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The most underrated UFC fighters of all time

Sat 23 October 2021 | 18:30

As time goes by, highly competent UFC fighters are expected to conceivably gain great worldwide recognition and appreciation. But what if they don't win the general mainstream acceptance of the public or better say miss the 'big time'? Here is a list of the most underrated UFC fighters of all time.

Since the arrival of UFC, many World Class fighter has locked horns inside the octagon and has been credited to the best of their abilities as some of them might be

Undefeated UFC fighters

, some might grab top spots in UFC Rankings or even some might be the fans' favourite.

But there are always a group of UFC fighters who have some excessively underrated striking capabilities as they might be deprived of the opportunity to fully showcase them yet.

That is to say, despite being fierce enough, they might be taken overlooked in the serious fans arguments who may remain even unknown to the public. But they are arguably deserved to get the same recognition and praise as their peers and should get it.

On the other side of the coin, we have the

most overrated UFC fighters

, whose legacy resonates with success even more than their virtual performance inside the octagon.

In fact, these most overrated UFC fighters succeeded to have flashy stand-up fights that may score viral finishes and highlight packages and therefore it saw them get a hype that they were not entitled.

Of course, we would reach to the list of Most overrated UFC fighters in another sportmob's article in due time and regard, but here we would specifically delve into

the most underrated UFC fighters of all time.

The full respect of the most underrated UFC fighters of all time

Here we would go over 10 of The most underrated UFC fighters of all time, to find out the reason behind their being underestimated.

Darren Elkins

The American MMA fighter competes in the featherweight category of the UFC while his toughness comeback triumphs are specifically noticeable and the latter one perhaps is the main reason behind his being underestimated.

In a career that has been started in 2007, he managed to grab 26 victories and 9 defeats as he managed to win 3 Performance of the Night awards.

Although he has tied with Max Holloway for most fights in the UFC Featherweight division (22), probably you may not have even heard his name. The same goes with others as he is still very unknown to most of the world, notwithstanding his several win streak across the years.

But the real nub of the matter is that he is assumed to be among the most underrated UFC fighters of all time, because of his style of fighting as he is not that much a flashy fighter who prefers to grind rather than finish.

There is no denying that this style is efficient since he has managed to survive some of the hardest knocks that any fighter could endure inside the octagon, but it may not amuse everyone to watch his fights as fans, and voters are often attracted to finishers.

Clay Guida

The American MMA fighter competes in the Lightweight category of the UFC while it is impossible for you to take your eyes off from him in the fights due to his limitless energy and vigour.

Precisely a saying, with his outstanding fighting style which is categorized with constant moving forwards as well as persistent takedown, scrambling, and pounding away attempts, he has turned out to be one of the most entertaining fighters in UFC history.

Since he became a professional in 2003, he previously fought for various promotions like Strikeforce, the WEC, King of the Cage, and Shooto while he became the inaugural Strikeforce Lightweight Champion as well.

Although with a career record of 36 wins and 21 losses, he has grabbed 6 Fight of the Night Submission of the Night and 3 Submission of the Night awards, along with being included in the UFC Hall of Fame (fight wing, class of 2019) for a fight against Diego Sanchez, he has not yet received the honour that he is utterly deserved of, so he is often dubbed as one of

the most underrated UFC fighters of all time.

Not to mention that he is often recognized as the submission genius in the light of some of his impressive submission wins. Hence, undoubtedly The Carpenter's prowess inside the octagon has been utterly undervalued.

Tyron Woodley

The American MMA fighter and broadcast analyst was a UFC Welterweight Champion who also managed to make four title defence.

When he became professional in 2009, he fought for Strikeforce and after a while, he joined UFC so as to rise to prominence following the clinching of the welterweight title when he knocked Robbie Fowler out.

Since then, he managed to perform successfully every time he entered the octagon unless in his several recent consecutive defeats.

But the real nub of the matter is how he ascended to the top and made a stellar career very early at the start of his profession without any defeats, deserves the utmost praise and appreciation.

At the prime heyday of his career, he succeeded to edge out giants like Darren Till, Stephen Thompson, Robbie Lawler and Demain Maia. To be specific only Georges St-Pierre, Matt Hughes and arguably Kamaru Usman have gained more triumphs in the welterweight division than him.

