Dan Hornbuckle may be the best welterweight you’ve never heard of. After beginning his career just over four years ago, he has amassed a record of 18-2, turning into one of the most dynamic, fastest rising welterweights in the entire sport.
Now, the dynamic 170-pound fighter is set to compete in the second season of the highly successful Bellator promotion. His first opponent in the welterweight tournament that begins this Thursday at Bellator 15 is Tyler Stinson and Hornbuckle expects to move through the quarterfinals. But his opponent is hardly a walk in the park.
Following the withdrawal of Sean Pierson from the tournament due to injury, Stinson (11-5) was invited to fill the vacancy due to his performance in the promotion’s open tryouts. And what an opportunity he has facing the dynamic Hornbuckle.
After all, following his disappointing submission loss to Mike Pyle on May 18 of 2008, Hornbuckle has finished four consecutive fights with three knockouts and one submission. And to make matters even worse for Stinson, prior to the loss to Pyle, Hornbuckle was on an incredible 13-fight winning streak, only going to the judges’ scorecards once.
However, the winning streak he is on hardly makes Hornbuckle intimidating the way his style of fighting does. Having only gone to a decision once, “The Handler” has earned the reputation of a relentlessly fast-paced mauler in the cage and one with very little weakness.
Yet he is not without an Achilles tendon. His two career losses have both come through a triangle choke submission, which has been the lone way to defeat the intense welterweight.
However, the last time Hornbuckle was submitted was nearly two years ago and since the date he has faced the toughest competition of his career. After defeating Nabil Khatib and Joe Alexander via submission and knockout, respectively, the Illinois native was faced with his most elite competitor to date in Akihiro Gono. After battling for the first two rounds, Hornbuckle landed a vicious head kick to knockout the Japanese superstar.
Following the highlight reel knockout, Hornbuckle was immediately challenged once again, being matched up against Nick “The Goat” Thompson. Hornbuckle needed just over one round to gain a technical knockout victory at Sengoku 10, which brings him to where he is now.
After merely four years in the sport, Hornbuckle has elevated through the welterweight rankings and looks to continue upon his ascension in Bellator’s 2010 welterweight tournament. With a victory over Stinson on April 22, he will continue on his road to the finals of the tournament and climb even higher to the elite tier of the 170-pound division.