Whether you were a fan or not, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) produced some serious talent. You didn’t even have to win the show to go on to have an illustrious career. However, for some, winning didn’t necessarily pan out.
Let’s have a look at five Ultimate Fighter winners that didn’t go on to succeed inside the Octagon. (In no particular order)
TUF Winners That Didn’t Pan Out
Mac Danzig dominated The Ultimate Fighter Season 6 tournament. His wrestling skills were unmatched and was able to finish Tommy Speer via first round submission to land him the season title. The Oregon native had a very elusive career prior to the reality TV show, even fighting overseas for PRIDE FC. But after winning the six figure contract, he was on a rollercoaster ride inside the Octagon. In 2014, Danzig announced his retirement, but in 2017 came back for one more fight under the CFL banner and defeated Joe Condon to win the promotions Junior Welterweight Championship.
Amir Sadollah was an odd case on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. He came into the house with no professional fights and went on to win the entire show. Everyone counted this kid out from the get-go, however, he shocked the world when he tapped out C.B. Dollaway in the finals to earn himself the moniker of TUF 7 champion. After the finale, Sadollah fought 10 more times for the promotion, going 6-5. Sadollah fought for the last time in 2014, going out on back-to-back losses. After arguably the most impressive run in Ultimate Fighter history, it’s too bad we didn’t get to see more from the man from New York.
Now you may look at the record and think, how could this have gone wrong? Chris Holdsworth is one of the most talented fighter to come out of The Ultimate Fighter house. But post-concussion syndrome forced the Team Alpha Male product out of MMA action and he hasn’t been seen inside the cage since 2014. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt won Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter by tapping out Davey Grant in the second round. He fought once more, earning a decision against Chico Camus at UFC 173 and then called it a career. If you look in the corner of many Team Alpha Male fighters, you’ll see Holdsworth, but that’s the closest to the Octagon the 32-year-old will get.
Everyone knows that wrestling can be a gritty and key factor to winning MMA matches. If you can utilize that skillset and get the fight to the ground, nine times out of ten you will win the fight. Well, season twelve of The Ultimate Fighter saw Jonathan Brookins do just that. In all of the matches that led Brookins to winning TUF 12, he used his wrestling. In the finale, Portland born fighter was dominated on his feet in the first round by current UFC featherweight Michael Johnson. In rounds two and three, Brookins went back to his bread and butter to secure the unanimous decision and the season title. He went on to fight some high caliber opponents, falling short to the likes of Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, which led to a 1-3 record in the Octagon and his release in 2012.
The backstory of Court McGee outweighs anything he has done inside the cage. He had an amazing record going into the TUF 11 season, but after winning the show, the Pit Elevated Fight Team product had a rough ride. McGee has lost back-to-back fights on three different occasions, but still holds a UFC roster spot. He definitely doesn’t have as bleak a record following The Ultimate Fighter as some of the aforementioned fighters, but he definitely didn’t pan out as bright as the promotion would have liked.
Other notable names: Colton Smith (TUF 16), Kendall Grove (TUF 3), Efrain Escudero (TUF 8), Diego Brandao (TUF 14)