Although he earned 3 Performance of the Night, 2 Fight of the Night and 1 Knockout of the Night awards, his final four successive defeats became dark shadows of his rich legacy.

As a result, he parted ways with the UFC after this string of losses, yet he is one of the greatest UFC welterweights of all time and must receive due respect if not admiration at least.

Raphael Assuncao

The Brazilian MMA warrior fights in the Bantamweight category of the UFC and is considered to be one of the division best fighters, who is the #11 fighter in the bantamweight category of UFC rankings, as of 26 July 2021.

The illustrious career record of his 27 victories and 8 defeats spans fifteen years, various promotions, and several weight classes. Aside from his victories over Font, Lopez, Moraes, Sterling, Bryan Caraway, and Pedro Munhoz, he also beat T.J. Dillashaw via decision back in 2013.

But unfortunately, he conceded their rematch in 2016 at UFC 200 being defeated by a unanimous decision. Although he won 1 Fight of the Night award against T.J. Dillashaw and 1 Performance of the Night award Matthew Lopez, he is often considered to be among the most underrated UFC fighters of all time.

Perhaps, that is because an overwhelming majority of his victories have been achieved via decision, while he has anchored only three finishes to his name. So this would not be a very exciting résumé for the fans and media who are desperate to enjoy watching finishes.

Moreover, notwithstanding his fighting style, one of the other reasons why he has not gained due recognition and respect is that the bantamweight category is full of the giants like Dominick Cruz, Marlon Moraes and Dillashaw.

Therefore in spite of the fact that that Assunção has shown an awful lot of hard work and talent, vying to make his position better, he has been actually overshadowed by them.

Dominick Cruz

The American MMA fighter competes in the Bantamweight division of UFC while he was the final bantamweight titleholder of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and is the #10 warrior in the UFC bantamweight rankings as of September 27, 2021.

Back in 2010, he succeeded to win the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Championship and managed to make two successful title defence in 2011.

But since he was sidelined by injuries in 2012 he failed to retain the title in 2014, yet on January 17, 2016, he incredibly grabbed triumph over T.J. Dillashaw via a split-decision so as to regain the bantamweight championship again and then defended this title one more time as well.

While many consider his regaining the bantamweight title as the greatest comeback story in MMA history, he is also honoured to be among the

Best MMA fighters in each weight class ever.

As he has toppled down giants like Urijah Faber, Demetrious Johnson and TJ Dillashaw, he has only conceded 3 fights among his 26 fights, earning 3 Fight of the Night and 1 Performance of the Night awards in his glorious career.

While he sustained some injuries and was defeated in two of his three most recent fights, against Cody Garbrandt and Henry Cejudo, he has been underappreciated by some new fans.

Chris Weidman

The American MMA fighter competes in the middleweight category of UFC, while he is also a former UFC Middleweight Champion.

His illustrious career began in 2008, and three years after that, he joined the UFC in 2011 while it take no time for him to establish a glorious career record of 9 wins without any losses.

This is while he succeeded to topple some high-profile giants, most notably Anderson Silva who holds one of the

Best UFC Records of All Time.

That is to say, he beat Silva first in 2013 to win the UFC Middleweight Championship, while Silva was on a 16-fight winning streak inside the UFC and was the reigning champion for about seven years so as to not let him expand his winning streak record.

He also amazingly went on to defend his title against Silva in his next fight, while he made two more title defence against Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort as well, until he was defeated by Luke Rockhold in December 2015.

But notwithstanding his holding the championship belt on 4 occasions and making three successful defence, he has failed to garner the utmost approbation he deserves.

Therefore in as much as he is not that much fortunate in terms of the fans and media support, he will go down as one of

the most underrated UFC fighters of all time

.

While he is the #13 fighter in the UFC middleweight rankings, as of October 4, 2021, his grabbing 3 Fight of the Night, 2 Knockout of the Night, 1 Submission of the Night and 1 Performance of the Night awards, has not brought any changes in his unappreciated status.

Frankie Edgar

The American MMA fighter currently competes in the bantamweight division of UFC, while he also contested in the featherweight category and was challenged for the UFC Featherweight Championship on three occasions.

But most notably he also fought in the lightweight division and amazingly grabbed the lightweight title in his eighth UFC fight with a unanimous-decision victory over BJ Penn in April 2010.

