MMA Analysis: What Ever Happened to Past Ultimate Fighter Winners?


The fraternity of Ultimate Fighter season winners lost another member this week as the season three winner Kendall Grove was released following his UFC 130 loss to Tim Boetsch. The release of Grove marks the third season winner to be released, following in the footsteps of Travis Lutter (TUF 4) and Efrain Escudero (TUF 8).

The Ultimate Fighter winners have been a mixed bag of flops, gatekeepers and champions. Among the three to be released, the Ultimate Fighter has also produced three UFC champions and the 19 winners have a combined record of 103 – 55-1 in the UFC.

Season 1:

185 lbs.: Diego Sanchez (25-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) – Following winning the season at middleweight, Sanchez dropped down to welterweight where he went 7-2. He then moved down to lightweight and lost a title fight to BJ Penn before moving back to welterweight, where he has gone 2-1.

205 lbs.: Forrest Griffin (18-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC) – After defeating Stephan Bonnar in their classic three round slugfest, Griffin went 5-2 and coached the 7th season of the Ultimate Fighter, opposite the light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson. He went on to defeat Jackson and become the first TUF winner to hold a UFC title. He then lost the title in his first title defense against season one winner Rashad Evans and has a 2-2 record post champion record. Griffin will face Shogun Rua again for his next fight at UFC 134 in August.

Season 2:

Stevenson needs a win at UFC 132

170 lbs.: Joe Stevenson (31-13 MMA, 8-7 UFC) – After starting out 5-1 in the UFC, Stevenson faced BJ Penn for the lightweight title and was severely bloodied and submitted in the 2nd round. The loss to Penn sent Stevenson into a tailspin, going 3-6 and having now lost three in a row and dropping down the featherweight, he finds himself on the brink of being #4.

265 lbs.: Rashad Evans (15-1-1 MMA, 10-1-1 UFC) – Winner the season as an undersized heavyweight, Evans dropped to light heavyweight and went 7-0-1, including a TKO win over Forrest Griffin to win the 205 lbs. title. In his first title defense, Evans was knocked out by Lyoto Machida but has rebounded be winning two in a row. Evans now is back at the top of the division and was in line for a title shot until the champ (Jon Jones) was briefly injured.

Season 3:

185 lbs.: Kendall Grove (12-9, 1nc, 7-6) – He started out 3-0 and then just could never find any consistency, while fighting mostly mid-level talent at middleweight. In Grove’s last ten fights he ended his UFC run going 4-6 with a two fight losing streak.

205 lbs.: Michael Bisping (21-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) – The pride of England went 4-1 as a light heavyweight before dropping down to middleweight, following his loss to Rashad Evans. The move down has been good for him; only having loses to Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva and is 7-2. Bisping will return to the Ultimate Fighter once again as coach opposite Jason Miller.

Season 4:

170 lbs.: Matt Serra (11-7 MMA, 7-7 UFC) – Serra was 4-4 in the UFC before competing on the “Comeback” season of the Ultimate Fighter where he earned a title shot for winning the season. He then shocked the world by defeating Georges St. Pierre to win the welterweight strap that he only held it until the two fought again a year later. Serra is 1-3 in his last four fights and hasn’t fought since UFC 119, nine months ago.

185 lbs.: Travis Lutter (10-6 MMA, 2-4 UFC) – Lutter was 1-2 heading into the “Comeback” season of the Ultimate Fighter, which he defeated Patrick Cote to earn a shot against Anderson Silva’s middleweight title. He became the first TUF winner to be released after missing weight for his fight with Silva, in which his lost and followed that up with another lose to earn his walking papers. Since leaving the UFC he has gone 1-1 for two different promotions.

Diaz is 8-5 in the UFC

Season 5:

155 lbs.: Nate Diaz (13-7 MMA, 8-5 UFC) – Diaz opened his UFC career with five straight wins and stepped into the upper tier of the division for his next four fight, going a disappointing 1-3. Diaz decided to move up in weight following the setback but didn’t fare much better, winning his first two before lose the next two. Now on the hot seat with a 3-5 record in his last eight fights, Diaz will return to the lightweight division for his next fight.

Season 6:

170 lbs.: Mac Danzig (20-8-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) – Another fighter that dropped down in weight following his time on the show. Danzig followed his win over Tommy Spear with a submission victory over Mark Bocek, before going on a three fight losing streak. Danzig escaped getting a pink slip and has gone 2-1 since, including a first round knockout of Joe Stevenson at UFC 124. Most recently Danzig was forced to withdraw from a fight against Donald Cerrone due to a chest injury.

Season 7:

185 lbs.: Amir Sadollah (5-2 MMA & UFC) – Coming into the house with a 0-0 record and coming out the winner is what Sadollah did on Team Forrest. He defeated C.B. dollaway for the second time to become the season seven winner and holds wins over Phil Baroni, Brad Blackburn and Damarques Johnson.

Season 8:

155 lbs.: Efrain Escudero (15-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) – Escudero become the second TUF winner to be released following his lose to Charles Oliveira in which he also missed weight for. Prior to the loss he was 3-1 with wins over Cole Miller and Dan Lauzon. Since the release Escudero has gone 3-1 in four different promotions.

205 lbs.: Ryan Bader (12-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) – coming off the show, Bader went 5-0 including his win over Vinny Magalhaes in the TUF 8 finale. The quickly raising light heavyweight prospect then took on Jon Jones and UFC 126 and was handed his first UFC loss. Bader makes his first trip back into the Octagon on July 2nd against former champion Tito Ortiz at UFC 132.

Season 9:

155 lbs.: Ross Pearson (12-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) – The UK fighter won the Team US vs. Team UK season by defeating fellow Englishman, Andre Winner. Pearson has solid wins over Dennis Siver and Spencer Fisher in the UFC and will be taking on the Brazilian Edson Barboza at UFC 134 in August.

170 lbs.: Jame Wilks (7-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) – The surprise welterweight winner defeated DaMarques Johnson to give Team UK the sweep. He returned to face Matt Brown at UFC 105 and suffered a 3rd round TKO. Wilks has gone 1-1 since and has been out of action since losing to Claude Patrick at UFC 120 last October.

Season 10:

Nelson has lost 2 in a row

265 lbs.: Roy Nelson (15-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) – The former IFL heavyweight champion breezed through the competition on TUF 10, including a 1st round knockout of Brendan Schaub in the finale. After knocking out Stefan Struve three months later the MMA veteran got a major step up in competition. Having back to back losses to Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir, Nelson has come under heavy criticism for his weight and his future in the UFC is unknown.

Season 11:

185 lbs.: Court McGee (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) – McGee used the wildcard to get back into the competition and went on to defeat Kris McCray by 2nd round submission in the finale. He made it two in a row four months later when he submitted Ryan Jenen and UFC 121. After having to withdraw from his UFC 131 bout with Jesse Bonfeldt because of a knee injury, McGee is schedule to face Dong Yi Yang in September.

Season 12:

155 lbs.: Jonathan Brookins (12-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) – Brookins defeated Michael Johnson in the TUF 12 finale last December, but has not fought since then. He has been scheduled twice to fight since but was pulled from one card and withdrew from the other. He is now scheduled to drop down to featherweight, where he had fought previously and take on Erik Koch in September.

Season 13:

170 lbs.: Tony Ferguson (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) – The latest winner and 19th overall, the Team Lesnar member defeated Ramsey Nijem from Team Dos Santos by 1st round knockout earlier this month.

Side Note: 7 of the 19 winners have fought in a different weight class then what they won their season at.

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