The eight greatest MMA fighters who have never won a championship or major tournament…
8. Gilbert Yvel (32-12-1)
There are two reasons “The Hurricane” hasn’t risen to the lofty heights of champion: his lackluster ground game and his ridiculous temper. Yvel has undeniable knockout power, particularly in his kicks and flying knees, and 28 of his 32 wins have come via KO/TKO. On the other hand, a quarter of his 12 losses came from well-deserved DQ’s. If he could have gotten out of his own way, this guy could have been on top of the world.
7. Yushin Okami (22-4)
Okami had a good shot to win Rumble on the Rock’s 175-pound tourney in 2006. As you’ll recall, he was staggered by an illegal kick from Anderson Silva in the first round, picking up a DQ win that allowed him to continue on to fight Jake Shields. But Shields beat Thunder in a decision (and ended up winning the whole thing), and Okami’s title hope disappeared. Now in the UFC, Okami is a top contender for the middleweight title — but good luck getting past the division’s undisputed ruler.
6. Jeremy “Gumby” Horn (79-17-5)
Although he has logged an impressive record in over 100 pro fights — beating guys like Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Josh Burkman, Dean Lister, “The Hurricane,” David Loiseau, and Vernon White — “Gumby” has never won the big one. He had two chances to pick up a title (UFC 17 vs. Frank Shamrock for the middleweight crown and UFC 54 in a rematch with Liddell for the light heavy belt), but was stopped both times.
5. Aleksander Emelianenko (12-3)
“The Grim Reaper” may have some cool tats and a string of highlight-reel KO’s, but he hasn’t been able to get a shot at the gold yet, and his career has been somewhat aimless since the demise of PRIDE. Though he’s no Fedor, he’s been impressive in all his wins, and his three losses come from top competition — Mirko Cro Cop, Josh Barnett, and Fabricio Werdum. We’d love to see Aleks get some sort of title fight in the future, but for now he’s spinning his wheels in M-1 Challenge matches.
4. Jeff Monson (24-7)
“The Snowman” has had two title shots — for the heavyweight belt vs. Tim Sylvia at UFC 65 and for the UAFC heavyweight title vs. Pedro Rizzo. He came close against Sylvia, but close doesn’t get you a crown, and Monson remains belt-less. Still, we don’t think we’ve seen the last of this fireplug-like submission monster.
3. Ben Rothwell (29-5)
Big Ben may not be much to look at, but there’s no denying that he’s a force in the cage. During his reign of terror in the IFL, Rothwell beat current heavyweight champion Roy Nelson and former UFC champ Ricco Rodriguez, but neither match was for a title. Not to worry — once Rothwell finds a new home, his shot will be just around the corner.
2. Matt Lindland (20-5)
For all the reverence he gets from MMA fans, “The Law” has only had one title fight in his career. He’s beaten guys like Pat Miletich, Phil Baroni (twice), Carlos Newton, and Travis Lutter, but couldn’t figure out Murilo Bustamante at UFC 37 when it was for all the middleweight marbles. Maybe that new Affliction/Golden Boy promotion could just give him a belt out of respect…
1. Jon Fitch (17-2)
Yeah, we know Dana White recently said Fitch is next in line for a shot, but Dana says a lot of things. The list of guys Jon has beaten during his ongoing 15-fight win streak proves he should be getting his chance at gold asap. Whether he’ll pull through and earn the right to get off of this list is another thing.