20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time – Updated 2024 Edition

The world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has undergone a radical transformation since the inaugural UFC 1 event captivated audiences worldwide. From its humble beginnings, MMA has ascended to a global phenomenon, boasting a meticulously organized structure with a plethora of weight classes, diverse promotions, and inclusive divisions that celebrate female fighters, catapulting them to stardom within the sport.

MMA has been a battleground for legends, warriors who have etched their names in the annals of combat sports history through their prowess and indomitable spirit. Yet, this narrative isn’t about those titans of the ring. Instead, we’re diving into the untold story of perseverance, the saga of those fighters who, despite their best efforts, find themselves on the other end of the spectrum. This article is dedicated to the underdogs, the fighters who’ve faced tough odds and tougher opponents, earning them a spot on the list of the sport’s most challenged competitors.

So, buckle up and prepare for an intriguing journey through the ranks of MMA’s most determined fighters. This isn’t just a recount of defeats; it’s a celebration of the fighting spirit, a testament to the courage it takes to step into the ring, knowing the mountainous challenge that awaits. Let’s explore the tales of these fighters, for in the heart of a fighter, every battle tells a story of resilience, determination, and the undying will to persevere.

20. James Toney The Below Average Mixed Martial Arts Fighter

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

James Toney, a celebrated champion in the boxing ring, ventured into the UFC with high expectations but encountered a starkly different reality. His crossover to mixed martial arts was marked by a highly anticipated but ultimately disappointing debut against UFC legend Randy Couture at UFC 118. Toney, with an illustrious boxing career behind him, faced a new kind of challenge in the octagon—a world away from the boxing rings where he had previously dominated.

In this pivotal match, Couture demonstrated the comprehensive nature of MMA by avoiding Toney’s formidable striking abilities entirely, taking him down to the mat with ease. This encounter vividly illustrated the chasm between boxing and MMA, as Toney found himself unable to defend against Couture’s grappling and ground control. The fight was not just a physical defeat for Toney but also a humbling introduction to the complexities of mixed martial arts. His attempt to submit by awkwardly waving his hands instead of the conventional tap-out underscored his unfamiliarity with MMA’s fundamentals. Thus, it was decided that a boxing champion does not transform into a great MMA fighting career.

This bout, perhaps the most challenging in James Toney’s combat sports career, served as a poignant reminder of the specialized skills and adaptability required to compete in MMA. It remains a cautionary tale for accomplished athletes from other disciplines considering the transition to the multifaceted world of mixed martial arts.

19. Rolles Gracie Jr. 

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Since he was the first Gracie to compete in the UFC since King Royce, there was a lot of pressure on Rolle Gracie to honor his ancestors. With his family background, it wasn’t surprising to see his grappling credentials as they were impeccable. As an MMA fighter, he was just 3-0 when he got his signing with the UFC, which later didn’t turn out well for him as he wasn’t ready for the big show. 

During Gracie’s debut fight with Joey Beltran, his downfall wasn’t due to Beltran’s fighting skills or experience advantages, however, it was due to his own below-average cardio. Gracie successfully mounted Beltran and took his back in the first round, but he couldn’t secure submission and by the time Beltran got back to his feet, Gracie was already gassed, making it easy for Beltran to take him down in the second round of the fight. Fortunately, this fight does not have the UFC record for worst fight of all time.

18. Josh Hendricks 

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Unlike other bad fighters listed in this article, Josh “Heavy” Hendrick’s dismissal from the UFC didn’t result in him raining curses on the promotion, testing positive for steroids, or sullying his family name. Josh was drafted to make his debut UFC fight at UFC 91, where he was supposed to fight Gabriel Gonzaga, and further suffered a 61-second knockout loss to Gabriel, making it one of the quickest ones of his career. This loss made it clear that Josh wasn’t UFC material. 

