Drew Dober has really come into his own as of late. He had a bit of a rocky start to his UFC career, but he’s stayed persistent and has evolved beautifully in the time he’s been with the promotion. Dober made his UFC debut back in 2013 on a five-fight win streak with a 14-4 record, and now he’s 23-9 (1 NC). After losing his first two fights with the promotion, he rebounded with a first round submission (rear naked choke) victory over former WEC Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner, a surprise to many.
His next fight ended in controversy, as it was stopped midway through round two due to a referee error. Dober was in his opponents half guard in a guillotine choke, that wasn’t that tight mind you, and it was stopped. The result was eventually overturned however, and he was given another shot, only to be submitted (guillotine choke) by The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Efrain Escudero in just 54 seconds.
At this point, Dober was 1-3 (1 NC) in the UFC, and things weren’t looking so bright for him. He rebounded with two wins, a unanimous decision over Scott Holtzman, and a knockout over Jason Gonzalez, before being submitted (rear naked choke) by Olivier Aubin-Mercier. Since then, Dober’s gone 6-1 with four knockouts, and his only loss coming to Beneil Dariush, also via submission (triangle armbar). He hadn’t ever been submitted prior to his UFC tenure, but he got caught in his last three defeats. We can only imagine he’s tightened his defense up since his most recent setback. Another thing that makes Dober so dangerous, he can overcome adversity, as he did in his fight at UFC Jacksonville. He got taken down a couple times, but was able to get back to his feet each time, even when he was on his back right in the middle of the octagon canvas.
The bright side to his last three defeats, he’s only been submitted by opponents with elite BJJ. The longest win streak he’s had in the UFC is three fights, and this is the second time he’s been on a three-fight win streak with the promotion. If he keeps performing the way he has been, he’ll continue climbing the lightweight ladder, and the lightweight rankings, considering he just finished the No. 15 ranked Alexander Hernandez.
His last two wins previous were against Polo Reyes and Nasrat Haqparast. Reyes may not have a great record, but he’s an incredibly dangerous knockout artist himself, and Haqparast was one of, if not the most highly touted prospect coming into the new year.
Now that Dober’s on a three-fight knockout streak, what’s next for him? The power he carries is insane, mix that with his muay thai background, he’s a very dangerous match up for anyone. He began training muay thai at the age of 14, becoming a two-time amateur national champion before making his amateur mixed martial arts debut. Once he reached the record of 9-0 as an amateur, he turned professional. After going 1-2 in his first three, he then went 13-2 in his next fifteen before joining the UFC, with his most recent loss coming to Will Brooks, and the rest is history.
He, and all of us are very lucky he was never cut from the promotion. The UFC has cut a ton of fighters that did a lot better than him at the start, but he’s still here, and he’s looking better every time we see him. What would you like to see be next for this blossoming lightweight?