UFC: Seven under 30 – Update

23 Aug , 2018,

Some time back, we published an article speculating on who will be the first UFC fighter to reach 30 bouts in the Octagon.

Almost six month later, some of the fighters on this list added to their tally, while others retired or left the promotion. Let’s take a look at who is now the most likely to reach this record first – and the seven has dwindled down to 5 active fighters.

But first, a few notes:

  1. While for most purposes we ignore No Contests (i.e. treat them as if the fight never happened), for the purpose of this record they are considered as valid fights. Once the Octagon doors close and the referee signals the start of action, it’s a fight – no matter if it’s eventually ruled a No Contest. This gives a one-up to Jim Miller.
  2. ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ house fights – generally termed “pro-exhibition bouts” are not counted. If they were included, TUF alumni Diego Sanchez and Michael Bisping would have three and two additional fights each, respectively.
  3. Though Tito Ortiz and Frank Mir both have 27 UFC bouts, they are not included in this list as the probability of either fighting in the UFC again – let alone three more times – is infinitesimally small.
  4. The ‘Average Fights Per Year’ calculation does not include any fights which took place in 2018. The year of fighter’s UFC debut is included in the calculation only if the fighter fought two or more times in their first calendar year; any fights in other promotions in the same year but prior to the fighter’s UFC debut are not included.

Next, the dropouts since the last article:

[#NR MW] Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping has officially announced his retirement from MMA in May 2018, sharing the current record with 29 UFC fights.

[#237 LW]  Gleison Tibau
Gleison Tibau has been released from UFC after losing a decision to Desmond Green at Fight Night 131. He shares the record for second place with 28 UFC fights.

That said, here are our remaining five, listed in the order of likelihood that they will reach the magic number 30 first:

[#42 LW]  Jim Miller
Age: 34
UFC Fights: 29
UFC Debut: October 18, 2008
Current Streak: L-4
Average Fights Per Year: 2.8

Despite losing his last four, Jim Miller has a fight with [#110 LW] Alex White lined up for UFC 228 on September 8. Should both men remain injury free for the next 15 days, Miller will be the sole record holder very soon, though he is unlikely to hold the record for long with Stephens and Cowboy breathing down his neck – especially if he loses his fifth in a row.

[#5 FW]  Jeremy Stephens 
Age: 32
UFC Fights: 29
UFC Debut: May 26, 2007
Current Streak: L-1
Average Fights Per Year: 2.45 (includes one fight outside of UFC in 2007 – good old days when Zuffa occasionally let their fighters compete in other promotions)

Jeremy ‘Hands of Stone’ Stephens was on one hell of a three-fight win streak and had title shot aspirations, which were stopped short with the first round TKO loss to former champion Jose Aldo at UFC on Fox 30 (fittingly enough). Despite the loss, Stephens has already fought three times in 2018 and will quite possibly surpass 30 fights by the end of the year.

[#15 WW]  Donald Cerrone
Age: 35
UFC Fights: 28
UFC Debut: February 5, 2011
Current Streak: L-1
Average Fights Per Year: 3.71

Cerrone lost a close decision to [#13 WW] Leon Edwards in his most recent outing, putting him two fights away from the record. He already has one lined up against [#23 WW] Mike Perry in November, so I would not be surprised to see him reach 30 in 2018.

[#11 WW] Demian Maia
Age: 40
UFC Fights: 28
UFC Debut: October 20, 2007
Current Streak: L-3
Average Fights Per Year: 2.6

Maia lost to [#6 WW] Kamaru Usman in his last fight, extending his losing streak to three decision losses to the three best wrestlers in the division. It’s clear that at 40 he no longer has the gas tank to utilize his elite grappling to neutralize or submit high level wrestlers, and he’s never had the athleticism or the striking game to fall back on. Maia’s days in UFC are nearing the end, he doesn’t have any fights lined up, and will most likely hang up the gloves if he loses his next one – not making it to 30.


[#98 WW]  Diego Sanchez
Age: 36
UFC Fights: 27
UFC Debut: April 9, 2005
Current Streak: L-2
Average Fights Per Year: 2.08

Nothing has changed for Sanchez since his last fight, other than dropping a couple of spots in the rankings and being scheduled for a fight against [#143 WW] Craig White on UFC 228. To be frank, I still don’t see him sticking around UFC for another 3 fights… but hey, it’s Diego, so you never know.