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UFC History: They Fought There

Here is a shortlist of fighters who have made a pit stop before the UFC that you may have forgotten about

Throughout the nearly three-decade history of mixed martial arts, fighters have come and gone, worked their way up to the top and worn out their welcome. During that time, many have attached themselves to different brands such as Urijah Faber’s synonymous tie to WEC, DC’s link to Strikeforce and Kazushi Sakuraba’s unmistakable identity as a PRIDE FC fighter.

Sometimes, the long, winding road to the Octagon takes fighters to places that got lost in the shuffle of MMA memories.

Here is a shortlist of fighters who have made a pit stop you may have forgotten about.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Cage Warriors 69: Super Saturday

The fight the catapulted one of the greatest champions in women’s MMA history into the UFC was Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s right hand ending the career of Rosi Sexton at Cage Warriors 69 in 2014.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rosi Sexton here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/42433
Also available free on UFC FIGHT PASS Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/UFCFightPass/videos/151312329328363/

Jose Aldo
Pancrase: 2007 Neo-Blood Tournament Finals

It was the last “bolt tightening” fight for Jose Aldo before he went on to light the WEC, and eventually the UFC, on fire. And after the decision victory, it was clear Jose Aldo was destined for the brightest of lights.

Jose Aldo vs Shoji Maruyama here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/41636

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 11: Robbie Lawler reacts to his victory over Rory MacDonald in their UFC welterweight title fight during the UFC 189 event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 11: Robbie Lawler reacts to his victory over Rory MacDonald in their UFC welterweight title fight during the UFC 189 event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

Robbie Lawler
PRIDE 32

Robbie Lawler was basically a WEC career short of fighting for every major fight promotion on the planet. While many may remember him from the early UFC era, EliteXC, KOTC, Strikeforce and others, they might not remember his 22-second stint in PRIDE.

Robbie Lawler vs Joey Villasenor here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/31107

Nick Diaz
WEC 6

Already making waves in the MMA community, the 209’s favorite son, Nick Diaz, got the call from the WEC to challenge for their welterweight title in his promotional debut. After winning, Diaz would opt to vacate the title.

Nick Diaz vs Joe Hurley here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/33606

Nate Diaz
Pancrase: 2005 Neo-Blood Tournament Finals & Strikeforce: Shamrock vs Gracie

How is it possible that one of the UFC’s biggest fan favorites managed to sneak two fights by most fans in promotions as big as Pancrase and Strikeforce? Well that’s exactly what happened in Diaz’s second and third career MMA bouts.

Koji Oishi vs Nate Diaz here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/59535

Nate Diaz vs Tony Juares here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/33317

Jens Pulver
Titan FC 18

One of the godfathers of the “go for broke” style, Jens Pulver was looking to right his post-UFC ship, and shortly after a two-plus-year WEC run, Lil’ Evil found himself in the Titan FC Cage.

Brian Davidson vs Jens Pulver here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/42761

Rich Franklin
AFC 1

Possibly the most surprising addition to the list. Yes, Rich Franklin fought at AFC 1. And yes, it’s “that AFC.” After going 2-0 on the UFC Rich Franklin made a trip up to Anchorage to put on a sub-60 second submission clinic before coming back to the Octagon three months later and submitting Jorge Rivera at UFC 50.

Rich Franklin vs Ralph Dillon here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/53827

Dan Severn
WEC 1

 The man fought in 127 MMA fights in his career, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he fought everywhere. It is, however, interesting that in the later run of the WEC geared towards promoting lower weight classes, “The Beast’s” victory in the main event of the inaugural event has gone unintentionally buried.

Dan Severn vs Travis Fulton here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/33810

Daniel Cormier
KOTC Imminent Danger

Commentator Jason “Mayhem” Miller got a front row seat to DC’s MMA incubation. Daniel Cormier, then 3-0, took to the KOTC cage against Tony Johnson. Same style, same tucked in shirt, same DC, just five years before winning UFC gold over a different “Tony Johnson.”

Daniel Cormier vs Tony Johnson here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/39611

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 07: Daniel Cormier celebrates his victory over Stipe Miocic in their UFC heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 226 event inside T-Mobile Arena on July 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 07: Daniel Cormier celebrates his victory over Stipe Miocic in their UFC heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 226 event inside T-Mobile Arena on July 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via

Vitor Belfort
Strikeforce: Revenge

Possibly the least surprising entry on the list is Vitor Belfort stopping by Strikeforce between his second and third stint with the UFC to take on Alistair Overeem. Unfortunately for Belfort, the outcome was the same as their previous matchup in PRIDE only 14 months earlier.

Alistair Overeem vs Vitor Belfort II here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/30883

Vinny Magalhaes
Titan FC 30

After finishing second in TUF 8, Vinny Magalhaes put together a disappointing 1-4 record in the UFC and was looking for a new full time home. In his search, the BJJ phenom stopped by Titan FC, where he submitted Jason Brilz.

Vinny Magalhaes vs Jason Brilz here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/38207

Cain Velasquez
Strikeforce: Tank vs Buentello

Despite not having any previous MMA experience, Cain Velasquez was an enormous favorite in his debut against Jesse Fujarczyk and he quickly showed why in this one round, one-sided beatdown.

Cain Velasquez vs Jesse Fujarczyk here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/31536

Kamaru Usman
Victory FC 41

Back in late 2013, Kamaru Usman was coming off his only MMA loss and fighting in Victory FC. The relatively barebones promotion hosted the current welterweight champ in only his third professional fight, and if you watch the graphics closely there just may be a “Marty” sighting.

Kamaru Usman vs Rashid Abdullah here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/37705

Jessica Andrade vs Milana Dudieva
ProFC 47

Just over three months before making her UFC debut against Liz Carmouche, 8-2 Jessica Andrade made the trip from Brazil to Rostov Oblast, Russia to put future Invicta strawweight Milana Dudieva in a second-round guillotine.

Jessica Andrade vs Milana Dudieva here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/49433

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