Gabriel Gonzaga has been near the top of the UFC heavyweight division for years, but he has never been able to string together the impressive performances that would push him into the top tier of fighters. Saturday at UFC 121 in Anaheim, he will face Brendan Schaub in an attempt to bounce back from his last fight. Bouncing back is something Gonzaga has had to do a few times in his career.
Debut Hill: After five fights in Brazil, Gonzaga debuted at UFC 56 in 2005 with a late KO of Kevin Jordan. He followed that up with a TKO of Fabiano Scherner and an armbar of Carmelo Marrero.
Mt. Mirko: Those three wins earned Gonzaga a shot at Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, the PRIDE legend with headkicks that seemed to have the ability to decapitate. Cro Cop got a taste of his own medicine at UFC 70, when Gonzaga knocked him out with a first-round headkick.
The Valley of the Main Event: Those three wins earned Gonzaga a title shot against the then heavyweight champ, Randy Couture. That title shot didn't work out so well for Gonzaga, as Couture TKOed him in the third round after a performance that earned the Fight of the Night bonus at UFC 74.
Vai Cavalo Canyon: Things went from bad to worse for Gonzaga. At UFC 80, he lost by TKO to Fabricio "Vai Cavalo" Werdum.
Double J Hill: Gonzaga rebounded with two wins, a submission of Justin McCully and one-minute knockout of Josh Hendricks.
Shane Valley: Any momentum gained from the quick wins over McCully and Hendricks was stopped by Shane Carwin at UFC 96. Carwin TKOed Gonzaga in 1:09 of the first round.
Tuchscherer Molehill: At UFC 102, Gonzaga earned a quick TKO win over Brock Lesnar's training partner.
Valley of the JDS: That brings us to Gonzaga's latest bout, a loss to Junios Dos Santos in the first round of their bout at UFC on Versus 1. With a beautiful hook, JDS sent Gonzaga to the ground.
One thing to note about Gonzaga's career -- he has never had a fight go to decision. Win or lose, he does not rely on judges to decide the winner of his fights. What do you think the UFC 121 bout with Schaub will be: a hill or valley?