Not to mention that he went on to defend this title against the same opponent after some months while he made his second and third title defence against Gray Maynard during two epic fights.

But, unfortunately, Benson Henderson beat him not once but twice so as to edge him out controversially before his defeat to Jose Aldo, setting a three-fight losing skid in his career record.

However, at the prime heyday of his career, he excelled across divisions against a plethora of giants as the likes of Charles Oliveira, BJ Penn, Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes and Yair Rodriguez.

While he went down as the #8 fighter in the bantamweight category of UFC rankings, he is somehow assumed to be among the

most underrated UFC fighters 2021

.

Perhaps that is because after he was beaten by Jose Aldo who is among

The Greatest MMA Fighters of All Time

, amid the 8 bouts he took part in, half of them were ended up in the defeat.

This is while his grabbing 8 Fight of the Night, 2 Performance of the Night awards, as well as his records of the greatest total fight time in UFC history (7:40:51) along with the most Fight of the Night bonuses in UFC history tieing Nate Diaz, have done nothing to his undervalued status.

Leon Edwards

The British-Jamaican fighter competes in the welterweight division of the UFC, while he is also a former BAMMA Welterweight Champion.

It's embarrassing that many people have not yet reckoned how good Leon Edwards is, to such an extent they assume him to be not a top-level fighter, while he is the #3 warrior in the UFC welterweight rankings.

In his stellar career, he has swept the board, beating some giants like Rafael Dos Anjos who is a former lightweight champion and even fought for the interim welterweight title, as well as Gunnar Nelson, Donald Cerrone and several others.

It goes without saying that he has established one of the fastest knockouts in UFC history while he only conceded two fights via decision in his UFC career, the first one against Cláudio Silva and the second one against Kamaru Usman.

Usman who is the indispensable part of the

UFC Current Champions: Who is the most dominant belt holder?

, asserted himself that he deemed Edwards as his toughest opponent, due to his unbreakable mentality.

Since that defeat, he hasn’t lost a single fight in the UFC while he silently and slowly worked his way up in the welterweight division.

If it was not for the pandemic, he might have potentially fought for the title by now, but unluckily he pulled out of several bouts owing to his testing positive for COVID.

While he has looked absolutely unstoppable, he is ever more creeping to greatness, though he still goes down as one of the most underrated UFC fighters 2021.

Stipe Miocic

The American MMA fighter competes in the heavyweight category of UFC while he is a former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Being widely revered as the greatest UFC heavyweight fighter of all time, he is the #2 fighter in the UFC heavyweight ranking as of May 17, 2021, and has grabbed the eighth spot in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings.

Miocic gained the heavyweight title when he knocked out Fabricio Werdum and went on to make three tittle defence in his first reign by beating world-class heavyweights like Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos and Francis Ngannou.

Afterwards, although Daniel Cormier managed to topple him in their first match, he compensated for his defeat by beating him in their rematch and trilogy so as to retain his title and make one more title defence. You can find a lot more about Daniel Cormier in sportmob's list of the

UFC fighters who retired in 2020

.

However, he conceded his fight against Ngannou earlier this year while he is very determined to claim his throne one more time.

With his latest defeat as well as his being away from trash talk and fanfare, he has been included in the list of the most underrated UFC fighters 2021 so that he is not that much appreciated for his glorious achievements in the toughest division of the promotion.

T.J. Dillashaw

Tyler Jeffrey Dillashaw is an American MMA fighter who currently competes in the Bantamweight division of UFC while he was a two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion as well.

While he has grabbed the second spot in the UFC bantamweight rankings as of September 20, 2021, since his initial days in the UFC, he has quickly ascended the ladders of success.

He rose to prominence when in a historic fight of 2014, he earned victory over Renan Barao who was then the reigning supreme over the bantamweight division and was on a 32-fight win streak.

He successfully made two title defence until the time when Dominick Cruz conquested the title by split decision in 2016. Yet he managed to regain his title in a fight against Cody Garbrandt in 2017 while he went on to defend it one more time.

In his illustrious career, he has wins over much stronger opponents as the likes of Joe Soto, Raphael Assunção and John Lineker, and has grabbed 3 Fight of the Night and 5 Performance of the Night awards as well.

