Interesting read on the ultimate fighter stats etc: A (somewhat) by-the-numbers breakdown and ranking of every season of The Ultimate Fighter

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jjeans
12/2/11 10:23:37AM
By Matt Pelkey, MMATorch Columnist


Saturday night marks the end of an era. With the conclusion of the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter, the series will be leaving Spike TV for the greener (and live-er) pastures of FX. It's the series that started the rolling of the giant snowball that is (was?) the UFC's growing popularity. This season was the first to feature the featherweight and bantamweight divisions, and it has been expectedly action-packed. But none of these fighters have made their mark on the UFC yet. The same can't be said about previous seasons.

The show was created as a way to make new stars, and in many respects it's been successful in that regard. Its other function is to provide depth to the UFC roster. That's where ranking the seasons becomes a bit more palatable. I went through each of the first 13 seasons of the show and tallied up the won-loss records of each fighter in the UFC since the show. I didn't count fighters' UFC records if they fought inside the Octagon prior to the show, nor did I count fights from their season's live finale, as you have to show very little interest or skills to be left off the finale. I wanted to know what kind of legacy each season's fighters have forged inside the cage.

Obviously with each successive season the fighters have had less and less time to accumulate UFC fights, but that's why winning percentage was an important factor in the rankings. Again, this is a subjective list, but it is based on actual data. The criteria: total wins, winning percentage, number of standout fighters, number of fighters to fight inside the Octagon post-Finale, depth, fighters who won or challenged for a title. For the most recent three or four seasons, I tried to take into account the potential of the fighters going forward, in lieu of a lot of statistical data.


1.) Season 1

Won/Loss: 78-41 (.655)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 10

The Standout(s): Forrest Griffin (won Light Heavyweight Title), Josh Koscheck (challenged for Welterweight Title), Kenny Florian (challenged for the Lightweight Title twice, Featherweight Title once), Diego Sanchez (challenged for Lightweight Title)

The Depth: Stephan Bonnar, Mike Swick, Nate Quarry, Chris Leben

The Overview: The gold-standard for TUF seasons remains so even after all these years. The roster owns 23 more wins than any other season. Obviously they had the advantage of being the first season, thus having more time to accumulate wins than any other season, but that doesn't guarantee results. One Champion and three other title challengers. Chris Leben is one of the all-time winningest fighters in UFC history and he's just part of the depth that bolstered this season. It'll make me a bit misty eyed in the next few years as participants of the first season start retiring left and right. Of course there was some dead weight on this season as well. Guys like Jason Thacker come to mind. But the bottom of the barrel wasn't nearly enough to knock season 1 off it's perch at the top.


2.) Season 2

Won/Loss: 55-53 (.509)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 17

The Standout(s): Rashad Evans (won Light Heavyweight Title), Melvin Guillard, Joe Stephenson (challenged for Lightweight Title)

The Depth Luke Cummo, Josh Burkman, Marcus Davis, Jorge Gurgel, Keith Jardine

The Overview: Not the sheer number of wins or big names as Season 1, but every single fighter from Season 2 fought in the UFC after the Finale. That includes both Josh Burkman and the fighter who replaced him when he got injured on the show, Jason Von Flue. Season 2 was so long ago, however, that all five of the guys providing "depth" to the UFC roster has since been let go by the promotion. Rashad and Melvin Guillard are really the only two relevant fighters left from the season, but the fact that Season 2 has one former champion and one former title challenger put it above the rest in terms of accomplishment.



3.) Season 5

Won/Loss: 41-25-1 (.621)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 9

The Standout(s): Gray Mayard (challenged for the Lightweight Title twice), Nate Diaz

The Depth: Matt Wiman, Joe Lauzon, Rob Emberson, Manny Gamburyan (challenged for WEC Featherweight Title), Cole Miller

The Overview: The last great season of TUF. There's a big gulf between numbers 3 and 4 on this list. Season 5 was full of winners. Only a little over half of the fighters (9 of 16) secured another fight in the UFC after the Finale, but the ones who did are quality fighters. Lightweight is now universally regarded as the best and deepest division in MMA, and this season is a good illustration why. Season 5 alone has produced four of the top-25 lightweights in the world. While most season's "depth" consists of guys who simply stuck around for a while and plugged away at a near-.500 clip, these guys won. Matt Wiman: 7-3. Joe Lauzon: 6-3. Cole Miller: 6-3. Those are fantastic records for fighters who were rarely the beneficiary of favorable match-making.



