It’s a very big deal to win a season of TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) and it speaks volumes for your future success and opportunities in the UFC. We all remember how often so many of the tournament winners would go on to have successful careers in the Spike era with Forrest Griffin, Michael Bisping, Nate Diaz, etc. But recently it hasn’t felt like there have been many new TUF winners that have really launched into having great UFC careers and our graph of the week seems to agree.
If we deep dive into the graph below it would appear that outside of the anomaly that was TUF 16, the TUF winners were generally successful in the UFC from TUF 15 to TUF 21. But more recently than that, winning TUF does not seem to translate to staying in the UFC any longer than you’d expect for the average fighter from Dana White’s Contender Series. TUF 24 doesn’t count for prospects because it was a special season with a tournament of establish flyweights to fight Mighty Mouse for the belt, so the last decent TUF winners were from TUF 23 back in 2016. And even then, any journeyman can get up to 5 wins. There hasn’t been a genuinely successful TUF champion since Kamara Usman who won his tournament in early 2015.
We hope you forgive us for not extending this data analysis to include the Spike era of TUF. The member of our team responsible for the graph this week has not finished watching all of the seasons from the golden era of TUF and did not want to be spoiled on who wins each season. What a casual!