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. 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 was born in Washington, D.C., and was raised in a downtrodden part of the nation’s capital. During his formative years, he struggled with dyslexia and eventually tried his hand at taekwondo, earning a black belt in the discipline before transitioning to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It was not long before “The Hulk” was smashing opponents inside an MMA cage.
Easton dominated the regional scene on the East Coast, most notably inside the Ultimate Warrior Challenge promotion, before landing a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Lloyd Irvin protégé did not waste any time making an impact in the bantamweight division, as he quickly pieced together a three-fight winning streak inside the Octagon. After his victory over Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148, there were rumblings about Easton possibly making a run at the 135-pound title. However, a decision loss to Raphael Assuncao stalled his momentum and curtailed those notions.
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“The Hulk” went on to lose four consecutive bouts, all of them by decision, and has not fought since he came up short on the scorecards against Yves Jabouin at UFC 174 in July 2014. Whether or not the Maryland-based fighter returns to active competition remains to be seen, but Easton’s accomplishments place him above his contemporaries from the “Old Line State.”
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