Top 10 greatest UFC fighters who never won a title

Take a look at 10 of the greatest UFC fighters never to win a UFC title in their career.


Top 10 greatest UFC fighters who never won a title

UFC fighters who never won a title (Via IMAGO)

The UFC has produced some of the most iconic and biggest champions throughout the years. These champions reached the pinnacle of the sport by carving out their legacy but some great UFC fighters never won a title. So now we look at top 10 greatest UFC fighters never to win a title

These fighters have poured their hearts while fighting for the title but they fell short and never got the opportunity to wrap the belt around their waist. Some of these even fought for the UFC championship multiple times, still, they failed to win it.

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We’re honoring the legacies of these fighters and we’ve picked the top 10 greatest UFC fighters who never won a title in the promotion.

Here goes our list of the top 10 greatest UFC fighters who never won a title

10. Rory McDonald

Rory McDonald is one of the biggest names in the UFC Welterweight division, who made his UFC debut in the year 2010. He holds notable victories over many of the biggest names of the time such as Nick Diaz, B.J. Penn, Demian Maia, and many others.

Rory McDonald
Rory McDonald (Via UFC)

McDonald challenged Robbie Lawler for his UFC Welterweight on UFC 189. They fought against each other for four rounds and this fight turned out into a blood bath. At the start of the round, Lawler knocked McDonald out and retained his title.

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This fight is considered the fight of the decade by many UFC fans around the world. Although, later on, he joined Bellator and became the Welterweight world champion there, he ended up being one of the greatest UFC fighters who never won a title.

9. Nick Diaz

Nick Diaz is one of the pioneers of UFC, who made this promotion reach new heights. Diaz is one of the most famous UFC fighters in the Welterweight division and he made his UFC debut in 2003 against Jeremy Jackson.

Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz (Via UFC)

Diaz fought against the UFC Welterweight G.O.A.T. Gorges St Pierre for his title at UFC 158. They both tore each other apart for five rounds and in the end, Nick Diaz lost the fight by unanimous decision of the judges.

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His fight against Anderson Silva is considered one of the greatest UFC fights. Diaz was banned for five years because of marijuana and this ended his dream to become the UFC champion he landed in our list of greatest UFC fighters who never won a title.

8. Demian Maia

Demian Maia is considered one of the most elite grapplers in MMA history and he made his UFC debut in the year 2007. During the course of his UFC career, he had victories over Chael Sonnen, Dan Miller, Jorge Masvidal, and many others.

Demian Maia
Demian Maia (Via UFC)

He fought for the UFC title two times. At UFC 112, Maia challenged Anderson Silva for his UFC Middleweight title but Silva was in his prime during that time and Maia lost the fight by unanimous decision of the judges.

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In 2017, he fought for the UFC Welterweight title against Tyron Woodley at UFC 214, but in the end, he faced a unanimous decision loss in this fight too. This leads to Maia being at number 8 in our list of greatest UFC fighters who never won a title.

7. Yoel Romero

Yoel Romero is an Olympic silver medalist who made his UFC debut in the year 2013. Romero holds a winning streak of eight fights before challenging Robert Whittaker for the interim Middleweight championship.

Yoel Romero
Yoel Romero (Via UFC)

He faced the first loss of his UFC career in this fight and after that, he challenged Whittaker one more time at UFC 225 where he faced a split decision loss. After this, the promotion presented him with one more opportunity to face Israel Adesanya for the championship.

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Romero again failed to win the championship and despite being an elite Middleweight fighter, he is one of the best UFC fighters to never win a title.

6. Alistair Overeem

The UFC Heavyweight fighter, Alistair Overeem made his UFC debut in the year 2011 and in his very first fight, he knocked out the biggest name of the division of that time, Brock Lesnar. Although after this win he faced some losses as well.

Alistair Overeem
Alistair Overeem (Via UFC)

But in the end, he challenged Stipe Miocic for his UFC Heavyweight title at UFC 203. In this fight, Miocic knocked him out in the very first round and this fight ended as the fight of the night. After that Overeem never got the opportunity to fight for the title.

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He finally got cut from UFC in 2021 and this ended his dream of becoming a UFC champion. That’s why he is number 6 in the list of UFC fighters who never won a title.

