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 411mania » MMA » Columns

The 411 MMA Top 10 12.09.13: The Top 10 Recent TUF Alumni
Posted by Alex Rella on 12.09.2013

Top Ten Recent TUF Alumni
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What's up everybody, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week I count down the ten best recent TUF alumni. I was originally going to write about all the current TUF alumni still competing today, but then I decided to talk about the more recent seasons. The reasons being is that guys like Rashad Evans and Michael Bisping have gotten enough attention over the years and I mostly wanted to show that TUF is still producing some pretty good fighters. I've decided to start the rankings from the GSP vs Koscheck season (it's about halfway) until the most recent season that just wrapped up. The rankings are based on the fighters' records, respective divisional rankings, past performances, and my opinion on stuff like potential.

Honorable Mentions:
Al Iaquinta- He lost to Michael Chiesa in the finals but has since won two fun fights.

Ronny Jason- The first winner of TUF Brazil just suffered his first loss in the UFC, but he still has the makings to become a top featherweight.

Tony Ferguson- TUF 13 winner has a nice 4-1 record in the UFC and is a well rounded fighter, but he's only fought twice from 2012-13.

Akira Corassani- Dennis Bermudez knocked him out of TUF season 14, but he's 3-0 in the UFC so far.

Juliana Pena- the first lady to win TUF has some real potential even though she's nuts.

10: Brian Caraway

Bryan Caraway starts the list up this week. Yea I know he's a total douche, but he's a pretty good fighter when you look past that. Caraway started his MMA career back in 2005 and he competed in Strikeforce, EliteXC, and the WEC before competing on TUF. Caraway competed as a featherweight on the pretty stacked Bisping vs Miller season and would reach the semifinals before losing to Diego Brandao. Caraway has since dropped down to bantamweight and has gone 4-1 in the UFC which includes a Submission and Fight of the Night. He only lost to Mizugaki in a close split decision and some lackluster coaching by Miesha Tate let him down in that one. I was surprised he was scheduled to fight on the TUF finale or for UFC 168.

9: Steven Siler

Most guys come into TUF these days with only a handful fights on their resume, Steven Siler came into the show more experienced than most of his competition with a record of 18-9. He lost in the quarterfinals to eventual winner Diego Brandao, but he's shown that he can hang in the UFC as he has a 5-2 record inside the Octagon. This includes wins over Cole Miller and a big first round knockout against former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown. It's unlikely he'll ever make a title run, but Siler will have a UFC career for years to come.

8: Myles Jury

Myles Jury first competed on season 13 of TUF, but injured his knee on the first episode and was unable to compete. He would get another chance to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Live as a member of Team Cruz. Jury came into the show with a perfect 9-0 record with most of his fights coming out of King of the Cage. Unfortunately, he lost by split decision to Al Iaquinta in the first round. Though Jury took his token spot on the TUF 15 finale prelims and he's run with it. His last fight was the shits, but still Jury has won four in a row in the UFC and has earned the chance to take on an opponent in that top twenty range next.

7: Michael Chiesa

The Ultimate Fighter: Live was an interesting season. The premise of live fights was intriguing, Faber and Cruz genuinely dislike each other, and it had a lot of good fighters who are still with the UFC today. The best story of the season was Michael Chiesa as he was able to overcome a loss in the family and reach the finals. He submitted Team Faber teammate Al Iaquinta in the finals and now has a 10-1 record (3-1 UFC). Chiesa is a submission specialist as eight of his ten wins have come by way of submission. His grappling is definitely good enough to keep him in the UFC for years, but he could become a top fifteen lightweight as he gets older and improves his striking.

6: Norman Parke

Norman Parke is quietly on a really nice winning streak. The Northern Irishman is on a nine fight winning streak which includes three inside the UFC. Parke started training in judo while a teenager and started his MMA career back in 2006. The winner of The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, Parke defeated Colin Fletcher in the finals. He now has an impressive record of 19-2 at only 26 years old. He's been dominant in the UFC so far, but I would like to see him move up in competition in his next fight so we can see how good he really is.

5: T.J. Dillashaw

T.J. Dillashaw was recently knocked out of title contention, but he still has real potential. A former top Pac-10 wrestler and current member of Team Alpha Male, Dillashaw was a member of Team Bisping on TUF season 14. He reached the finals, but would lose to John Dodson. Dillashaw would win his next four fights before recently losing an exciting close split decision to Raphael Assunção. Despite the loss, he's still in the UFC's top ten rankings and in the top fifteen overall bantamweight rankings. I expect Dillashaw to get back into contention eventually as he is a great wrestler and his striking improves in every fight. His fight with Mike Easton in January should be a good one.

4: Kelvin Gastelum

I really enjoyed the Jones vs Sonnen season of TUF. Originally I tuned in just to see Sonnen talk trash and rip apart Jon Jones for weeks, but it turned out to be so much better. Sonnen was one of the best coaches ever as he put his animosity towards Jones aside and put all his energy into making his fighters better. Plus the fights and level of competition were just great. The biggest surprise of the season was Sonnen's final pick, Kelvin Gastelum. Gastelum upset every fighter and truly grew better with each fight. He beat Uriah Hall in the finals and then dropped down to welterweight since he's only 5'9. Gastelum submitted Brian Melancon in his 170 lb debut to remain undefeated at 7-0. He's currently on the sidelines with a torn PCL, but I expect great things when he returns. Gastelum has great striking power which he uses to setup his wrestling nicely. I think Gastelum has all the makings to become a top fighter in the UFC's welterweight division.

3: Dennis Bermudez

Dennis Bermudez came into the Ultimate Fighter season 14 with a 7-2 record competing at lightweight. Bermudez has been much more successful since dropping down to featherweight. Bermudez would lose to Diego Brandao in a Fight of the Night performance in the finals but he hasn't lost since then. Bermudez has been slowly climbing up the featherweight rankings as he is on an impressive five fight winning streak. This includes a win over fellow Team Miller member Steven Siler and Matt Grice in a fight of the year candidate. I'd like to see him take on a top fifteen fighter in his next fight.

2: Diego Brandao

Diego Brandao competed on the fairly stacked featherweight portion of the Bisping vs Miller season of TUF. A member of Team Bisping, Brandao knocked out Steven Siler and Bryan Caraway to reach the finals. Brandao got rocked by Dennis Bermudez in the finals but pulled out a nice armbar as he won the season and the Submission and Fight of the Night bonuses. He lost to Darren Elkins in his next fight, but he won his next three and now has a huge fight coming up next month against Dustin Poirier at UFC 168. Poirier is good, but he has some holes in his game, so Brandao could pull off the upset. A win for Brandao would put him at the top of the division.

1: John Dodson

Coming out of the Bisping vs Miller season, John Dodson is one of the best flyweights in the world and one of the most exciting fighters today. Dodson (15-6) competed as a bantamweight on Team Mayhem and would knock out T.J. Dillashaw in the finale to win the season. Dodson would then return to flyweight and pick up victories over Tim Elliot and Jussier Formiga to earn a title shot against Demetrious Johnson. Dodson lost to Mighty Mouse, but it was a really great fight. Dodson improved his UFC record to 4-1 with his recent Knockout of the Night victory over Darrell Montague. I was really disappointed when Dodson pulled out of his upcoming fight with Scott Jorgensen as it would have been awesome, but it happens. Not only is Dodson great but he does have the benefit of competing in a new division so it won't be long before he competes for gold again in the UFC.

So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fighter out that you thought should be in the top 10.
As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
For next week, I want to do the ten best draws of all time but I'm a few short at the moment.

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