4.) Season 4

Won/Loss: 26-31 (.456)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 12

The Standout(s): Matt Serra (won Welterweight Title), Chris Lytle

The Depth: Jorge Rivera, Rich Clementi, Patrick Cote (challenged for Middleweight Title), Din Thomas

The Overview: If you'd asked me where I thought Season 4: The Comeback would rank before I did the research, I would've guessed somewhere towards the bottom of the list. I was wrong. Like, really wrong. Not that the season produced a number of great fighters. It didn't. But it did produce one Champion (granted the winning fighters from this season were awarded with an undeserved guaranteed title shot, but Matt Serra did have to go through GSP to win his title), and it produced another who challenged for one, and he actually earned that title shot down the line, not from winning the season. It also produced Rich Clementi, perhaps the most under appreciated TUF alum of all time. The aptly nicknamed "No Love" (as in, "he gets no love") went 5-3 in his post-TUF 4 UFC tenure including decision wins over Sam Stout and Terry Etim and submission victories over Melvin Guillard and Anthony Johnson. He was unceremoniously bounced from the promotion following back-to-back losses to Gray Maynard and Gleison Tibau, themselves rock-solid lightweights, and hasn't been back since. I still think Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter could've more appropriately been titled "The Rejects," but it ranks this highly more so due to the steep drop off of TUF accomplishments of every season after it. It gets ugly from here.



5.) Season 3

Won/Loss 32-30 (.516)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 12

The Standout(s): Michael Bisping

The Depth: Kendall Grove, Ed Herman, Matt Hamill

The Overview: Season 3 has tallied six more wins over the last few years as Season 4, but it lacks the high-level accomplishments of Matt Serra's shocking upset of Georges St. Pierre or Patrick Cote challenging Anderson Silva. Bisping has returned to host the show twice, including this past season, but a title shot has eluded him so far. Matt Hamill announced his retirement after his most recent loss to Alexander Gustafsson and Kendall Grove has since been cut and was last seen fighting in Hawaii for Pro Elite, leaving Ed Herman and Bisping as the only fighters from Season 3 on the active roster. Still, all the wins and the fact this season remains above .500 keeps it above the rest.



6.) Season 10

Won/Loss: 13-8 (.619)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 6

The Standout(s): Brendan Schaub, Matt Mitrione

The Depth: Jon Madsen, Roy Nelson

The Overview: Who would've thunk we'd see "The Heavyweights" this high after they produced probably the worst season of fights in the show's history? Well just like the UFC's heavyweight division is judged using a different scale than the other weight classes, so is the season of The Ultimate Fighter to feature the big boys. Only a couple of years have passed since Season 10 happened, so they haven't had much time to put together a resume, but when they've fought, they've won at a pretty good clip. Both Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione sport 4-1 records since the Finale, and the season's winner, Roy Nelson, has gone 2-2 against top-flight competition. Jon Madsen is still a work in progress as a fighter, but he has the wrestling base to compete in the athletically-challenged heavyweight division.



7.) Season 8

Won/Loss: 23-25 (.479)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 13

The Standout(s): Ryan Bader

The Depth: Efrain Escudero, Kyle Kingsbury, George Roop, Tom Lawlor, Eliot Marshal, Krzysztof Soszynski

The Overview: Season 8 had an impressive number of fighters earn multiple fights within the UFC, but what's holding it back in comparison to the season's listed before it is the sub-.500 record. It doesn't help that five of those thirteen combined to go 0-7 before being given their pink slips. Ryan Bader is the best of the bunch, but we already know his ceiling lies somewhere far south of the head of his division (Jon Jones). Kyle Kingsbury, George Roop, and Tom Lawlor all have the tools to potentially make some noise in their respective divisions with another couple of years of seasoning.



8.) Season 7

Won/Loss: 24-22 (.521)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 10

The Standout(s): None

The Depth: C.B. Dollaway, Matt Riddle, Tim Creduer, Amir Sadollah, Matt Brown

The Overview: Not much to get excited about with Season 7. The collective group is about as close to .500 as you can get, and there's not a standout fighter in the bunch. Season winner Amir Sadollah would be the closest thing but he's only 4-3 against favorable opposition. A respectable five fighters from this season are still collecting UFC paychecks, but none are close to being contenders within their respective divisions.



9.) Season 11

Won/Loss: 12-8 (.600)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 8

The Standout(s): None

The Depth: Kyle Noke, Rich Attonito, Brad Tavares, Court McGee, Nick Ring, Seth Baczynski, Chris Camozzi

The Overview: At 12-8, Season 11 actually has one of the better winning percentages of any TUF season. Unfortunately they just haven't accumulated enough fights to really make a mark. Add to that the fact that only Court McGee looks to have any chance of ever cracking a top-10 and you start to see why this season ranks towards the bottom. And let's be honest: you won't be the least bit surprised if any of the fighters listed in the "depth" portion aren't collecting a UFC paycheck a year from now.



