We are in a weird time for the record books as it concerns UFC Championships. Now more than ever the titles have been watered down as they mean less with every interim title fight. Champions choosing not to defend their titles in order to challenge for other belts, longtime champions failing USADA tests and forever placing an asterisk next to their championship records… these are strange days for UFC Champions.
It seems a fitting time in the sport’s history to review the 10 worst champions in UFC history. A few ground rules apply before we begin, however. For starters, this article is only going to deal with undisputed champions. Otherwise, we could list every interim champion in UFC history who was never able to wear the undisputed title. Names like Carlos Condit and Shane Carwin fall into this category. As does Tony Ferguson but that’s a whole other mess to deal with.
In order for a champion to qualify for this list, they must have won an undisputed title but lost it almost as quickly as they gained it. Then, to narrow the field further, the champions listed here all demonstrated that while they may have won championship gold, they were far from the greatest fighter in their weight class. In some cases, the fighter would never again sit near the top of the division they were once champion of.
Let’s start things off with UFC Hall-of-Famer and former Light Heavyweight Champion, Forrest Griffin.
10. Forrest Griffin
With all due respect to Forrest Griffin, he was never a top-tier Light Heavyweight fighter. Is he a legend in the sport? Sure. Is his fight with Stephan Bonnar an all-time classic which deserves its place in the UFC Hall of Fame? Absolutely. Was Forrest Griffin one of the worst Light Heavyweight Champions in UFC History? One-hundred percent correct.
Griffin’s career peaked in 2007-08 when he won two of the biggest fights in his career. He pulled off a huge upset over Shogun Rua at UFC 76 which earned him a title shot at Quinton “Rampage” Jackson the following summer. Griffin then pulled off another big upset by scoring a decision victory over Rampage at UFC 86. His title run lasted a little over 8 months.
Griffin’s first title challenger was Rashad Evans, who promptly knocked him out in the 3rd round to take his title. Following this fight, however, is when Griffin really got embarrassed. Anderson Silva needed just 3:23 to knock Forrest out and send him running from the octagon. Silva made Griffin looks so amateur by comparison, it made fans wonder how exactly he was ever champion. Griffin would fight just 4 more times in his career and eventually was forced to retire due to nagging knee injuries. He was hired by the UFC after his retirement for what was believed to have been a no-show job similar to those offered to Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell. Griffin kept showing up for work, however, and is still there to this day.