Apart from the loss, Josh’s soft physique and the weird little bumps all over his body, which were quite frightening, didn’t win him any fans among the home viewers. To relay it in a softer tone, he didn’t “look like a fighter”. This led to the UFC cutting him loose. 

17. Sherman Pendergarst 

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Sherman is included in this list for one reason only. When he stepped into the Octagon against Antoni Hardonk at UFC 65, he became the only fighter in the history of MMA to be knocked out cold by a leg kick. Although this seemed impossible, it did happen and Pendergarst was knocked out cold after taking this hit.

After suffering this loss the UFC shredded his contract. Pendergarst has gone 3-14 in MMA competition since that fateful night where he suffered the loss and the competition results included knockout losses to UFC veterans like Shane Carwin, Joey Beltran, Houston Alexander, and Razak Al-Hassan. 

With his constant presence in MMA competitions, you can say he’s still with the UFC in spirit but not with a contract. 

16. Kit Cope

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Despite being a well-decorated kickboxer, Cope’s general lack of grappling skills made him an easy target in the MMA competition with which his overall record currently stands at 6-7, with six of these losses coming by submission. During his lone UFC appearance, his opponent was TUF 1 finalist, Kenny Florian, and inevitably fell prey to a rear-naked choke, leading to his loss in the UFC fight. 

After his brief UFC appearance, Cope challenged Rob McCullough for the WEC’s vacant lightweight title, with which he tapped out due to punches in the first round. Later, he tested positive for steroids, leading to his disqualification from the fight. 

15. Sean Gannon

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Kimbo Slice was picking up viral YouTube fame as a bare-knuckle brawler in Miami in 2005, however, he was beaten by a white guy. Obviously, UFC decided to sign the white guy who beat Kimbo Slice that one time which was a fiery rare misstep for the UFC talent scouts. During Sean Gannon’s first fight, he was paired against veteran heavyweight Branden Lee Hinkle. 

Hinkle won by first-round TKO, beating the tar out of the inexperienced Boston police officer and ending his MMA career. Four years later, Kimbo was signed by UFC, a move they should have taken in the first place. 

14. Aaron Brink 

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Prior to his involvement in the porn game, and later the crystal meth game, Aaron Brink was a promising young heavyweight who had done fairly well in MMA tournaments on the West Coast. 

During his debut fight in the UFC 28, he was paired with Andrew Arlovski who was also debuting his first UFC appearance and though Brink was very serious with the fight, Arlovski ended the fight with an arm bar (with minor help from the fence) which ended the fight under a minute.

Two months later, a tune-up match against a newbie, Rick Franklin, at an IFC event didn’t go his way either which led to Aaron competing for small-time promotions permanently and the UFC never had him back. His subsequent MMA career showed that it’s impossible to juggle two careers at a time and still remain a drug addict. 

13. Chris Condo 

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

If we’re to be completely honest, I don’t know anything about Chris Condo. I don’t know or have any information about where he came from and I do not know or have any information on what became of him after his brief appearance in the UFC. A lot of people think he was a spectator who was asked to replace a fighter who had dropped out at the last minute, maybe they are right. 

When Condo faced Ron Waterman at UFC 20, he was in a total mess as Waterman TKO’d him in just 28 seconds. This fight was one of the ugliest fights to the extent that videos from the fight have totally disappeared from the internet. This was the last time I ever saw Chris Condo in the Octagon and he never fought again as he presently lives a mysterious life. 

12. Yoji Anjo

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Yoji Anjo‘s first appearance was at UFC Ultimate Japan 1 which happened on the 21st of December 1997. His final appearance was at UFC 29 which was three years later, on the 16th of December 2000. The Ultimate Japan 1 heavyweight tournament was a four-man heavyweight tournament that featured two Japanese professional wrestlers who entered as a publicity stunt for their Kingdom Pro Wrestling league. 

