Finishing up our list of the best fighters to have fought in the UFC but never have won an undisputed championship or a pre-weight class tournament title, here's our all-time top five...


5. Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson

www.inquirer.com

With a record of 15-2 in the UFC, including two wins over former lightweight champions, Ferguson certainly merits inclusion on this list. Though he did win an interim lightweight title, he never got his crack at the main title as scheduled fights for the championship against Khabib Nurmagomedov have fallen though on more occasions than we can count. Still competing in the UFC, Ferguson's recent loss to Justin Gaethje would seem to take him out of lightweight title contention. It's possible he could still win a championship but his time is running out.

4. Kazushi Sakuraba

Kazushi Sakuraba

assets-cms.thescore.com

The man known as "the Gracie hunter" because he was the first fighter in the modern era to defeat a member of the Gracie family (besting Royler, Royce, Renzo and Ryan Gracie during his career). Despite being essentially a middleweight, Sakuraba did actually win a UFC heavyweight tournament championship. But as there was already a heavyweight title at the time, the tournament didn't have the same meaning as earlier, pre-weight class tournament titles did. Sakuraba would go on to be a force in the Pride organization holding six victories over men who won UFC championships.

3. Wanderlei Silva

Wanderlei Silva

a.espncdn.com

Silva makes the list because he did fight in the UFC. However the main reason he never won a title was that he only fought there at the beginning and end of his career. His best years were spent in Japan where he was a dominating middleweight champion for the Pride promotion. During his years in Pride he twice knocked out future UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson as well as scoring victories over UFC tournament winners Kazushi Sakuraba and Guy Mezger. He also holds a win over UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping. Unfortunately, his timing with the UFC was never quite right.

2. Dan Henderson

Dan Henderson

dmxg5wxfqgb4u.cloudfront.net

Henderson is another fighter who probably had his best years in Pride, where he won both the middleweight and light heavyweight championships. During his career he has a tremendous eight wins over fighters who held UFC titles. Sadly for Henderson, none of them came in UFC title fights. Henderson lost his only two cracks at UFC crowns. And while he did win a UFC middleweight tournament, there was already a middleweight champion so it lacked the cache of earlier tournaments.

1. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

vz.cnwimg.com

For years Nogueira was probably the second best heavyweight in the world after Fedor Emelianenko though, unlike Emelianenko, Nogeuira did make it to the UFC, if only at the end of his career. But "Big Nog" was still good enough to win a UFC interim heavyweight belt. He was also the original Pride heavyweight champion before losing that title to Emelianenko. For his career he holds six wins over UFC heavyweight titlists including victories over Randy Couture, Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez, the three men who held the UFC title while Nogeuira was at his best tearing it up as the Pride champion. If he'd made it to the company sooner, Nogueira likely would have taken the title at some point.

Didn't see the first half of our list? Check it out here.

SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

To Master the Supreme Philosophy of Enshin Karate, Look to Musashi's Book of Five Rings for Guidance!

In the martial arts, we voluntarily subject ourselves to conflict in a training environment so we can transcend conflict in the real world. After all, we wouldn't knowingly train in a style that makes us weaker or worsens our position. The irony of all this is that we don't want to fight our opponent. We prefer to work with what an opponent gives us to turn the tide in our favor, to resolve the situation effectively and efficiently.The Japanese have a word for this: sabaki. It means to work with energy efficiently. When we train with the sabaki mindset, we receive our opponent's attack, almost as a gift. Doing so requires less physical effort and frees up our mental operating system so it can determine the most efficient solution to the conflict.In this essay, I will present a brief history of sabaki, as well as break down the sabaki method using Miyamoto Musashi's five elements

Keep Reading Show less

Enter our partner's current Sweepstakes. They are giving away a Grand Prize 'FKB Wardrobe'.

TAKE NOTICE!

FIVE KNUCKLE BULLET 'Wardrobe' Sweepstakes

Feeling Lucky? Enter our current Sweepstakes Now! We are giving away a Grand Prize 'FKB Wardrobe' which consists of our most popular sportswear items. Prize includes the following:

Keep Reading Show less

Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya knocked out challenger Paulo Costa at the 3:59 mark of round two.

Adesanya went to work immediately in round one with an onslaught of leg kicks that bruised the lead leg of his formidable opponent, Paulo Costa. "The Last Stylebender" also threw multiple round kick and front kick variations as he continued to weaken Costa through the end of the first and beginning of the second round. A round kick to the head bloodied Costa almost one minute in to round two. When Costa attempted to engage again, Adesanya clipped him with a left hand that brought Costa to his knees and allowed the champion to secure the finish in dominant fashion.

Keep Reading Show less
SportMartialArts.com

In Jessie Wray's second promotion of the Virtual Fight Tour, nearly every bout came down to the wire.

The Virtual Fight Tour is an exciting new promotion for sport karate competition that brings fans point fighting matches in a pay-per-view format, with forms and weapons competition on the horizon as well. On Saturday night, the second installment of this event took place with an action-packed card that did not disappoint. Keep reading for results and analysis of all five fights.

Keep Reading Show less
Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter