Losing is never easy—especially when you're a UFC champion. As difficult as it is to get to the mountain top, it's even more difficult to stay there.
The fighters on this list can attest to that. It took an entire lifetime of work and perseverance for these fighters to finally reach the ultimate prize in MMA. Yet, it only took a matter of minutes for it to escape their grasp.
Losing one's title would put any guy at rock bottom, but the fighters on this list refused to stay there. They came back in their next bout to remind us just what helped make them a champion in the first place.
Frank Mir became the first man in MMA history to stop Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92. Mir's belt was just an interim title, though, and needed to be unified. In order to do this, Mir would clash with his biggest professional rival, Brock Lesnar, at the UFC's biggest event ever: UFC 100.
Lesnar was able to control much of the action by using his superior wrestling and massive size advantage. The loss prompted Mir to transform himself by adding more muscle to his frame.
At UFC 107, Mir vowed to show the world a "new Frank Mir."
Against Cheick Kongo, Mir was expected to look for the takedown early. Instead, Mir dropped the kickboxer Kongo and secured a guillotine choke, which forced Kongo to pass out. The performance proved that Mir's time off to transform his body was well worth it.
Georges St-Pierre had the unfortunate distinction of taking part in the biggest upset in MMA history at UFC 69. St-Pierre realized that he wasn't acting the part of champion and had let the success go to his head. He vowed to show a new and improved St-Pierre en route to reclaiming his title.
At UFC 74, GSP was matched up against four-time NCAA Division-I All-American wrestler Josh Koscheck. The wrestling champion had perhaps the best wrestling pedigree in the sport and it was believed that Koscheck would be able to use it to his advantage.
This bout is where GSP's dominance as a MMA wrestler began to show. The Canadian controlled the majority of the action while taking Koscheck down numerous times. It was a dominant performance that showed "the sleeping giant" had awoken.
In one of the biggest fluke "victories" in MMA history, Vitor Belfort won the UFC Light Heavyweight title from Randy Couture after a cut forced the doctors to step in and stop the bout. The cut wasn't caused by a vicious offensive onslaught, but rather Belfort's glove as he threw a hook.
The doctor stoppage ruined what was supposed to be an interesting clash of styles featuring the wrestler Couture against the heavy handed Brazilian. An immediate rematch was put together for UFC 49.
There would be no fluke victory at UFC 49 when Couture dominated the entire fight. The beating came to a merciless end when the doctors stopped the fight due to a cut on Belfort.
It took only 64 seconds for Cain Velasquez to drop the heavyweight title to Junior dos Santos. However, Velasquez used three minutes and 36 seconds to remind of us how dominant he can be.
Facing a talented grappler in Antonio "Big Foot" Silva, Velasquez landed a lightning quick takedown to begin his offense. What followed was a one-sided beatdown filled with a massive amount of blood. Velasquez hit Silva with nearly everything but the kitchen sink and caused a nasty cut in the process.
It was a dominant performance that showcased Velasquez's wrestling skills as well as impressive cardio for keeping a dominant pace throughout the contest.
Benson Henderson engaged in a terrific fight against Anthony Pettis at WEC 53. The fight was closer than a unanimous decision and featured one of the all-time greatest highlights as Pettis leaped off the cage to kick Henderson in the face.
Now, instead of entering the UFC as a conquering champion, Henderson found himself back in the shark tank of UFC lightweights. Henderson fought at UFC 129, which based on the magnitude of the event is enough pressure, but he faced even more pressure by competing against a Canadian in hostile territory.
Mark Bocek was on everyone's "most underrated lightweight" list and had the grappling skills to back it up. None of that mattered as Henderson controlled the action en route to a unanimous decision victory.
The win showcased Henderson's improving overall game and as with his other UFC victories, showed that although Henderson is very talented, he's only going to get better.