3 Career Fighters Who Made a Comeback
BJpenn.com takes a look at three career fighters who turned their careers around and are currently relevant despite a long career.
3. Robbie Lawler
I think most of the MMA community would say that the “Ruthless” in Robbie Lawler never left. Despite leaving the UFC and having mixed success outside the Octagon, Lawler did eventually catch his stride again in other organizations. The now defunct EliteXC provided Robbie with a launching point for the rebirth of his career. His two fights with Scott Smith, another fighter on the comeback trail, put him firmly in the spotlight once again. Then the organization closed and Robbie was back without an organization. Strikeforce came calling and we saw an energized Lawler lighting up the cage with power punches and aggression we hadn’t seen in a long time. When Robbie finally stepped back inside the Octagon at UFC 157 he did so in dramatic fashion. At 3:57 of round 1 Lawler flattened Josh Koscheck and finished him. His next fight was a knockout of Bobby Voelker in :24 of round two and his fans on the forums were rallying behind him. The biggest test in his career stands in front of him at UFC 167 in Welterweight prodigy Rory MacDonald. If Lawler can finish him I see a title shot in the future.
2. Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen made this list simply because he has flat out earned it. After his loss to Demian Maia in his return to the UFC at UFC 95 many thought we would see the Chael Sonnen of old – the guy who looks good for a while and then stupidly gets caught in a submission. After that fight he knocked off two tough opponents in a row in Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt in the midst of a three fight win streak. He lost to UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva via the 5th round “Immaculate Submission” at UFC 117. People wrote him off again after the loss, and the fact that he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. Chael finished Brian Stann and defeated Michael Bisping – and then lost to Anderson Silva again at UFC 148, and then UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones at UFC 159. Again people wrote him off despite his last two losses being to the consensus number one and two pound for pound kings in MMA. His submission of Mauricio Shogun Rua at UFC Fight Night 26 ranks in excitement level to me as much as Tito Ortiz’s submission of Ryan Bader at UFC 132. Maybe Chael Sonnen never really faded, but I think in terms of his career he rose from mediocrity to stardom and not just because he is a gifted speaker.
3. Vitor Belfort
Vitor has had a rocky past and a history of losing big fights. He won his Light Heavyweight Championship by defeating Randy Couture via a TKO due to a cut and then lost it to him in their rematch 7 months later. He has had mixed results when it comes to fighting in the UFC. He has been on three fight losing streaks and he has rattled off several wins in a row before hitting the skids again. Fans keep waiting for the “Old Vitor” who demolished Wanderlei Silva to return and I think he has. After his loss to Jon Jones at UFC 152 Belfort has demolished Luke Rockhold, smashed Michael Bisping, and crushed Dan Henderson. He is a beast plain and simple. Dana White has stated that Vitor will most likely take on the winner of Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva’s rematch next year. Will he choke in another title contender situation? Only time will tell.