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Top 5 undeserving title challengers in UFC history

  • Yoel Romero is set for a somewhat undeserved title shot in March, but his claim is probably more valid than these 5 undeserving challengers.
Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 17 Jan 2020, 17:43 IST
Yoel Romero is set for a questionable title shot at UFC 248
Yoel Romero is set for a questionable title shot at UFC 248

March’s UFC 248 now has its main event, as UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is set to defend his title against Yoel Romero. But should this title fight really have been made by the UFC? It’s debatable.

Sure, Romero has been a high-level contender at 185lbs for years, but right now, it’s honestly hard to justify this shot at ‘The Last Stylebender’. Not only did ‘The Soldier of God’ lose his last fight – a showdown with Paulo Costa, who is reportedly still recovering from surgery – but he also lost his previous one.

In fact, the last time the Cuban made the 185lbs weight limit and won a fight was in November 2016, when he defeated Chris Weidman. Overall, Romero is 1-3 in his last 4, and in the lone win, he missed weight. However, while there’s an argument that ‘The Soldier of God’ is undeserving of a title shot right now, the following title challengers were probably more egregious.

Here are 5 of the most undeserving title challengers in UFC history.

Note: For the purposes of this article, challengers who stepped in on late notice due to injuries have not been considered


#1 Jeremy Horn – Light-Heavyweight title vs Chuck Liddell (2005)

Jeremy Horn hadn
Jeremy Horn hadn't fought in the UFC for 4 years before his 2005 title shot against Chuck Liddell

When Chuck Liddell unseated Randy Couture to win the UFC Light-Heavyweight title in 2005, he immediately became the biggest star in what was then still a burgeoning sport. With ‘The Iceman’ ready to defend his newly won title soon after the victory, the question then became who would receive the first shot at him.

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Would it be Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral, who was on a 8-fight win streak and had picked up an impressive submission on the same show that saw Liddell knock Couture out? Would the UFC be able to come to terms with Liddell’s great rival Tito Ortiz and promote a huge rematch between the two? Or would they simply book an immediate rematch with Couture, a legendary champion?

The answer was none of the above. Instead, the UFC turned to Jeremy Horn – who hadn’t fought in the promotion since 2001 and had primarily been competing at 185lbs on the regional circuit. Sure, ‘Gumby’ was on a 6-fight win streak, but none of the opponents were notable, and he also had a recent loss to Sobral on his record.

It felt like the UFC were simply giving Liddell a chance to avenge his first career loss; Horn had submitted ‘The Iceman’ way back in 1999 at UFC 19. The promotion tried to play up Horn’s chances of repeating the feat – but the fans didn’t buy it, and sure enough, Liddell destroyed him with strikes en route to a 4th round TKO.

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Published 17 Jan 2020, 17:43 IST
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