There comes a point in every sport where athletes just need to cross the finishing line to become champions. Unfortunately for the UFC fighters on this list, they all just fell short at the final hurdle. These are the best UFC fighters that never became champion in every weight division (men’s only).
Flyweight – Joseph Benavidez
Joseph Benavidez is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters to have never won a UFC title. Despite having four opportunities to claim the belt, two against Demetrious Johnson, one against Deiveson Figueiredo and one against Dominick Cruz, he was unable to secure a victory. Nevertheless, his record remains impressive and he has only ever been defeated by top-tier fighters.
Benavidez is renowned for his unwavering determination and fighting spirit, as demonstrated by his refusal to tap out during his fight with Figueiredo, even as he was blacking out. He is widely considered to be a future UFC Hall of Famer and a true legend of the sport.
Bantamweight – Marlon Moraes
Despite never winning a world title, Marlon Moraes has victories over some legendary UFC champions. Fighters like Jose Aldo, Aljamain Sterling and Raphael Assuncou all fell victim to his skills. However, unfortunately for Moraes, none of those bouts were for the title.
Honourable Mention: Urijah Faber
While Faber had an incredible career and was always a fan favorite, the California kid just doesn’t have the same resume that Moraes has.
Featherweight – The Korean Zombie
Chan Sung Jung, also known as “The Korean Zombie,” still competes in the Featherweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Throughout his career, he has achieved several impressive victories against top fighters such as Frankie Edgar, Renato Moicano, Dennis Bermudez and Dustin Poirier.
Jung’s nickname “The Korean Zombie” comes from his ability to continue fighting aggressively while eating punches. He is a true warrior in the octagon and one of the best UFC fighters that never became champion.
Honourable mention: Chad Mendes
Lightweight – Tony Ferguson
In his prime, Tony Ferguson managed to go on a 12 fight win streak in the UFC and still not win the title. It’s as impressive as it is disappointing for El Cucuy.
Throughout his historic winning run, Ferguson beat the who’s who of the lightweight division including 2 former champions in Rafael Dos Anjos and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.
Although he is still competing today, unfortunately it looks as if Tony’s best days are behind him as he has been on a bit of a losing run recently.
Honourable Mention: Dustin Poirier
Welterweight – Stephen Thompson
Fan favorite, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is one of the greatest Karate style fighters the UFC has ever seen. With wins over the likes of Robert Whittaker, Rory MacDonald and Johnny Hendricks, it’s a surprise that Thompson never managed to cross that line to become champion. The Karate fighter is still active so who knows, maybe someday.
Honourable Mention: Nick Diaz
Middleweight – Yoel Romero
Yoel Romero can only be described as a freak of nature. In a good way of course. The Cuban came within a split decision loss against Robert Whittaker to never lift UFC gold.
Although the Soldier of God never won a UFC belt, he does have some impressive wins on his resume. Luke Rockhold, Lyoto Machida and former Middleweight champion Chris Weidman just to name a few. Yoel Romero is undoubtedly the best UFC middleweight to never become champion.
Honourable Mention: Gegard Mousasi
Light Heavyweight – Anthony Johnson
The late, great Anthony Johnson was an absolute wrecking machine during his UFC run. The power he possessed was next level and the reason we have him at number 2 on our list of hardest hitters in UFC history.
Rumble has notable wins over the likes of Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader and Alexander Gustafsson which is the reason he’s the greatest light heavyweight to never win a UFC championship.
Honourable Mention: Alexander Gustafsson
Heavyweight – Alistair Overeem
Dutchman Alistair Overeem is a former K-1 fighter and one of the greatest UFC heavyweights of all time. Unfortunately for him though he never quite managed to get his hands on UFC gold.
He did however beat FIVE former UFC heavyweight champions during his run. Yes, five! Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski and Junior Dos Santos were all defeated at the hands of Overeem.
Honourable Mention: Shane Carwin
That concludes our list of the best UFC fighters that never became champion. While some of them are long retired, there are quite a few who are still active. So who knows, maybe we’ll be removing some of them from this list over the next few years.