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Where Are They Now? – 20 Fighters Cut from The UFC In 2009 (Part 1)

In 2009 the UFC have been cutting fighters quicker than ever before.  Dozens of names have fallen from the roster over the course of the year, meaning that those under contract with the promotion are under more pressure than ever to win each and every time they enter the octagon.

In this two part article we will pick out 20 fighters from those released in 2009 and see what they have achieved since being cut from the world’s leading MMA promotion.

Rich Clementi

A veteran of the UFC who first fought at UFC 41 (losing to Yves Edwards), Clementi found his way back into the fold via TUF season 4. He last fought in the UFC at UFN 17, losing to Gleison Tibau by guillotine choke, bowing out with a 5-5 record for the promotion.

Since being cut Clementi has kept busy. He has fought four times for smaller promotions, winning three and losing once. The loss, to Kyle Jensen, was unfortunate since it was self inflicted when he attempted a takedown and landed awkwardly, breaking his clavicle.

A return to the UFC can’t be completely ruled out for the 33 year old. At his peak Clementi went on a four fight winning streak in the promotion, beating notable fighters from the current roster like Anthony Johnson, Terry Etim and Melvin Guillard, but it’s unlikely he would be anything other than a bit-part player now.

Jeremy Horn

After losing to Rousimar Palhares at the start of the year, his third defeat in a row, veteran performer Jeremy Horn once again found himself out of the UFC. It was nothing new for the 34 year old who has been in and out of the promotion since as far back as UFC 17 in 1998.

He left with a 6-7 overall record in the UFC, and has since went three fights unbeaten, all by submission. The opposition has been questionable though, with the most notable name among them being Jason Guida, who has struggled to find the success of his younger brother Clay.

It would seem unlikely that a return to the UFC is on the cards for Horn, but considering his history with the company it’s not an option you’d want to rule out entirely.

Matt Horwich

Former IFL middleweight champion Matt Horwich struggled to make an impact in the UFC after signing for the company in 2008. He suffered losses to both Dan Miller and Ricardo Almeida in the middleweight division, and as a result found himself released from his contract in April.

Two months later Horwich competed for Bellator, losing a decision to Bryan Baker (11-1). In October he got back to winning ways, avenging a previous defeat against another former UFC fighter Jason Lambert (who is now on a five fight losing streak). The much needed victory for Horwich puts his career record at 23-13-1.

At 31 there’s still time left in this veteran fighter’s career, but there’s no indication that a return to the UFC is on the horizon.

Jason Macdonald

Jason Macdonald became a familiar fixture in the UFC between 2006-2009, racking up 10 fights in the middleweight division. Along the way he earned three ‘Submission Of The Night’ awards, and one ‘Knockout Of The Night’, but after succumbing to back-to-back defeats against Wilson Gouveia and Nate Quarry, leaving him 5-5 overall in the promotion, he found himself cut from the roster in April.

After a six month layoff Macdonald has returned to the Canadian promotion MFC where he had competed numerous times in his early career. In his first fight he faced another former UFC fighter Travis Lutter, losing by decision, but has since bounced back with a victory in December against TUF 3 competitor Solomon Hutcherson (11-6).

When Macdonald left the UFC he stated that the promotions matchmaker Joe Silva had assured him that a few wins for smaller organizations could see him back in the fold. There’s enough goodwill from fans for that to still be a possibility, but his recent record has become very patchy, and he needs to find consistency in 2010.

Thales Leites

Perhaps one of the most notable fighters to be cut from the roster in 2009, Leites went from compiling a five fight win streak and competing for the middleweight championship against Anderson Silva in April, to being cut just one fight later after a loss to Alessio Sakara.

There’s no doubt the fighter was being punished for the title fight against Silva in which he appeared reluctant to engage and weakly attempted to pull guard, resulting in five of the least action packed rounds your likely to have seen this year. Failing to learn his lesson the Sakara fight at UFC 101 was also heavily criticized for it’s lack of action, and that was the final straw for the UFC.

