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‘The Last Fighter’ contestants who became UFC champs, from Matt Serra to Kamaru Usman

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‘The Last Fighter’ contestants who became UFC champs, from Matt Serra to Kamaru Usman



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“The Last Fighter” has produced one of the handiest abilities in blended martial arts, and many absorb long gone on to change into UFC champions.

In 28 seasons of the truth sequence, 11 fighters absorb reached the head, with moderately about a underdogs constructing enormous. The list entails Hall of Famers, two contemporary champions, and top contenders who absorb delivered some of basically the most memorable finishes in UFC history.

“TUF” returns next week with UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski coaching in opposition to customary title challenger Brian Ortega. With the indispensable episode of “TUF 29” feature to stream June 1 on ESPN+, take a look at out all the negate alumni who gained UFC gold.

No person gave Matt Serra a large gamble in opposition to one amongst the all-time greats in Georges St-Pierre.

Serra, who changed into on the comeback season of the negate, earned a title shot after he gained Season 4 of “The Last Fighter.” A large underdog in opposition to GSP, Serra scored what’s broadly belief to be the largest upset in UFC history when he knocked out St-Pierre within the indispensable round at UFC 69 to spend the welterweight title.

Forrest Griffin, accurate, lands a punch in opposition to “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 86. (Laura Rauch, Associated Press)

Winner of the accepted “Last Fighter,” Forrest Griffin changed into a catalyst for the UFC’s early success.

Griffin gained Season 1 of “TUF” by defeating Stephan Bonnar in a classic battle. He at closing returned to his aged stomping grounds and coached Season 7 alongside UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

Griffin gained the negate and the battle, defeating the closely favored Jackson at UFC 86. But it wasn’t easy for Griffin, who had to battle thru early adversity when he changed into knocked down with an early uppercut. He managed to turn issues round in Spherical 2 and had Jackson badly afflict with leg kicks, and gained the battle via unanimous resolution.

Rashad Evans changed into closely undersized when he gained Season 2 of “The Last Fighter” at heavyweight.

He got off to a sizzling delivery to his UFC tenure when he straight dropped to 205 pounds, including an astonishing knockout of Chuck Liddell, which earned him a title shot at newly topped champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 92.

Evans confirmed off his finishing instincts all over again when he caught a Griffin kick and unleashed a barrage of punches for the third-round ground-and-pound TKO.

T.J. Dillashaw fell short in Season 14 of “The Last Fighter” when he changed into knocked out by John Dodson within the finale.

But that didn’t deter the then-Team Alpha Male prospect, who went on to spend five of his next six, en route to a title shot in opposition to bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC 173.

All for Barao’s dominance up to that level, Dillashaw changed into a large underdog. But no longer only did Dillashaw beat the percentages, he made it peek easy by battering Barao to your total battle earlier than getting the develop within the final round.

Carla Esparza changed into the No. 1 bewitch on Season 20 of “The Last Fighter,” which topped the UFC’s inaugural strawweight champion.

And the customary Invicta FC title holder completely lived up to the expectations, using her wrestling to dominate the negate. In the finale, she met contemporary champ Rose Namajunas and her grappling proved to be too mighty all over again when she submitted Namajunas in Spherical 3.

Ever since worthwhile Season 3 of “The Last Fighter,” Michael Bisping had a turbulent avenue within the UFC.

He in the end got a title shot when he stepped in on short observe to face Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, an opponent who already executed him two years prior.

Rockhold changed into a large favourite, nonetheless Bisping changed into ineffective feature on realizing his dream. He caught Rockhold with a left hook in Spherical 1 and at closing got the develop to in the end claim gold.

Robert Whittaker’s scamper after transferring up to middleweight is one thing to peek.

After blended success at welterweight, “The Last Fighter” Smashes winner moved up to 185 pounds where he tore thru the ranks. He faced Yoel Romero for the intervening time middleweight title at UFC 213, outlasting him in a exhausting-fought battle. After Georges St-Pierre retired, Whittaker changed into promoted to undisputed champion.

Tony Ferguson at UFC 216.

Since worthwhile Season 13 of “The Last Fighter,” Tony Ferguson set up together one amongst basically the most spectacular worthwhile streaks in UFC history.

His scamper at closing led to an intervening time lightweight title battle in opposition to Kevin Lee at UFC 216, where he changed into in a effect to turn issues round after getting mounted in Spherical 1. Ferguson changed into taken down again, nonetheless midway thru the battle, he had one thing in store for Lee, whipping up a triangle choke to submit him in Spherical 3.

No person had an solution for Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s dominant title reign till Rose Namajunas came alongside.

The Season 20 “Last Fighter” finalist got one other crack at the title when she faced Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217, and all people belief Namajunas’ only probability changed into to shield stop the champion on the bottom.

But what transpired taken aback all people, including Jedrzejczyk. Namajunas changed into in a effect to exercise her traipse and footwork to pepper Jedrzejczyk, shedding her twice earlier than getting the massive upset develop in Spherical 1.

Nicco Montano came into Season 26 of “The Last Fighter” as an attractive unknown flyweight.

She quietly snuck up the ranks, upsetting contemporary flyweight contender Lauren Murphy, bloodying up Montana De La Rosa and defeating customary Invicta FC champion Barb Honchak.

Montano faced customary Roxanne Modafferi within the finale, worthwhile the negate and the inaugural title by unanimous resolution. She changed into later stripped of the title when she changed into hospitalized due to her weight decrease at UFC 228.

Kamaru Usman had the burden of the arena on his shoulders when he represented his customary gymnasium “The Blackzilians” on Season 21 of “The Last Fighter.”

In what changed into a heated contention between both Florida-based totally gyms, Usman came up enormous for his crew when he picked up wins over American Top Team’s Michael Graves and Steve Carl. He changed into then selected to describe his crew within the finale, dominating knockout artist Hayder Hassan to spend the negate.

The standout wrestler persevered to evolve as a fighter, making easy work of all people set up in his manner. He at closing earned a title shot in opposition to welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 and outdated skool his grappling to dominate the battle and spend the title.

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‘The Last Fighter’ contestants who became UFC champs, from Matt Serra to Kamaru Usman