Top 20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time (MMA Records)


This is because, ideally, when we think of the UFC, the most significant and challenging stage of mixed martial arts bouts, what comes to mind are the brutal gladiators who, despite all odds, defeat even the most invincible of title challengers and opponents.

As a result, top UFC fighters and champions like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Israel Adesanya, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Francis Ngannou, Kamari Usman, and many more sit atop the apex fighting promotion.

These stars are the poster fighters that point to the profound competitiveness and ultimate enduring success brought about by talents and physical exertion in the fighting promotion.

However, we may not think about the fighters who stand in direct contrast to the above-shortlisted names.

These fighters, who may boast glittering careers in other combative sports, struggled fascinatingly, resulting in a career that lived far below expectations.

We travel through about three decades of the existence of the UFC to bring you the 20 worst of all time.

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time

20. James Toney

James Toney

Nickname: Lights Out, The Dark Emperor

Division: Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight

Fighting record: 0-1-0

If we learned anything from the great boxing and disappointing MMA career of boxing legend Art Jimmerson, it would be the indisputable fact that the best boxers do not necessarily excel in MMA.

That may seem sound, as boxing is one rudiment of MMA action that exists in the arsenal of techniques of all MMA fighters.

But time and time again, history has upheld this fact. And in the case of James Toney, who had a glittering career, it is no different.

Toney excelled well in boxing, emerging champion in three different weight divisions. His venture into MMA action lasted for a single bout.

In his debut, he faced former UFC Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture in what was described as a freak show match.

For a star of his caliber, Toney suffered an early first-round defeat as he submitted to Couture’s arm-triangle choke technique.

19. Rolles Gracie Jr.

Rolles Gracie Jr. sitting
@rollesgracie/ Instagram

Division: Heavyweight

Fighting record: 8-4-0

The fiasco that led to Rolles Gracie Jr.’s inclusion in this list is quite astonishing. In fact, those familiar with MMA action would be jolted with keen interest to see a Gracie on our list.

If you are, you aren’t alone. Rolles Gracie Jr. is the son of Rolls Gracie, who is credited with discovering Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is a prominent member of the eminent Gracie family.

Rolls Gracie is esteemed as the best fighter in the renowned Gracie family, boasting so much influence and success in the MMA world.

When Rolles Gracie Jr. stepped into the UFC Octagon, he was under enormous pressure to honour his family’s heritage. However, the fighter, who has just competed in three bouts, all of which he won before venturing into the UFC, had a disappointing performance.

In February 2010, he faced Joey Beltran, and though he started brilliantly, he soon became exhausted.

The takedowns he mounted on Beltrán were ineffective, providing an Avenue for Beltrán to pounce on him and deliver successive effective blows that Gracie could not defend.

The disappointment of the defeat was further compounded when his cousin, Renzo Gracie, referred to his performance as disappointing.

18. Josh Hendricks

Josh Hendricks cap
Josh Hendricks/ Tapology

Nickname: Heavy

Division: Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 19-11

The circumstances that led to Hendricks’ inclusion in our list can be described as peculiar.

Hendricks never suffered a much-publicized humiliating defeat, was embroiled in a drug brouhaha, or disappointed his family legacy. He just could not keep up with the ante of UFC fights, and it is quite disappointing that he didn’t figure that out during his televised defeats.

Hendricks is not the only star who has suffered defeat in a UFC debut bout, but the events surrounding his defeat, though not exceedingly disappointing, made the bout his last UFC fight.

In 61 seconds, Josh “Heavy” Hendricks succumbed to the powerful knockout of Brazil’s MMA star, Gabriel Gonzaga, at UFC 91.

The win, the fastest in Gonzaga’s career, saw Hendricks develop weird and repulsive bumps that left fans in shock and displeasure and rattled UFC management.

Developing such a bump after suffering a knockout defeat screams not UFC material, and thus Hendricks was released from the promotion.

17. Sherman Pendergrast

Sherman Pendergrast weigh in
Sherman Pendergrast/

Nickname: The Tank

Division: Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight

Fighting record: 11-18

One look at Sherman Pendergarst’s fighting record, and you probably would have deduced why The Tank ranks in our pestiferous list. We can scour through the 30 bouts he fought during his MMA career and pin his inclusion mainly on one of those defeats he suffered, but none measure up to the events of UFC 65.

