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The 10 best fighters to never fight in the UFC

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Editor's Pick
2.99K   //    Timeless

The great Fedor Emelianenko never made it into the UFC
The great Fedor Emelianenko never made it into the UFC

The UFC is the world’s biggest MMA promotion, and it’s been that way essentially since the TUF boom kickstarted a new level of popularity for the sport back in 2005. It's no surprise then that over the years, the UFC's Octagon has been home to the majority of the greatest fighters to ever pull on a pair of gloves.

Despite this, even after 25 years of promoting, there are still a handful of great fighters that have never fought within the company. Whether it's been down to contractual issues, injuries or plain bad luck, the following 10 greats have never set foot in the famous Octagon.

With the majority of them now retired – or getting close to the end – it's unlikely that this status will change, either. Here are the 10 best fighters to never fight in the UFC:


#10 Douglas Lima

Bellator standout Douglas Lima has been a top Welterweight for years
Bellator standout Douglas Lima has been a top Welterweight for years

The UFC has traditionally always kept a stranglehold on the Welterweight division, largely because in the early 2000's, its largest competitor – PRIDE – didn’t have fighters at 170lbs. Over the years, plenty of Welterweight talents have established themselves outside the UFC, but most have still made their way into the Octagon. One who hasn't is Bellator standout Douglas Lima.

Lima's record stands at an impressive 30-7 – but given you have to go back almost a decade to find his first four losses, realistically the only men he’s lost to recently were former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald, the unbeaten Ben Askren, and Andrey Koreshkov – who Lima has since defeated twice. He's got 12 wins in Bellator, and the most knockouts in the history of the promotion with eight.

A tremendous striker who also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Lima has proven that he belongs at the top level time after time – he holds wins over UFC veterans like Paul Daley, Lorenz Larkin and Ben Saunders, as well as champions of other promotions like Koreshkov and Steve Carl.

With the recent signing of the aforementioned Askren to the UFC, there’s a pretty clear argument to be made that Lima is the best Welterweight in the history of the sport not to make it into the Octagon – assuming he doesn't move there from Bellator in the near future – and that definitely makes him worthy of this list.

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