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MMA’s Five Greatest Career Comebacks — And Their Legendary Sports Equivalents

Tito Ortiz UFC 132 photos Ryan Bader victory celebration
(A wise man once said, ‘Success is the best revenge.’ A slightly less-wise man once said, ‘All y’all haters can blow me.’ / Photo courtesy of MMAFighting)

When Tito Ortiz choked out Ryan Bader at UFC 132 — breaking a four-and-a-half year winless streak in an upset that absolutely nobody saw coming — he immediately became MMA’s comeback story of the year. And if Ortiz can defeat old rival Rashad Evans at UFC 133 on August 6th, he’ll have earned a place among the greatest MMA comebacks of all time.

In honor of the Huntington Beach Bad Boy’s return to legit contendership, we decided to look at MMA’s classic career comebacks, and the non-MMA sports comebacks that we most closely associate them with. Check out the list below, and ask yourself one question: If Tito can leave the Octagon with a victory next Saturday, would he deserve the #1 spot?

FRANK MIR

Rise and fall: The brash submission specialist earned a heavyweight title shot at UFC 48 in June 2004, against 16-0 champion Tim Sylvia. Mir famously snapped Sylvia’s forearm with an armbar and went home with the belt. Three months later, Mir was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle. The accident broke his femur, tore up his knee, and nearly cost him a toe as well. His return to competition a year-and-a-half later was a minor miracle in itself, but the “comeback” saw him get smashed by Marcio Cruz, followed by a lackluster win over Dan Christison, followed by another smashing at the hands of Brandon Vera.

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