By The Numbers: Super Streaks
At UFC on FOX: Lawler vs. Brown, one seven-fight win streak was born as Dennis Bermudez submitted Clay Guida and one seven-fight win streak was ended as Matt Brown was defeated by Robbie Lawler. A single win inside the Octagon deserves a celebration let alone an unbelievable seven in a row. In honor of Brown and Bermudez’s impressive efforts, here is a list of the 21 fighters in UFC history who have hit that lucky number seven and gone beyond it.
Anderson Silva - 16
The greatest. Is there really an argument with that statement? Anderson Silva won 16 straight fights in the UFC. Need anyone say any more? Obviously, this win streak is at the top of this list, so that means it is a UFC record. Included in those 16 straight wins, Silva won the UFC middleweight title in his second Octagon appearance via first round TKO over Rich Franklin and “The Spider” would go on to successfully defend his belt a record 10 times. Not mentioned in those defenses was Silva’s defeat of The Ultimate Fighter four winner Travis Lutter, who missed weight, which would have made it a record 11 times. Also, Silva saw fit to compete outside of his weight class and score three first-round KO/TKO wins at light heavyweight. Silva’s streak came to a thunderous end at the hands of current champ and fellow list member Chris Weidman at UFC 162. As if he had something left to prove, Silva has spent 2014 recovering from his leg injury - sustained in the rematch with Weidman – and he will make his return to the Octagon next January in the recently announced and already highly-anticipated bout with Nick Diaz.
Georges St-Pierre - 12
Everyone and their mother remembers when Georges St-Pierre lost the UFC welterweight title toMatt Serra at UFC 69, which - no coincidence - was the last time St-Pierre lost inside the Octagon. After winning the title he had worked so hard for and losing it in his first defense, “Rush” St-Pierre came back focused and a little angry to make that climb back up the mountain. In just about a year’s time, St-Pierre dispatched of Josh Koscheck in his return at UFC 74, submitted UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes to end their trilogy, took the belt back from Serra with a second round TKO at UFC 83, and then beat up Jon Fitch for five full rounds. Amazingly, “Rush” was just getting started as he would continue to defend and defend and defend his UFC welterweight strap nine consecutive times until vacating the title late last year. Even tearing his ACL didn’t set St-Pierre back too far, as he rehabbed for a year and then rattled off those final three wins. Maybe the former champ is content on his current hiatus, but hopefully fight fans will see St-Pierre once again inside the Octagon aiming to improve his win streak to 13.
Royce Gracie - 11
For all intents and purposes, the first four UFC events were Royce Gracie’s 11-fight win streak. Any good Octagon enthusiast knows Gracie was the last man standing at the top of the first, second, and fourth UFC tournaments. As for UFC three, Gracie stole the show going to war with Kimo Leopoldo for just shy of five straight minutes before securing his eighth straight submission win inside the Octagon. All told, the UFC Hall of Famer won each of his first 11 fights by a variety of submissions and became the first and only three-time UFC tournament winner. Almost anyone would or should attest that Gracie’s 11-fight win streak dominance is the bedrock for the early excitement around the UFC and for the worldwide fascination with Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Jon Jones - 11
If we’re all being honest with each other, Jon Jones’ win streak should read 15. Nevertheless, the current UFC light heavyweight champion is enjoying not only an incredible win streak, but an unbelievable UFC career - even in comparison to those three names mentioned before him. After suffering his first and only MMA or UFC loss due to a disqualification in December 2009, “Bones” has gone to work eviscerating the competition by scoring four straight finishes to claim the title (he was the youngest champion in UFC history) then successfully defending the belt against four former UFC champs in a row. Obviously, the streak didn’t end there as Jones went on to defend the belt three more times including the instant classic clash against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165. Now Jones is set to defend the belt he’s held for over three years against former two-time US Olympic freestyle wrestler and undefeated MMA fighter Daniel Cormier next month at UFC 178 on September 27.
Junior Dos Santos - 9
When Junior Dos Santos’ right uppercut detonated in Fabricio Werdum’s face at UFC 90, earning a much-deserved Knockout of the Night, it seemed like the young heavyweight would go on a tear, but no one could have guess nine straight wins inside the Octagon. The Brazilian bomber was a force from the beginning, as he dismantled four of his first five UFC opponents with KOs in the first-round. Fights six and seven went the distance for “Cigano,” but it wasn’t for a lack of trying, as both Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin left the cage bruised and battered from Dos Santos’ punching attack. In the first-ever UFC on FOX, Dos Santos needed only one punch to steal the title away from fellow list member Cain Velasquez and end his seven-fight win streak. In “Cigano’s” final win of this great streak, Dos Santos successfully defended the UFC heavyweight strap by TKOing former champ Frank Mir in the second round of UFC 146.
