15 Jul 2011 12:42:58 PM
They had all the momentum in the world — and then it fell apart. Whether it was due to poorly-timed losses, fan-unfriendly fighting styles, or both, these UFC fighters have reached a holding pattern in their careers, and will need a few dramatic performances to break out of it…
After kicking his UFC career off with five-straight submission victories, Demian Maia began drawing comparisons to Royce Gracie Himself. A 21-second knockout loss at the hands of Nate Marquardt put the reins on his hype, and a bland stretch of five consecutive decisions — including his debacle of a loss to Anderson Silva and his most recent defeat by Mark Munoz — snuffed that hype out for good. It’s not just that Maia’s been relegated to the middle of the pack. With all the heat generated by outspoken middleweight contenders like Chael Sonnen, Chris Leben, Michael Bisping, and now Jason Miller, Maia is barely a blip on the radar these days.
(Photo props: Ed Mulholland)
From 2004-2009, Torres racked up 17 straight wins (15 by stoppage), won the WEC’s bantamweight title and defended it three times in breathtaking fashion. Not only was he one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport, he was also one of the most consistently entertaining. Back-to-back stoppage losses to Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez changed all that. Torres re-located his training camp to Tristar gym in Montreal and re-emerged as a more cautious, measured fighter who jabbed a lot. It was the right choice for his fight record, as he won his next two matches against Charlie Valencia and Antonio Banuelos, but it was clear that we weren’t watching the same mulleted buzzsaw that we knew and loved. Then, at UFC 130, he got outwrestled by undersized up-and-comer Demetrious Johnson. No more win streak, no more fan-favorite cred — Torres is back at square one.