UFC's reality show TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) will be back on June 1st for its 29th edition. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and challenger Brian Ortega will lead opposing TUF squads composed of bantamweight and middleweight UFC aspirants.
Throughout the years, TUF has been an effective feeder system for new talent into the UFC. The show's success has been validated by several TUF winners who have gone on to become UFC champions.
However, competing in TUF doesn't guarantee success in the octagon. And winning TUF doesn't lead to becoming the next Rashad Evans, Kamaru Usman, or Michael Bisping.
Unfortunately, many contestants who have conquered the TUF stage went on to have lackluster or flatout unsuccessful UFC careers.
Let's take a look at 5 TUF winners with the worst fight record in the UFC:
#5 Tim Elliott (UFC record: 9-9)
Tim Elliott won a season called The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions. But since making his UFC debut, he has shown very little evidence that he's a championship-calibre fighter.
Elliott won two straight after losing his first fight in the UFC against bantamweight star John Dodson. He wasn't able to maintain a successful run as he suffered three defeats in a row against Ali Bagautinov, Joseph Benavidez, and Zach Makovsky.
Elliott had a career resurgence from 2015 to 2016, when he won three straight to earn a title shot against pound-for-pound great Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson. Elliott lost to Johnson via unanimous decision, and since then, he has been plagued by inconsistency.
Right now, Elliott sits in the 10th spot of the UFC flyweight rankings after bagging two wins in a row against Ryan Benoit and Jordan Espinosa.
#4 Joe Stevenson (UFC record: 8-8)
Joe 'Daddy' Stevenson won TUF's second season alongside former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. But unlike his co-winner, Stevenson wasn't able to reach the mountaintop of his division.
The closest Stevenson has been to becoming a UFC champion was in 2008 when he challenged then-lightweight champion BJ Penn at UFC 80. However, Stevenson succumbed to a rear-naked choke in round two and he never made it back to the title picture after that.
Overall, Joe 'Daddy' had a decent career in the octagon despite having a mediocre UFC record of eight wins and eight losses; that's because he's fondly remembered by UFC fans as one of the most entertaining fighters to watch.
#3 Mac Danzig (UFC record: 5-8)
When Mac Danzig emerged from TUF season 6, he appeared to be a great addition to the talent-rich UFC lightweight division. The submission specialist lived up to his reputation when he tapped out Tom Speer and Tim Bocek to win his first two fights in the octagon.
However, Danzig's hot streak ended when he lost three in a row against top contenders Clay Guida, Josh Neer and Jim Miller. Danzig went back and forth between wins and losses before suffering another three-fight losing streak at the end of his UFC career.
In 2017, Danzig made a triumphant MMA return at CFL - California Fight League 11 against Joe Condon. That was the last time Danzig saw action inside an MMA cage.
#2 Travis Lutter (UFC record: 2-4)
Travis Lutter earned a guaranteed title shot against then-UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva after beating Patrick Cote in the finals of TUF: The Comeback.
Unfortunately, Lutter committed an all-time blunder when he went over the middleweight limit by two pounds. As a result, his matchup with Silva was downgraded to a non-title fight. In the end, it wouldn't matter as Lutter was decimated by 'The Spider'.
Lutter tried to bounce back against former UFC 185-pound champion Rich Franklin at UFC 83. However, he found no success after losing to Franklin via TKO in what turned out to be his final fight in the octagon.
#1 Colton Smith (UFC record: 1-3)
Colton Smith won the 16th season of TUF by outpointing his opponents in each round. His unanimous decision win against Mike Ricci in the season finale turned out to be his lone victory in the UFC when all was said and done.
Smith dropped three straight fights against some of the most talented fighters in the division at the time: Robert Whittaker, Michael Cheisa and Diego Ferreira.
His UFC career may have ended on a horrible note but he found redemption away from the octagon. From 2015 to 2016, Smith would collect four straight wins before losing his most recent fight against Sean Brady in 2018.