At UFC 65, Sherman Pendergarst faced Antoni Hardonk, but what stunned everyone and kept that bout imprinted on our minds is one staggering development.

With a single leg kick, Sherman Pendergarst was knocked out cold. If this happened in a street brawl, that might be unsurprising, but for an MMA fighter with years of experience, that was shocking.

To this day, Sherman Pendergarst remains the only UFC fighter to have lost a fight by a single leg kick. Subsequently, his contract was released by the UFC brass.

16. Kit Cope

Kit Cope
Kit Cope/

Nickname: Cobra, Doctor, Havoc, The Prophecy, Part-Time Lover

Division: Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight

Fighting record: 6-7

Kit Cope’s MMA prowess may be doubted by many, but his bad-boy persona and charming ways have earned him lots of fan love.

It has also unsurprisingly gotten him with one of MMA’s sexiest, most beautiful women, Gina Carson, and he is not discreet about it. 1

But in the agonizing world of MMA action, charm is the least formidable quality, abs as such, Kit Cope has had a somewhat unimpressive MMA career.

However, Kit Cope made our list due to his fiasco in his only UFC bout. In the bout where he faced The Ultimate Fighter 1 finalist, Kenny Florian, the stylish bad boy succumbed to a rear-naked choke defeat.

But aside from suffering defeats, Kit Cope also thought that steroids would level the playing field since his natural abilities were grossly limited compared to his contemporaries.

Once news of his positive test for steroids got out, the final nail in the coffin of his failed MMA career was knocked in, thus establishing his UFC and MMA career as one of the worst in history.

15. Sean Gannon

Sean Gannon
@seanthecannongannon/ Instagram

Nickname: The Cannon

Division: Heavyweight

Fighting record: 0-1

Sean Gallon owes his inclusion on this list to the quirky decision of UFC brass, who thought street fighting talents could match the professionalism of the UFC.

As the story goes, late UFC fighter Kimbo Slice picked up lots of YouTube web activity over his bare-knuckle street brawling in Miami. And if you ever witnessed Kimbo in action, taking him down was no easy feat.

One man happened to do this, whether by a stroke of luck or due to his fine talents, Sean Gallon did it. The hype was great, as many saw a future in MMA for Gannon. But words of the streets do not necessarily have to be acted upon.

Unfortunately, UFC talent scouts picked up Gannon and offered the former Boston police officer a UFC deal. He was set to face UFC veteran Branden Lee Hinkle in a heavyweight UFC bout.

But the experience and prowess of Hinkle far outweighed those of Gannon, who suffered a heartbreaking defeat as Hinkle was in full beast rage mode.

The bout ended in a TKO in favour of Gannon, and Gannon’s career ended just as it began. The UFC thus came to their senses and later went on to sign Slice, and the rest they say is history.

14. Aaron Brinks

aaron brink
Aaron Brink/ MMA Junkie

Nickname: Dick Delaware, The Frijolero

Division: Light Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 29-26

We know what you are thinking. Dick Delaware? Why is the King of Midnight, Dark Corner, Dirty Rumpus, and Fantasy Canoodling on our list?

Well, if you did not know, before Brinks set out to dominate the porn game and reignite his interest in navigating the terrain of narcotics logistics, he had a brief stint in the UFC.

His lone UFC bout, his debut fight, against Andrei Arlovski, ultimately landed him on our list.

At UFC 28, in the debut fight between Andrei Arlovski and Aaron Brinks, both fighters tussled it out, but Andrei Arlovski took advantage of the octagon fence and defeated Brinks.

His loss led to his release from the UFC, and with a successive loss to Rich Franklin in the IFC to MMA newcomer Rich Franklin, his career was dealt a fatal blow.

Brinks was thus relegated to fighting in smaller promotions before he began taking on other auxiliary roles in questionable industries.

13. Chris Condo

Chris Condo

Division: Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 0-1

Ever come across those fighters in the MMA whose appearance in the MMA scene happened overnight, with little or no trace to their rise to the UFC?

Well, Chris Condo is one of these fighters. While we may not know so much about Condo, we can deduce that Condo was never a UFC match risk, and whoever put him up to compete in the UFC did him a great disservice. Not everyone is meant for Octagon’s insane antics.

That became obvious for all to see at UFC 20 when he faced Ron Waterman. That bout ranks as the easiest Waterman ever fought, as he defeated Chris Conso in 28 seconds via Technical Knockout.

