Authority Figure - In my mind, Rich is one of the best representatives MMA and UFC have had in the last 10 years. He's stayed out of the news, never gotten into any public spats, never tested positive for drugs, always stayed in shape and always fought his ass off.
Anyone that disrespects Rich is showing their own lack of character.
With that said, Rich has not been the same since fighting Anderson. The truth is that he "could" have gone on to beat many many more so-called contenders, but those Anderson beatings really took the wind out of him. He fights hard but without the same confidence and aggression of the past. I don't think he could ever hold another belt again, but I do think he has enough left in him to do it and surprise us all. But first he needs to shed some of his teammates, get some new coaches and work on building that sense of invincibility.
He will always be one of my favorite fighters. All in all, I'm more impressed with the way he has fought than many of fighters people fall all over these days. I'd take an old Rich fight over any current GSP fight any day.
Just curious, how long were you inbedded with Rich's training camp where you could determine the wind got taken out of him?
After those fights he was winning and losing to the exact guys you'd expect he'd win and lose to for his level, there were no surprises.
My biggest pet peeve is people determining once any guy starts losing it's because "the fire's gone out" or there training camp sucks etc. Ignore the fact the guy is fighting better competition... There's a big difference between defending a belt against Nate Quarry and fighting guys like Hendo, Belfort, and Silva.