Losing a fight is tough for any fighter to take, particularly mentally as the seeds of doubt begin to be sown in their mind regarding their abilities, but spare a thought in particular for those who lost their first ever professional MMA bout.
It doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad fighter or that their career is doomed to failure though. It takes mental toughness, self-belief and determination to bounce back from an early set-back like that and if they can find the courage to step back into the cage again then good things can happen.
Just ask the fighters who are the focus of this article – a dozen fighters who fell at the first hurdle, but have since gone on to become successful stars in the sport.
Griffin made his MMA debut against the legendary Dan Severn back in 2001, losing by decision, but has had an outstanding MMA career since that fight.
He won his next eight fights in a row and would eventually go on to earn a spot on the first ever edition of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, emerging victorious after beating Stephan Bonnar in the final in a famous bout that helped attract the masses to the sport of MMA.
A distinguished career in the UFC followed his win, including winning the Light Heavyweight title from Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in 2008. Griffin officially retired from MMA earlier this year, finishing off with a 19-7 recorded, which included fights with Anderson Silva, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin.