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Journeymen, Cans and Jobbers: the Lifeblood of MMA

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For every Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson we need a Shannon Ritch, a Shaun Lomas and a Jay Ellis. For every 10-0 blue chip prospect working his way up the ranks, we need 10 men to lose. Some journeymen are highly-skilled veterans of the sport, and some are less so, but it’s these men fighting for any promotion, at any venue, up to a dozen times a year or more that keep our sport ticking.

The underground world of the MMA journeyman is mysterious and murky. Does a man who is 13-60, who lost in under a minute to now-featherweight Anthony Pettis, really hold a 24-second KO victory over heavyweight Kimbo Slice (more on that later), not to mention a submission victory over Bellator featherweight champion Daniel Straus? How can a fighter with a 34-52 record on the regional scene hold victories over UFC stars Michael Johnson, Darren Elkins and Abel Trujillo?

Let’s take a look at the men with the most professional MMA bouts, some records good, and some not-so-good. I put together a list of 18 fighters who have made that walk more than almost anyone else in MMA history, then highlighted notable results/achievements in their careers. Just to note, as the number of fights these guys have had varies from source to source, all stats are from the online records on Sherdog.com.

journeymen2* It should be noted that it has been widely disputed online whether or not the Kevin Ferguson that Jay Ellis faced at an amateur MMA event in 2005 was indeed ‘Kimbo Slice.’ Sherdog’s fight finder still has the result listed as Kimbo’s, so for the sake of this table, the result will be treated as factual to ensure consistency, as all my information has come from the same source. It looks like Ellis’ giant-killing exploits may be limited to the submission victory over Bellator featherweight champion Daniel Straus though- an incredible achievement in its own right.

We’re all familiar with guys like Severn, Horn, and Monson but some of the career-highs on the records of guys like Ted Worthington and Jay Ellis are just as impressive. When putting this table together I also stumbled across the bizarre circumstances surrounding Shannon Ritch and Bryan Ebersole’s No Contest back in 2006, and I’d thoroughly recommend reading my colleague Keefe McKenna’s piece on Ebersole here for more information on that result.

So that’s one definition of a journeyman looked at- a fighter who has competed frequently, perhaps not always at an elite level, over many years (think Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler). There is also another kind of journeyman- one who is usually more familiar with elite competition and whose fight record boasts more variety than quantity.

I decided to also take a look at the fighters who have competed for the most different major MMA promotions. I had no quick method for gathering this information, I trawled through MMA veteran’s records individually, so I had to limit the promotions I could include. I decided to include arguably the four largest established MMA promotions active today; UFC, Bellator, WSOF and ONE FC, as well as possibly the three biggest extinct MMA promotions of yesteryear; PRIDE, Strikeforce, and WEC. Apologies to all Dream, Pancrase, WFA, Rings and EliteXC fans, I simply couldn’t include all of them.

It’s a four-way tie between Baroni, Curran, Edwards and Sokoudjou. I couldn’t find anyone who has competed in all four of the active promotions (left side of the table), although Baroni, ‘Babalu’ and Arlovski came close. The way I’ve manually collected this information surely means I’ve missed fighters who should be included in this table, and any feedback including fighters who should be up there would be greatly appreciated. I’d also like to thank everyone at Reddit MMA who helped me with collecting this data, especially user SignInName, who was extremely helpful.

And thank you to all the journeymen, the fighters who fill the cards of all levels of MMA promotions around the world every weekend- you are the backbone of our sport.


For the latest MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.

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Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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