One of these fighters was Kazuahi Sakuraba, who was a last-minute injury replacement who managed to win the tournament and went on to prosper as an MMA megastar in Japan. The other fighter was Yoji Anjo whose fight career couldn’t have turned out more differently. After losing to American fan-favorite Tank Abbott, Anjo was booked on two subsequent Japanese UFC cards due to no other reasons than his nationality. 

When Anjo faced the middleweight newbies, Anjo was choked out by Murillo Bustamante at UFC 25: Ultimate Japan 3 and was also TKO’d by Matt Lindland at UFC 29. Yoji Anjo retired from MMA competitions with an overall record of 0-5-1. 

11. Greg “Ranger” Scott

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Greg made this list because his entire MMA career didn’t last more than 17 seconds and his career teaches us so much. For instance, one of the lessons learned is that being 249 pounds doesn’t necessarily make you a heavyweight because sometimes it just indicates that you need to reduce your carb intake. In addition, another lesson learned is that the Octagon isn’t a place to test out the new martial arts systems that you made up in your garage. 

Greg Scott debuted at the UFC 15, where he debuted his own ranger intensive program (“RIP rules and all other styles Rest In Peace”) against the nightmare-inducing Mark Kerr, who was a true heavyweight in every sense of the word. After Scoot goosed out a few unprofessional jabs to demonstrate how unqualified he was, Kerr launched an Overeem-Esque knee straight up the middle, knocking out Scott. Kerr almost beat Scott to death.

10. Tony Halme 

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Tony Halme already had a proven history of failure in MMA prior to when he made it to the UFC as he had racked up an 0-3 record for Japan’s RINGS promotion. When Tony entered UFC 13, he met the Natural in the semi-finals of the four-man heavyweight tournament which happened to be Couture’s MMA debut. Halme opened the bout by running directly into a double-leg takedown with Couture easily placing Halme on the mat, back flat, and then finishing him with a choke all within the first 56 seconds. 

This fight was the last MMA attempt for Halme. However, he went on to win a seat in Finland’s parliament for the ultra-right-wing True Finns party before he got consumed by drug-and-alcohol-fueled insanity and committed suicide in January 2010. 

9. Reza Nasri 

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Nasri made his debut in the Octagon with a Greco-Roman wrestling background, however, it wasn’t clear if he was involved in any striking training before joining the eight-man tournament at UFC 11. It also seemed like he almost certainly hadn’t taken any jiu-jitsu lessons due to the way he completely stopped fighting after Johnston put him on his back. During this fight, Nasri was beaten by Johnston in under 30 seconds, trampling the budding reputation of the Iranian MMA. 

While Johnston had Nasri beaten by pinning him back down and unleashing a torrent of head-butts and punches on him, Nasri gave up the fight which ended his UFC career as swiftly as it began. 

8. Moti Horenstein

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Moti had a background in karate, kickboxing, and krav maga which made it sure that he wasn’t looking to roll around the mat with anybody. His game plan was to unleash the kind of vicious kicks that would later get him a Guinness World Record in baseball-bat-breaking recognition. Although Moti seemed like he was ready for the journey, unfortunately, Moti’s luck in drawing opponents was terrible. 

Moti made his debut in the quarterfinals of UFC 10’s open-weight tournament where he was to fight the former NCAA Division I wrestling champion, Mark Coleman. Coleman beat Moti and unleashed his trademark ground-and-pound move until Moti tapped out from strikes at the 2:43 time mark. 

Moti gave it another shot by entering UFC 14’s four-man heavyweight tournament however he was TKO’d in 2:22 and never showed up on the UFC again. 

7. Paul Herrera 

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Paul made his debut sole appearance in UFC 8 with a fight with Gary Goodridge which happened on the 16th of February, 1996. This fight happened to be one of the fastest fights to have ended in under 25 seconds, ending Paul’s UFC career right on the spot. Gary had Paul pinned back down, and followed up with a series of punches which led to him being TKO’d on the spot. 

