did not include Brock Lesnar in this list is beyond me.

Roy Nelson is another guy who is actually great, but his record lately is meh and I'd think he'd qualify for this list.

Take Gonzaga off and the list was pretty well done.
Jason Moles- March 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm
Thank you for not including Clay Guida.
FilmDrunk- March 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm
Pretty spot-on on all these. I'd also like to submit Tamdan McRory and Dustin Hazelett, even though they're not in the UFC anymore. I love a tough nerd. See also Luke Cummo. Joe Stevenson also seemed pretty likable, though not super good.
smellypiratehooker- March 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm
Was this supposed to be for UFC fighters only cause I find it difficult going by your criteria that Fedor is not on this list. Ball, dropped.
Coneblazer- March 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm
Cody Mckenzie gif is gold... such an impressionable dork