What a difference 5 years makes in MMA

The main event of UFC 115 next weekend would have been one of the biggest fights ever five years ago. Former champions Rich Franklin and Chuck Liddell will meet in a fight where in all reality, the loser should retire. The winner won’t have much of anywhere to move up the ladder and the loser will really only deserve to be on a PPV undercard.

It is amazing how quickly things have changed in MMA and looking back just five years ago to see who the UFC champions were and where they are now. On June 4, 2005, the UFC held UFC 53: Heavy Hitters where Franklin won the middleweight title over Evan Tanner. As of that show, here is a look at who the UFC champions were and how their careers have quickly headed south.

Heavyweight Champion – Andrei Arlovski: At UFC 53, Arlovski defended his title for the first time defeating the late Justin Eilers by TKO in the first round after Eilers blew his knee out. It was Arlovski’s fifth-straight win at the time, all of which were by stoppage. Arlovski followed that win with a one-punch KO of Paul Buentello at UFC 55 and was largely considered the most dominant champion in the organization. However, a bizarre loss to Tim Sylvia at UFC 59, in which Arlovski has Sylvia beat but then was caught with as straight jab that led to a TKO loss, started the downfall of his career. Another loss to Syliva led to a five-fight winning streak, but the fighter was never quite the same. He lost his aggression and confidence and has since lost three-straight fights and is almost an afterthought in MMA. His most recent fight was a decision loss to Antonio Silva, which was a sad performance where he never showed the aggression that made him the dominant champion of five years ago.

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Saturday MMA Review: 8/1

Here’s a weekly rundown of MMA content from Ben Goldstein of CagePotato.com:

– In a press conference held Friday, UFC boss Dana White announced the returns of Tito Ortiz and Vitor Belfort, and promised to be close on another deal that will “change the UFC forever.”

– Unfortunately, getting Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko into the UFC remains a pipe-dream — and it will remain that way as long as Fedor has morons like Jerry Millen in his camp.

– Josh Barnett insists that he’s innocent of his latest steroid charge. His urine, however, is telling a different story.

– Speaking of ‘roids, we ran down every single steroid bust in MMA history, from Tim Sylvia’s ill-fated attempt to lose his gut to Kevin Randleman’s infamous “dead human or live animal” incident.

– Strikeforce’s August 15th show continues to undergo major changes, with Renato Sobral vs. Gegard Mousasi brought over from Affliction’s canceled “Trilogy” card, Jay Hieron coming in to replace Joe Riggs, and Mitsuhiro Ishida replacing injured lightweight champ Josh Thomson. Luckily, Gina Carano is still looking quite healthy.

– Also in the wake of Affliction’s collapse, the UFC swooped in to rescue Ben Rothwell, Paul Daley, and Joe Lauzon’s little brother.

– Kenny Florian talked to us about his gameplan for BJ Penn, and set the record straight on that text message he may or may not have sent Penn that may or may not have accused Georges St. Pierre of greasing.

Saturday MMA Review: 6/20

Here’s a weekly rundown of MMA content from Ben Goldstein of CagePotato.com:

– Rich Franklin edged out Wanderlei Silva and Cain Velasquez dominated Cheick Kongo at UFC 99 last Saturday. Also, Mirko Cro Cop defeated Mostapha Al Turk via illegal eye-pokes, then told the UFC to kiss his ass.

– We saw some crazy knockouts this week, including Tim Sylvia getting wrecked by a 50-year old boxer, a brilliant flying knee KO at a Bellator show [http://www.cagepotato.com/knockout-day-nick-pace-wrecks-collin-tebo-bellator-xi], and a 9-second head-kick finish followed by a flying referee tackle.

– Brock Lesnar is built like a black man, still not a fan of the gays.

– Team U.K.’s James Wilks cruised to the welterweight finals on Wednesday’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter, ending a season that didn’t really live up to the hype.

– MMA model Penny Mathis’s breasts may not be real, but they’re still fabulous.

– Shaquille O’Neal is seriously considering a switch to MMA after finishing his basketball career, and wants to start off by beating up the giant Korean who smashed Jose Canseco.

– When Cris Cyborg chokes out a reporter, that’s just her polite way of saying she’s finished with the interview.

– Come back tonight [Saturday] at 9 p.m. ET/PT for our liveblog of the Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale show, which will feature Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida, Nate Diaz vs. Joe Stevenson, and the lightweight and welterweight TUF finals. And check out our exclusive interviews with Sanchez, Stevenson, and Chris Lytle.

MMA Review for Friday, February 27

Diego SanchezHere’s a weekly rundown of MMA content from Ben Goldstein of CagePotato.com:

UFC 95 featured eight wild stoppages, Diego Sanchez’s successful debut as a lightweight, and a shocking (and somewhat controversial) loss for Josh Koscheck.

– MMA heavyweight Tim Sylvia is trying his hand at boxing, while boxing heavyweight Hasim Rahman is trying his hand at MMA. Of the two, we’re guessing that Rahman’s failure will be more epic.

– Georges St. Pierre’s camp has responded to BJ Penn’s accusation that he greased during their welterweight championship match last month by releasing a 17-page statement and a video showing that what his cornerman did was simply part of a breathing technique.

– Living legends Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will likely be fighting at UFC 101 in Augusy — which may also be when BJ Penn and Kenny Florian face off for the UFC’s lightweight title.

– New York Assemblyman Bob Reilly droned on and on and on about how MMA is like prostitution and how it breeds more violence in society And your point is?

– We tried to get inside the head of 0-13 fighter Scott “LionHeart” Blevins.

– WEC 39 goes down Sunday night in Corpus Christi, Texas, with featherweight champion Mike Brown making his first title defense against Leonard Garcia. Watch the action live on Versus [versus.com] starting at 9 p.m. ET, and come back to CagePotato on Monday morning for results, videos, and commentary.

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