The path towards a UFC title shot itself is no less than climbing a mountain, let alone winning one. There are many obstacles and hurdles added with putting together a winning streak.
All the factors namely an unprecedented winning streak, method of winning, dealing with injuries and nowadays even promoting oneself matter. All the chips need to fall together at right place and at right time for a title shot. The process can be extremely frustrating. Some fighters are even expected to win as much as 10 fights in a row.
On the other hand, nothing comes as easy as playing casino online.
However, there were times when some fighters were given a pass. The path towards a title shot was relatively cut down for these men and women, depending upon the dynamics of their division. Reflecting back, we look at five most undeserved title shots in UFC history.
5) HERMES FRANCA
The lightweight division has always been stacked irrespective of the era. However Hermes Franca once fought for this strap. Franca actually had a decent record outside of the UFC with wins over Nate Diaz and Toby Imada. Granted he was also the WEC champ back in 2006 but his UFC streak comprised only 3 fights. His only notable win came over Jamie Varner before getting a title shot against a dangerous Sean Sherk at UFC 73 in 2007.
Franca dropped a lopsided unanimous decision to Sherk. He then went 1-2 in his UFC career before getting released.
4) TONYA EVINGER
Former Invicta FC bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger made her UFC debut in July 2017. However that was not just a normal debut. Evinger had to take on dangerous sensation Cris Cyborg for the inaugural UFC featherweight belt.
Cyborg hands down was the most dominant force in MMA, let alone women’s MMA. Cyborg carried a 17 fight winning streak over span of 12 years till the point. She even had 14 of those wins the way of knockouts. Evinger who was 36 back then moving a weight class up to fight Cyborg, called for a disaster.
That’s exactly what happened as Evinger got mauled for two and half rounds. Cyborg used a barrage of strikes before landing brutal knees and finishing Evinger in the third round. Being a champion in another promotion certainly wasn’t the criteria for a title shot for Evinger as UFC calls for a different level. Evinger eventually went back to bantamweight and lost both her fights as well.
3) CHRIS CARIASO
Cariaso made his UFC debut as a bantamweight back in January 2011. He put together a decent record of 3-1 before moving down to flyweight. The UFC flyweight division has always been relatively steep but ruled by long time P4P #1 Demetrious Johnson. Cariaso put together another decent reign of 4-2 at flyweight.
His four wins however came against fighters who only had combined 7 fights till then. Cariaso was granted a title shot against Johnson at UFC 178 in September 2014. That obviously did not end well as Cariaso got caught in Johnson’s trademark armbar. He then lost two fights as well before eventually announcing his retirement.
2) WILSON REIS
Granted the UFC flyweight division being relatively steep, contenders at times might get a leap without being completely tested. This one however was a blunder, ala Brock Lesnar, considering it took place in the modern era of the UFC.
A three fight winning streak gave veteran Wilson Reis his title shot. That being said, two of his three wins came against fighters who weren’t in the top tear of the weight class. The resume certainly isn’t enough to fight dominant Demetrious Johnson. Reis just like Cariaso, became another of Johnson’s armbar victims. He then went 1-3 in his next four fights before fighting out of his contract.
1) CHAEL SONNEN
‘The Bad Guy’ happens to be one of the best fighters to have ever graced the octagon, but only as a middleweight. The fact that he was granted a light heavyweight title shot, is another instance of the UFC playing ruleta. Sonnen had fought only once at light heavyweight on his debut. He then made an impressive run at middleweight earning two title shots over then P4P #1 Anderson Silva.
He even came close to winning their first fight if it wasn’t for last 10 seconds. After losing the rematch, Sonnen was directly granted a title shot in the stacked LHW class. The title shot happened to be against the current P4P #1 Jon Jones. Sonnen had used his trademark trash talk to get the fight.
Jones however mauled Sonnen via TKO in the first round.