Fan favorites Nick Diaz, Ronda Rousey and Jose Aldo saw their careers severely affected in the year of 2015 for different reasons
Just two years on and the entire landscape of the UFC has changed so much.
Giants have been toppled and fighters many took for granted in assuming they would be around forever have disappeared from the octagon, leaving questions which have yet to be answered. We take a look at three of the biggest names to have fallen from grace in the year of 2015, below.
Nick Diaz took on former dominant middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in 2015. The bout is seen as one of the most infamous in the UFC’s recent history, given both the nature of how the fight played out and the positive drug tests (for Nick Diaz and Anderson Silva) in conjunction with the fight.
Diaz entertained the crowd by clowning around, mocking Silva’s showboating, and at one point the Stockton-native lay down on the canvas much to the amusement of UFC color commentator Joe Rogan.
Unfortunately for fans, that fight looks set to be the final hurrah of his Mixed Martial Arts career. The heavy suspension Diaz was slapped with caused outrage among many, seemingly being the catalyst for the fan favorite’s reluctance to fight for the promotion. When UFC President Dana White was asked if fans were likely to see a return of the Stockton, Calif. legend (and another name which we will look at below, Ronda Rousey), White was pessimistic, to say the least:
“I highly doubt it,” White told MMAjunkie. “I don’t know. I honestly don’t think that, and I can’t speak for him, you’d have to speak with Nick himself, but if you ask me – people ask me, ‘Do you think Ronda (Rousey) is coming back?’ No. I think Ronda’s going to retire. Ronda hasn’t retired, but my opinion is, I think she will. I don’t think Nick Diaz will ever fight again. I just don’t think he has the desire anymore.”
2015 looks set to be the fall of another giant of MMA.
The former dominant women’s bantamweight champion and UFC superstar Ronda Rousey had achieved so much in her career up until she met Holly Holm at UFC 193, that she was named as the “Most Dominant Athlete Alive” that year.
2015 ended in a spectacular fall from grace for Rousey, who suffered a brutal knockout loss (the first of her pro career) against Holm, disappearing into the wilderness and falling into a severe depression and isolation afterward. Rousey stated that she had contemplated suicide and many felt that she would never return to fighting.
While “Rowdy” did make her comeback in Dec. 2016 against women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, she was obliterated by the Brazilian in 48 seconds. It appeared that no lessons had been learned from the fight with Holm and the invincibility factor surrounding Rousey was completely smashed by “The Preacher’s Daughter” in 2015. Rousey is still yet to confirm her retirement, but it would be surprising to see her return to action.
Jose Aldo was another fighter who was never the same following the close of 2015.
Having embarked on a huge press tour ahead of his bout with Conor McGregor at UFC 189, Aldo pulled out with injury meaning McGregor would need to get past the challenge of Chad Mendes in order to secure a rescheduled fight. McGregor won and the date was set for UFC 194 on Dec. 12 2015.
Aldo entered the octagon and looked visibly shaken following months and months of mental warfare from his Irish opponent. It took just 13-seconds for a ten-year unbeaten run to come crashing down, losing the featherweight title which only he had held in the history of the UFC.
While McGregor embarked on two welterweight bouts with Nate Diaz in 2016, Aldo fought just once – against Frankie Edgar – putting in a very impressive, but at times tentative, performance to take the win. Aldo was handed the 145-pound strap upon the “relinquishing” of the title by McGregor, but was soundly beaten in his first defense by Hawaiian sensation Max Holloway in June 2017 at UFC 212.
Many credited the loss to McGregor as the moment where Aldo truly met his downfall. While Aldo is far from finished, the reputation of “Scarface” as being the dominant and seemingly unbeatable pound for pound #1 was severely tarnished, with it looking unlikely that he will ever manage the dizzy heights once occupied by the legendary Brazilian.
2015 will definitely go down as a strange year in the UFC.