Many fighters used Strikeforce as the stepping stone to a UFC career. Of course not every move is smooth and some fighters flop inside the Octagon.
Not all fighters can make it on the largest scheme of MMA, so there’s no shame here. To reach the Strikeforce or UFC level shows skills played a factor and it takes nothing away from the fighters. Not everyone can shine with all that pressure.
Here are four Strikeforce to UFC transactions that failed.
After two wins, Paul Buentello earned a shot at the UFC heavyweight champion. It took 15 seconds into round one for Andrei Arlovski to knock Buentello out. He would win his next UFC fight and joined Strikeforce after.
Buentello needed three Strikeforce second round stoppages in a row to earn a heavyweight title shot opposite Alistair Overeem. The champion retained in what would be Buentello’s final Strikeforce show before jumping back to the UFC.
In his UFC return, Buentello went to a decision loss with Stefan Struve. It was Struve’s only decision in his 30 fight career. Cheick Kongo choked him out after and Buentello was released.
Since the UFC release, Buentello lost to former UFC champion Tim Sylvia and Bellator’s Cole Konrad.
Before Jake Shields made his way to the UFC, he was champion of different weight classes with several organizations. He was the first EliteXC welterweight titleholder and a former Strikeforce middleweight championship.
Riding a 14 fight win streak, Shields entered the UFC within title contention. After a split-decision win over Martin Kampmann, Shields found himself in the UFC welterweight title picture. He lost the championship shot to Georges St-Pierre and the following bout. He had two wins since, but the UFC 150 one was overturned after he failed a post-fight drug test for a banned substance.
The suspension was for six months effective August. Shields took responsibility for the substance which was not made public due to HIPAA privacy laws in Colorado.
Jason “Mayhem” Miller
It was MTV’s Bully Beatdown that made Jason Miller a star. Just like the title suggest, he would have his way with under skilled bullies. After a few appearances in DREAM, he went to Strikeforce. His reality TV time brought him right into the title picture.
Miller would loss to Jake Shields for the vacant middleweight title and then took a first round win over Tim Stout. By the end of 2011, Miller found himself with the UFC. He lost in his two UFC outings to Michael Bisping and CB Dollaway.
After the loss to Dollaway, Miller would retire at the same time the UFC released him. He ran into trouble with the law on suspicion of burglary after being found in a church. He then would abruptly leave in the middle of a broadcast of The MMA Hour, in which he acted as Lucky Patrick—his character in Here Comes the Boom.
Over a decade ago Phil Baroni started his UFC career at 2-1. He then lost his next four before going to PRIDE. He would go 4-1 for them and got a shot at the Strikeforce middleweight championship. He made his final Strikeforce appearance in 2009. He lost and was suspended afterwards for steroids during the post-fight drug test.
His 14 month return to the UFC saw Baroni handed a pair of losses. He was released and was 3-7 under the UFC name as of 2011.
Baroni has gone 2-3 since his UFC release with major appearances for TFC, ONE FC and DREAM. The DREAM fight was his last fight to date and was a loss to Hayato Sakurai via unanimous decision.