Ah, the underdog, whose fabled Hollywood tales of triumph against all odds nearly inspires us to get off our couches and make a change in the world, nearly. With its lightning-quick knockouts and last-second submissions, mixed martial arts has quickly become the official sport of the underdog. And with the MMA-themed Warrior hitting theaters next weekend, here are the five real-life underdogs most worthy of your support.
5. Scott Smith
A man who practically defines the underdog, Scott Smith rose to popularity for his infamous third-round knockouts of the heavily favored Cung Le and Benji Radach. Prior to that, Smith scored quite possibly the best come-from-behind KO ever at The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale when he dropped and finished Pete Sell despite being crippled seconds before by a vicious body shot. Having lost three of his past four fights, Smith will no doubt be the underdog heading into his next fight.
4. Clay Guida
One of the most overlooked guys in the lightweight division, Clay Guida has made a career out of playing the underdog, and he used his superior wrestling base and seemingly endless cardio to crank out victories over Ultimate Fighter winners Mac Danzig and Nate Diaz. Speaking of TUF, Guida most recently scored a decision win over Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, the hype sensation and former WEC Lightweight Champion, at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale.
3. Dan Miller
Former IFL Middleweight Champion Dan Miller has seen some tough times since migrating to the UFC. After a three-fight tear, his momentum train nearly came to a crashing halt as he dropped three straight decisions to future title contenders Chael Sonnen, Demian Maia and top contender Michael Bisping. But those losses showcased what kind of fighter Miller truly is, a tough-as-nails, take-no-prisoners warrior who never turned down a good old-fashioned brawl, not unlike his brother, UFC lightweight contender Jim Miller. Coming off yet another tough decision loss to Rousimar Palhares at UFC 134, Miller aims to get back to his winning ways before he loses his job.
2. Stephan Bonnar
Despite being one half of the fight that launched mixed martial arts into the mainstream, Stephan Bonnar’s UFC career has seen him play the role of underdog on numerous occasions. He has fought four UFC Light Heavyweight Champions including current champ Jon Jones, as well as former Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix winner and inaugural UFC Heavyweight Champion Marc Coleman. And despite losing all of those fights, Stephan continues to improve and is currently riding a two-fight win streak.
1. Frankie Edgar
We know what you’re thinking, how can the current champ be considered an underdog? But the fact is, Frankie Edgar was a huge underdog going into his lightweight championship bout with B.J Penn, and despite pulling off a convincing victory, he was still the underdog going into their rematch. And even after pulling off another upset, “The Answer” still fulfilled the role of underdog in his rematch against Gray Maynard. After nearly being finished in the first round, Edgar rallied back to a unanimous draw and retained his title. The rubber match between the two is set for UFC 136 on October 8th, and for the first time, Edgar is actually a slight favorite. On paper, anyway.