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  • Cooper Burke

The Worst UFC Fighters of All Time

The UFC has seen many talented fighters come and go from the ranks of the elite. Names such as Georges Saint-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Jon Jones come to mind when one thinks of the stalwarts of the sport. However, the promotion has seen its fair share of poor athletes and so called “cans” roll through the ranks. Even in modern times, there have been some truly poor athletes that have competed under the UFC banner.

John Alessio

John Alessio has the dubious distinction of being the only fighter in promotional history to go 0-5. It is mind boggling to think that the Canadian fought for a welterweight title in his first UFC appearance, as Pat Militech defeated Allessio by second-round submission. Alessio would bounce between the regional circuit and the UFC, following this up with a loss to MMA journeyman Diego Sanchez, and losses to Thiago Alves, Mark Bocek, and Shane Roller to end his stint with the UFC. His career outside of the UFC did not go well either, as he collected a 1-1 record in Bellator and a 5-2 record in the WEC. No fighter has failed to win a UFC fight while losing so many, so Alessio’s career likely goes down as the worst in the history of the promotion.

Emmanuel Yarbrough

The early days of the UFC featured some freakish athletes, as promoters were trying to devise a tournament-style format to determine the best martial art. The tournament did not feature weight classes, and so fighters of all shapes and sizes participated. None were as large as Emmanuel Yarbrough, former division II offensive lineman. He was the Guinness World Record holder for largest living athlete at the time, when he weighed in at 6 foot 8 and 704 pounds. Yarborough was Sumo world champion, but his success in Japan did not translate to the UFC Octagon. He had one fight in the UFC at UFC 3, against 400-pound taekwondo athlete Keith Hackney. Hackney knocked him down with a palm strike, and Yarbrough would push him through the cage door in a display of brute strength. When the fight was restarted, Hackney landed a flurry of punches to the top and back of the head, thus ending Yarbrough’s infamous tenure in the UFC.

Gabe Ruediger

Gabe Ruediger has one of the more interesting stories of any UFC tenure. Ruediger made his appearance on the Ultimate Fighter, a reality show that featured a tournament-style event spread out over a season. Before his first bout, Ruediger ate ice cream cake on the day of weigh-ins, normally a time when fighters would buckle in and focus on dropping excess food weight. As a last resort, he went into the sauna to lose what water weight he could and was filmed crying the entire time. Consequently, he missed weight and was cut from the show. However, Ruediger was brought as an injury replacement much later. He promptly lost by body strikes to another mediocre fighter in Melvin Guillard, who posted a career MMA record of 32-22-2. Four years later, Ruediger then lost by first-round submission to Joe Lauzon and by second-round head kick to Paul Taylor. Even though it may not be the worst career in UFC history, it is certainly the most embarrassing.

Mike Jackson

Many UFC fighters have unimpressive tenures, but Mike “The Truth” Jackson coupled his with questionable rhetoric and drug suspensions. He was brought into the UFC as a quasi-fighter, as his only professional fights on record are in the UFC. He came into the promotion with one amateur bout. As such, one can assume he was in the UFC to pad his opponents’ stats. His first fight was against then-prospect Mickey Gall, and Gall dismantled him with a rear-naked choke in 45 seconds. The only reason that the UFC kept him around was to fight WWE crossover CM Punk, who he defeated by decision. However, he tested positive for marijuana and the fight was overturned to a no-contest. Jackson fought UFC debutant Dean Barry, a man with an overall professional record of 4-1 at the time. However, Barry was soundly defeating Jackson, wobbling him multiple times. Barry landed an unintentional groin strike by spinning kick, sending Jackson tumbling to the ground and expressing severe pain in a manner that the commentary team deemed overzealous and acting. The fight continued until Barry pushed off of Jackson, poking him in the eye and ending the fight. Referee Chris Tognoni ruled it intentional, and this was Jackson’s only win as a UFC fighter. His last fight ended as Pete Rodriguez wobbled him with a barrage of strikes then finishing the fight with a flush knee, putting Jackson out and ending his career as a UFC fighter. Jackson has tried to stay relevant by engaging in debates and debauchery online, even going so far as to call people “snow roaches”, but this has proved to be to little avail.

In a sport with fighters like Amanda Nunes, Daniel Cormier, Alexander Volkanovski, and others, these four stand out for all the wrong reasons. When all is said and done for the sport of mixed martial arts, they will be remembered but in a manner that they would have never expected. Here’s to hoping they found their true calling.

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