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10 Fights that Changed the Course of Careers

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grappler0000

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Take his career as a whole and Matt Hughes -- who competes Saturday for the first time since a second devastating loss to Georges St. Pierre -- is unquestionably the most accomplished 170-pound athlete to ever don a pair of open-fingered Ouano gloves.

With a list of casualties including B.J. Penn, Sean Sherk, and even St. Pierre himself, Hughes has run the gauntlet in one of the deepest talent pools in the sport. Yet the defining image fans will carry into his bout against Thiago Alves in London's O2 arena is his arm being torqued at unnatural angles at the hands of St. Pierre last December.

That sobering defeat could turn out to be the fulcrum on which Hughes' career now swings. Snapped from his perpetual dominance of the division, he may be more cognizant of his physical limitations and opponents may be less fearful of his abilities.

In properly melodramatic form: the St. Pierre loss could be the beginning of the end.

It wouldn't be the first time that five or 10 minutes managed to stall career momentum for good. Other athletes have had experiences that reduced them to shells of their former selves. Inversely, some fights have taken fighters to new levels of popularity and performance.

The psychological and physical reverberations of a good beat down -- taken or given -- can last the duration of a fighter's ring life.

Some examples, in ascending order of impact:

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Post #1   6/5/08 12:28:46PM   

Muay-Thai_Mogwai

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excellent article

Post #2   6/5/08 12:48:54PM   

Rush

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I'd like to add to the list

Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz I
Hughes and Penn II
GSP vs Serra I

Last edited 6/5/08 1:10PM server time by Rush
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Post #3   6/5/08 1:07:27PM   

casey64

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Posted by Muay-Thai_Mogwai

excellent article





Post #4   6/5/08 1:13:06PM   

bojangalz

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I really wish Sherdog would leave Kimbo the Clown off this list. I mean seriously, that was hardly MMA in the first place. In six months Kimbo will be an afterthought. If you want to talk about fights that propelled the sport, I say look no further than the Shamrock/Ortiz bouts. They had popularity explosion written all over them.

I expected more out of Sherdog on this one.

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And as El Guapo always says- "God speed, and party on. Whoap!"

Post #5   6/5/08 1:47:05PM   

Rush

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Posted by bojangalz

I really wish Sherdog would leave Kimbo the Clown off this list. I mean seriously, that was hardly MMA in the first place. In six months Kimbo will be an afterthought. If you want to talk about fights that propelled the sport, I say look no further than the Shamrock/Ortiz bouts. They had popularity explosion written all over them.

I expected more out of Sherdog on this one.




I agree with you on the Kimbo one, but I want ot point out that these were bouts that defined a significant change in a fighter's career, not the sport.

Post #6   6/5/08 3:00:01PM   

seanfu

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Arlovski Sylvia was a big one.

Post #7   6/5/08 5:06:21PM   

kevietre

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Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler

Post #8   6/5/08 9:51:28PM