Every company wants to hitch their wagon to a fighter with “charisma”, but which five have gotten the biggest push without the pedigree or skills to back it up?
5. Michael “The Count” Bisping (18 Wins, 2 Losses)
Even though “The Count” is one of the most popular and dangerous fighters to step into the UFC octagon from the United Kingdom, his legitimacy as a top-contender and a headliner should be questioned. Bisping’s impressive striking and mind-games may have won over fans, but he has never defeated an elite fighter. His two chances to prove he was a top-contender in both the light-heavyweight division and in the middleweight division failed miserably when he lost to Rashad Evans (unanimous decision) and Dan Henderson (knockout). Aside from the occasional highlight-knockout, the only reason Michael Bisping is popular is because he is the poster-boy for the UFC in the United Kingdom.
4. Rich “Ace” Franklin (25 Wins, 6 Losses and 1 No Contest)
After his victory over Ken Shamrock at the TUF 1 Season Finale, his popularity increased tenfold and he went on to become the UFC Middleweight Champion. What most UFC fans didn’t realize at the time was that Shamrock’s career was winding down long before Franklin knocked him out, so even though it seemed like knocking out Shamrock was a huge feat, it wasn’t as big of a deal everyone made it out to be. His reign as UFC Middleweight Champion, while impressive, was also questionable as he was matched up against subpar opponents. As soon as Franklin stepped into the octagon with the upper echelon of fighters (Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort) his skills, or lack thereof, were exposed.
3. Cung Le (6 Wins, 1 Loss)
After his 2008 fight of the year contender against Frank Shamrock, Cung Le skyrocketed to superstardom. As a matter of fact, because Mirco Cro Cop made the transition from PRIDE FC to the UFC many fans were saying Cung Le was the owner of the most dangerous kicks in mixed martial arts. As we saw in his last fight against Scott Smith (who is 1-4 in the UFC), it’s evident his kicks are more “flashy” than “dangerous”. Le’s offense was strong and quick, but he relied too heavily on his kicks which simply did not have the knockout power he was looking for and was not able to knockout Smith when he had several chances to do so. His performance against Scott Smith was one of the biggest letdowns for Strikeforce and opened a lot of eyes.
2. Clay Guida (25 Wins, 11 Losses)
Clay Guida has been paired against numerous contenders to BJ Penn’s Lightweight Championship, but he has never been a contender himself. Despite that, he still remains as one of the lightweight division’s most popular fighters. Dana White realized that Guida’s wild style of fighting will never truly amount to great success and that nobody will ever buy a pay-per-view just to see him, but they will tune into Spike TV to see him fight for free. This is where two stars are born at once: the victor (usually Guida’s opponent) moves onto pay-per-view to fight Penn, and Guida gains an incredible amount of popularity by pulling in fans who are new to MMA because his fights are exciting and his trademark mane. Long story short, Clay Guida is the glorified stepping stone of the lightweight division.
1. Kimbo Slice (4 Wins, 1 Loss)
Throughout his five-fight career, Kimbo Slice has already been featured in three main events, one co-main event, and starred on the tenth season of the Ultimate Fighter where he was easily the most advertised fighter in the history of the show… all because he was the star of backyard fighting videos. Elite XC made an illusion that Kimbo Slice was unbeatable, but that illusion was ruined when Seth Petruzelli knocked Kimbo Slice out in fourteen seconds. Kimbo Slice definitely has the knockout power to finish fights, but that’s all he has going for him; he is a one dimensional fighter. Whenever he is taken to the ground, he as no offense or defense. Like a fish out of water, he is not familiar with that world and he starts flopping around hoping he can get back to his feet. Sure to be at the top of everyone else’s list, Kimbo Slice deserves to be the most overrated fighter in mixed martial arts history.