5 MMA fighters who failed on their biggest stage

Profile Picture: Danny Howard

April 8th, 2020

Being a big shot doesn’t always mean you’re the best. We’ve seen countless MMA fighters rise to the top levels of the sport, only to fall short when it mattered most.

Here are five MMA fighters who failed on the biggest stage.

Holm ends Rousey

Sometimes a loss is more than a loss, and that was the case when Ronda Rousey was on the wrong side of a beating against Holly Holm.

Long propped as the UFC’s biggest star, and heading into the biggest test of her title reign, Rousey was dominated before a head kick ended her night in the second round.

The effects of this loss haunted Rousey for the rest of her MMA career. She was never the same.

Lesnar stumbles out the gate

Though Brock Lesnar eventually lived up to the hype and even won the UFC heavyweight title, a career-threatening loss in his first fight sent shockwaves through the sport.

It is often forgotten that Lesnar submitted in his first fight against Frank Mir, a loss he later avenged, but the loss was not a good look for Lesnar and the UFC.

For a brief moment, Lensar looked like he should have stayed in the world of scripted fights.

Askren’s unfortunate, record-breaking night

Ben Askren had a padded record and took massive step up against Jorge Masvidal. The pre-fight build was legendary, because of Askren’s vicious verbal assaults, and combined with Masvidal’s toughness, suggested that this was going to be a tough fight.

A flying knee from Masvidal hit Askren on the button and stopped him cold in five seconds — the fastest knockout in UFC history. Askren’s biggest fight left him with his signature moment, and it’s one he’d like to forget.

Adesanya and Romero stink up the joint

The most recent entry on this list was the hideous middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Israel Adesanya, a bout so terrible that it lowered the stock of both men.

Nobody expected the non-action that occurred, as both men just followed each other around, doing the bare minimum to win. Adesanya won, but essentially killed his chances at a super fight with Jon Jones and permanently damaged his credibility as a main-event star.

Nurmagomedov muzzles McGregor

The hype master, Conor McGregor, failed in the biggest test of his career, against hated rival Khabib Nurmagomedov. Accused of ducking Nurmagomedov to pursue easier fights, McGregor finally answered the challenge and promised he would end Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov was up for the task and easily defeated McGregor by submission in the fourth round of a fight that was not competitive.

Though McGregor will be remembered as an MMA legend, this loss was as much of a defining moment as any of his major wins.

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