UFC HistoryDavid Abbott is known by UFC fans around the world by one word – "Tank." And, Tank has been on the winning end of some of the greatest knockouts in the UFC's 10-year history.
Tank says he was born to fight and has been fighting as long as he can remember. So, when the opportunity presented itself to get paid to fight, he jumped at the chance.
Abbott burst onto the scene at UFC 6: Clash of the Titans in Casper, Wyoming, way back in July 1995. In his opening bout, he knocked out 300+ pound Hawaiian John Matua in just 21 seconds. Tank's second round bout lasted a little longer. He defeated Paul Varelans by referee stoppage at 1:51. In the finals of the 8-man tournament, Tank lost to Oleg Taktarov after a 17:45 war. But, he left his mark on the UFC and the fans begged for more.
Tank's next appearance in the Octagon would come at the Ultimate Ultimate 1995 tournament. In the first round, he defeated UFC 3: The American Dream Champion Steve Jennum by submission. Then, he lost a decision to UFC 4: Revenge of the Warriors champion Dan Severn in the semi-finals.
After a brief suspension due to an altercation outside the Octagon at UFC 8: David vs. Goliath, Tank returned to challenge a new field of competitors at UFC 11: The Proving Ground in September 1996. He defeated his opening round opponent, Sam Adkins, by submission due to a neck crank. Tank's original semi-final opponent withdrew due to injury, so Tank faced a rested 300+ pound, Scott Ferrozzo. Tank threw all he had at Ferrozzo, but in the end, he lost the decision.
On December 7, 1996, Tank was invited back to fight in the Ultimate Ultimate 1996 tournament. This is the day he would land another legendary knockout. After defeating Cal Worsham easily in the first round, Tank was lined up to face alternate Steve Nelmark. At 1:03, Tank landed a punch that sent Nelmark to the canvas and launched an eruption within the crowd. The knockout is commonly referred to as one of the greatest in MMA history. Tank finally had a UFC tournament championship in his sights as he rolled into the finals fresh and ready. His opponent, Don Frye, had a more difficult route to the finals. Tank opened up the fight with a bang, catching Frye with a punch that dazed him. However, as Tank followed up, he slipped and was put in a bad position. Tank was not able to recover and wound up submitting to a rear choke.
After the rise of the "Phenom" Vitor Belfort at UFC 12: Judgement Day, Tank wanted to challenge the youngster. At UFC 13: The Ultimate Force, he was granted the opportunity to face Belfort in a Super Fight. Tank was overwhelmed by the young Brazilians fast punches and the referee was forced to stop the fight.
At UFC 15: Collision Course, Heavyweight Champion Maurice Smith's opponent suffered an injury just a few days before the fight. Tank took the fight on very short notice. He later said he literally "stepped off the bar stool and into the Octagon." Just over eight minutes into the fight, Smith's leg kicks began to take a toll and Tank was forced to submit. It is one rematch many fans have long sought because Tank did not have enough time to properly prepare.
At the inaugural Ultimate Japan event, Tank defeated Japanese favorite Yoji Anjoh by unanimous decision, but could not continue in the tournament due to a broken hand.
After taking some time off, Tank returned at UFC 17: Redemption to face Brazilian luta livre expert Hugo Duarte. Many picked Duarte to submit Tank easily, but Tank, had other plans. He proved the critics wrong, and he did it quickly by defeating Duarte by TKO in just 43 seconds.
Tank's next UFC bout was against Pedro Rizzo at Ultimate Brazil. Rizzo was making his debut and hoping to secure a victory that would allow him to fight outside of Brazil. The fight lasted over eight minutes and is a classic for any standup fighting fan. Rizzo utilized his punishing leg kicks to wear down Tank, who finally went down at 8:07. "I just didn’t train," said Tank. "That's what you get when you underestimate your opponent."
At UFC 19: Young Guns, Tank was scheduled to face Gary Goodridge. However, a couple weeks before the event, Abbott fell ill and was forced to withdraw. Shortly after the event, he was contracted by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to become a professional wrestler. He left mixed martial arts, seemingly forever. Or so everyone thought…
At UFC 40: Vendetta, just before the main event between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, UFC president Dana White entered the Octagon to announce the return of one of the toughest fighters in UFC history. "Tank is back!" appeared on all video screens as Tank strolled down to the Octagon. He quickly challenged anyone and everyone in the UFC's heavyweight division, saying he's not impressed at all.
However, Tank lost by submission in just 46 seconds at UFC 41: Onslaught to Frank Mir. Tank came right after Mir in typical Tank fashion. He hit him with two powerful rights, but Mir countered with his jiu jitsu skills and applied a toe hold.
More InformationTank has had some of the UFC’s most devastating knockouts. He has fought in the UFC more than any other competitor, a total of 16 times including this fight. He feels that “politics” were involved in his loss to Vitor Belfort. He felt that the fight should not have been stopped and that he was in the same position with Dan Severn for a longer period of time and did not receive any serious damage. At one time it seemed like Tank was building a stable of fighters. When asked about this he replied, “Eagles may land on the same mountain but they don’t flock together. Eagles fly alone.”