The 5 Biggest UFC Busts

Mac Danzig desperately needed a win at UFC 109. The former King of the Cage champion was the most experienced fighter to ever enter “The Ultimate Fighter” house and started his UFC career with wins over Tommy Speer at the season finale and Mark Bocek at UFC 83. Then he went on a three fight skid, dropping bouts to Clay Guida, Josh Neer, and Jim Miller. Leading up to Saturday’s fight he went as far to go on record saying that if he couldn’t defeat Justin Buchholtz he did not deserve a spot in the organization. But Danzing turned in a strong effort en route to a unanimous decision win, his first since April 2008. In doing so The Ultimate Fighter 6 winner also avoided a dubious spot on our UFC Busts list.

Mirko Cro Cop

The UFC front office was cheering. On December 30, 2006, president Dana White proudly announced the signing of Mirko Filipović to a two-year, six-fight contract. Filipović had become a superstar in Japan with his success in K-1 and PRIDE and the Zuffa marketing machine was poised for a major run with the fighter now promoted as Mirko Cro Cop.

Filipović won his UFC debut in 4:33 and a title shot seemed imminent. But since Gabriel Gonzaga’s head kick knocked him out – leading to ankle and knee injuries during his fall to the canvas – Cro Cop hasn’t been the same. A loss to Cheick Kongo saw him return to Japan where he went 1-1 with a no contest three Dream fights. He then returned to the UFC with a controversial win over Mostapha Al-Turk during which two unintentional eye pokes went undetected and a loss to rising heavyweight prospect Junior dos Santos.

Odds will be long and the UFC’s patience short when Cro Cop (2-3) fights Big Ben Rothwell on Feb. 21 in Sydney, Australia.

Denis Kang

At one point in the recent past it looked like there were no credible opponents for Anderson Silva and hardcore fans were calling for the UFC to sign Denis Kang, a hot prospect who had a successful run in PRIDE and parlayed his Korean heritage into a cherry contract with SpiritMC. Kang finally signed with the UFC in 2008 but losses to Alan Belcher and Michael Bisping demonstrated that Kang’s mental game wasn’t on par with his physical skills. Kang washed out of the UFC late last year and has since signed with a regional Canadian promotion.

Karo Parisyan

(Parysian grapples with Dong Hyun Kim.)

For 13 years Karo Parisyan honed a unique hybrid of Judo, Sambo, Catch Wrestling, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling under the Hayastan Grappling System. His explosive style led to a kimura submission win over Dave Strasser in his UFC debut and a unanimous decision victory against Shonie Carter to capture the WEC welterweight title.

Parisyan entered his contest with Diego Sanchez with a chance to secure a shot against UFC welterweight king Matt Hughes. A unanimous loss dropped him out of contention, and after rebounding with two straight wins a second-round TKO loss to Thiago Alves sent Parisyan in a downward spiral. A back injury forced him out of his UFC 88 fight with Yoshiyuki Yoshida right before the weigh-ins. Then a controversial split decision win over Kim Dong-hyun was overturned and subsequently ruled a no contest when he tested positive for banned painkillers.

Coming off a nine-month suspension, Parisyan was named Dustin Hazelett’s opponent for UFC 106, but again pulled out before the weigh-ins while suffering from anxiety attacks. White blasted Parisyan over Twitter, stating he would never again compete for the UFC.

Heath Herring

(Herring struggles with Kongo.)

“The Texas Crazy Horse”’s resume boasts an impressive list of opponents: Brock Lesnar, Cheick Kongo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Fedor Emelianenko, Vitor Belfort, Igor Vovchanchyn and Mirko Cro Cop. But Herring’s UFC record is 2-3, the last of which was a three-round beating at the hands of Lesnar that started with a first-round knockdown that sent him tumbling across the Octagon. An illness forced him to withdraw from his scheduled fight against Cain Velasquez last June and now that the heavyweight division is stacked with new studs, this Bronc’s future remains unclear.

Phillipe Nover

(The sunglasses were warranted when the future was brighter…)

Nover was Dana White’s favorite to win The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 but “The Phillipino Assasin” has succeed only in killing his own career. After his loss to Rob Emerson, Nover’s UFC record is 0-3 and pink slip and more seasoning on the independent circuit seems inevitable.

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