The humiliation of that loss left Condo released from the UFC, but rather than continuing in smaller promotions; Condo disappeared from MMA action as easily as he appeared.

12. Yoji Anjo

Yoji Anjo

Nickname: Mr. 200%

Division: Light Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 0-5

The tale of Yoji Anjo’s career couldn’t even be summed up as another blight on UFC talent scouts.

But when you consider how Yoji Anto’s counterpart, who was scouted in a similar fashion as him, excelled, you begin to wonder what went wrong.

Ahead of the Ultimate Fighter Japan 1, a four-man tournament, two wrestlers from the Kingdom Pro Wrestling League were selected to compete.

Though this was to serve as a publicity stunt for Kingdom Pro Wrestling League, the tournament worked out as intended.

The fighters selected from the wrestling promotion were Kazushi Sakuraba and Yoji Anjo.

Kazushi Sakuraba won the tournament, and this kickstarted a glamorous MMA career. However, Yoji Anjo’s career took a constricting turn under Kazushi Sakuraba.

He first lost to Tank Abbott in a 15-minute bout and was included in two UFC cards for Japanese fighters. At UFC 25: Ultimate Japan 3, Anjo was defeated by a chokehold to Murilo Bustamante. In UFC 29, he suffered another defeat via Technical Knockout to Matt Lindland.

These flurry of defeats saw him end his MMA career in a disappointing form.

11. Greg “Ranger” Stott

Greg Stott

Division: Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 0-1

If we ever had a misconception about the true meaning of heavyweight, Greg “Ranger” Stott’s stint in the UFC quickly cleared our thoughts.

Despite being 240 pounds and, to the human eye, fit for MMA action, Greg “Ranger” Stott’s UFC career lasted 17 seconds, probably the shortest in history.

Greg Astor was no stranger to combat; he was an Army Ranger, and in his UFC bout with the notorious heavyweight fighter Matt Kerr, he brought all his arsenal techniques to the Octagon.

At UFC 15, Stot wasted no time in proving to fans just how inexperienced and incapable he was of fighting on the UFC stage with a series of ineffective punches.

When Kerr had had enough, he delivered a death-striking knee strike reminiscent of Alistair Overeem’s signature strike to send Stot into a slumber in the deep, smoky darkness of unconsciousness.

Fans were dissatisfied not by Stot’s performance but by Kerr’s decision to end his suffering quickly.

10. Tony Halme

Tony Halme

Nickname: The Viking, Finland Hellraiser Thor

Division: Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 1-4

A late distinguished member of the Finnish Parliament, Tony Halme, had a versatile career.

From boxing, politics, and wrestling to MMA, Halme had a thirst for it all. But his performance in the UFC makes us wonder just what inspired the decision from UFC brass to sign Halme to the promotions.

From what we know, only the best make it to the UFC, and before he got into the UFC, Halme had a 0-3 MMA record.

But where his ultimate misfit for MMA action became so obvious was in the UFC 13 four-person heavyweight tournament. In the tournament, Halme locked horns with Randy Couture, a UFC freshman.

Halme began the bout in a very unimpressive manner before Couture finished the bout with a child in 56 seconds. That marked the end of his MMA career and possibly the beginning of a dark period in his life, ultimately leading to his death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

9. Reza Nasri

Reza Nasri

Division: Light Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 0-1

A little-known fact about the UFC is that every fighter who steps into the Octagon carries the weight of his nationality’s pedigree.

And as such, success translates to increased popularity back home. If you ever question this fact, consider the intense fan love for African UFC Champions Israel Adesanya, Kamari Usman, and Francis Ngannou currently enjoy not only in their home countries but in the whole of Africa.

Reza Nasri’s flop on the most prominent MMA stage relegated Iranians to a bit too many fancy spots in MMA.

Reza Nasri was one of the contenders in the eight-man contest in UFC 11 and was paired to face Brian Johnson. However, Nasri’s background as a Greco-Roman wrestler did him a massive disservice, as his strikes proved ineffective by MMA standards.

It became even more clear how ill-prepared Nasri was for the bouts once Johnson had him on his back and began pouncing with hard headbutts. That and a rain of punches did the job of finishing Nasri Reza’s UFC career.

8. Moti Horenstein

Moti Horenstein

Nickname: The Hammer

Division: Light Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 1-6

Before the Israeli debut in the UFC, Moti Horenstein had a background similar to that of most UFC fighters.

