10 UFC Stars Who Was Painfully Close To The Champion Throne!

While others have made a name for themselves with a UFC champion title, some have come painfully close to the heaven gate but let is slipped away at the end. Here are the stories of these 10 UFC stars who almost had it all! 

10 UFC Stars

Chael Sonnen

After trash-talking himself for a middleweight title shot, not many people believe that Sonnen had a chance to win against Anderson Silva. However, he surprised us all with a great performance. Sonnen had given the legend fighter a hard time during their clash. 

Furthermore, he also showed some impressive moves up until the final round. When he took Silva down and choked him on the mat, his rival took the chance to fight back. Anderson Silva caught him in a triangle lock and forced Sonnen to tap out with an armbar. What a bitter loss! 

Chael Sonnen
Getty Images

Yoel Romero

Another name on our chosen UFC stars is Yoel Romero. Back in 2018, he suddenly received a shot for the interim middleweight title fight with Luke Rockhold. If you remembered, this happened due to Robert Whittaker’s pulling out because of his injury. This was a golden chance for Romero, and he proved his worth with a win over Rockhold. During their clash, he left no room for his rival when flooring him with an overhand right. After that, he landed another blow and put his opponent to sleep. Despite it all, the Cuban star didn’t bring home the title that night. The night before this match, he has been deemed ineligible for the champion throne as he weighed in 2.7lbs more than the 185lb fight.

Yoel Romero
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dominick Reyes

Many people have thought Ryes would fall under the hand of Jon Jones at the UFC 247. However, after a bad performance against Thiago Santos, people think that there is a chance the thriving ‘Devastator’ could pull off a historic upset. Before the match, Reyes was fairly confident that he could ‘get the job done’. He went all out and forced Jones to fight at his pace during the first three rounds of their clash. At once point, he had managed to knock his opponent off-balance. Despite falling behind, he picked up in the championship round and gained momentum. This is where Reyes has begun to wane. In the end, the judges have decided to give the winning points to Jones. The decision has started a heated debate during these days, with many claimed that Reyes should have been the winner. 

Dominick Reyes

Alexander Gustafsson

Gustafsson received his title fight against Jones at the UFC 165. The underdog wasn’t in anyone’s favour, as ‘Bones’ has already established himself as an indestructible fighter. Surprisingly, ‘The Mauler’ had delivered a great fight that night when he backed Jones up with many amazing punches and move. He even gave his rival a cut near his eye in the beginning round and managed a takedown. The next rounds between these two were filled with blow-for-blow moves. At this time, his fans have started to believe Gustafsson can pull off an all-time great upset. However, Jones began to catch up and put Gustafsson in his place in the fourth round, then scored a unanimous decision victory.

Alexander Gustafsson

Pedro Rizzo

If you remembered, Rizzo was a notable heavyweight fighter in the late 90s. Additionally, he has fought for the title on three different occasions. The one time he had come crazily close to winning was the match with Randy Couture at UFC 31 in 2001. It started badly for the Brazilian fighter when he was being mauled by The Natural’ within five minutes. Rizzo then made a quick recovery and successfully landed his famous hard leg kick in the second round. Furthermore, he also left a lasting dent in Couture’s leg with this heavy blows. He came closed to winning in the third, but Couture returned in the fourth one. In the end, the judges claimed that Couture was the winner by unanimous decision in 2001’s ‘Fight Of The Year’. 

Pedro Rizzo

Gray Maynard

Not many people were happy when Maynard received a title shot match with Frankie Edgar in 2011. While Edgar was the lightweight champion, Maynard was infamous for grinding out decision victories. However, with his undefeated 12-fight career record, there were no complaints. The match was a classic fight where Maynard almost ended Edgar’s lengthy win streak in just the first round. On the other hand, Edgar braved on and managed to find his pace. With such competitiveness from both sides, the clash finally ended with a split draw decision. A rematch was set quickly after this, where Maynard once again pulled his rival in the early rounds. Nevertheless, Edgar was the final winner with a TKO stoppage.

Gray Maynard

Stephen Thompson

Without a doubt, Thompson’s journey to the welterweight title was really memorable. He had scored a seven-win streak, including KO and TKO over big names like Robert Whittaker, Jake Ellenberger and Johny Hendricks. His next bout with Tyron Woodley, however, wasn’t as exciting as his previous clash. Instead, it was filled with tactical moves from both sides. They both were wary of each other’s famous deadly strikes. It came down to the fourth round when Woodley caught Thompson in trouble. The judges had a hard time deciding who is the winner and finally declared it a draw. This meant Woodley still retained his title. A rematch for them took place in 2017, with the victory went to Woodley once again. 

(Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Shane Carwin

After gaining the interim heavyweight title, Shane Carwin took on the blockbuster title match with Brock Lesnar at UFC 116. During the fight, Carwin started with the upper hand when he managed to floor his opponent. He continued his advance with blow after blows. While one referee seemed like he might end the assault, he didn’t. Nevertheless, Lesnar finally made it out. Surprisingly, he gained momentum in the second one with Carwin running out of strength. Lesnar finally finished the fight when he submitted Carwin. 

Shane Carwin

Gilbert Melendez

Many have wondered what would happen if you put two champions from different promotions in the cage, and this bout had finally happened in 2013. This time, Gilbert Melendez (Strikeforce lightweight champion) went into war with Ben Henderson (former WEC and current UFC lightweight champion). The match started with Henderson going for a cautious approach, while his rival tried to make a fight out of it. In the end, the judges’ scorecard favoured Henderson more, giving him a split decision victory. Many would argue that Melendez deserved the victory more with his performance in the night. 

Gilbert Melendez

Carlos Condit

The final name of our UFC stars list is Carlos Condit. While he indeed has bagged the interim welterweight title under his belt, Condit still fell behind as he was crowned an undisputed champion. His first title shot was at UFC 154 with Georges St-Pierre at. He did show a great performance that night, almost knocking off the champion with a head kick. However, he eventually lost by unanimous decision. Three years later at UFC 195, he had another shot for the belt against Robbie Lawler. It was a good fight. On one side, we have Condit with his high-output striking, fighting against Lawler’s deadly knockout moves. It ended in the second round with a ferocious onslaught. The judges finally gave the victory to Lawler. 

Carlos Condit
USA TODAY Sports

10 UFC Stars Who Was Painfully Close To The Champion Throne!

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