The Ultimate Fighting Championship has become the top sport in the mixed martial arts (MMA) segment. Every fighter worth his name wants to be a part of the franchise. They pay the fighters a fee per match based on their popularity and the sponsorship for the event.
But the UFC is no longer the only destination for MMA fighters. There are other promoters like KSW, ONE, Combate Americas, etc. making the sport popular. Sometimes, fighters are asked to leave or retire. But in other cases, they choose to leave to pursue other fighting sports/promoters. In this article, we will focus on fighters who left the UFC to go to other organizations.
Benson Henderson came into UFC when the WEC merged with the premier fighting league in 2010. He became a Lightweight Champion at UFC but left the series around February 2016 to join Bellator MMA.
Sage Northcutt came to the UFC after winning the Legacy Fighting Championship 44 and had his first fight in the series as a lightweight fighter. In 2018, he left the series to join ONE Championship.
Demetrious Johnson left the UFC and joined ONE in October 2018. He spent eight years at the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The UFC promoter traded in him for ONE’s welterweight champion Ben Askren. Explaining his decision, Johnson said he joined ONE because he wanted to tour the world and fight in different places, especially Asia.
Kyoji Horiguchi left the championship to join RIZIN. Horiguchi is considered as the best flyweights in the world. But the UFC champion left the series in 2016 to go fight in the Rizin ring. Why did he leave such a lucrative career when he was at the top of his weight class? Because Rizin offered him better pay and better sponsorship deals.