5 UFC stars who changed their fighting style and suffered because of it

Every time a UFC fighter adjustments their fashion contained in the octagon, it’s at all times a threat. For each legend who turns into a grasp of all trades like Georges St-Pierre, there are others who find yourself forgetting what obtained them to the highest within the first place.

Through the years we’ve seen quite a few examples of UFC fighters who modified their kinds up throughout their tenure with the promotion, just for it to finish up costing them dearly and sending them downhill.

Typically, even high-level champions find yourself struggling this type of destiny, with a couple of of them being unable to regain precisely what made them nice.

Listed below are 5 UFC stars who modified their preventing fashion and suffered due to it.

#5. Dong Hyun Kim – former UFC welterweight contender

Dong Hyun Kim's switch to a more exciting approach to his fights didn't pay off
Dong Hyun Kim’s swap to a extra thrilling strategy to his fights did not repay

Dong Hyun Kim was the primary fighter from South Korea to essentially change into successful within the UFC. Nonetheless, for almost all of his early profession, ‘Stun Gun’ flew underneath the radar considerably with informal followers.

The rationale for this was fairly clear. Whereas he was capable of beat some unbelievable opponents, together with Nate Diaz and Matt Brown, Kim simply wasn’t all that thrilling to observe.

The odd judo throw was usually the one spotlight when he stepped into the octagon. After scoring a TKO over Jason Tan in his promotional debut, his subsequent seven wins all went the space.

By 2013, it appeared clear that ‘Stun Gun’ would by no means climb into title rivalry until he modified his fashion. So, he determined to just do that.

His bout with Erick Silva late that yr noticed him eschew his ordinary grappling fashion to wildly brawl with the Brazilian. Surprisingly, the strategy paid off as he surprised his foe with a second-round KO, selecting up his first ever bonus award within the course of.

When he then knocked out John Hathaway with a spinning elbow in his subsequent bout, it was exhausting to not get enthusiastic about his potential as a title contender – however actually 5 months later, he bumped into Tyron Woodley.

Kim would possibly’ve stood an opportunity had he fought extra methodically towards ‘The Chosen One’. As a substitute, he took an enormous threat and tried one other spinning elbow with no actual setup. Woodley countered with an enormous proper hand, and knocked him mindless.

Welcome again, Tyron Woodley. He beats Kim by way of first-round TKO in simply 62 (or so) seconds.

Whereas ‘Stun Gun’ gained his subsequent three bouts, the loss to Woodley put him firmly out of title rivalry and knocked him down the ladder. Had he performed issues protected as he’d finished earlier in his profession, although, he could not have acquired as many plaudits, however he might nicely have discovered extra success in the long term.

#4. Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson – former UFC gentle heavyweight champion

Rampage Jackson's switch to a boxing-based game turned out to be the beginning of the end for him
Rampage Jackson’s swap to a boxing-based sport turned out to be the start of the tip for him

When Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson first turned a star in Japan’s PRIDE promotion, his trademark was his skill to slam his opponents down with critical pressure, identical to a pro-wrestler. Positive, his methods weren’t at all times flawless in different areas, however when it got here to bodyslams and powerbombs in MMA, there was no person higher.

By the point he made his method to the UFC in 2007, although, Rampage was a firmly well-rounded fighter with nice abilities in all areas.

He confirmed off his clinch work in his debut towards Marvin Eastman, used his boxing to knock out Chuck Liddell to say the sunshine heavyweight title, after which largely outwrestled former Olympian Dan Henderson in his first protection.

May26.2007Rampage Jackson knocks out Chuck Liddell at UFC 71,to become the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion

Nonetheless, after shedding the gold to Forrest Griffin and taking a while away from MMA to movie The A-Staff, Rampage returned to the UFC in 2010 as a really completely different fighter altogether.

Primarily, the previous champion appeared to have centered on nothing however his boxing abilities since shedding his title. The strategy led on to a disappointing loss to his bitter rival Rashad Evans.

Following that, whereas he did declare a pair extra wins within the octagon, Rampage merely couldn’t cope when an opponent both seemed to grapple him or use leg kicks towards him. He appeared to have change into a one-dimensional fighter in a single day. It was no shock when a shedding streak noticed him wash out of the UFC in 2013.

Within the years which have adopted, Rampage has picked up some wins in Bellator’s cage, however he stays a shadow of the good fighter he as soon as was, largely attributable to his resolution to eschew his different abilities in favor of changing into virtually a pure boxer.

#3. Diego Sanchez – former UFC light-weight contender

Diego Sanchez moved away from his grappling to embrace striking - and it didn't work out
Diego Sanchez moved away from his grappling to embrace putting – and it did not work out

When Diego Sanchez claimed victory on the primary season of The Final Fighter, he did so by primarily utilizing his floor sport. ‘The Nightmare’ had a surprisingly fast takedown, brutal ground-and-pound, and by no means appeared to get drained even when scrambling wildly.

Those self same abilities gave Sanchez wins over the likes of Nick Diaz, Karo Parisyan and Joe Riggs contained in the UFC correct, turning him right into a title contender within the course of.

