The Ultimate Fighter has been crucial to the success of the UFC. The first season of TUF exposed a lot of new people to the sport of MMA. The show's finale ended with a slugfest between Forrest Griffin and Stephen Bonnar, both of whom ended up getting UFC contracts. The second season of the show was setup the same night in the parking lot of the arena and the rest is history.
The show went on a crazy run of 28 seasons and now, after a two-year hiatus, TUF is coming back with 145-pound Alex Volkanovski and Brian Ortega as coaches.
A lot of TUF contestants went on to achieve huge success in the UFC. However, there are some TUF fighters who are successful in the UFC but are not generally associated with the show.
Here is a list of five such fighters:
#5 Al Iaquinta
The first name on this list is former lightweight title challenger Al Iaquinta. 'Raging Al' is mostly famous for being a part-time real estate dealer and for his praiseworthy performance against 'The Eagle' Khabib Nurmagomedov after taking the fight on 24-hours notice.
But what a lot of people do not know is that Iaquinta was a part of the 15th season of The Ultimate Fighter. 'Raging Al', who was on Urijah Faber's team, fought Michael Chiesa in the show's finale but lost via submission in the 1st round.
#4 Thiago Santos
Thiago Santos' biggest claim to fame in the UFC is that he is the only fighter to go to a split-decision loss with light heavyweight legend Jon Jones. Before that, Jones had never lost a fight on a single judge's scorecard .
'Marreta' was part of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2. He was part of former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum's team. Santos lost in the quarter-finals to Leonardo Santos but since then, the middleweight has more than made up for it by repeatedly putting out impressive performances in the octagon.
#3 Rose Namajunas
Rose Namajunas is one of the most beloved female fighters on the entire UFC roster. 'Thug Rose' recently became the only female fighter in UFC history to win a UFC title twice when she knocked out Weili Zhang in the opening seconds of the fight.
The two-time champion's journey into the UFC was not always this smooth. The strawweight was part of the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter where she lost to Carla Esparza in the season finale via submission in round 3. The fight was for the strawweight championship.
'Thug Rose' made her way back into title contention and finally won the championship by knocking out former strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
#2 Paulo Costa
Paulo Costa is one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC today, both in and out of the octagon. The middleweight contender was last seen in the octagon against current champ Israel Adesanya, who dismantled the Brazilian fighter inside the first two rounds.
'The Eraser' was in The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 but his stint there did not last very long as he lost in the elimination round of the show.
But that loss should not be taken as an indication that 'Borrachinha' is an easy fight for everyone. The Brazilian fighter has an MMA record of 13-1 with wins over veterans like Yoel Romero and Johnny Hendricks.
#1 Robert Whittaker
Taking the number one place is none other than former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. 'The Reaper' has arguably the most impressive resume among all the fighters on this list.
The Australian fighter was part of The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes where he defeated Brad Scott to emerge as the winner of the show.
'Bobby Knuckles' is currently on a three-win fight streak with many fans believing that he should be next in line for the title shot.
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