Jon Fitch - 8
For the second half of the 2000s, it seemed like the UFC welterweight division was split into three tiers: Georges St-Pierre, Jon Fitch, and everyone else. From 2005 to 2011, the former captain of Purdue University’s wrestling team was unbeaten against all inside the Octagon outside of then-champ St-Pierre. In total, Fitch earned 13 wins in the UFC, which were split into an eight-fight win streak and a five-fight win streak surrounding the lone loss to St-Pierre in a Fight of the Night effort at UFC 87. Fitch’s grinding and control-based attack was proven time-and-time again effective against all styles from top strikers like Thiago Alves (twice) to BJJ black belts like Roan Carneiro, and wrestlers like Mike Pierce.
Lyoto Machida - 8
Actually, the ever-enigmatic Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida joined the UFC on an eight-fight win streak, to only continue it for eight more fights inside the Octagon. The crafty karateka took the light heavyweight division by storm, winning four times in 2007 and finishing the year with his first UFC finish: an arm-triangle choke of judo black belt Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. In 2008, Machida only competed once, but once was enough as “The Dragon” defeated former long-time UFC champion Tito Ortiz. 2008 was the year of “The Dragon,” as Machida impressed fight fans the world over with his first-round knockout of Thiago Silva, his second round knockout of then-champ Rashad Evans to win the UFC light heavyweight title, and his successful belt defense in a tactical striking match against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Gray Maynard - 8
After one of the oddest Octagon debuts to ever occur, Gray “The Bully” Maynard began to throttle the talent-rich UFC lightweight division with a mix of his power-punching and world-class wrestling. The former three-time NCAA D1 All-American wrestler made it to the semi-finals of the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter before truly making his presence felt at 155 pounds by recording the longest win streak in the division’s history. Maynard climbed the ranks by besting future champ Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller, Nate Diaz, and perennial top contender Kenny Florian. Finally, “The Bully” got his shot at the title, which turned into the second and third parts of an unforgettable trilogy with Edgar. Up next, Maynard is aiming to get back to his winning ways as he takes on BJJ black belt Fabricio Camoes at UFC Fight Night: Bader vs. Saint Preux on August 16.
Chris Weidman - 8
Chris Weidman dethroned Silva, and he’s at the halfway point of matching Silva’s historic win streak. The current UFC middleweight champion is undefeated both in and out of the Octagon with a more than healthy 12-0 career slate, including the eight straight wins in the UFC. The former two-time NCAA D1 All-American wrestler took a short notice fight to get his foot in the door and proceeded to kick that same door off its hinges by scoring four wins inside the Octagon in less than a year, including a decision win over the heralded BJJ black belt Demian Maia. From there, Weidman delivered a highlight reel Knockout of the Night against Mark Munoz to earn his chance at the UFC’s greatest of all-time: Anderson Silva. Without batting an eye it seemed, Weidman KOed Silva at UFC 162, then TKOed him in the rematch six months later. Recently, “The All-American” earned a Fight of the Night bonus and a unanimous decision over former champ Machida. Up next, Weidman will aim to continue his streak and keep the belt as he squares off with “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort in December.
Chuck Liddell – 7, 7
There’s only one “Iceman.” Not only did Chuck Liddell kick and punch his way to one seven fight win streak - he did it twice. That’s right, “The Iceman” from 1999 to 2003 won seven straight inside the Octagon, including a win over Vitor Belfort to earn his first UFC light heavyweight title shot. Then he had his streak broken in that belt battle against another eventual UFC Hall of Famer and member of this list, Randy Couture. But all of that was nothing compared to Liddell’s second seven-fight win streak, as each victory ended by knockout.
Thiago Alves - 7
You have got to love a seven-fight win streak that features five consecutive KO wins. The Brazil-born Thiago Alves has been a cornerstone of the American Top Team gym and the high praise it routinely receives for the better part of a decade. There’s no confusion when it comes to what “Pitbull” wants to do inside the Octagon and that’s hit his opponents as hard and as often as he can with his explosive Muay Thai striking. Alves’ most memorable win/finish was the flying knee to UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes’ chest followed-up by punches at UFC 85. The impressive streak saw its end at UFC 100 when Alves finally got his shot at then-UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
Renan Barao - 7
Only for Renan Barao would seven wins in a row almost sound paltry in comparison to the 20+ in a row he won prior to joining the UFC. Rightfully so, the former UFC bantamweight champion used to come out to DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win” because that’s exactly what Barao did for three years in the UFC and for six years before that. It was Barao’s second win inside the Octagon that put the division on notice when he dropped Brad Pickett at UFC 138 and, with lightning quickness, hopped on “One Punch’s” back to sink in a rear naked choke. From there, Barao filled in for then-champ Dominick Cruz in what would become an interim-title fight against Urijah Faber at UFC 149. The Nova Uniao product would go on to successfully defend the belt three times before eventually losing the gold to Faber’s protégé T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 1s73. Later this month, Barao will get his chance to start another win streak and reclaim the strap as Barao challenges Dillashaw for the belt on August 30 at UFC 177.
