Joseph Benavidez's recent loss to Deiveson Figueiredo, in what was almost certainly his final chance to win a UFC title, got us to thinking just who are the best fighters to never win a UFC championship? Discounting "interim" titles, here is a list of the best mixed martial artists who appeared in the UFC at some point in their careers (there's no Fedor on the list because he never fought for the company) but never won a championship there. We're talking either a weight class title or one of the old, pre-weight class tournament titles.
Since Benavidez debuted with the organization back in 2011, we're only including fighters who had their first bout with the UFC no later than 2011 or who now seem unlikely to ever gain a title. More recent fighters may not have won a championship simply because they haven't gotten the opportunity yet, but might very well get a crack at the title, and win it, in the future.
10. Stephen Thompson
"Wonderboy" came as close as you can come to earning a UFC championship without actually winning one when he fought to a draw with then welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in 2016. He probably deserved a draw in their rematch as well, though he lost a majority decision. While he didn't debut with the UFC until the beginning of 2012, it's looking highly unlikely he'll win a title at this point so we've included him on our list.
9. Joseph Benavidez
No one's had more unsuccessful tries at a UFC crown (four) than Benavidez. The closest he got was a tough split decision loss to all time great Demetrious Johnson in the initial UFC flyweight championship fight in 2012. He also suffered a split decision loss to Dominick Cruz for the old WEC bantamweight title. Though a terrific fighter, he remains a perpetual runner-up.
8. Urijah Faber
Benavidez's long-time stablemate, Faber actually deserves half credit for a UFC crown having held the WEC featherweight title back before they merged into the UFC, which created the company's current featherweight division. He holds three wins over UFC champions but couldn't manage to win a title in the organization itself.
7. Alistair Overeem
The man called "the Reem" won everything in site except a UFC title, including the Strikeforce MMA belt and a K-1 kickboxing championship. But despite possessing 8 wins over fighters who held the UFC heavyweight championship or heavyweight tournament titles, he could never quite break through with the company. Though still fighting, his career appears to be winding down.
6. Pedro Rizzo
The "Rock' was a top three heavyweight for years having defeated five different men who held the UFC crown while he was with the organization. Unfortunately, none of those wins came in title fights. The closest he got was a controversial decision loss to Randy Couture in 2001's fight of the year.
Check out the rest of our Top 10 here.
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