Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
Mike Easton leads the charge when it comes to mixed martial artists hailing from Washington, D.C., and for a time, he had plenty of momentum behind him. The “Hulk” won 10 of his first 11 bouts as a pro, defeating eventual “Ultimate Fighter” winner John Dodson and capturing the Ultimate Warrior Challenge bantamweight championship along the way. Naturally, his exploits drew the attention of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
A Lloyd Irvin protégé, Easton made his promotional debut at UFC on Versus 6 in October 2011 and disposed of Byron Bloodworth with a knee to the body and follow-up punches. Wins over Jared Papazian and Ivan Menjivar followed, and he seemed poised to climb the bantamweight ladder. However, a unanimous decision loss to Raphael Assuncao at UFC on Fox 5 sent Easton into a tailspin from which he has yet to recover. Subsequent defeats to Brad Pickett, T.J. Dillashaw and Yves Jabouin led to his release in 2014.
Easton stepped away from the sport for nearly three full years before returning at a Shogun Fights event on April 8 in Baltimore. There, he dropped a three-round split decision to Jesse Stirn. Now 33 years old and on a five-fight losing streak, Easton’s record sits at 13-6.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Christian Morecraft