Dennis Bermudez – 7
Although there are many fighters with the nickname “The Menace,” none have a seven-fight win streak except for Dennis Bermudez. Following his Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale loss, he has been absolutely perfect inside the Octagon, winning seven straight, collecting four bonuses, and coming out on top of an unforgettable Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robot rumble with Matt Grice at UFC 157. The former NCAA D1 wrestler from Long Island, New York has shown an incredible pace in his fights, with non-stop punching, kicking, kneeing, and slamming from pillar-to-post until he gets his hand raised. As the newest member of this distinguished list, Bermudez improved his win streak by flattening Clay Guida last Saturday and becoming one of only four fighters to finish Guida in his 20 fights inside the Octagon.
Matt Brown - 7
Arguably, the most surprising of these win streaks came from Matt “The Immortal” Brown, because it just seemed to come out of nowhere. The term “career resurgence” is often improperly used, but the phrase doesn’t do Brown justice as he went from losing four out of his last five UFC fights to cutting the welterweight division a new one by winning seven straight, including six KOs. The Ultimate Fighter seven alum has transformed himself into one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC (five Fight Night bonuses in his last four fights) and has stamped himself as one of the welterweight elite with his streak coming to an end in a five-round main event title eliminator against Robbie Lawler. Long live “The Immortal”.
Randy Couture - 7
After a stellar collegiate wrestling career and residency as a multiple-time alternate on the US Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team, Randy Couture decided to take the gamble and enter the Octagon. Living up to his moniker, “The Natural” won the UFC 13 heavyweight tournament with two fast first-round finishes. Then he did the unthinkable at the time and scored a TKO over “The Phenom,” Vitor Belfort, to earn his shot at the UFC heavyweight title. The future UFC Hall of Famer would win the belt off then-champ Maurice Smith via majority decision. Couture vacated the title to only win it back via TKO in his UFC return against Kevin Randleman. Capping off “Captain America’s” illustrious win streak was his legendary first title defense against Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo at UFC 31 followed by the rematch win at UFC 34.
Rich Franklin - 7
While the first person on this list – Silva – has overshadowed his middleweight legacy, fight fans should never forget what a beast Rich Franklin was during his seven-fight winning streak. “Ace” jumped on to the scene with a first-round drubbing of eventual UFC middleweight champ Evan Tanner. From there, Franklin recorded five consecutive finishes. “Ace” would go on to successfully defend the belt twice with a wildly memorable beat down of David Loiseau and one of the greatest highlight reel knockouts in all combat sports against Nate Quarry.
Benson Henderson - 7
There was a lot of pressure placed on the WEC roster when it merged with the UFC, especially at 155 pounds, where the two talent-rich pools of fighters would collide head-on. Leading the charge for the subsidiary’s legitimacy was former WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. “Smooth” rebounded from his first loss in 11 fights by claiming the Octagon as his own with seven straight wins, which included winning the UFC lightweight strap and successfully defending it three times. Much like it was in the WEC, no one has been able to stop Henderson minus current UFC champ Anthony Pettis, who “Smooth” is working toward another shot at.
Pat Miletich - 7
There was just something about Pat Miletich and the Octagon that clicked. “The Croatian Sensation” made his debut inside the famed eight-sided cage at UFC 16 as part of the welterweight (then called lightweight) tournament. Miletich would take two wins, including one over US Olympic wrestling silver medalist Townsend Saunders and the tournament crown. Over the next few years, Miletich would compete in the UFC as well as other organizations, but the future UFC Hall of Famer always appeared at his best inside the Octagon. Miletich would become the first UFC welterweight champion and go on to successfully defend it four times.
Jim Miller - 7
Starting at UFC 100, Jim Miller cut a blue streak through the UFC’s lightweight division with high profile wins over The Ultimate Fighter winner Mac Danzig, an armbar on Duane “Bang” Ludwig, and a unanimous decision over Gleison Tibau, who Miller has been battling neck-and-neck with for most wins in the division’s history. Possibly, the New Jersey BJJ black belt’s finest moment was the lightning-quick kneebar over Charles Oliveira at UFC 124, which earned Miller one of his three Submission of the Night bonuses.
George Sotiropoulos - 7
Following his stint on The Ultimate Fighter six, George Sotiropoulos cobbled together an impressive and, somehow, under-the-radar seven-fight win streak, with two wins at welterweight and five at lightweight. The Greek-Australian fighter put his BJJ black belt to good use by securing four submission wins and earning two Fight of the Night bonuses. Arguably, Sotiropoulos’ best performance came at UFC 123 in his final Octagon win, where he submitted Joe Lauzon and earned one of his two previously mentioned bonuses.
Cain Velasquez - 7
Finally, current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez kicked off his Octagon career by steamrolling his first seven opponents en route to being crowned the division’s best at UFC 121 with his first-round Knockout of the Night-earning and belt-earning win over Brock Lesnar. Actually, six of Velasquez’s first seven UFC wins were by KO, with a lone unanimous decision win against Cheick Kongo. Following his streak being snapped by Junior Dos Santos at the inaugural UFC on FOX event, Velasquez has taken back the title and rattled off four wins in a row.