Five Biggest Downfalls in the UFC

Published on 15 May 2024 at 16:00

Some of the greatest MMA fighters can have an incredible career but still have a downfall in the latter stages of their career. Here are five UFC fighters who have had the biggest downfalls of their career, despite being former champions of their respected division.

Anderson Silva

Silva has been regarded as the greatest Middleweight in MMA history, holding the most title wins in UFC Middleweight history with a total of 11 and the longest win streak in UFC history with 16 consecutive victories. The Spider has defeated many legends of the sport, defeating the like of Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort.

The Brazilian's downfall began when he lost to Chris Weidman by second-round knockout at UFC 162, losing the Middleweight title back in July 2013. By the end of 2013, Silva would lose his rematch against Weidman at almost exactly the same time in the second round but would lose by TKO after breaking his leg when attempting a leg kick.

The Sao Paulo-born fighter would continue his unlucky streak in 2015 as despite defeating Nick Diaz by unanimous decision at UFC 183, the bout would be overturned to a no contest as both men failed drug tests. One year later, Silva would still struggle for a victory as he would lose by unanimous decision to Michael Bisping at UFC London and Daniel Cormier at UFC 200.

The Spider found some fortune at UFC 208 as he defeated Derek Brunson by unanimous decision to stop his five-fight winless streak. His triumph would not last long though as an unanimous decision loss to Israel Adesanya and two TKO losses to Jared Cannonier and Uriah Hall would see Silva's career come to an end.

BJ Penn

Penn had an 18-year career with the UFC, becoming the second fighter to become champion in two divisions as he became the King of the Welterweights at UFC 46 before becoming the number one 155-pound fighter at UFC 80. The Prodigy is tied for the most title defences in UFC Lightweight history and has faced the greatest in the Welterweight division with the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Matt Hughes and Matt Serra. 

The Hawaiian began to gradually hit rock bottom when he first faced Frankie Edgar at UFC 112, losing the UFC Lightweight title by unanimous decision April 2010. Four months later, Penn would suffer another unanimous decision loss in a rematch against Edgar but would at least finish the year strong with a 21-second knockout win against Matt Hughes at UFC 123. 

The Kailua-born mixed martial artist's career would only go downhill after his triumph as Penn would only be able to earn a majority draw against Jon Fitch at UFC 127 before two decision losses to Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald. After a 17-month absence from fighting, Penn would return and try to finally be victorious against Edgar in their trilogy fight. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as he would lose by third-round TKO.

The Prodigy would return to the UFC for one more run, looking to end his career on a high. Penn would suffer a second-round TKO loss against Yair Rodriguez and then lose to Dennis Siver by majority decision in the same year. A submission loss to Ryan Hall at UFC 232 and an unanimous decision loss to Clay Guida at UFC 237 would see Penn accept retirement from the sport.

Chuck Liddell

Liddell has been one of the greatest knockout artists to compete in the UFC, earning 10 KO/TKO wins out of the 16 fights he has with the organisation. The Iceman has the second most title wins in UFC Light Heavyweight history and has faced tough competition in his era, fighting the likes of Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson.

The Californian would begin to go downhill when he lost his Light Heavyweight Championship to Rampage Jackson at UFC 71 by first-round knockout. Liddell would then lose Keith Jardine by split decision at UFC 76 which would ruin his opportunity to get another shot for UFC gold.

Three months later, the Santa-Barbara-born fighter would get some redemption at UFC 79 when he defeated Wanderlei Silva. The victory against Silva would be Liddell's last as he would suffer a second-round knockout loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 88 and a first-round TKO loss against Mauricio Rua at UFC 97.

The Iceman would see his last UFC fight end in disaster when he would lose to Rich Franklin by first-round knockout at UFC 115. Liddell would retire from MMA until he would return one last time, fighting Tito Ortiz in a trilogy fight at Golden Boy MMA in late November 2018. Sadly, it would end in horrible fashion for Liddell as he would get knocked out in the first round.

Renan Barao

Barao was one of the greatest Bantamweight fighters in MMA history, going on an incredible run of 35 fights unbeaten before his second loss in the sport. The Baron would become the UFC Bantamweight Champion and would defeat top contenders such as Urijah Faber, Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald.

The Brazilian's winning days would start to vanish after losing his rematch with TJ Dillashaw for the Bantamweight title, losing by fourth-round TKO. Barao would lose twice-in-a-row for the first time after an unanimous decision loss to Jeremy Stephens at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Natal-born fighter would get some redemption in his home country after picking up an unanimous decision win against Phillipe Nover at UFC Brasilia. This would be Barao's last victory in MMA has he would begin to suffer numerous losses. The next two fights would end by unanimous decision to the opponent as Aljamain Sterling and Brian Kelleher would conquer over the Brazilian.

The Baron would continue his losing streak with a split decision loss to Andre Ewell at UFC Sao Paulo, suffering a loss in front of his home nation. A second-round knockout loss to Luke Sanders at UFC Phoenix and and an unanimous decision loss against Douglas Silva de Andrade at another UFC Sao Paulo event would see Barao's career come to an end.

Tony Ferguson

Ferguson has been seen as the one of the scariest fighters in the UFC due to how much damage he gives to his opponents, hence why he became the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion. El Cucuy earned a 12-fight winning streak from October 2013 to May 2020, stopping opponents like Edson Barboza, Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone.

The American first started his seven-fight winning streak when he lost to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, losing fifth-round TKO which would be Ferguson's first-ever knockout loss of his MMA career. In the same year, he would suffer an unanimous decision loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 256 despite almost losing the fight by submission.

The Oxnard-born fighter would continue to fail for redemption as he faced Beneil Dariush at UFC 262, losing by unanimous decision. Ferguson would then suffer a terrifying front kick knockout loss in the second round to Michael Chandler at UFC 274. Converting to a different weight class, Ferguson would move up to the Welterweight division as he was supposed to fight Li Jingliang but would face Nate Diaz instead at UFC 279, only to lose by submission in the fourth round.

El Cucuy would once again lose by submission after losing to Bobby Green at UFC 291 with six second left of the fight. Ferguson would eventually make it seven consecutive losses when he faced Paddy Pimblett at UFC 296, losing by unanimous decision. Ferguson has not retired from the sport yet as it is clear he wants to end his career on a high but the question is how long it will take El Cucuy to be victorious once again.


Featured Images: Flickr - Gracie Magazine, chitownchick79, Michael Bacos.


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

MMA Instagram:

Twitter: Charlie_Oxtoby1

Add comment


There are no comments yet.