This year was filled with great comebacks in fights, but one fighter defiantly stuck out when it comes to a career comeback. Jamie Varner went from losing in local shows in 2011, and practically calling it quits to winning two fights he was the heavy underdog for in the UFC, and almost a third in a fight of the night performance.
Jamie Varner was once one of the most frowned upon fighters in MMA mostly due to his post fight performances and in fight antics. But when he answered the call to fight Edson Barbosa at UFC 146 on short notice, in a fight that seemed un-winnable, the new Varner emerged. Caution was thrown to the wind and the former WEC lightweight champion stood heavy in the pocket, knowing that his skills would carry him to victory. That great self belief enabled him knock out the favorite in brutal fashion two-thirds of the way through the first round. After the fight we heard him talk about how the loses affected him, how he was too hard on himself and how he’s now having fun and doing it for the fans.
Varner then went on to nearly finish Joe Lauzon in the first round due to strikes only to have the fight stretched out on a low tank. The fight was fantastic even with Varner getting caught in a last ditch effort from Lauzon to finish the fight for which he was undoubtedly down on the cards.
Then after a two week delay, Varner Melvin Guillard at the UFC 155 year-end event. Guillard is a fighter many chose to steer clear due to massive knock out power and speed inside the cage. Once again Varner came into the fight an underdog and once again Jamie Varner shined. As the fight went on Guillard began to fade while Varner continued to grind away. In the end Varner won via decision and even impressed his foe who honestly believed Varner was scared to fight him beforehand.
It would seem that big things lie ahead for Varner in 2013, as he nears the top of the mountain of UFC lightweights. He’s still a solid two or three fights away from a possible title shot or maybe even less should he beat another top fighter on short notice. It’s always a great story when the humble fighter finds his glory, and hopefully Jamie Varner can taste even more in 2013.