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CagePotato Roundtable #21: Which Fighter Had the Most Unexpected Career Comeback of Them All?

(They say a picture is worth a thousand words, yet the only one that comes to mind when looking at this one is ZOMGBARFLOLLERCOPTER. Via Getty Images.)  Mixed martial arts is a cruel mistress, Potato Nation, and we’re not just talking about Fallon Fox. As the sport’s popularity has increased over the past decade, its participants have been forced to take on the added pressure of not only supporting their families with the oft paltry salaries they take home every few months (if they’re lucky), but winning fights and winning them impressively for the sake of their ever-increasing fanbases, who will turn on them at the drop of the hat should they fail to meet expectations. At the risk of sounding too cliche, MMA is a game that truly offers the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It’s also a sport that Tim Sylvia once declared 90% half mental. And to some degree, that semi-retarded Ogre was right; MMA is a sport that, aside from pushing one to their limit and often past it physically, can do ten times as much damage to a person mentally. A string of losses — a single, particularly devastating loss even — can leave a fighter questioning whether they ever truly belonged in the first place, or whether their prime has simply passed them by. And it just happens so damn fast; in the span of roughly a year, Chuck Liddell went from the unstoppable light heavyweight kingpin to a washed up brawler who was getting punch-drunk into an early grave. At least according to the experts who regularly peruse the UG and Sherdog forums, CagePotato comments sections, and Wikipedia. No, it’s not every day that we see a Randy Couture or a Georges St. Pierre who can recover from a brutal loss or string of losses and use them as motivation to refocus or completely resurrect their career. And in light of Wanderlei Silva and Mark Hunt’s recent triumphs, we go to thinking: Who Had the Most Unexpected Career Turnaround of Them All?  That’s right, Taters. The Roundtable is back.

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