By Chris Huntemann, Columnist
Forrest Griffin. Stephan Bonnar. Rashad Evans. Michael Bisping.
Colton Smith. Eddie Gordon. Corey Anderson. Davey Grant.
Which of these groups doesn’t belong? Well, actually, they both belong. But that’s part of the problem. These fighters are all winners of The Ultimate Fighter. (Except for Bonnar, of course, who did more for the show in his loss to Griffin at the end of the first season than the entire second group combined.)
While the first group of fighters have enjoyed tremendous success in the UFC – winning world titles and in Griffin and Bonnar’s case, becoming Hall of Famers – the second group have barely made a dent in the UFC, and Smith was released outright after three straight losses.
The first season of The Ultimate Fighter saved the UFC from certain demise, and the first few seasons churned out incredible talent like the aforementioned fighters, as well as other stalwarts like Matt Serra, Nate Diaz, Ryan Bader and Roy Nelson. While later incarnations of the show have produced promising fighters like Tony Ferguson and a champion in UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, by and large the quality of talent has dropped dramatically over the last few seasons.