(5) Jon Fitch
There is an unfortunate phenomenon in the UFC that I like to call “The GSP Effect” which caused great fighters such as Carlos Condit and Jon Fitch to never live up to their true potential because they fought at the same time as the greatest welterweight in MMA history. Jon Fitch’s results speak for themselves; he was a staggering 14-3-1 in his run in the UFC, with his only losses coming from GSP, Johny Hendricks, and Demian Maia. He was considered to be one of the best welterweights in the world even with GSP being an active fighter, and since his early departure from the UFC he has become the WSOF Welterweight Champion. Maybe without The GSP Effect he could have added UFC Welterweight Champion to that resume as well.
(4) Joseph Benavidez
If The GSP Effect is what held Jon Fitch back from being a UFC champion, then The Mighty Mouse Effect is what’s stopping all flyweights from even having a prayer at touching a UFC belt. At the top of that list is Joseph Benavidez, who got so close to being the champion when the division was created, losing in the finals of the tournament that would determine the champion to Demetrious Johnson. Since then, D.J. has placed an iron grip on that division, and made a claim to being the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time. That leaves Benavidez in the background, able to beat everyone in the division except the man at the top.
(3) Kenny Florian
The Ultimate Fighter One brought us some of the most iconic fighters in the history of the organization. But in my opinion, none of them were more talented than Kenny Florian. When you consider that he competed on the show as a middleweight, but by the end of his career was fighting at featherweight, you realize that his skill and grit were what got him as far as he got in the UFC. He was a title contender in four different divisions, and is now a wonderful commentator in the booth. He certainly is one of the best fighters of all time.
(2) Demian Maia
It is hard to describe for people who haven’t seen it for themselves how dominant of a Jiu-Jitsu fighter Maia was before he entered the UFC. The Abu Dhabi Combat Club really is the UFC for submission grapplers, and Maia got second in 2005 and won the whole thing in 2007. (Fun Fact: That’s the same year that Fabrico Werdum won gold as well). He was undefeated in his MMA career when he entered the UFC, and had only one loss when he stepped into the cage with the possible greatest of all time, Anderson Silva, for the UFC Middleweight belt. Now he is on an absolute tear in the welterweight division, and there is a strong chance that a year from now Maia won’t be allowed to be on this list anymore.
(1) Urijah Faber
“The California Kid” is likely one of the most recognizable figures in the UFC, and maybe just in MMA in general. He started his own clothing line and gym, and also is just a phenomenal fighter, and was at one point the man in the WEC. He won the Featherweight Championship in the WEC, and held the belt for over two years. He has fought in an unimaginable seven title fights in his career, with four of them being in the UFC, though has unfortunately lost all but one of them. His recent loss to Jimmie Rivera might be a signal of a downturn for Faber, but we must always remember everything he did for the Featherweight and Bantamweight Divisions, and how dominant he used to be.
Does anyone belong on this list who wasn’t included? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below if you’re reading this on our desktop website.
(Jared Dodds of Mississauga, Ontario has been a passionate MMA fan since he was 13 years old after he stumbled upon his dad watching Mintauro Nogueira vs. Frank Mir at UFC 92. He follows UFC, Bellator, Invicta, and even non-MMA productions such as Glory kickboxing. He wrestled in high school and has spent time outside of school learning specific techniques that are important parts of MMA. He hopes to fill the shoes of Jamie Penick, who once helmed the Daily Top Five List, and credits Jamie with helping him acquire more knowledge and passion for the sport of MMA.)