David “Tank” Abbott made his first Ultimate Fighting Championship appearance at UFC 6 on July 14, 1995 and remained with the promotion until UFC 45 eight years later. Abbott successfully utilized his brawling style inside the Octagon until a new breed of more complete mixed martial artists developed and invaded the scene.
An accomplished collegiate wrestler with insanely heavy hands and the mean streak to match, Abbott was an MMA original. After retiring from the sport following a 1998 loss to Pedro Rizzo, he returned to active competition five years later against future heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Abbott has not fought since his April 2013 technical knockout defeat to Ruben Villareal.
Looking back on Abbott’s remarkable career, here are some of the numbers that have come to define him:
9: Years of age when he started wrestling. Abbott continued in high school and later competed at the collegiate level, where he was a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American.
1: Fight that did not end within one round. In Abbott’s 25 professional appearances, only his King of the Cage confrontation with Villareal reached Round 2.
18: Seconds needed to dispose of John Matua at UFC 6. It marked Abbott’s professional debut and remains one of the most violent and unsettling knockouts in MMA history.
2: Runner-up finishes in UFC tournaments. After knocking out Matua, Abbott went on to defeat Paul Varelans by first-round technical knockout before losing to Oleg Taktarov in the UFC 6 tournament final. On Dec. 7, 1996, “Tank” struck Cal Worsham into submission and delivered a 63-second knockout against Steve Nelmark before bowing to Don Frye in the UFC Ultimate Ultimate 1996 tournament.
7: Victories by knockout or technical knockout. Apart from Matua, Varelans, Nelmark and Worsham, Abbott also took out Hugo Duarte, Wesley Correira and Mike Bourke with punches.
2: Submission wins to his credit. Abbott tapped Steve Jennum and Sam Adkins with neck cranks.
4: Fights taken outside of the United States. Abbott competed at UFC 15.5 in Japan in December 1997, UFC 17.5 in Brazil in October 1998, Pride Fighting Championships Final Conflict 2005 in Japan in August 2005 and Cage Rage 21 in England in April 2007.
15: Career defeats on his resume. Abbott has lost seven times by knockout, six times by submission and twice by decision.
18: Appearances in the UFC. Abbott went 8-10 in those bouts.
7: Promotions other than the UFC in which he has competed. Abbott fought in the Rumble on the Rock, Pride Fighting Championships, Strikeforce, Cage Rage, EliteXC, War Gods and King of the Cage organizations.
53: Years of age. Abbott was born on April 26, 1965 in Huntington Beach, California.