10.) Season 6

Won/Loss: 12-16 (.429)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 8

The Standout(s): George Sotiropoulos

The Depth: Mac Danzig, Ben Saunders

The Overview: Now we're getting into the real dregs of TUF's existence. Sotiropoulos is the only thing keeping this season from a spot in the cellar, and even he's been exposed as a bit overrated in his last couple fights. Of the "depth" this season provided, Ben Saunders now fights for Bellator, and Mac Danzig (the season's winner) seems to be firmly on the cut line every time he fights. Those three fighters actually combined for all 12 of the season's wins. That's tied for the fewest number of fighters to record a W inside the Octagon post-Finale, despite this being one of the earlier seasons of the show. Yeesh.



11.) Season 9

Won/Loss: 11-13 (.458)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 6

The Standout(s): None

The Depth: Damarques Johnson, Ross Pearson, Andre Winner, Nick Osipczak

The Overview: This season was never going to be known for its collection of talent. It's purpose was to be a vehicle to expand MMA's popularity in the UK with the U.S. vs. U.K. gimmick. DaMarques Johnson and Ross Pearson typically put on exciting fights, but both seem to be stuck in neutral within their divisions.



12.) Season 13

Won/Loss: 3-6 (.333)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 6

The Standout(s): None

The Depth: Tony Ferguson, Ramsey Nijem

The Overview: Seasons 12 and 13 likely would've occupied the last two spots almost by default, simply due to the fighters having had almost no time to build up a resume, but they actually have gone out of their way to hold this distinction. Season 13 has compiled twice as many losses as wins, and the only thing keeping it out of the bottom spot is my belief that Tony Ferguson is the best fighter on either season.



13.) Season 12

Won/Loss: 3-8 (.272)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 6

The Standout(s): Not even close

The Depth: Jonathon Brookins, Alex Caceres, Cody McKenzie, Nam Phan

The Overview: Tied for the least wins, the worst winning percentage, tied for the least number of fighters to fight post-Finale, no standouts, no hope for any of the fighters to make noise in their division. Congrats Season 12, you've separated yourself as the worst incarnation of The Ultimate Fighter.

Taken from MMA Torch
tcunningham
12/2/11 6:39:58PM
interesting. as far as i can tell, and ive thought this since something like season 3, TUF doesnt seem to have the talent or something since the early seasons. the first season was my favorite and has held the standard ever since. i gotta say that i have been disappointed in most all of the seasons after. however, no matter how bad they get, it will still beat most of the shit thats on TV the rest of the time.
Budgellism
12/2/11 6:42:46PM

12.) Season 13

Won/Loss: 3-6 (.333)

Number of Fighters to Fight in the UFC post-Finale: 6

The Standout(s): None

The Depth: Tony Ferguson, Ramsey Nijem

The Overview: Seasons 12 and 13 likely would've occupied the last two spots almost by default, simply due to the fighters having had almost no time to build up a resume, but they actually have gone out of their way to hold this distinction. Season 13 has compiled twice as many losses as wins, and the only thing keeping it out of the bottom spot is my belief that Tony Ferguson is the best fighter on either season.



Hands down the worst season of TUF ever. Thank god this last season was so awesome. If I saw another disappointing TUF season I would be done with it.
Pskinner_mma314
12/3/11 5:01:36AM
To be completely honest...and this is just my opinion, there very first few seasons of TUF, these guys were fighting basically for their livelyhood, not that they aren't now but here's my point.....the first TUF with Forrest and Diego winning was back in '05 I believe....some of these fighters on TUF now weren't even fighting yet. And throughout a this, alot of the fighters coming on to the show, realize that they don't have to win the tournament to fight in the UFC, which was why it was started in the first place, so maybe just maybe, they play it safe and just make sure they make a good impression. Now I will take any flak I get for saying that with respect because I know it is kind of outlandish, but I take that into consideration. Many fighters have not performed well on TUF and gone on to quite a few paychecks in the UFC.

I honestly think if they were to tell these guys in the next few seasons "If you don't win...you're gone." I thinks we would see a whole lote better of competition and fights.

Once again I'm not bashing any of the fighters that made it through without winning the season, I simply stating the possibility of them not going balls out because other fighters have gotten a contract without winning the tournament, most damn well deserving (ala Florian, Leben, Kos, Bonnar, Schaub, Mitrione, Guillard, etc.).

Just something I thought about when I read this
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