MMA can be cruel at times. The nature of the sport is such that icons are built and destroyed in a matter of moments. It is all about the survival of the fittest.
Once you step inside the octagon and the cage doors close, all the support and fame just fades away. Then there is just one fighter against another, in the purest form of competition known to man.
Fighters achieve greatness and reach the pinnacle of success in MMA but they don't stay at the top forever. There comes a time when even the greatest of performers find their abilities on the wane and end up realizing that they are not as good as they once were.
With age, fighters tend to slow down in terms of their movement and reactions, and sometimes they even lose the motivation to fight.
Let's take the example of Tony Ferguson. El Cucuy is a former UFC interim champion and, until 2020, was on an incredible 12-fight winning streak. His run only came second to that of the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Ferguson was once widely considered the only fighter who could break Nurmagomedov's undefeated streak. It's a shame that the fight never came to fruition.
However, since UFC 249, Ferguson hasn't been the same. He was tortured by Justin Gaethje for most of the fight before finally being unable to take any more punishment in the final round.
Since that defeat, Ferguson has been in two more fights and he looks like a pale shadow of the man once feared by most Lightweights in UFC.
Ferguson lost to Charles Oliveira and recently to Beneil Dariush at UFC 262 and was dominated in both fights.
In those two bouts, Ferguson could only manage to land a total of just 30 significant strikes. At 37, it may be time for him to realize that his prime as a fighter is over before the losing streak starts to become embarrassing.
In this article, we will take a look at great fighters who finished their UFC careers on losing streaks.
#5 Former UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley
Tyron Woodley is a former Welterweight Champion and has four successful title defenses to his name. At one point in time, he did seem impenetrable. But all that changed when he defended the title against reigning Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 235. Usman completely dominated Woodley over five rounds and won by a lopsided unanimous decision.
After his encounter with Usman, Tyron Woodley failed to win a single fight in UFC. He went on to lose three more bouts before being released by the promotion recently.
#4 UFC Hall Of Famer Rashad Evans
Inducted into the UFC Hall Of Fame in 2019, Rashad Evans was the winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 2 and is a former Light Heavyweight Champion. He was also on a 14-fight winning streak since making his professional debut in 2004.
However, from 2015 to 2018, Evans competed and lost five straight fights inside the octagon. It was after losing to Anthony Smith at UFC 225 that he decided it was time for him to pull the curtains on his career.
#3 Former UFC fighter Yoel Romero
Yoel Romero will always be remembered as one of the most athletic fighters in UFC history because of his power and explosiveness. The former Olympic silver medalist was challenged for the title on four different occasions but unfortunately came up short every single time.
Romero has several notable victories against former world champions and was also on an eight-fight winning streak before losing his first title shot. However, since 2017, Romero has lost a total of four out of five fights inside the cage. He was on a three-fight losing skid when the promotion decided to let go of him despite having three more bouts on his contract.
#2 Anderson Silva
The Spider is widely considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. Anderson Silva was once on an incredible 16-fight winning streak inside the octagon and the former Middleweight Champion has an incredible 10 successful title defenses to his name.
However, it all went wrong for Silva since he paid the price for being over-confident in his 11th title defense against Chris Weidman. Silva was brutally knocked out while intentionally keeping his guard down and showboating during the fight. Since then, he was never the same again.
Silva has lost seven out of the eight fights he has competed in since his loss to Weidman at UFC 162. He was on a three-fight skid when he mutually parted ways with the promotion.
#1 BJ Penn
BJ Penn spent his whole professional career in UFC and it lasted for 18 long years. During this time, the Hall Of Famer competed across four weight classes. He is also part of an elite group of fighters who managed to win titles in multiple divisions.
However, it took Penn a fair few losses to realize that his time as a professional fighter was over. He went on an embarrassing seven-fight losing streak before being released by UFC in 2019. This came after a video of him getting knocked out in a bar fight went viral on social media.