Losses in UFC are always hard to accept, especially after going through the excruciating process of cutting weight, but some fighters do it better than the rest.
There are numerous instances of fighters being bitter and defensive in defeat. However, there have been some who accepted with grace, owning up to the mistakes and giving due credit to their opponents, and they ended up getting more love from the fans despite the result.
Here are three UFC fighters who were gracious in defeat and received love and respect from the MMA community for it.
#3 Dominick Cruz after defeat to Cody Garbrandt - UFC 207
Dominick Cruz was as classy as ever in addressing his defeat after losing to Cody Gardbrandt at UFC 207 and dropping his bantamweight title. Cruz had regained the belt and defended it once after having to vacate it due to a string of critical injuries. His second defense saw Cody Garbrandt hand him his first UFC loss and only the second defeat of his MMA career.
Cruz had been out of the octagon since his 2011 fight with Demetrious Johnson and returned only once in 2014 to fight Takeya Mizugaki before being sidelined once again with a torn ACL.
It was not revealed until later that he was plagued by plantar fasciitis tendonitis going into the Garbrandt fight, which made it difficult for him to even walk sometimes during his fight camp.
Instead of making any excuses, Dominick Cruz showed all the dignity in the world in his post-fight interview and said that he was 'taking his loss like a man'.
"Enjoy being at the top, Cody, you're a young champion. Try to keep it. It's tough. Let's see what you do with it."
Needless to say, his words and actions post-fight earned him more love and respect from the fans despite the loss.
#2 Dustin Poirier after defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov - UFC 242
Unlike his previous fight with Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov fought a very respectful opponent in Dustin Poirier at UFC 242, both before and after their bout. The respect between the two was evident throughout. 'The Diamond' did not utter a single word of trash-talk towards Khabib, and 'The Eagle' returned the favor.
Even though Poirier was already loved for what he's done in the UFC, the Louisianan gained the respect of the fans as well as of his opponent after the fight.
#1 Michael Chandler after defeat to Charles Oliveira - UFC 262
Michael Chandler received his fair share of criticism going into UFC 262 for getting a title shot after just one win in the UFC. Tony Ferguson added fuel to the fire at the pre-event press conference when he stated that Michael Chandler had 'Dana White privilege'. But not only did 'Iron' Mike prove he was deserving of the opportunity during the bout, he also owned up to his mistakes after the loss.
Chandler was excellent in the first-round of his fight with Charles Oliveira, and at one point it seemed like he might finish 'Do Bronx' and become champion. But the Brazilian turned things around quickly in the second round and TKO'd Chandler against the fence to be crowned the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.
In a frame-by-frame breakdown of the fight with MMA On Point, Chandler admitted to the mistake he made that cost him the fight, but did not forget to give due credit to Charles Oliveira.
"He lands a hook, drops me, and oh man, that's my fault. I should have come up with a jab, I should have come up with a jab as defense instead of throwing the right hand by itself... but hats off to Charles Oliveira."