Coming into major promotions such as the UFC, many fighters have to earn their fame and popularity by doing what they are paid to do, fight. Some fighters put on some amazing performances, and make their way to the top faster than others, which is absolutely normal.
Some other athletes however, are so hyped up by MMA promotions that they barely have to perform in order to earn their spot on the MMA hype-train. Let's take the example of Conor McGregor. Dana White signed this prospect without even seeing him fight and right away the hype began. Ever since his win over Marcus Brimage, people have been calling McGregor the greatest of all time and the new featherweight champion, even though he did not score any big wins back then. In McGregor's case, he lived up to the hype, destroying every opponent put in front of him (except Max Holloway, but he tore his ACL during that fight). After knocking out Chad Mendes, it is clear that McGregor is absolutely worthy of the hype surrounding him and is a good challenger for Jose Aldo, the greatest fighter in the world.
However, not all hyped up fighters can perform quite as McGregor did. That is the problem with hype: it builds up enormous pressure to perform, and some fighters simply can't handle it. Some lose constantly, others are simply inconsistent. Either way, here is a list of the top 15 most overrated fighters in MMA, fighters who simply could not live up to their hype:
15 Alistair Overeem
The Reem's physique, his impressive career in kickboxing and his wins over big names have made him one of the most hyped-up fighters in the heavyweight division. He is a multiple time kickboxing champion but lately, MMA has proved to be a whole different story. His devastating losses to Bigfoot and Travis Browne have proved that, though he is absolutely a worthy opponent, he does not belong with elite UFC fighters. Let's see if he can prove me wrong during his fight with Junior Dos Santos.
14 Erick Silva
Just a few years ago, everyone was talking about Erick Silva, the new Brazilian prodigy. He would absolutely outclass top level fighters and was supposed to become the next Jose Aldo or the next Anderson Silva. But then, he got knocked out by Dong Hyun Kim. Ever since then, his fights still spark excitement from MMA fans, but he does not deliver his old performances, nor is he considered the next greatest fighter of all time.
13 Nick Diaz
I for one, am I big Diaz fan. However, we must realize that it is Diaz's talking and personality that sell his fights, and not his actual skill. Sure, he was a top contender back in Strikeforce, but right now? After a few big consecutive losses, it is clear that Diaz is no longer relevant in the ranks of top MMA fighters. He's able to defeat some solid fighters but hasn't been able to win the big one in the UFC. However, his skill in entertainment and sparking controversy is the best there is.
12 Nate Marquardt
Nate ''The Great'' was an absolute phenomenon in Japanese MMA promotions in the past. It was only a matter of time before the UFC noticed the young fighter. His UFC career was theoretically supposed to be excellent, based on his performances in previous Japanese MMA promotions. But, in his last six fights, he has won onlu one. Sadly, this 1-6 record is quite unimpressive compared to his wins in Pancrase.
11 Chael Sonnen
Yes, he is now retired, but is still competing in submission grappling promotions. Either way, his career has definitely had its ups and downs and did not finish on a high note. It is interesting to see that in his fights where he talks the most, like the Anderson Silva and Jon Jones fights, he loses in devastating fashion. But when he acts like a professional and trains in the gym instead of on the microphone, his results are quite different. Just think of the Shogun fight.
10 Brock Lesnar
I know this name will cause endless debates and aggression towards me in the comments, but it has to be said. Lesnar was never a martial artist. He was a big, bad, scary, badass dude, and he did put some some great fights in the UFC, but he just couldn't hang with the best in the world like Dana White hoped he would. When put against real fighters like Cain Velasquez, the hype died out almost instantly. Lesnar was given a shot at Randy Couture's Heavyweight title after just two fights in the UFC, sporting a 1-1 record. He would finish his UFC career at 5-3.
9 Eddie Alvarez
Those of you who watch Bellator probably used to watch it especially for this guy. He always put up great fights and seemed unbeatable inside that octagon. But when Dana White finally decided to sign him with the UFC, it turned out he was quite beatable indeed. A loss to Cerrone and an extremely close decision win over Gilbert Melendez proved that his career in the UFC will be much harder than his career in Bellator.
8 Gegard Mousasi
Again, the kind of guy that was absolutely astonishing in his early career. In fact, he got so many consecutive wins before the UFC that people started comparing him to a young Fedor Emilianenko. Once in the UFC though, his record has been a mediocre 4-3. Though not a terrible record, his losses to Uriah Hall, Lyoto Machida, and Ronaldo Souza absolutely derailed his hype-train coming into the promotion.
7 Wanderlei Silva
Nobody wanted to fight Silva in Pride. NOBODY. He was the one and only Axe Murderer who would jump on people's heads, soccer kick them and slam them right into hell. Everyone was afraid of Silva. However, his UFC career proved that he was just another man (maybe because you can't stomp heads in the UFC). In fact, out of Silva's last 11 fights he has won...four. Not the best record I've seen.
6 Mauricio Rua
Another fighter who, just like Silva, was at his prime during Pride. The only man to beat him in this promotion was Mark Coleman, and Shogun annihilated the rest of the division. However, his early career with the UFC started with a 50/50 win-loss average but has only kept going downhill from there. Being 2-4 in his last six fights, it is understandable that even his most loyal fans are calling for him to retire.
5 Michael Bisping
The reason this guy is so hyped up is because he has thousands of UK fans supporting him as he is one of the only big fighters from the country, and because he likes to talk A LOT. But let's look at the facts: Bisping doesn't have the power. He couldn't knock out Jorge Rivera, even after hitting him with an illegal knee from hell. Even Floyd Mayweather, as well as many of his opponents, are making fun of his striking power.
4 Jake Shields
The hype surrounding Jake Shields in Strikeforce was unreal, and Dana White decided to sign the talented grappler in order to put him up against Georges St-Pierre. Before he could face the champion, Shields had to face Martin Kampmann. Though he won that fight, his performance left many people wondering if he deserved to be in the UFC. Nevertheless, the got the title shot against GSP, and lost in an absolutely devastating fashion. The hype surrounding Shields quickly died down from there.
3 Jorge Santiago
After two straight losses to Alan Belcher and Chris Leben, Santiago was released from the UFC and went on to fight at Sengoku, a promotion in Japan. During this time, he has a fantastic career dominating the promotion, and everyone was screaming ''Santiago is back!'' Dana White listened to the fans and resigned Santiago, but it turned out he was not quite back. 0-4 in the UFC since his return from Japan.
2 Roy Nelson
Roy Nelson only got hyped up due to his insanely heavy hands and flashy KOs. Sure, when you can catch your opponent with such a shot, it's game over. But let's face it: Nelson is slow. And, although he is a black-belt in Jiu-Jitsu, his ground game is not the best around. After his awesome KOs, Big Country has been on quite a losing streak and has one of the worse recent records around: five losses in his last six fights.
1 Kimbo Slice
Honestly, I'm not even sure how Kimbo Slice ever even signed with a major MMA promotion. He was an internet sensation, knocking people out at BBQs and outdoor parties. Though entertaining, that does not make you a professional martial artist. Kimbo soon realized that despite the hype surrounding him, his nontechnical striking and his non-existent ground game would not allow him to compete at the highest level of MMA. At least he gets to beat up on a 51-year-old Ken Shamrock, right?