The 21 Best One-Loss Fighters in MMA

Cody Guinn@@CKissGuinnContributor IIIJuly 13, 2012

The 21 Best One-Loss Fighters in MMA

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    The word undefeated symbolizes greatness to many, but in any sport, being undefeated is one of toughest, if not the toughest thing to accomplish.

    So, what about those with one single loss? You wouldn't ignore an NFL team that went 15-1 or a college basketball team that finished the season 30-1 would you?

    So, instead of always paying attention to those who are untouchable and unbeaten, today we're going to pay tribute to the 21 best one-loss fighters in MMA.

    Some of these guys may have lost at the very beginning of their careers or some may have lost recently in a step up in competition; either way, these 21 men have shown that one loss won't slow them down. 

    Just a side note: The list is in no particular order, and if you feel a great fighter with one loss was left off the list, feel free to comment and plead their case. 

Luke Rockhold

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    We kick off the list with a man who'll be in action this weekend and one of our five one-loss champions: Luke Rockhold.

    Rockhold, 9-1, became Strikeforce Middleweight Champion after knocking off world-class middleweight Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in 2011.

    This Saturday, Rockhold will attempt to successfully defend his championship for a second time when he meets Tim Kennedy. 

Erik Koch

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    At 23 years old, one of the youngest men on our list, Erik Koch is looking to make a splash in the UFC featherweight division.

    Koch, 13-1, is currently riding a very impressive four-fight winning streak that includes three first-round finishes. He looks to make his return to the Octagon in a UFC Featherweight Championship bout against Jose Aldo sometime in the fall of 2012.

Muhammad Lawal

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    While he's recently been in the limelight for making the jump from Strikeforce to Bellator as well as becoming a part-time professional wrestler, it's easy to forget "King Mo" is a former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion.

    Lawal is 8-1 with one no contest, which was his last fight when he finished Lorenz Larkin, but the ruling was changed to a no contest after Lawal failed a post-fight drug test.

Rick Hawn

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    Rick Hawn is one of the best judokas currently in MMA, and 2012 appears to be his year.

    So far this year, Hawn, 14-1, is 3-0 and won season six of the Bellator lightweight tournament. 

    Look for Hawn to be receiving a Bellator Lightweight Championship shot sometime later this year.

Mike Easton

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    Mike Easton enters the list now fresh off a big win this past weekend at UFC 148 over Ivan Menjivar.

    Easton, 13-1, is a bantamweight to keep your eye on as 2012 rolls along.

Ryan Jimmo

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    You may not be too familiar with this name right now, but I'd say by the end of the year, you'll know it very well.

    Ryan Jimmo, 16-1, was invited to try out for season eight of The Ultimate Fighter, but he lost in the round of 16 to get into the house. As the fight counted as an exhibition, it did not count toward Jimmo's official record.

    Jimmo lost his professional debut back in 2007, but since then he has been undefeated, winning 16 fights in a row. He'll make his much-anticipated UFC debut later this month at UFC 149 against Anthony Perosh.

Alexander Gustafsson

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    Another light heavyweight on the rise is Alexander Gustafsson, who is fresh off his decision victory over Thiago Silva at the UFC's first ever event in Sweden.

    Gustafsson, 14-1, with his long reach and fantastic striking skills, could one day be a serious threat in the UFC light heavyweight division.

Dominick Cruz

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    The current UFC Bantamweight Champion makes his appearance on the list next, but it will more than likely be his last list appearance as the organization's only champion at 135.

    Dominick Cruz, 19-1, was set to face rival Urijah Faber for a third time at UFC 148, but a severe knee injury will cause Cruz to spend a great amount of time on the sidelines, leading the UFC to create a Interim Bantamweight Championship.

Renan Barao

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    Speaking of that Interim Bantamweight Championship, one of the two men fighting for the championship is Renan Barao.

    Barao, 28-1, is currently on one of the most impressive unbeaten streaks in MMA today, and he'll look to continue the streak at UFC 149 later this month against former WEC Champion Urijah Faber.

Gray Maynard

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    Next on our list is former Lightweight Championship contender Gray Maynard.