But despite all of these he is not very recognized among many people, perhaps it is due to the fact that he was suspended for two years.

In fact, he was stripped of his belt in 2019 following his positive testing for a banned substance, erythropoietin, in the drug tests for his UFC Flyweight Championship fight against Henry Cejudo who is included among the

UFC fighters who retired as champions

.

Yet amazingly after two years, he has come back in 2021 and successfully won a fight against Cory Sandhagen in the Bantamweight division.

Rich Franklin

The former UFC middleweight champion, was once the most dominant 185-pound fighter on the octagon, having an undervalued record of 29-7-1 even at his prime, to the point that UFC fans have almost forgotten him these days.

Among his only seven defeats, three of them came outside of his natural weight class, so he had a truly glorious career had he not been beaten twice by Anderson Silva.

Therefore, if Silva had never competed in the UFC, then Franklin would be surely revered as the UFC’s greatest ever middleweight to this day and probably he would not take a spot among the list of the most underrated UFC fighters of all time.

Sean Sherk

Although the former UFC Lightweight Champion, holds one of the longest unbeaten streaks in MMA history, and conceded only four career defeats, all to fellow UFC Champions, he is one of the most underrated UFC fighters of all time.

The underlying reason behind it is that he is not the favourite of the fans in as much as they believe his fighting style had a simplistic boring formula while it was heavily dependant on takedowns.

Yet, he notably contributed in some of the most important fights in the UFC's lightweight division and had wins over many decent fighters. Although he did not often finish the fights at least in the UFC, and his fights seemed to be too boring, it is the winning that matters in the MMA.

Likewise, he is overvalued perhaps because he used Nandrolone and tested with 12 nanograms in his system and many assume him to be a cheater as he did not admit his guilt and take his punishment either. Still, he had not a very high amount of the substance in comparison to many other appreciated fighters.

Jens Pulver

Being widely recognized with his nickname of Lil' Evil, he won the first UFC Lightweight Championship while he is still the youngest UFC Lightweight Champion in UFC history.

With his domination and undefeated reign as UFC Lightweight Champion in the early Zuffa era, he is widely remembered as one of the most influential figures in the UFC.

In his glorious career, Pulver has never given the fans and his opponents anything other than his best, as he put on show some of the biggest fights of his era in the UFC, being a living example of the fast development of the MMA.

Having said that, he has never got the due credit he truly deserved, perhaps because when he was a leading figure at lightweight, he could have just as easily competed at 135 pounds if it was an option.

Therefore, he was never assumed to be a sizable warrior in comparison to the fighters he encountered. Thereby, he almost always came in underweight for the category, which is one of the main reasons why he was often undervalued.

Tim Sylvia

In spite of the fact that the American retired MMA fighter, was a two-time and possibly the greatest UFC Heavyweight Champion, he has never been taken seriously by the fans due to a number of excuses.

To be specific, a group of the fans mocked him for his freakish, fat, slobby, flabby, ogre and ugly appearance while they might have been aware of how physically and mentally he was abused by her alcoholic mother as he grew up.

As a result, in pursuit of looking better, he used steroids for losing his excess of weight, while he admitted it, apologized and voluntarily gave up his belt.

Furthermore, he has been overvalued since it is to be said that his fights were boring, while the real nub of the matter is that he put on show some of the most intriguing heavyweight battles the UFC has ever witnessed.

Just consider his bout against Cabbage, his second fight against Arlovski, and the match against Minotauro Nogueira that were all phenomenal.

Jon Fitch

While the American retired MMA fighter had racked up a record of 14–3–1 in the UFC, he once challenged for the UFC Welterweight Championship as well.

Yet despite going down as the number 2 welterweight in the world for quite some time, as well as having wins over Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves (twice) and a draw with BJ Penn, he has been very underappreciated.

After he won his first seven fights in the UFC, he earned a shot at GSP, but he ended up falling short. Then he established dominance in his next fights before being defeated by Johny Hendricks and Maia, yet he never achieved a second shot at GSP.

But even at the prime heyday of his career, he was not that much respected primarily due to the fact that his wrestling-heavy style was not so much desirable for the fans.

Moreover, he was so unfortunate to compete in the same division with Georges St. Pierre in his pick of the UFC career and therefore was overshadowed by him.

 

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