Moti Horenstein was well-versed in the rudiments of MMA, such as kickboxing, karate, and Krav Maga. Add to his lacklustre performances and his ill luck in being paired with some of the most vicious stars in the UFC, and you get a clear glimpse of how his career turned out.

His first UFC bout was against Mark Coleman, a former NCAA 1 Wrestling Champion. Perhaps Coleman came to see just how effective he was with his signature ground-and-pound technique when he defeated Horenstein in under three minutes.

Some might say a decent performance from Horenstein, but his next bout eliminates any thoughts of him continuing in the UFC.

His next bout was against Mark Kerr, a former NCAA 1 Champion who was bulkier, younger, and less merciful than Coleman.

Bleacher Report’s summary of the bout as the “worst case of a Jew being led to slaughter since Jesus” is a perfect summary of how things went down. 2

Sadly, after his successive defeats at the hands of two Champion wrestlers, Horenstein never returned to the MMA scene and has bagged the title of the “Most Dicked Over Fighter in UFC History.”

7. Paul Herrera

Paul Herrera

Nickname: The Hitman

Division: Middleweight

Fighting Record: 1-1

Perhaps a nickname change would have been necessary if he had continued his MMA career after the devastating loss in his UFC debut.

In the history of sports and make-believe fun, a hitman has never received the most deadly blow to force him into a vegetative state, as Herrera did at UFC 8.

The bout, dubbed David vs. Goliath, with Herrera essentially being David, is a perfect mockery of the biblical story that has come to define underdogs.

Herrera was not just there for the bout. Before his UFC debut, Paul Herrera had fought in a single MMA bout in Hitman Fighting Productions 2, where he defeated Joe Moreira.

His next bout at UFC 8 was against Gary Goodridge, and Herrera started out comfortable by shooting for Goodridge’s legs, hoping to grapple his way to victory.

Goodridge, however, trapped Herrera’s hands with his legs and left hands, thus exposing Herrera’s chest and face to a torrent of deadly blows that knocked him out. In 23 seconds, Herrera’s career was over.

6. John Matua

Division: Super Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 1-4

In those early years of UFC fighting, one thing the likes of Jon Mutua, heavy and intimidating, revealed to a fan was an essential ethos that we have never forgotten.

Heavy, tall, and large do not always translate to good fighting skills. Everyone has to prove himself in the Octagon. Before the memorable events of UFC 6, fans would have favoured Mutua to emerge victorious. You may wonder why, despite his unimpressive record.

To be fair, both stars of the bout had pretty disappointing records, and thus the scales were balanced in that regard.

However, it soon became obvious Mutua couldn’t fight in the Octagon, even if it were for his life when he repeatedly stumbled with each of David Abbot’s punches before he finally succumbed to Abbot’s steady punches to his head.

In all, it was an exciting time for fans who witnessed such brutality but a painful experience for Mutua.

5. Jon Hess

Nickname: The Giant with Attitude

Division: Super Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 1-1

For those familiar with Jon Hess, it may come as a surprise that he made our list and sits among the top 5 spots.

Well, you need not wonder for too long. Despite boasting of a good pedigree in MMA (not theoretical, though) and co-founding the Scientifically Aggressive Fighting Technology of America, or S.A.F.T.AHess, it was not as good as he thought.

After standing on the sidelines and watching UFC action for a while, Hess felt it was a good idea for him to try out UFC action.

As such, he debuted in UFC 5 against Andy Anderson. The bout was marred by inconsistencies and dirty tactics from Hess, such as eye-gouging.

The bout, which is regarded as one of the dirtiest in UFC history, saw Hess emerge the winner after 1:22 seconds of intense fighting. Back then, the UFC publicized itself as a promotion with no rules, but certain techniques were forbidden.

For his flagrant use of forbidden rules, he was heavily fined $2000 and never seen in the UFC. He struggled to find more bouts after his disturbing UFC debut.

He, however, fought Vitor Belfort at SB 2-SuperBrawl 2, who eliminated every thought of him being a great fighter by knocking Hess out in 12 seconds.

4. Joe Son

Division: Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 0-4

The name Joe Son reminds longtime UFC fans of dark times in the promotion’s history. The worst person to ever compete in the UFC, Son was very creepy.

