As another Ultimate Fighter season approaches it seems like a fitting time to look back at some of the fighters the show has given us. These are my choice for the five most improved fighters.
5. Junie Browning
I know he only has one fight since the Ultimate Fighter, but it was impressive. I put Junie on this list for what he did outside of the Octagon. He's now in control of his alcohol problem, which not only makes him a better fighter but helps him lead a better life.
He's with a great MMA team with Xtreme Couture, and he takes direction from his corner better. He may have been the most talented fighter on the previous season, and if he continues with his improvement, he very well could be a champion in the UFC.
4. Michael Bisping
Since he got off the show he has gone 6-1, with his only loss being to current Light-Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans. He has improved all aspects of his game and has defeated a lot of good fighters to prove it.
He made the move to 185, which is a much better fit for him and has been dominant. His next opponent will either be Rich Franklin or Dan Henderson, after TUF9. If he wins this fight, he will be in line for a shot at Anderson Silva.
3. Mike Swick
Swick was a solid fighter on the show and has proven with his ability in the octagon that his skills have improved. He is a top contender at 170.
Look for him to have some huge fights in 2009. He is right there with Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch for the third best welterweight right now. I would rank him fifth at that weight, but he has all the tools to prove me wrong.
2. Josh Koscheck
Josh's stay on TUF was marked with one thing, wrestling. No one will ever doubt Josh's wrestling.
He was the most controversial fighter on the first season. He had a Junie Browning-esque attitude. But like Junie, he got together with a good team at American Kickboxing Academy and really has improved his attitude.
What he lacked was a stand-up game and the ability to mix up his style. If you become predictable, you will lose. Josh has stepped up his stand-up and he now has one of the best double-leg takedowns in all MMA.
All his improvement has come to fruition with one of the most brutal knockouts of the year over Yoshida. Look for a year full of rematches for Josh and a possible match-up with Mike Swick.
1. Rashad Evans
He has the gold to prove he has improved. He was a Josh Koscheck clone when he was on TUF. He wrestled and that's about it.
He now has one of the best stand-up games in all of MMA. starting with a knockout of Jason Lambert and then the kick that erased about 10 years of memory from Sean Salmon's head.
He followed it with a draw with Tito Ortiz and then a win over Michael Bisping. Then all of his improvement showed with his next two fights: destroying Chuck Liddell and claiming the 205 title with a TKO win over Forrest Griffin.
There are many great fighters who also could be on this list. My honorable mentions are: Chris Leben, Diego Sanchez, Forrest Griffin, Kenny Florian, C.B. Dalloway, and Matt Hamill.
I know there are still fighters who deserve recognition, but these are my most improved fighters.