    Maybe best known for his rivalry with former Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar, Maynard, 11-1-1, is coming off his first win inside the Octagon since August of 2010 against Clay Guida last month.

Hacran Dias

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    While UFC 147 was overlooked by many, one man who shouldn't be overlooked is featherweight prospect Hacran Dias.

    Dias, 21-1-1, won his long-awaited UFC debut against Yuri Alcantara by unanimous decision and looks to possibly be a potential threat in the featherweight division.

Junior Dos Santos

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    UFC's top heavyweight—and possibly the best heavyweight mixed martial artist in the world—is Junior dos Santos.

    JDS is the current UFC Heavyweight Champion and since signing with the UFC in 2008, he's looked unbeatable.

    Dos Santos, 15-1, lost his first career fight by submission, but since then has won six of his last 10 by first-round stoppage.

    We can expect to see dos Santos return to action in late 2012 against former Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.

Patricio Freire

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    Patricio Freire is one of the top overall fighters in Bellator, and the 25-year-old Brazilian will receive a much-deserved title shot in August.

    Freire, 17-1, will face current Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran in one of Bellator's most anticipated fights of the summer.

Johny Hendricks

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    In the scrambled UFC welterweight division, Johny Hendricks looks to earn himself a title shot when November rolls around.

    Hendricks, 13-1, is coming off back-to-back wins over Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck and is expected to face Martin Kampmann at UFC 154 with a title shot on the line.

    If St-Pierre is unable to compete at UFC 154, we could see Hendricks receive a title shot a lot sooner than expected.

Cain Velasquez

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    Earlier we mentioned Junior dos Santos as the top heavyweight in the UFC, but this man may have a problem with that.

    Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez is coming off a dominating performance over Antonio Silva at UFC 146, and he's in prime position to receive a title shot sometime later this year.

    Velasquez's lone loss (10-1) came at the hands of current champion dos Santos, but the result came so quick that many are very excited about the potential rematch.

Jose Aldo

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    Jose Aldo, one of the best fighters in the world today at only 25 years old, hasn't tasted defeat since late 2005.

    Aldo, 21-1, is the current UFC Featherweight Champion and is coming off a first-round knockout of Chad Mendes in front of his home country.

    The UFC is hoping to have Aldo back in time for the UFC's next trip to Brazil, and he is expecting to face another top one-loss fighter in Erik Koch.

Michael McDonald

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    Knocking out a former champion with 40 wins to his name is a great way to get noticed, and that's exactly what Michael McDonald did at UFC 145 against Miguel Torres.

    McDonald, 15-1, is the youngest fighter on the list and is actually coming off back-to-back first knockouts and looks to possibly earn a Bantamweight Championship shot by the end of the year.

Phil Davis

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    Phil Davis may be coming off his first career loss to former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans, but many are still pegging him as the future of the light heavyweight division.

    With his excellent wrestling credentials along with his long reach and expanding BJJ skills, Davis, 9-1, is going to be a definite contender in the division for a long time to come.

Rory MacDonald

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    At this time next year, this man could still have only one loss, but he also may be a UFC Champion.

    Rory MacDonald, 13-1, is one of the best up-and-coming fighters today, and he will attempt to drop the term "prospect" from his name and convert into a title contender with his matchup with B.J. Penn at UFC 152.

Chad Mendes

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    Following his first career loss to Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, many began to doubt Chad Mendes. Following this past weekend, though, everyone is high on Mendes once again.

    Mendes, 12-1, is fresh off a first-round knockout win that came under a minute over submission specialist Cody McKenzie at UFC 148. Once again, he will look to earn another title shot.

Jon Jones

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    The final man on our list is one who is considered by most to be undefeated, seeing that his one loss was a very controversial disqualification. 

    Nonetheless, there is doubt that we are entering the Jon Jones era of MMA. At only 24 years old, he's became the youngest UFC Champion in history, defended the title three times and finished top-tier light heavyweights Ryan Bader, "Shogun" Rua, "Rampage" Jackson and Lyoto Machida.

    Whether you consider him undefeated or feel the disqualification loss on his record doesn't really matter, there is no questioning the talent of Jon Jones and there is a great chance he'll be at the top of the UFC for many years to come.