Nonetheless, when he suffered a few losses to Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, opponents he couldn’t take down, his fashion turned uncovered considerably. Primarily, it was clear that he wanted to enhance his putting with a view to attain the very high.

Whereas ‘The Nightmare’ did go about doing that, although, he additionally left behind the stellar grappling sport that obtained him near the summit within the first place.

By 2009, as his putting abilities improved, his wrestling sport appeared to deteriorate, that means that though he might nonetheless scramble brilliantly, his fights didn’t hit the bottom practically as a lot as they as soon as had.

The give attention to standup additionally meant that ‘The Nightmare’ was absorbing extra punishment than he’d ever finished earlier than, and slowly however absolutely, it started to meet up with him.

By the tip of his UFC tenure – which got here arguably far too late, in 2020 – Sanchez’s fights tended to consist of untamed brawling that’d usually see him come out on the more severe finish of issues. Positive, his bouts had been nonetheless thrilling, however he was mainly a shadow of the good prospect he’d been in 2005.

In hindsight, he’d have been higher off specializing in bettering his wrestling relatively than his putting.

#2. Ronda Rousey – former UFC bantamweight champion

In hindsight, Ronda Rousey should never have embraced striking in the way she did
In hindsight, Ronda Rousey ought to by no means have embraced putting in the way in which she did

In most situations, it’d be insulting to label any UFC fighter as one-dimensional. Within the case of Ronda Rousey, she was so good at that one dimension – grappling – that it merely made no sense for her to vary her sport up.

An Olympic bronze medallist in judo, ‘Rowdy’ debuted within the octagon in 2013 after a dominant run in Strikeforce that noticed her end 4 opponents by way of armbar en path to capturing the promotion’s bantamweight title.

She shortly continued that run within the UFC, dispatching Liz Carmouche and previous rival Miesha Tate together with her trademark maintain earlier than defeating Sara McMann, Alexis Davis, Cat Zingano and Bethe Correia.

Nonetheless, whereas her win over Zingano got here by way of armbar once more, the opposite three wins all got here by way of strikes. The Correia win, particularly, turned out to be a pink flag.

By the point of that battle in the summertime of 2015, Rousey had been working with putting coach Edmond Tarverdyan for a while. She had evidently determined that her fingers could possibly be as efficient as her takedowns and submissions.

Positive, she knocked out Correia with a flurry of punches, however the battle itself was wildly sloppy, and it was solely Rousey’s superior athleticism and aggression that allowed her to return out on high.

She wasn’t anywhere near as fortunate in her next bout against Holly Holm, as she made the error of largely looking to strike against a far superior kickboxer. With that, she found herself on the wrong end of a truly brutal knockout that shattered her aura of invincibility.

When she returned after a year on the shelf, she suffered another nasty knockout, this time at the hands of Amanda Nunes. Soon after, she chose to retire from MMA.

While many fans now believe the game simply caught up with ‘Rowdy’, the truth is that had she stuck to her guns and focused purely on her grappling, there’s every chance she would’ve beaten Holm. That makes her decision to switch to a striking-based game one of the biggest mistakes in octagon history.

#1. Conor McGregor – former UFC lightweight champion

Conor McGregor's boxing-based approach caused him to struggle against Dustin Poirier
Conor McGregor’s boxing-based approach caused him to struggle against Dustin Poirier

Few fighters enjoyed a rise up the ladder as meteoric as Conor McGregor. He literally went from being an unknown debutant to the biggest star in the UFC in less than two years.

While it obviously helped that ‘The Notorious’ possessed unrivaled charisma, excellent skills on the microphone and had the entire nation of Ireland behind him, what really sent him flying up the mountain was his skillset inside the octagon.

Sure, McGregor always relied on the insane power in his punches, particularly his left hand, but he certainly wasn’t a one-dimensional boxer in his early days.

Fighting out of a karate-style stance, McGregor used movement and footwork more than any fighter before him to find the right angles to catch his opponents with counter strikes. He would often use kicks to his advantage, too, whipping spinning strikes towards his foes and even using leg kicks to break down Nate Diaz in their second bout.

However, after claiming the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez in a truly masterful performance, McGregor stepped away from the octagon to pursue a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, and it’s safe to say that things have gone downhill for him since.

Sure, there was no shame in his loss to the great Khabib Nurmagomedov and he did look good in his 2020 win over Donald Cerrone.

However, his two TKO defeats to Dustin Poirier in 2021 showed a fighter who was almost purely focused on his boxing as opposed to the slick counter-striking game he’d once deployed.

Dustin Poirier obtained it finished!The Diamond levelled the rivalry in spectacular style at #UFC257 💎Conor McGregor loses by KO for the primary time in his profession!

Heavy on his ft and throwing little else however haymakers, ‘The Infamous’ fell sufferer to Poirier’s better-rounded strategy, which made use of nasty leg kicks to arrange his greater punches.

Whether or not McGregor can get again to his previous strategy when – and if – he returns to the UFC stays a query mark, but it surely’s undoubtedly truthful to say that his swap in kinds hasn’t paid off in any respect so far.

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