(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…