With 12 divisions currently operating – ignoring the potential for the men’s Flyweight division being cut in 2019 – the UFC puts on plenty of title fights every year, meaning that sometimes, fighters who fans and analysts alike don’t always get the title shot they deserve.
Most of the time though, whoever ends up challenging for a UFC title has usually earned it, whether it’s down to a hot streak of wins or the fact that they’re a legendary former champion making a return. Sometimes, however, challengers have emerged that definitely didn’t warrant a title opportunity.
I’m not ragging on these fighters as being bad or even below-par – to even make it into the UFC you’ve got to be pretty great – but the following 5 title challengers most definitely didn’t really warrant a crack at UFC gold – and when they did, it went horribly wrong.
Here are 5 of the worst title challengers in UFC history.
#1 Bethe Correia
Despite the way her UFC career ended, only a fool would deny that Ronda Rousey remains one of the greatest and most dominant champions in UFC history. From the moment she arrived in the promotion in February 2013 to the moment she lost her title to Holly Holm in November 2015, Ronda cut a swathe of dominance through Women’s Bantamweight like few other fighters had ever done regardless of their own division.
It was probably that dominance that led the UFC to grant Bethe Correia with a title shot in August 2015. Sure, Correia was unbeaten in MMA at the time with a 9-0 record, 3 of those wins inside the UFC, but realistically, nothing she’d done suggested that she’d stand any kind of chance against Rousey.
Correia’s biggest win had come over Shayna Baszler – a fighter way past her prime – almost a year prior to her fight with Rousey, and before that she’d edged close decisions against the ageing Julie Kedzie and a very raw Jessamyn Duke. Basically, the UFC gave her the shot because she’d beaten two of Ronda’s training partners and was willing to talk some nasty trash in the build up.
Sure enough, come fight time Correia was hugely overmatched. She came out swinging at Ronda, the champion obliged her in a fire-fight and seconds later, the Brazilian was face down on the mat, unconscious. It was a pretty bad performance, but honestly she shouldn’t have been given the opportunity in the first place.