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Tamdan “The Barn Cat” McCrory Is Back in the UFC and We Can Barely Contain Our Excitement

(McCrory channels Mark Hunt with a walk-off knockout of Brennan Ward at Bellator 123. Bonus points go to whoever decided on Jumanji drums as the background music.)

Following a six year absence from the octagon, Tamdan McCrory has returned, babayyy!!! All hail #TeamBarnCat!!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with McCrory’s story, it’s perhaps one of the best in recent memory. McCrory first entered the UFC back in 2007, where his unusual, “nerdy” look and 6′ 4″ frame immediately singled him out as a unique fighter in the promotion’s welterweight division. Of course, putting away a veteran of the game like Pete Spratt via triangle choke in his promotional debut was also a surefire way to get noticed.

McCrory would pick up wins over Luke Cummo and Ryan Madigan during his two-year UFC tenure, but losses to Akihiro Gono, Dustin Hazelett, and finally John Howard would see him released from the promotion in August of 2009. McCrory would not be seen nor heard from again for the next five years, which, according to his recent interview with MMAFighting, was never really a part of his plan:

I never really meant to take all that time off. It’s just the way circumstances lead you in life. I got so far out of the mix. For a time, I didn’t want to fight. There were times I didn’t want to, then there were times I wasn’t able to, and there were other things…injuries, problems. I just could never get the momentum enough to get competitive, or I just couldn’t find the right fights, or I couldn’t find someone who’d fight me, or I couldn’t find somebody who’d want to pay me.

But McCrory eventually did return at Bellator 123, scoring my personal frontrunner for “Most Badass Knockout of the Year and Maybe Ever” over Brennan Ward. “The Barn Cat” lived up to his unusual/awesome nickname and beyond that night, blistering Ward with a pinpoint series of strikes that felled the former middleweight title challenger in just over 20 seconds. McCrory would follow up the incredible victory with an equally impressive (and quick) submission of Jason Butcher at Bellator 134 last February, and it seemed as if Tamdan McCrory: Bellator Champion was all but inevitable.

But it appears that McCrory has his sights set on something slightly bigger than a Bellator crown, as it was announced yesterday that he has re-signed with the UFC. In fact, he apparently turned down a Bellator title shot to fight for the sport’s premiere organization:

I left a title shot in [my last promotion] to come to the UFC. If I wanted to win that belt I could have stayed and done it, but I wanted to be back in the sport of MMA, not the MMA entertainment business.

Translation: “I wants them Reebok monies!!”

I would highly recommend giving Chuck Mindenhall’s piece on McCrory a read at some point in the near future, but for now, let’s all just celebrate the return of the sport’s most unassuming assassin.

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