Most any MMA loyalist has been there before, watching a major fight card in a room full of casual viewers and listening in disgust as everyone sides with the guy that looks like he came straight off the set of “300.” So what if his opponent has the abs of a baker and looks like he just woke up from a nap, you say. Nobody listens. Moments later, Fedor Emelianenko has dominated yet another foe. Everyone in the room is shocked; everyone but you, that is.
This is a list devoted to the fighter who does not fit the traditional MMA archetype, the guy who consistently demonstrates that looking like a Calvin Klein underwear model does not guarantee success once the cage door closes. In a sport where tattoos, mean mugs and T-shirts that look like tattoos are the norm, these guys break the mold, whether it be through appearance, demeanor, habits or all the above. They are Sherdog’s Top 10: Deceptively Dangerous.
10. Mike Russow
When Russow and Todd Duffee squared off at UFC 114, it was a case of polar opposites colliding. Duffee, fresh off a buzz worthy seven-second knockout of Tim Hague, was the type of blown-up heavyweight who could potentially drive pay-per-view buys. Russow, meanwhile, at 6-foot-1 and a not-so-svelte 253 pounds, looked considerably less impressive. For the better part of 12 minutes, the matchup played out as it appeared it should, and, then, suddenly, a pair of straight right hands sent Duffee’s head bouncing off the canvas.
“The fans were looking at this … ’cause you’ve seen so many boxing events where you see this young, ripped-up guy who’s the next up-and-coming guy fighting some big flabby dude, and they’re, like, ‘This is a setup. This guy’s supposed to win,’” UFC President Dana White told Sherdog.com after the improbable outcome. “But you can’t do that with MMA.”
A Chicago Police officer, Russow has in all likelihood heard the tired donut jokes from the hecklers. He has also had the pleasure of shutting up the doubters in most of his fights. Currently, the 35-year-old possesses one of the quietest 11-fight winning streaks in the game today. All appearances aside, Russow does come prepared.
“I have a belly, I’m fat and some people see that, but I’m always in good shape,” Russow told UFC.com prior to his victory over John Olav Einemo at UFC on Fox 2.
Russow has made a habit of winning ugly thus far in his UFC career, but in the end, winning is really all that matters.
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