Less a FanPost, more meant to trigger a discussion.
Reading Leland and Smoogy's excellent Scouting Report pieces (and particularly Smoogy's follow-up pieces on 2011's picks) got me thinking - for every prospect that's made it big in the UFC or elsewhere (Tyson Griffin for instance off the top of my head had a lot of hype around him pre-UFC and has done well for himself...) there must be loads that just fall off for some reason or another or never live up to the expectations put on them. Who would you guys put into that category? A discussion on this could be fun I thought (or not given a couple of my picks!) because people are bound to come up with fighters that make you go "oh shit, I remember that guy and the hype around him!". Here's a few that instantly came to my mind:
Justin Levens - back in late 2005 there was a ton of hype around Justin as I remember it, as he'd ran up a 7-0 record and looked pretty damn good in doing so, particularly in a really great WEC match with Jorge Oliveira. It was fully expected that he'd end up in the UFC and go on to stardom in 2006 and hell, I even recall the word being that Zuffa had all but offered the winner of his fight with Scott Smith a contract. Of course Levens lost that fight and never really recovered from the knockout loss, and although he *did* make it to the UFC anyway, it was as a late replacement against Evan Tanner in a largely one-sided loss. Even then I figured Tanner was a super-tough opponent for your UFC debut and he'd go on to be a steady mid-level guy in UFC, but then he got knocked out by Jorge Santiago and ended up going on the horrendous slide that lead to his suicide in 2008. Sad stuff.
Edson Drago - You could sort of say this guy was the prototype Junior Dos Santos back in 2005/6 when he first emerged from Brazil, as he was a Nogueira brothers student who was knocking everyone dead with his hands. I remember expecting him to go onto massive success in the UFC or PRIDE after he smashed up Tengiz Tedoradze over here in the UK on a Cage Rage show. Really brutal knockout, that one. There was also the incident in Brazil where he beat his opponent down and basically refused to stop, which was a bit unsavoury. He was signed by PRIDE after the Tedoradze win and I figured he'd be shot to the upper echelon in no time, but he ended up losing in one-sided fashion to Pawel Nastula and Yoshihiro KISS of all people, and his career never recovered as he lost his next fight to British kickboxer Gary Turner and then had a serious motorcycle accident that put him out of action until 2009. He hasn't fought since a loss in November 2009 to recent UFC debutant Edinaldo Oliveira.
Zelg Galesic - Burst onto the UK scene in 2006 with some vicious knockouts and then showed a solid ground game by armbarring kickboxer Curtis Stout too. People were calling him 'Little Mirko' and all sorts at that point. Then he went to Japan - PRIDE and K-1 Hero's - and subsequently got tapped by a pair of Judokas with losing records at the time. While he did win a couple of fights in DREAM afterwards he never really showed the flashes of potential that he'd done against the lesser opposition in Cage Rage.
Luis Firmino - 'Buscape' was pegged as the likely toughest match for Takanori Gomi when PRIDE first instated their Lightweight division in late 2004; of course this was prior to them signing the majority of the world's top fighters at 155lbs (Kawajiri, Hansen, Edwards, Thomson...basically everyone but Shaolin at the time!) but even though he lost both of his fights in 2005, they were relatively close decisions to the afore-mentioned Kawajiri and a really outstanding fight with Luiz Azeredo that was an early FOTYC. I expected him to be a staple amongst the top Lightweights in the world for some time, but then....nothing, basically. He fought once more in PRIDE in 2006, went 1-1 in DREAM in 2008 and has only fought twice since.
I'm sure there's tons more I've missed out. Who comes to mind for you lot?