6. John Matua 

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

John Matua seemed like a beast and was announced as the fighter who studies the “brutal Hawaiian art of bone-breaking. However, his UFC debut, which seemed to be his first and last UFC fight, ended faster than anyone could have imagined with his previous reputation. He debuted in the UFC 6 which happened on the 14th of July, 1995, and was beaten by David Tank Abbott in under 2 minutes. 

John was such a disappointment during his debut that he was never to be seen participating in another UFC fight in the coming years. His debut fight was the end of his career. 

5.  Jon Hess

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

John Hess’s UFC 5 fight is the exact reason why he’s featured on this list. Hess decided to pursue an MMA career after seeing UFC 4 and assuming that he could beat Royce Graycie “very easily”. However, when he got in the Octagon, he started flailing around like a spaz, and it wasn’t clear if he’d ever studied the real martial art or if he just jumped into the Octagon with his silly assumption in his head.

Despite his size advantage against his opponent, Andy Anderson Hess resulted in blatant eye-gouging to get out of trouble which led to him being fined $2000 by the UFC for his fouls and he was never allowed back in the competition. 

4. Joe Son

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Joe Son may considerably be the worst fighter to ever compete in the UFC due to his previous history of kidnapping and gang-raping a woman on Christmas Eve 1990. Joe Son also hinted at this happening in his UFC 4 promo in which he threatened to show us “the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ tonight” however, nobody read the meaning of this statement until his crime caught up with him in 2008. 

Keith Hackney was paired to fight Joe Son during his debut which led to Son tapping out fur to a choke caused by repeated kicks aimed at his balls. This led to the end of his UFC campaign. Joe Son was later convicted for his earlier crime and sentenced to life in prison, where he also promptly killed his cellmate, who was a fellow sex offender. 

3. Emmanuel Yarborough

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Manny Yarborough’s fight proved that weighing 416 pounds wasn’t an added advantage while fighting in the UFC, especially if you have zero practical combat training outside of shoving other fat guys and you can barely get off the floor without assistance. During his fight with Keith Hackney, Hackney landed a Hail Mary palm strike, which led to Manny tumbling to the mat and nearly swallowing Hackney up in his massive gravitational pull, which destroyed the octagon. 

After a re-start, Hackney pot-shotted Manny until the big sumo was knocked down again. Hackney followed with a series of punches until the referee intervened. After this fight, Yarborough was invited back to the UFC ever again. The rest, as they say, was the worst MMA fighter in UFC history, but he wasn’t the worst, just the third worst.

2. Fred Ettish

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Fred Ettish’s venture into the UFC at UFC 2 was driven by a desire to test his martial arts skills on a grand stage, but it quickly turned into a lesson on the brutal realities of early MMA competition. Stepping into the octagon with confidence, Ettish faced Johnny Rhodes, a formidable opponent with a more versatile combat background. The bout was overwhelmingly one-sided; Rhodes dominated Ettish with a superior striking and grappling game, leading to a decisive victory. Ettish’s performance became a symbol of the early days of the UFC, where traditional martial artists often found themselves outmatched by more well-rounded fighters, marking his UFC career as a poignant reminder of the sport’s evolving demands. Talk about the MMA record going out the window!

1. Art Jimmerson – The Worst UFC Career

20 Worst UFC Fighters Of All Time 2020 Update

Art Jimmerson’s foray into the UFC is often remembered for its brevity and the iconic image of him wearing a single boxing glove in the octagon. A professional boxer stepping into the burgeoning world of Mixed Martial Arts, Jimmerson’s unique approach highlighted the stark contrast between traditional boxing and the all-encompassing nature of MMA. During his sole UFC appearance at UFC 1, Jimmerson faced off against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu maestro Royce Gracie. The match was short-lived; Jimmerson found himself outmatched on the ground, tapping out before Gracie could fully apply a submission hold. This fight underscored the necessity of a versatile skill set in MMA, marking Jimmerson’s brief UFC stint as a memorable moment in the sport’s evolution.

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
Article by

Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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