The recent release of the “Irish hand Grenade” Marcus Davis left me to wonder what was to come for his mixed martial arts future. Many fighters have made a name for themselves inside the Octagon allowing for bigger paydays outside the UFC. However, getting the pink slip isn’t the best thing for your career. When the top MMA organization in the world drops you, your immediate future doesn’t look bright. Even as recent as last year, the dreaded three fight losing streak was almost a guaranteed release. With the recent WEC/UFC merger, a fighter might not get a chance to lose three straight.
Thales Leites began 14 – 1 in MMA career, before the spider struck
Leites came into the UFC in November 2006, and lost a unanimous decision to Martin Kampmann. He rebounded by winning his next five fights. The only top talent he faced during the streak was Nate Marquardt. Leites won that fight by split decision, only after Marquardt was docked two points during the fight. Match maker Joe Silva and UFC President Dana White felt that Leites was ready to face the UFC Middleweight champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva. It was April 2009, and Leites was ready to defeat his fellow Brazilian for the title.
What ensued was a lackluster fight from the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Leites was afraid to exchange with Silva after getting hit early in the fight. Leites continually attempted to get Silva to go to the ground, but Silva just danced around him. This rather boring fight was the beginning of the end of Leites UFC career. Leites next fought Alessio Sakara in August 2009, where he lost via split decision. The fight was much like the Silva fight, where neither fighter attempted much offense. Leites had taken part in eight consecutive lackluster rounds, and was released following the defeat.
Since his release, the Brazilian has gone 4 – 1 against far less superior fighters than are seen in the UFC. The biggest name Leites fought was another man, who will be discussed in this article, Jesse Taylor. Leites won the fight via submission. He also defeated veteran Dean Lister, Rico Washington & Tor Troeng. His loss came against Matt Horwich for the Powerhouse World Promotions Middleweight title. The competitor’s Leites has seen since his release aren’t the Rich Franklin’s & Demian Maia’s of the world. It’s hard to imagine Leites improving in the cage at this point against guys who are less talented than he is.
Taylor loses chance to win UFC contract during The Ultimate Fighter 7
When Taylor was kicked off the finale for his drunken behavior in Las Vegas, it was unprecedented in TUF. It was the first time a fighter had been kicked off after the show was finished filming. After proving to White that he was a changed man, Taylor got the opportunity to fight the man that took his place in the finale, C.B. Dollaway. Dollaway won in the first round with the Peruvian necktie to end Taylors UFC career.
He has been successful when you look at his record outside of the Octagon, but the biggest issue is the lack of talent in his opponents. Since being released, he has recorded an impressive 11 – 3 record with wins over Drew Fickett & Chris Camozzi. Include the wins against former UFC fighters Jason Day & Murilo Bustamante, and Taylor hasn’t beaten anybody of any importance. He has lost to Leites, 7 – 1 Strikeforce fighter Luke Rockhold, and the 19 – 4 Jay Hieron. He’s lost to those you’d expect him to lose to, and beaten the guys he’s supposed.
It’s tough for Taylor considering he threw away his future because he was drunk. It’s like a real life Afroman song. I don’t know what’s in White’s mind about Taylor, or if he’s even in his thoughts at this point, but Taylor needs to step up his competition. That step up could begin in April, when he faces former UFC fighter, Denis Kang.
There are plenty of small promotion across the world to get fights in, but imagine if Jon Jones or Ryan Bader were fighting in one of these organizations. Would they be as successful as they are today? Would their games have evolved as far as they have? Probably not. For young fighters like Taylor & Leites who can still work their way back into the UFC, this could only be a hiccup in their career. However, in today’s UFC, if either man is welcomed back to the company, a single loss could end their UFC careers for good. For a guy like the 37 year old Davis, his UFC career is likely over, and his life on the smaller circuits have just begun.
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