The UFC roster is now a huge and sprawling roster of over 600 fighters. Unsurprisingly, several of them end up falling under the radar of fans.
Right now, the UFC is home to several A-list fighters who are under the radar, but actually have surprisingly good records in the Octagon.
Whether these wrestlers can find a way to become stars in 2023, or if they continue to go unannounced, remains a question mark at this point. However, it is safe to say that in terms of their abilities, they are all worth watching.
Here are five under-the-radar fighters who actually have great UFC records.
#5. Roman Dolidze – UFC record: 6-1
Last weekend, Georgian middleweight Roman Dolidze picked up his biggest ufc win to date as he stopped the veteran jack hermanson by technical knockout in the second round.
Before the fight, which Dolidze took over belatedly, Hermansson was ranked No. 8 in the division. So Dolidze is likely to end up moving up to the top 15 in the worst case when the rankings are updated.
However, while he will definitely be out in the open for many fans in 2023, it is arguable that the Georgian should have already garnered huge buzz even before the Hermansson fight.
After all, his current record in the Octagon is an impressive 6-1, with four of those wins ending by KO or TKO. More specifically, his lone loss to Trevin Giles in March 2021 came under controversial circumstances. Many fans felt that Dolidze, who was making his 185-pound debut, deserved a nod from the judges.
Essentially, Dolidze is a classic example of an exciting fighter who has slowly climbed the mountain in the UFC, taking on tougher and tougher opponents until it becomes impossible to ignore him. Judging by the current form of him, 2023 should see him finally become a known quantity to fans.
#4. Damir Ismagulov – UFC record: 5-0
A look at the UFC’s top 15 lightweights shows a number of names from the promotion’s biggest stars, from islam makhachev Y Dustin Poirier a michael chandler, justin gaethje Y Conor McGregor.
However, one name in the standings that could well go under the radar is Damir Ismagulov. Currently ranked at No. 12, many fans, particularly casual ones, likely won’t be able to pick the Russian out of a lineup.
Despite this, Ismagulov has a remarkably strong 5-0 Octagon record, compiled over the past four years. In fact, he hasn’t lost a fight in MMA overall since September 2015, giving him one of the longest win streaks on the UFC roster.
So why aren’t more people talking about him? Most likely, Ismagulov is yet to finish an opponent inside the Octagon.
Sure, it’s not like he’s been crushing outmatched enemies; Guram Kutateladze and Thiago Moises are extremely complicated fighters. However, it’s harder for the promotion to market to someone who doesn’t have at least one standout ending.
Despite this, Ismagulov clearly has plenty of punching power – he hurt Kutateladze badly in the feet and has 12 previous UFC knockouts to his name. So if he can make it to his first final in 2023, he shouldn’t be lost on anyone anymore.
#3. Chris Gutierrez – UFC record: 7-1-1
When the former UFC lightweight champion frankie edgar announced his plans to retire after a final fight last month, many fans were stunned that Chris Gutierrez was chosen as his last opponent.
After all, the promotion had always tended to use aging veterans to build attractive prospects in their outing, and yet Gutierrez was slipping under the radar of most fans leading up to the fight.
However, in reality, perhaps ‘El Guapo’ should have gained more publicity. He came into his clash with Edgar with an outstanding Octagon record of 6-1-1, with his only loss coming to Raoni Barcelos in his debut in 2018.
More to the point, two of her losses had come in violent fashion, including a spinning fist finisher from Danaa Batgerel. Many fans also felt he deserved the nod in his draw with Cody Durden, which saw him rally from a poor first round to take the final two stanzas.
Gutierrez was able to turn out the lights from Edgar’s Octagon run last month, but given that ‘The Answer’ was already badly damaged before that fight, it seems ‘El Guapo’ remains under the radar.
If he can continue to win, particularly in the same entertaining way he did against Edgar, that could well change in 2023.
#two. Grant Dawson – UFC record: 7-0-1
Typically, any fighter capable of putting together an undefeated UFC record over the course of eight fights would generate a lot of hype, especially if he was able to finish five of his seven wins.
That hasn’t been the case for Grant Dawson, however, who not only remains under the fans’ radar, but also ostensibly with the promotion itself. Despite his outstanding record, ‘KGD’ remains unranked.
Why is this? The likely explanation is that Dawson has floated between weight classes during his UFC career, with his first three wins at 145 pounds and his fourth at a 150-pound catch weight.
Since early 2021, Dawson has fought exclusively as a lightweight, though he did lose weight for his recent fight with Mark Madsen. Given that none of his four 155-pound victims were ranked prior to his fights with him, it makes sense that ‘KGD’ hasn’t cracked the top 15 yet.
Despite this, it is clear that Dawson is ready to run among the elite. Prior to their fight, Madsen was a 12-0 prospect who looked poised for a push to the top, so it’s only fair that ‘KGD’ now has that opportunity.
He may not be the most charismatic fighter on the list, but Dawson certainly is legit and hopefully 2023 will give him the chance to prove it against the best in the world.
#1. Belal Muhammad – UFC record: 13-3-1
You can no longer see that most of the fighters who break into the UFC top 10 in his weight class fly under the radar, but somehow, he still feels like a welterweight contender. Belal Mohammed is being unfairly ignored.
‘Remember the Name’ has a remarkably strong 13-3-1 Octagon record, hasn’t lost a fight since January 2019 and is coming off a brutal knockout of a highly touted prospect in Sean Brady.
Despite this, many fans simply don’t mention him in terms of potential 170-pound title contenders, preferring to talk about the likes of Khamzat ChimaevColby Covington and Gilbert Burns.
To say that it is difficult to understand would be an understatement. With wins over Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia on his ledger along with that win over Brady, Muhammad’s record stands taller than any other welterweight in the promotion.
More interestingly, it’s not that Muhammad isn’t charismatic either. In fact, he is arguably one of the best mic workers in the division.
Basically, it seems like he just can’t be ignored for much longer, and one more big win in 2023 could propel him to stardom.