Sometimes, fans stick with their fighter and support them through thick and thin, career highs and lows. Although, the majority of people are jumping from the one bandwagon to the next; also known as the Conor McGregor train. The UFC has over 500 contracted fighters under its umbrella, so finding one to stand behind isn’t too hard.

Character, ‘fan friendly’- fighting style, technik, consistency, heart is just to name a few aspects fans like myself are looking for when watching UFC fight cards every time they show one.

To pick only five, one in 100 people isn’t particular fair for the rest of the fighters, or making it particularly easy for me to choose. I admire so many of them, if not all, for different reason but I decided not to drive myself too crazy over this and I have convinced myself that the heaven’s gate will still open for me the when my day comes.

So, without further ado, here are the ‘Top 5 Fan Favorite Fighters Without a UFC Belt’ at this current time, in no particular order.

 

#2 Lightweight Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone

With 15 career ‘Post Fight Bonuses’, five of them was earned in the WEC and ten in the UFC, Cowboy has made it clear for a while now that he is always ready to jump into his humongous RV and drive to a UFC event, lace up the gloves and throw down.

Cowboy has mentioned for many years that he wishes that his legacy after he’s done fighting is to be fans saying, “What? Cowboy is fighting? Turn left here to the bar, we are watching the fight!”, and I believe he has succeed doing so.

There is an expression that fans, media and even fellow fighters use after watching Mr. Cerrone tear through four fights a year, for the past couple of years, short notice or not and always stays ready. ‘The Cowboy Cerrone Approach’.

#7 Heavyweight Ben Rothwell

Rothwell might not fight as often as Cerrone, sometimes not by his own accord, but when he gets to the Octagon, you’re in for a treat. His charismatic persona that has popped up in the later years, with his amazing post fight dance moves and the evil villain laugh (doesn’t hurt that he knocking fools out cold too). Ben shows the crowd that just because the fight might be over, doesn’t mean that the show is.

Three victories in a row, three stoppages, knockouts and a submission, Rothwell is calling out the big names on top of what he sees as his division, to clear the road for his long awaited title shot.

He himself has come out and said that he views the fight game differently these days, and it shows. Rothwell’s attitude is a clear breath of fresh air in the sometimes stale heavyweight division.

#4 Bantamweight Urijah Faber

The guy nobody can hate, not even Conor McGregor dislikes him it seems like, even when trying. If you follow ‘The Ultimate Fighter season 22’ and the interviews made from it, you can see, everybody loves Faber.

Eleven’Fight of the Night’ and Performance bonuses (WEC 7/UFC 4), and three title shots alone divided in two weight classes in the the biggest mixed martial arts organization in the world, Faber is among the best the sport has to offer. In other words, he’s no easy task. At the same time, keeping it entertaining in the cage with his particular style of fighting and finishing ability, Faber’s caught the hearts of many over the years.

Faber might have come up short in those title bouts and has been told few times that it isn’t written in the stars for another shot at the title. None of this talk means squat for a superhuman, real life miniature He-Man like Urijah Faber. He is even now, again, in the conversation for another title fight in the bantamweight division versus his former Alpha Male teammate and recently lost, right-hand man, T.J. Dillashaw.

Welterweight/Middleweight Nick Diaz

If you haven’t lived under a rock and followed the MMA news recently, you probably already guessed that this man has a strong following after fighting over a decade in the biggest organizations during these times. His ‘Stockton motherf***er’ taunts to opponents facing him is not only hard for fans to drag their eyes away from, but his opponents as well.

Even though he has been losing more than winning (1-3 in his past four fights), he keeps getting main event slots on cards, facing big names like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, BJ Penn and Carlos Condit.

The ‘#FREENICKDIAZ’ movement was started of course because of the injustice from the Nevada Athletic Commission after giving Diaz five years for something he probably shouldn’t even have been punished for at all. However, I doubt many other would receive similar fan support like Diaz got.

100,000 signatures on a petition inside of a month to give to the government and show them that the people disagree with the ruling from the NAC.

Both parties are now in talks about a settlement to stop the loud outcry and, excuse my language, shitstorm that came against the NAC because of their handling of the process and ultimately the verdict.

#2 Light Heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson

I don’t know how many people get title fights coming off a knockout loss from his most recent fight. Though, arguably he is the best fighter today that’s coming out of Europe without a shiny gold belt to show for it, but what he gained from losing those two title fights with thin margin against Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier is being a part in two of the most entertaining and nail biting title fights in light heavyweight history.

The respect alone Gustavsson got from fight fans, and his home country Sweden from those two fights is going to keep him in fans minds for a while when it comes to fantastic title challengers in the 205-pound division.

Honorable mentions: Miesha Tate, Matt Brown, Mark Hunt, Michael Bisping, Mirko Cro Cop, Roy Nelson, Joe Lauzon, Rory MacDonald, Nate Diaz, Dan Henderson, and Anthony Johnson.

About The Author

Christian Larusson
Staff Writer

Christian Larusson is a passionate Mixed Martial Arts fan. With experience in writing for Swedish MMA sites, he now solely writes in English through blogging, PunchDrunkSports and The MMA Corner. Got his heart broken early in his life when a friend, ‘Judas’, told him that WWE/WWF wasn’t real. Then one day, he saw MMA on a friend's computer, he was overwhelmed with emotions from what his eyes had just seen. He´s been in love ever since. Christian has been published in different Swedish papers and books, nothing to do with MMA though, so who gives a shh-.