What is a Journeyman in the UFC? | Explained
The term 'Journeyman' has been thrown around a lot over the years as an insult, by MMA fighters.
In this page, we will explain what a Journeyman means in the context of UFC.
Table of Contents
What is a Journeyman in the UFC?
A Journeyman in the UFC is a competitive fighter who found success to the point where they became contenders, but were never able to win the fight that allowed them to fight for the championship belt, and win the belt.
However, a common belief by some MMA fans is that any fighter who was unable to win a UFC title is a journeyman fighter.
That is not necessarily correct, as there have been many elite fighters who competed for the UFC championship belt, but were never able to become champions.
Below, you'll see the tiers for UFC fighters:
- Champions - Won the UFC belt
- Contenders - Fought for the UFC belt and/or won the #1 contender fight
- Journeymen - Won fights, but also lost many fights, and never fought for the belt
Why is Jorge Masvidal Called a Journeyman?
However, is that name warranted?
According to the actual definition of a journeyman, Masvidal isn't a journeyman as he became a contender for the belt, and would fight for the UFC Welterweight belt twice.
The main reason why Masvidal is called a Journeyman is due to his double digit losses (15+), as well as not reaching mainstream popularity until later in his career.
It wasn't until he got rid of his short hair, grew his hair out, and knocked out Darren Till and Ben Askren in 5 seconds, that he achieved the most success of his career.
Prior to that, he was known by hardcore fans, but was mostly famous for always losing via Split Decision.
Most Notable Journeymen in the UFC
Michael Johnson may have the weirdest career in the history of MMA, when it's all said and done.
Johnson would knockout elite fighters such as Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza and Dustin Poirier.
However, he would lose to the most random MMA fighters who shouldn't beat him when you use MMA math.
Johnson is the definition of 'Any Given Day', as fans have no idea what to expect when he fights.
Jeremy Stephens is one of the most well-known fighters to be a journeyman.
Fans love him as he is willing to fight any person at any time, and fight them with bad intentions, never being intimidated.
However, Stephens was never able develop a large enough win streak to fight for the belt, as he would rack up 20+ losses in his career.
Pearson had a similar career to Stephens, as he was able to deliver exciting fights, in between several weight classes.
However, he would ultimately never compete for the UFC belt, and would ultimately retire with a 20-17 MMA record.