Many UFC fighters are trying to climb to the top of their weight classes. One of the fastest ways to do this is by signing up for the UFC’s own reality TV show, The Ultimate Fighter. Unsurprisingly, many athletes who’ve competed on the show have become champs. Let’s look at the 10 fighters who went on to win UFC titles.
10. Forrest Griffin
Forrest Griffin was the first winner of The Ultimate Fighter. While his career after the show wasn’t spectacular, he did end up winning the light heavyweight belt at UFC 86. Griffin has since retired to work for the UFC in other areas.
9. Rashad Evans
Rashad Evans won the second season of the show, and after Griffin won his title, Evans was given a title shot against him. Evans knocked Griffin out and won the title, but unfortunately for Evans, Lyoto Machida knocked him out in his very next fight. Evans has also retired and he now works for the UFC in other areas too.
8. Matt Serra
Serra won the fourth season of the show, and surprisingly, when he was given a title shot against Georges St. Pierre, Serra knocked St. Pierre out. That said, Serra’s reign was short-lived, as he had a rematch with St. Pierre, and St. Pierre won that one. Serra is retired as well, and he runs a successful gym in New York.
7. Carla Esparza
When the UFC was creating the women’s strawweight division, it needed to crown a champ. So, that’s what season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter was for, and Carla Esparza won it all and became the first women’s strawweight champ. That said, she lost her first title defense against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
6. Nicco Montano
For season 26 of the show, the UFC did something similar for the women’s flyweight division, which it had just created. Nicco Montano won this season and became the first women’s flyweight champ. However, she never defended her belt, and she was eventually stripped of it.
5. T. J. Dillashaw
T.J. Dillashaw competed in season 14 of the show, and despite getting knocked out in the finals, he got a UFC contract. Eventually, he became a UFC champ not once, but twice. He defended his belt many times, but he also tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs, and this ultimately tainted his reputation.
4. Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping won the third season of the show, but he didn’t win a title until almost 10 years later. However, his long career has earned him a lot of money. Since then, he’s retired from fighting and he’s now a commentator for the UFC.
3. Robert Whittaker
Robert Whittaker competed in The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, which was a spinoff pitting Australian fighters against British ones. Whittaker won in his weight class, and eventually, he’d beat Yoel Romero to win the middleweight belt.
Romero was a scary fighter who many people in the division didn’t want to fight. However, Whittaker beat Romero not once, but twice. That said, Whittaker lost his belt in his next title fight when he fought Israel Adesanya.
2. Rose Namajunas
Rose Namajunas competed in season 20 of the show. The strawweight fighter lost to Esparza for the belt. However, a few years later, she got a title shot against Jedrzejczyk, who’d dominated the division. Surprisingly, Namajunas knocked her out and beat her again in the rematch. Namajunas later got knocked out by Jessica Andrade. Recently she avenged that loss by beating Andrade.
1. Kamaru Usman
Kamaru Usman won the 21st season of the show, and he’s been undefeated ever since. He beat Tyron Woodley to win the belt and, more recently, he knocked Colby Covington out, and then he completely dominated Jorge Masvidal. It remains to be seen who, if anyone, can beat him in his weight class.