Since then Leites has fought once more, in December against Dean Lister in the MFC. Though he claimed victory by unanimous decision it was another lackluster display that is unlikely to have impressed the UFC bigwigs. At 29 years age the submission specialist needs not just to win, but to win impressively in 2010 if he harbors an ambition to return to the big stage.

Tamdan McCrory

One of the more surprising cuts this year was Tamdan McCrory, who had become somewhat of a cult figure in the promotion thanks to his scrappy fighting style and unlikely looks. He claimed a record of 3-3 in the UFC, but after going 1-2 in his last three fights he was dropped in August.

The ‘Barncat’, currently 11-3, hasn’t fought since being dropped. This appears to have been intentional, with reports at the time suggesting he was taking time out for the rest of 2009 to continue teaching at the CNY MMA school, while plotting a potential move up to middleweight.

At just 23 years of age there’s plenty of time for McCrory, and if he gets back into the cage in 2010 and gets a couple of wins under his belt he could very well find himself back in the UFC.

Akihiro Gono

After becoming a star in his native Japan, Gono arrived in the UFC in late 2007, claiming a victory over Tamdan McCrory and picking up ‘Submission Of The Night’. He found the going tougher in his next two fights though, ending up on the wrong end of decisions against both Dan Hardy and Jon Fitch. After the latter defeat in January he was released from the promotion.

As you would expect there was plenty of demand for the fighter back in Japan and he has fought twice for Sengoku since, losing to the 19-2 Dan Hornbuckle (who was recently acquired by Bellator), and then claiming victory over Yoon Young Kim in November.

He is now scheduled to face another Japanese star, Sakurai at the year ending Dynamite!! 2009 event, and it may be that the fighter will remain in Japan for the forseeable future.

Jason Day

Canadian Jason ‘Dooms’ Day marked his arrival in the UFC with a TKO win in the very first round over Alan Belcher at UFC 83. Unfortunately his fortunes were quickly reversed in his next fight when Michael Bisping defeated him by the same method, and then Kendall Grove KO’d him in the first round at UFC 96 in March.

After being released from the UFC, Day quickly found his next fight back in Canada at RITC 35 in June, where he managed to pull off an Eddie Bravo (his BJJ coach) inspired ‘twister’ submission against Trevor Stewardson.

According to his twitter account Day is set to fight again in the near future, against an as yet unnamed opponent.

Vinny Magalhaes

A highly decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, Magalhaes is unquestionably deadly on the ground. Unfortunately after making it to the TUF 8 finale against Ryan Bader it became clear he was not as comfortable on his feet, and he suffered a TKO loss in the first round. A tentative display against Eliot Marshall in his next fight that resulted in a decision loss led to the fighter being released in April.

At the time his MMA record stood at 2-4 (1 NC), but he has since improved upon that with two wins against Chris Davis (6-2) and Mike Nickels (8-3) in the last three months, taking him to 4-4 (1 NC). Meanwhile he has also continued to impress with his grappling skills, claiming the Bronze medal at the prestigious ADCC 2009 event, claiming a spectacular flying armbar submission over former ADCC winner Marcio “Pe De Pano” Cruz along the way.

In hindsight perhaps the UFC came along to early for the 25 year old. If he can become a more well rounded fighter, and continue to claim victories in MMA competition, then there’s a good chance he can make a return to the UFC’s light heavyweight division in the future.

Ryo Chonan

Chonan entered the UFC with one fight on his record in particular standing out – an unexpected and spectacular win over Anderson Silva in Pride via flying scissor heel hook submission. His overall record was somewhat chequered though, and he found the going tough in the UFC. He went 1-3 in the promotion and was given his marching orders in April after a controversial split decision loss to TJ Grant.

He returned to Japan afterwards and fought again for DEEP where he had once been the middleweight champion. He claimed a win there in August, taking his record to 16-10.

He has not fought since, and it’s unlikely the 33 year old will find his way back to the UFC.

Read Part two of the article here

Article By RossC

If you enjoyed this article then you may be interested in some of our previous featured articles including:

Which Fighters Have The Most K.O’s Inside The UFC’s Octagon?

Who has The Most UFC Submission Of The Night Awards?

Future Prospects Of The UFC’s Old Guard Pt 1

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