This was a tough list to put together, as there have been plenty of un-earned title shots handed out over the years. This despite what Dana White has been telling Luke Rockhold recently.

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Before we begin, there are several omissions which could use a little explaining:

Notable Omissions:

  • John Lober received a questionable LHW title shot at UFC 17.5 (UFC Brazil) despite being on a 7-fight winless skid. His last win had been against current UFC LHW champ, Frank Shamrock however, which is why he got the title shot he did. Shamrock avenged the loss in a little over 7 minutes.
  • Tank Abott received a similarly questionable title shot at UFC 15, despite having lost his last 2 fights in the promotion. The title shot was awarded due to lack of available challengers however, and Abbott had proven at that point he’d fight anybody. So we’re giving his undeserved title shot a pass. Elvis Sinosic’s 2001 title shot against Tito Ortiz is getting a pass for similar reasons as well.
  • We are also giving Matt Serra’s title shot against GSP a pass, as he had to get through 3 tough fights to earn that title shot. This wasn’t today’s version of TUF with unknown fighters; he had to defeat Pete Spratt, Shonie Carter, and Chris Lytle to win that tournament.
  • Champions moving up in weight to challenge another division’s champion are also getting a pass. This should come as upsetting news for the BJ Penn and Conor McGregor haters out there.

Here are 7 fighters whose title shots were far more undeserving:

Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Michael Bisping (red gloves) fights against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

6. Dan Henderson – UFC 204

When Dan Henderson challenged UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, at UFC 204, he had only won 3 of his last 9 fights. He only had a UFC winning percentage of 25% the last 5 years, yet somehow “earned” a title shot.

Granted, Hendo did defeat Bisping at UFC 100. Between UFC 100 & 204 Bisping lost to 4 other fighters as well however. Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Tim Kennedy, and former champion Luke Rockhold all were victorious over Bisping in that time period. None of the aforementioned fighters received title shots though, just Henderson.

Despite only being ranked #14 heading into the bout, many felt Henderson won. If fights were judged based purely on how much damage was visible, Henderson would have walked away champion that night.

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Ian is a MMA writer based out of Toronto, ON Canada. An avid mixed martial arts enthusiast and passionate fan since he was born, Ian has been writing about mixed martial arts for over 5 years.