MMA News

Friday, 06/01/2012, 07:10 am

The 5 Most Successful and 5 Least Successful TUF Alumni

By Ryan Busuttil

As we prepare for the finale of the first edition of “The Ultimate Fighter Live,” I wanted to take a look back at 13 of the previous 14 seasons of the reality series that helped bring the UFC into the mainstream. I’m not counting season 4, The Comeback season, as the show deviated from the normal format of taking virtual unknown fighters and having them fight for a UFC contract. I wanted to see who, out of the almost 180 fighters that lived in the TUF house, were the most successful and least successful.

My criteria: The fighters needed to have lived in the house (made it past the elimination round) and they needed to have more than 1 official fight in the UFC. Let’s start out with the least successful. I tried to stay away from guys who are still in the UFC because still being employed in the #1 MMA organization in the world shows some level of success.

5. Corey Hill (Season 5)

Record since TUF: 4-4 (1-2 UFC record)

Hill showed a lot of promise in the TUF house. Fighting in the lightweight division with a 6’4″ frame was a sight to see. Hill was eliminated from the tournament after losing to eventual winner Nate Diaz in the quarterfinals. His UFC career ended after suffering a horrific leg injury during his fight with Dale Hartt in 2008. He’s since been in the regional circuit, last fighting in December 2011 at welterweight.

4. Kalib Starnes (Season 3)

Record since TUF: 6-7 (2-3 UFC record)

Starnes made it to the semifinals of the tournament, losing to season winner Kendall Grove. Fans will probably remember the Canadian more for his “running man” dance against Nate Quarry in his last UFC fight in 2008, as Starnes backpedalled for most of the fight to avoid Quarry. He’s since fought in regional circuits, suffering losses to Hector Lombard and Patrick Cote.

3. Phillipe Nover (Season 8)

Record since TUF: 1-4 (0-2 UFC record)

Nover fought his ways to the finals of the Season 8 tournament, losing to winner Efrain Escudero by unanimous decision. He was cut from the UFC after losing to Rob Emerson in 2010. After a year away from fighting, Nover last fought in Bellator last fall, suffering a loss to Marcin Held.

2. Josh Haynes (Season 3)

Record since TUF: 5-6 (0-3 UFC record)

The season 3 finalist suffered a second round TKO to Michael Bisping in the finale and was cut from the promotion following his third consecutive loss to Luke Cummo. Haynes hasn’t fought since an August 2010 loss to Eliot Marshall.

1. Junie Browning (Season 8)

Record since TUF: 2-5 (1-1 UFC record)

One of the most controversial figures on the show, Browning lost to Season 8 winner Efrain Escudero in the semi-finals. He was released from the UFC after a first round loss to fellow TUF alumni, Cole Miller in 2009. Browning’s last win was in November 2009 and he has suffered 4 straight losses since then.


The 5 most successful TUF alumni were a little easier to determine. With the exception of Season 4’s Comeback format, the show has produced 2 UFC champions in Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans, as well as several number one contenders.

5.  Kenny Florian (Season 1)

Record since TUF: 12-5, 3-time #1 contender

The season 1 Middleweight Runner Up, Florian has fought in 4 different weight classes in the UFC, receiving 2 title shots in the lightweight division and 1 shot in the featherweight division. Florian has main evented several UFC Fight Night events and 1 PPV event and his only UFC losses have come to a current champion, 2 former champions and 2 former #1 contenders. Florian is now enjoying success as a play-by-play man for UFC’s FX and Fuel TV events as well as a co-host of UFC Tonight on Fuel TV, ensuring that theBostonnative has a future in the company past his fighting career.

4. Gray Maynard (Season 5)

Record since TUF: 8-1-1, 2 time #1 contender

Maynard made it to the semifinals of season 5, losing to Nate Diaz (whom Maynard defeated in an official UFC fight 3 years later). Maynard was undefeated in the UFC until October 2011, when former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar ended their trilogy at 1-1-1. Maynard holds wins over Edgar, Florian and Diaz among others and has main evented 2 PPV events in his fights with Edgar. It’s not hard to imagine him getting back to a title shot with a few wins if Edgar doesn’t regain the title.

3. Josh Koscheck (Season 1)

Record since TUF: 15-6, former #1 contender

One of the most hated fighters in the UFC, Koscheck lost to eventual TUF 1 winner Diego Sanchez in the semi-finals. Since then, he’s been one of the most dominant welterweights in the world, accruing the most wins out of any TUF alumni. Koscheck has suffered 2 losses to welterweight kingpin George St. Pierre, but has wins over legendary welterweight Matt Hughes and Sanchez.

