"The Ultimate Fighter" has turned into the greatest way for the Ultimate Fighting Championship to recruit fighters into the promotion. The light heavyweight finals in the debut season featuring Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin may be responsible for the rapid success of the sport. As we saw with that season, both fighters earned contracts for the UFC and in the 14 seasons that followed, countless other stars were born, despite not winning the show.
Who are the most successful TUF alumni that didn't win their season?
Koscheck didn't make it to the finals in the first season of TUF, but has gone on to have a remarkable career. He lost to Diego Sanchez on the show, but has gone into the UFC and been one of the best stars from the show. He is 15-4 in the UFC, including huge wins against Sanchez, Chris Lytle, Anthony Johnson and Matt Hughes.
Florian was ousted by Sanchez in the finals of the opening season, but has wound up having the better career. Florian recently retired from the sport, but leaves behind a lasting legacy. Some will remember him for struggling in the big fights and while I will also remember that, I also respect the fact that he competed at a high level in four weight classes.
Maynard is one of the most talented lightweights in the world and is coming off the completion of one of the greatest trilogies in the history of the sport. Between his no contest against Rob Emerson and his loss to Frankie Edgar at UFC 136, Maynard went unbeaten, defeating many of the top fighters in the division, including Nate Diaz, Florian, Jim Miller and Edgar.
Other successful fighters:
Chris Leben, 12-7 UFC record
Matt Hamill, 9-4 UFC record
Joe Lauzon, 8-4 UFC record
For a look at the best fights for some of the most popular fighters in the UFC and 2011 division recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.