After suffering multiple defeats in his career, he made a distasteful UFC 4 promo where he promised fans to show them the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Whatever that meant, we never got to know. Before that, Son had been involved in the gang rape and kidnapping of a woman on Christmas Eve in 1990, and it took over a decade before he was booked for his crime.

In the fight, he promised to do the impossible; he suffered an embarrassing loss, and he started in an Austin movie, making him more of a star.

After that, he got involved in a felony charge, which required him to part with a DNA sample as part of his plea deal.

That connected him with his earlier crime, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment, but he soon got into trouble in prison when he killed his cellmate. How heinous.

3. Emmanuel Yarborough

Emmanuel Yarborough

Division: Super Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 1-2

No doubt, Emmanuel Yarborough would have been better suited for a sumo wrestling career than MMA.

He ranks as an epic instance of how weighing with no martial arts skill is a huge disservice to fighters.

The deceased fighter, who held the Guinness World Record for being the heaviest athlete, wound up in the UFC thanks to a pick-up win in a Shooto fight four years before he made his UFC debut.

In UFC 3, the American Dream, Emmanuel Yarborough faced Keith Hackney, who kicked things off with a Hail Mary palm strike.

Yarborough, however, struck back with a gravitational pull around the mat. These two antics helped neither fighter and as soon as the bout re-started due to the Octagon gate failure, things became interesting.

Keith Hackney made sure to stumble over the heavy fighter and begin a torrent of blows to emerge the winner.

2. Fred Ettish

Fred Ettish

Division: Middleweight

Fighting Record: 1-1

In retrospect, Fred Ettish was oblivious to the rigours of MMA and wanted to try out the sport on a big stage. Could he not have started in other lesser-known promotions, you may wonder?

Those were the early years of the UFC, and its status as the grand promotion in MMA was a title it was vying for back then.

With a background in Kenpo karate, Fred Etish felt MMA could be not too different from the sports he so relished. As such, he wrote a letter to UFC executive Art David, requesting a spot on the UFC 2 roster.

It happened that Ken Shamrock broke his hand, and Etish was called in as a standby alternate.

Being an alternate, Ettish was meant to be reserved backstage, only to be called in when another fighter got out of action.

But sadly for him, he was called to the arena and faced Johnny Rhodes, who had no stomach for a half-baked fighter.

When Ettish moved in with front kicks that were grossly ineffective, Rhodes knew he had an opponent who was no match for him. Employing improvised chokehold techniques, Rhodes finished off Fetish, ending his UFC career.

1. Art Jimmerson

Art Jimmerson

Division: Light Heavyweight

Fighting Record: 0-1

Art Jimmerson’s MMA career was in total contrast with his boxing career, and he had a laughable MMA debut bout, mainly as a result of his one-gloved gimmick against no other than Royce Gracie, yes, of the great MMA Gracie dynasty.

But back then, aside from his family legacy and few victories in the UFC, Royce Gracie wasn’t feared. But his destruction of Jimmerson made him feared and respected.

Whatever stunt Jimmerson planned to pull with the one gloved gimmick, he didn’t get to, as he struggled to land a single punch.

This probably was one of the most straightforward victories for Gracie, who made the Boxing Great tap-out before pulling the fatal technique that usually precedes submission. Fueling the debate on what sport is harder between MMA and Boxing.

The only consolation to Art Jimmerson’s MMA career is that he lost to a legend – but he takes the unwanted crown as the worst.


In the last few decades, MMA in the modern world has developed to a height never seen before in the history of sports.

While we idolize the incredible fighters who have significantly tilted the tides of public favour in support of the sport, we cannot forget the gloomy realities of their contemporaries – the worst UFC fighters.

These fighters have not been fortunate enough to have a glamorous career in MMA, despite having excelled at other combat sports in some cases.

Since the MMA combines all the combat sports disciplines into a single sport, regulated by globally recognized rules, this may appear surprising to fans of the beloved sport.

But rather than surprise, for longtime followers of MMA action, this is one of the profound shreds of evidence of just how diverse, challenging, and exceptionally unique the MMA is in relation to its combat counterparts.

This list further proves that the MMA is not all about physical toughness but a combination of versatility, iron-clad determination, and consistency. Physically is definitely important as MMA has physically altered the bodies of fighters.

References & Notes

Facts Sources:
  1. Kit Cope Says He Has a Sextape With Gina Carson. Web Archive
  2. Most Dicked Over Fighter In UFC History: Moti Horenstein. Bleacher’s Report

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