UFC

UFC: Rick Story and 5 Other Journeymen No One Wants to Fight

Matthew RyderFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2014

UFC: Rick Story and 5 Other Journeymen No One Wants to Fight

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The UFC is a dangerous place.

    It's a proving ground for the toughest, most skilled martial artists on Earth. If you're not one of the 500 baddest dudes (or dudettes) on the globe, you probably have no business being there.

    A direct result of that is that there are no nights off. While some leagues or sports may boast that, it is very much a reality in the UFC. When you enter the cage, the individual across from you has all the tools required to break your jaw or separate you from your senses.

    Some such individuals get overlooked, though. They lose a few or slip down to the preliminary card for a little while, and suddenly they're labeled "journeymen."

    Well, those folks are dangerous too.

    Here are a few that no one is thrilled about fighting.

Rick Story

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    Story was a surging welterweight not that long ago, at a time when the top 15 wasn't a thing. Actually, the top 10 wasn't officially a thing, or he likely would have been pretty high up there.

    Since a 2011 win over Thiago Alves, which was a huge deal at the time, Story's alternated wins and losses against varying levels of competition. Still, he's a tough out thanks to his wrestling and power.

    Don't think so?

    He beat Johny Hendricks in the UFC. That's got to count for something.

Darren Elkins

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    Elkins was one of the guys to leave mediocrity at 155 pounds in favor of some success at featherweight. The weight cut agreed with him, and he is bigger and more powerful at 145.

    Though he was derailed convincingly by Jeremy Stephens earlier this year, and before that Chad Mendes, he's beaten some impressive names as a featherweight and isn't a guy anyone is dying to meet up with.

    He's also still young enough that he could get on another roll and become a contender again now that he's found his weight class.

Brian Ebersole

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    Ebersole is the epitome of the grizzled veteran, a guy who was hiding in the shadows of Australian MMA for 60 fights before the UFC came calling. His debut was a shocking win over Chris Lytle, which he followed up with three more wins before dropping a couple of fights in a row.

    He's been off for a while, but he's a wild man in the cage and the type of durable, experienced fighter no one is hoping to draw.

Mike Pyle

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    Actually, wait a minute: Mike Pyle is the definition of a grizzled veteran. Sorry to all the Brian Ebersole fans.

    Pyle is pushing 40 years old and actually seems to be getting better, hovering around the fringes of the top 10 for much of the time it's been instituted by the UFC. He's been around long enough to have fights with Shonie Carter and Rory MacDonald on his resume, and he is a former WEC welterweight champion.

    The only thing working against him is time; otherwise, he could be a candidate for contendership.

Gabriel Gonzaga

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    Gonzaga has done plenty in his combat sports career, including time as an elite jiu-jitsu competitor and high-level mixed martial artist. Though he was able to capture titles in jiu-jitsu, the closest he came in MMA was a convincing title loss to Randy Couture in 2007.

    Still, he's a bear of a man with unparalleled heavyweight grappling credentials and a stand-up game just good enough to allow his power to show through. Even after leaving the sport for a little while in 2010-11, he's been good enough to give any opponent fits.

    And in the shallow heavyweight division, no one is more than a few big punches away from going from journeyman to serious challenger.

Ben Rothwell

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Another hulking heavyweight that fits the bill is Ben Rothwell, who's been about as durable and tough to handle as anyone at heavyweight over the course of the past few years. He's had a hard time getting any upward mobility, but he's simply a gigantic man who does a few things very well.

    He can wrestle capably, he is as tough as they come and his stand-up is tailored to his strengths almost perfectly. He's an expert bully in the cage as well, rarely denied when attempting to overpower an opponent.

    With over 40 fights already in the books, he's only lost nine times in a career that's spanned well over a decade. Definitely no treat for the guys who end up in there with him.

     

    Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

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