The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale: The 10 Best Participants Not to Win Their Season

Sean SmithAnalyst IJune 5, 2011

The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale: The 10 Best Participants Not to Win Their Season

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    Multiple winners of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) series have gone onto become UFC champions.

    But what about those TUF participants who came short of earning that guaranteed six-figure contract with the UFC? Many of these fighters have gone on to very successful UFC careers of their own.

    None of these fighters have been able to capture a title, but a couple have come very close and others have become perennial contenders.

    Here are the 10 best TUF participants who didn't win it all on their season.

10. Manny Gamburyan

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    Had Manny Gamburyan not injured his shoulder in the finals of Season 5 of TUF, he might have not even been eligible for this list. Prior to dislocating his shoulder on a takedown attempt in the second round, Gamburyan had been winning the fight against Nate Diaz.

    After recovering from his injury, Gamburyan had a short 2-2 stint with the UFC before moving to the WEC and the featherweight division.

    Once in the WEC, Gamburyan made a statement at 145 pounds by winning his first three fights, including a first round knockout of former WEC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown.

    With his win over Brown, Gamburyan earned a title shot against Jose Aldo, but was knocked out in the second round by the dangerous champion.

    Now, Gamburyan is set to return to the UFC, where he will welcome former lightweight Tyson Griffin to the featherweight division.

9. Mike Swick

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    Mike Swick's appearance on TUF came all the way back in the show's first season. Since then, Swick has become one of the more well-known fighters in the UFC.

    Since losing to Stephan Bonnar on TUF, Swick has gone an impressive 9-3 in the UFC and came one win away from earning a welterweight title shot, but fell short in a fight with Dan Hardy.

    Having lost his last two fights and being out of action for more than one year, Swick will look to get back on track in his next fight against Erick Silva at UFC 134 in August.

8. Stephan Bonnar

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    Of course, Stephan Bonnar is most known for his fight with Forrest Griffin in the finals of the TUF Season 1 Light Heavyweight Tournament. However, Bonnar has gone on to have a successful career in the UFC even after losing that war against Griffin.

    Bonnar won his first three post-TUF fights with victories over Sam Hoger, James Irvin and Keith Jardine.

    Since then, Bonnar has only one loss to a fighter who hasn't been a UFC champion at some point, and that loss came via cut against Krzysztof Soszynski.

    Since that loss, Bonnar has defeated Soszynski and picked up another win against Igor Pokrajac. Bonnar will look for a third straight win against Karlos Vemola in August.

7. George Sotiropoulos

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    After making it to the semifinals in Season 6 of TUF, George Sotiropoulos suffered a knockout loss to Tommy Speer.

    However, Sotiropoulos rebounded at the season finale and went on to win seven straight fights to become a contender in the lightweight division.

    However, Sotiropoulos' run at a title shot came to an abrupt halt when he lost to Dennis Siver in his last fight.

    Sotiropoulos will look to bounce back with a win over Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 132 in July.

6. Keith Jardine

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    Keith Jardine fought in the Octagon for the first time during the Season 2 semifinals of TUF. His opponent just so happened to be eventual friend and training partner Rashad Evans.

    While Jardine lost to Evans, he proceeded to defeat a couple other former UFC champions once he made his way into the UFC. Before his recent release from the organization, Jardine earned victories over fighters such as Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin and Brandon Vera.

    In his most recent fight, Jardine showed the world that he could still make waves in the sport with his hard-fought draw against the talented Gegard Mousasi.

5. Chris Leben

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    After losing twice during Season 1 of TUF, against Josh Koscheck and Kenny Florian, Chris Leben got his UFC career off to a strong start with five straight victories.

    Over the course of his career with the UFC, Leben has defeated several notable middleweights such as Patrick Cote, Jorge Rivera, Jorge Santiago and Yoshihiro Akiyama. Leben has also become the ideal gatekeeper for the middleweight division.

    Leben suffered a tough loss to Brian Stann in his most recent fight, but he will have the chance to make up for that loss and then some if he can beat MMA legend Wanderlei Silva in his next fight at UFC 132 in July.

4. Matt Hamill

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    A contestant on Season 3 of TUF, Hamill won his first fight in the tournament, but was unable to continue into the semifinals due to injury.

    However, Hamill would earn a fight with the eventual tournament champion, Michael Bisping, after winning his first three UFC fights.

    Hamill lost to Bisping, but in a decision that is widely regarded as one of the worst in UFC history.

    Aside from the debatable loss to Bisping, Hamill's only losses of his career have come against former or present UFC champions.

3. Josh Koscheck

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    Josh Koscheck lost to Diego Sanchez in the semifinals of Season 1 of TUF. However, Koscheck evolved as a fighter after his experience on the show and became one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

    In addition to earning a welterweight title shot and wins over fighters like Paul Daley, Anthony Johnson, Frank Trigg and Chris Lytle, Koscheck also avenged his loss to Sanchez later in his career.

2. Kenny Florian

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    Since losing to Diego Sanchez in the finals of Season 1 of TUF, Kenny Florian has gone an incredible 11-3. Until his recent loss to Gray Maynard, Florian would have been considered the undisputed leader of this list.

    After his loss to Maynard, Florian has decided to drop to featherweight in what could be a last-ditch effort to earn an elusive UFC title. Florian's first featherweight bout will take place next week at UFC 131.

    Even without winning a belt, Florian has had a great career with wins over Takanori Gomi, Clay Guida, Joe Stevenson and more.

1. Gray Maynard

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    Despite appearing on a much later season of TUF than most of the other fighters on this list, Gray Maynard has already separated himself as the best non-winner in series history.

    After avenging his only loss on TUF against Nate Diaz, Maynard dominated the former best non-winner in TUF history, Kenny Florian, with his strength and wrestling.

    Then, Maynard came closer to winning a title than Florian ever has with his draw against UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar.

    If Maynard wins his rematch with Edgar and becomes champion, there won't even be any room for debate when it comes to Maynard topping this list.

     

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