The popular TV reality show, The Ultimate Fighter will be returning back to action on 1st June and it will be streamed on ESPN+. This is the 29th season of TUF and the UFC Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski will appear as a coach against Brian Ortega.
Throughout the years, TUF has produced some of the best talents in the promotion. In 28 seasons of TUF, 11 fighters have reached the ultimate pinnacle of the sport and got the UFC championship wrapped around their waist.
This list includes some of the biggest names in UFC. It includes the hall of Famers, two champions that are still holding the best, and many underdogs that turned out to the next big thing in the promotion.
Here is the list of all the alumni of TUF who became the UFC champions
Matt Serra is one of the biggest names of the UFC Welterweight division who won the 4th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Serra defeated Lytle via a split decision at the end of the TUF season finale and in his very next fight he produced one of the biggest upsets of UFC history.
Serra faced the dominating UFC Welterweight champion, Georges St Pierre, and knocked him out in the very first round of the fight. Although in his very next fight he lost the title again to GSP but it was wrapped around his waist for quite a time.
Matt Serra was later inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame and he also served as a coach season 6th of TUF against Matt Hughes.
Forest Griffin was the winner of the original ‘Ultimate Fighter’ which helped UFC to reach the heights it is now. Griffin fought against Quinton Jackson at the final of season 1 of ‘TUF’ and won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship by unanimous decision of the judges in the end.
Jackson was the heavy crowd favorite in this fight against Griffin at UFC 86 and Griffin got knocked down in the very first round of the fight by a huge uppercut. But he recovered back and in the last two rounds of the fight, he turned it into his favor and won the UFC championship.
Rashad Evans started his career as a Heavyweight but he dropped down to Light Heavyweight and challenged Forest Griffin for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship. Evans was the winner of TUF season 2 at Heavyweight.
He knocked out the newly crowned champion, Griffin in the third round of their fight at UFC 92 and became the UFC Light Heavyweight champion. In 2019, Rashad Evans was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Michael Bisping is one of the biggest names in the UFC Middleweight division who is currently an active ringside commentator in the promotion. Bisping knocked out Josh Haynes at the end of The Ultimate Fighter 3 finale.
Later on, he got a career full of ups and downs before finally getting the title shot against Luke Rockhold on a short notice fight at UFC 199. Rockhold already holds a win before stepping into this fight against Bisping by a second-round submission two years prior to this fight.
But this time it was Bisping who earned the victory and UFC Middleweight title by a first-round KO and claimed the gold.
T.J. Dillashaw is an alumnus of season 14, The Ultimate Fighter Finale. He faced John Dodson at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Bisping vs Team Miller Finale. Dillashaw fell short and got knocked out in the very round of the fight against Dodson.
But Dillashaw won five out of his next six fights and challenged Renan Barao at UFC 173 for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Barao was a very dominating champion at that time and he was a huge betting favorite in this fight.
Dillashaw outlasted him in every aspect of the fight and won the UFC Bantamweight championship in the fifth round of their fight.
Carla Esparza is the winner of 16 women’s Tv reality shows, The Ultimate Fighter season 20. She was the former Invicta FC titleholder and Esparza won the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight championship, by defeating Rose Namajunas in the finale.
She was the crowd’s favorite in this fight and Esparza completely live up to the expectations. Carla Esparza submitted Namajunas in the 3rd round of the fight and got the championship wrapped around her waist.
Robert Whittaker is the winner of The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes reality show. He defeated Brad Scott in the finale at the Welterweight contest but after switching to Middleweight, Whittaker accomplished new heights in his career.
He tore up the rankings and defeated Yoel Romero at UFC 213 to become the interim UFC Middleweight champion. Later on, Whittaker was promoted as the undisputed Middleweight champion.
Tony Ferguson is the winner of the 13th season of TUF. Since winning the finale, Ferguson put on the longest winning streak in the UFC Lightweight division of 12 consecutive wins. He defeated Kevin Lee at UFC 216 in the third round of the fight to become the interim UFC Lightweight champion.
Ferguson was booked to face Khabib Nurmagomedov, five different times but this fight never happened and it got canceled on all the occasion. Due to this he never got the chance to unify the title.
After Carla Esparza lost the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her very next fight, Jedrzejczyk started a reign in the division that seems nearly unbreakable until Rose Namajunas came.
Namajunas defeated her at UFC 217. Everyone thought that only a chance for Namajunas to win this fight in on the ground but she dropped Jedrzejczyk two times in the fight and got the title wrapped around her waist.
Nico Montano fought for the inaugural UFC women’s Flyweight championship at season 26 of TUF. She was a lesser-known fighter entering into TUF but with her dominance in the season, Montano soon became a popular name for everyone.
In the finale of The Ultimate Fighter season 26, she defeated Roxanne Modafferi and won the show and the inaugural women’s flyweight championship. Later on, she was stripped of her title after being hospitalized due to her weight cut for UFC 228.
The UFC Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman is a former participant of season 21st of TUF. Usman represented his former gym ‘The Blackzillians’ and he was selected to represent his team in the finale.
Kamaru Usman knocked out the knockout artist, Hayder Hassan, and won TUF. He stayed undefeated in the UFC Welterweight division and finally at UFC 235 defeated Tyron Woodley to won the title.