Top Ten Most Notable DWCS Alumni

Top Ten Most Notable DWCS Alumni

By ROUNDHOUSE MMA
Thursday, January 26, 2023, 4 days ago

History was made last Saturday night at UFC 283, as Jamahal Hill became the first fighter from the prestigious Dana White’s Contender Series show, to win a UFC title.

In years past, with The Ultimate Fighter, we’ve seen fighters like Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping, Kamaru Usman, TJ Dillashaw, and more, win titles following that show. Matt Serra shocked the world and upset Georges St-Pierre for the Welterweight title after winning TUF 4, Nate Diaz became the global superstar after being introduced on TUF 5, and Tony Ferguson became one of the greatest Lightweights of all time after winning TUF 13. So much history has come from The Ultimate Fighter, and we are finally beginning to see DWCS alumni catch up and achieve their own success following the show.

Inspired by Jamahal Hill, here are the top ten most notable alumni of Dana White’s Contender Series.

10. Dustin Jacoby

Dustin Jacoby has had a long and illustrious fighting career. Previously competing under the GLORY banner against the likes of Alex Pereira and Karl Roberson with his elite kickboxing pedigree, a brief UFC career, and some fights in the World Series of Fighting and Bellator, Jacoby came into DWCS hoping for a career resurgence. In 2020, he defeated Ty Flores by a decision to earn a UFC contract. Since then, Jacoby has amassed a 6-1-1 record and owns a number next to his name in the Light Heavyweight rankings. Despite coming up short against Khalil Rountree Jr. in a controversial loss, Jacoby has all the tools to get on a significant winning streak and move up the 205 ranks.

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9. Alex Perez

Alex Perez competed in MMA for just under six years prior to getting the call to fight on the Contender Series. The Flyweight earned a contract after submitting Kevin Gray by submission in the first round and is most recognized for earning a title shot against Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 255, the first DWCS alumni to do so. Although he came up short, Perez has been a name in the top half of the Flyweight rankings for many years and will continue to be a fighter that is a tough task for anyone.

8. Adrian Yanez

Adrian Yanez lies at number eight on this list, but will surely be higher as his career continues to grow and develop. Yanez is as hot of a prospect as you can find in this sport, with elite boxing ability and extremely fast hands. Ten of his sixteen professional wins have come by knockout and has not lost in the UFC, going 6-0 since earning a contract back in season four. Yanez is currently ranked number 13 and has a massive fight against number six ranked Rob Font at UFC 287.

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7. Andre Muniz

Andre Muniz is amongst the most credentialed and skilled jiu-jitsu practitioners in the sport today. He is feared by many and presents a special kind of problem to anyone he faces. After earning a contract back in season three, Muniz has gone 5-0 in the UFC. Fifteen of his 23 wins have come by submission, including the biggest win of his career over Jacare Souza where he broke his arm. Muniz has an extremely bright future, and he is worth keeping an eye on in the middleweight rankings.

6. Jack Della Maddalena

Jack Della took the UFC by storm in 2022 with three first-round knockouts after winning a contract on DWCS the year prior. Fast and accurate boxing is Jack’s bread and butter, and he has a lot of potential to be a contender in this division as he reaches his prime years. Jack will get the opportunity to fight for the first time under his home crowd of Australia next month at UFC 284 against Randy Brown.

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5. Geoff Neal

Geoff Neal has been a staple of the UFC’s Welterweight rankings for the past few years, but he was amongst one of the first graduates of DWCS, earning a contract in season one. After defeating Chase Waldon by a vicious first-round knockout, Neal won five in a row over legit welterweights Belal Muhammad, Mike Perry, and Niko Price. Neal is coming off a massive knockout of Vicente Luque and is set to face the undefeated Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 285.

4. Jailton Almeida

One of the hottest prospects in the sport right now, Jailton Almeida is a legit talent. He’s been bouncing back and forth between the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight divisions but seems to have his mind set on 265, as he recently defeated Shamil Abdurakhimov back at UFC 283 to enter the top fifteen. Although Almeida is undersized at Heavyweight, he makes up for it with his physical strength and excellent grappling. Almeida has serious power too, which he has shown time and time again. Jailton earned a contract back on season five of the contender series and has the potential to become a UFC champion one day, in multiple weight classes.

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3. Taila Santos

Taila Santos has all the tools to become a UFC champion, the only problem is that the champion of her division is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. Santos came so close to achieving that goal of winning a UFC title and made Valentina Shevchenko look human in their meeting last year. A lot of people thought she won that fight, but Santos is very capable of getting back in the title picture with a win over Erin Blanchfield next month. That would make a rematch with Shevchenko very appealing. Santos has had a great start to her UFC career thus far, after earning a contract on season two of DWCS Brazil, she has gone 4-2 and has already had a shot at the title at 29 years old.

2. Sean O’Malley

Perhaps the most popular and recognizable fighter on this list, Sean O’Malley has already become a major PPV star. He’s flashy, entertaining, and always brings the energy in and out of the octagon. O’Malley is also an early graduate of the contender series, as he won his contract on season one and infamously welcomed everyone to the “Sugar Show.” Since then, O’Malley quickly caught everyone’s eye. He is 8-1 with one NC and is coming off of a huge win over Petr Yan that has him listed as the number one contender at 135. Aljamain Sterling, the champion, will be defending his title against Henry Cejudo next, and O’Malley is sure to receive the next shot.

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1. Jamahal Hill

The man around which this list was created, Jamahal Hill is the most notable alumni from DWCS. Hill came on season three and won a contract with a huge knockout over Alexander Poppeck. Fans quickly took notice of the power in his hands, and Hill began to climb up the Light Heavyweight rankings with a three-fight unbeaten streak. After suffering his first professional loss to Paul Craig, Hill knocked out Jimmy Crute, Johnny Walker, and Thiago Santos and took a title fight against Glover Teixeira on short notice. He dominated and sent Glover into retirement, and won the UFC Light Heavyweight title.

Hill is the first UFC fighter from the contender series to earn a contract, but it is almost certain that there will be plenty more. So many other fighters that did not appear on this list are set to have great careers, but these are the ten that have made their mark thus far.

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