2. Forrest Griffin (Season 1)

Record since TUF: 9-5, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion

The season 1 light heavyweight winner, Griffin’s tournament final against Stephan Bonnar is considered to be the impetus of the UFC’s success in the last 7 years. Dana White has promised Griffin that he’ll have a job in the UFC for as long as he wants one as a result of that match. Griffin translated his success on the show into high profile matches with Tito Ortiz (who he’s 1-1 against heading into their UFC 148 tiebreaker) and an upset victory against Mauricio Shogun Rua. Griffin got a coaching gig on Season 7 of TUF, which led him to a championship match victory against opposing coach, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. While his title reign was short-lived, he was the first TUF fighter to reach this level of success and he is forever in the hearts of UFC fans everywhere for his contribution to the sport.

1. Rashad Evans (Season 2)

Record since TUF: 12-2-1, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion & #1 Contender

Evans was the Season 2 heavyweight winner who dropped down to light heavyweight. His headkick knockout of Sean Salmon is still in the UFC’s highlight reel. Evans continued his success, gaining a knockout victory against Chuck Liddell en route to winning the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship from Forrest Griffin. Following his first career loss to Machida, Evans coached heavyweights on Season 10 of the Ultimate Fighter and gained victories against Rampage, Tito Ortiz and Phil Davis before dropping a decision to current champion Jon Jones. Evans is the most successful TUF fighter not just because of who he’s beat, but because of the fact that he is a main event fighter (his last 9 fights have been main event contests) and his fights draw interest (his fight against Rampage got over 1 million PPV buys). When TUF fighters start their career, they can only wish to attain what Evans has in his career.

Give your opinions of the most and least successful Ultimate Fighter alumni below!

Follow me on Twitter @MMARyter


24 Responses to “The 5 Most Successful and 5 Least Successful TUF Alumni”

  1. AVO says:

    First!! and a Pic of diaz=no diaz lol

  2. Jc says:

    No Hounerable mention for Matt Serra ?

  3. FLORIAN, MAYNARD AND KOS BEFORE SANCHEZ! WHAT. THE. HELL. I love BJPENN.COM but now I agree with a lot of the posters here that say this site has shitty writers…I used to read those comments and sigh…now, I have joined the bandwagon! Have a superb day.

  4. Ct says:

    Nate Diaz is more relevant than all of those fighters.

  5. Captquakers says:

    Hmm I was going to go off on why this article was stupid and wrong then I re-read the header and the list Is spot on.

    It’s most successful fighters not the best.It’s hard to argue with the list. Apart from Matt Serra.

    And Sanchez Is not deserving of this list the only title fight he was In he was completely embarrassed

  6. D stone says:

    How is War Machine not on the list? I’m sure he’s won a few fights in prison.

  7. Fedor says:

    They hire writers from the comments section. I’m hoping to get a job with the comedy department.

  8. Musa Muhammad says:

    How is Kendall Grove not on the least successful. These are guys who didn’t win the ultimate fighter so it’s not surprising most of them tanked out of the UFC. Kendall Grove won the damn show and is losing fights on the regional circuit. I think that’s the biggest bust…

  9. mike says:

    Read the article properly before saying Matt Serra

  10. Chris says:

    no Diaz? gatta put Nate in there even if you tie him 5th with Florian, he should be there imo

  11. GET RID OF TRT says:

    My top 3 successful is

    1. Rashad
    2. Forrest
    3. Serra

    Win the big one. That’s all what counts

  12. ganjaneerUSMC says:

    Ever since bj penn dot com started this let’s hire keyboard commies, bj penn dot com has gone downhill. I twitter so I can keep up on my mma stuff through bj penns twitter and its getting silly. This list is just crazy and maybe the last time I read an article here.

  13. ganjaneerUSMC says:

    How about this for making since, let’s put up a picture of a lion eating a gazelle then just talk about how well the gazelles are doing eating grass and shrubs in the saharah, good call whichever genious picked this picture and subsequently left out the last tuf alum to fight in a title contender spot, rock on writers of bj penn dot com. hey bj, after a couple weeks of reading amature, gramatically errorific posts, I’m sorry but I gotta unfollow you dude, your site is filling up my twitter w stupid people writing stupid stuff that doesn’t make since. The people writing comments towards your articles make better point all the time. Wait, that’s how your site picked its writers. this isn’t reach inside a cracker jack box and find a cool tatoo when your 4, we are trying to get legit info from legit writers. I’m not a writer but I bet I could do better then these dumb dumbs you got writing over there. Peace, m

  14. monkey juice says:

    Peace? Sounds like war…

  15. The Diaz Bro's like it in the but! says:

    Nate’s not on here because all of those other guys have either fought for the belt or won one! He would have to be 6 for now

  16. Sugar says:

    Corey Hill is similar to Jon Jones. One day Jon will suffer a horiffic Chicken Leg accident and probably have to retire.

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