5. Joseph Benavidez

Joseph Benavidez is one the of most elite UFC Flyweight fighters. Benavidez made his UFC debut in the year 2011 and he fought against Demetrious Johnson for the inaugural UFC Flyweight championship. Johnson got lucky in this fight and won this one by a split decision.

Joseph Benavidez
Joseph Benavidez (Via UFC)

After riding a winning streak of three fights, Benavidez challenged Johnson again for his title but this time it ended up being worse for him as he faced a first-round TKO loss. He stayed in this division and earned victories over Henry Cejudo, Alex Perez, and many others.

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That led him to fight for the title again. Benavidez fought against Deiveson Figueiredo in 2020 and lost by a second-round TKO but Figueiredo missed weight before this fight. As such, they fought again in July 2020 but Benavidez lost this one too.

Despite fighting for the title 4 times, Benavidez never got the opportunity to win it. That leads him to number 5 in our list of greatest UFC fighters who never won a title.

4. Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen is one of the biggest names in UFC who made his debut in the year 2009 against Demian Maia. Sonnen ended up losing this fight but after winning three consecutive fights, he challenged Anderson Silva for the title at UFC 117.

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Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen (Via UFC)

Silva submitted Sonnen in the fifth round of the fight and won the UFC Middleweight championship. After that, Chael Sonnen defeated Michael Bisping at the title eliminator and fought against Silva once again for the title.

This time, Silva finished him in the second round of the fight via TKO. In his very next fight, Sonnen returned to Light Heavyweight to challenge Jon Jones for his title, but he ended up losing this one too by a first-round TKO.

Even after fighting for the title three times, Sonne failed to get it wrapped around his waist. This made him a contender at number four in our list of UFC fighters who never won a title.

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3. Dan Henderson

Dan Henderson is the former Pride Middleweight champion and he is one of the rarest fighters who fought for the UFC championship in his very first fight for the promotion. Henderson fought against Quinton Jackson for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship.

Dan Henderson
Dan Henderson (Via UFC)

In this fight, he faced a unanimous decision loss but in his very next fight, he fought again for the title at Middleweight against Anderson Silva. In this fight, he once again faced a loss by second-round submission.

After that, he fought in the Middleweight tournament and knocked out Michael Bisping at UFC 100 in the title eliminator. This was the knockout of the year 2009, but he parted ways with UFC after this and never became the UFC champion. This makes him number 3 in our top 10 greatest UFC fighters never to win a title

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2. Urijah Faber

Urijah Faber is one of the most decorated UFC fighters with a legendary resume in the promotion. He made his UFC debut in the year 2011 and fought for the title in his very next fight against Dominick Cruz at UFC 132.

Urijah Faber
Urijah Faber (Via UFC)

At the end of five rounds, Cruz won the fight by unanimous decision. Faber once again fought for the title against Renan Barao but ended up facing a first-round TKO loss. Uriah Faber faced Dominick Cruz once again for the UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 199 but the result remained the same and he lost it again by unanimous decision.

Even after fighting for the title three times and entering some of these fights as a betting favorite, Faber never won the title.

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1. Alexander Gustaffson

Alexander Gustaffson is one of the biggest names in the UFC Light Heavyweight division, who challenged Jon Jones for his title at UFC 165. Jones was dominating all the other fighters he faced before this fight but Gustaffson took the champ in deep waters.

Alexander Gustaffson
Alexander Gustaffson is number one in the greatest UFC fighters never to win a title list (Via UFC)

In the end, he lost the fight by unanimous decision but this fight turned out to be the fight of the night. Gustaffson then challenged Daniel Cormier for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship but he faced a split decision loss in this one too.

Jon Jones and Alexander Gustaffson once again crossed paths with each other at UFC 232 but this time Jones stopped him with a third-round KO. He fought for the title three times and pushed the champions to their limits.

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This made Alexander Gustafsson land number one in our list of top 10 greatest UFC fighters who never won a title.

Honorable Mentions:

Apart from these 10, there are fighters like Colby Covington, who has also never won a UFC title despite fighting 3 times for the UFC gold. Most recently, he fought Leon Edwards at UFC 296 and took home the loss in front of his longtime supporter, Donald Trump.

Donald Cowboy Cerrone is another UFC legend to never have won the championship gold. Cerrone has 23 wins in the UFC, a feat matched only by Andrei Arlovski. As such, Cowboy was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2023.

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