The UFC has recently parted ways with three fighters, two of them being notable names.
Darren Till, Zubaira Tukhugov, and Jose Johnson were surprisingly removed from the roster. Fighters being cut from the UFC is not an uncommon occurrence. However, when names like these get let go, one has to wonder — What went wrong?
Darren Till – The Tale of Icarus
At the top of our list of cut UFC fighters today, we have Darren Till. Entering the UFC with a record of 12-0, he was a promising prospect from the very beginning. Once he entered the big leagues, he began making waves by quickly racking up 6 wins in a row over names like Nicolas Dalby, Donald Cerrone, and Stephen Thompson. Much like the tale of Icarus, not yielding warnings and flying too close to the sun, similar would happen to Darren Till.
In his next bout, he faced then UFC Champion Tyron Woodley, who would submit him in the second round. After that, a fight with Jorge Masvidal would have him see the same fate, a second-round finish, this time via TKO. Having suffered two losses in a row, he would turn around 7 months later to face Kelvin Gastelum and edge a split decision victory. This would be his last win in the UFC…
Once you get to the upper echelon of competition, there are only killers waiting to face you at the top. Till found this out in his last 3 matches against Robert Whittaker, Derek Brunson, and Dricus Du Plessis.
Zubaira Tukhugov – Living in the Shadow of Greatness
Being attached to greatness comes with plenty of benefits. However, as with most things, there are pros and cons. We’ve seen a great number of fighters rising from Dagestan, and Zubaira seemed to be another to keep an eye on. Entering the UFC at 15-3, he looked to be a well-rounded fighter that was comfortable anywhere the fight went. With a submission win, a few knockouts, and mostly decisions, he seemed to be following in the footsteps of his training partner and friend, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Once in the UFC, Zubaira struggled to find consistency in stringing together a real run of wins. In its entirety, his UFC record ends at 6-3, which isn’t the worst record we’ve seen. In fact, we’ve seen people skirt by with far worse records… But this isn’t what likely caused the UFC to part ways with Tukhugov. The main reason for the departure is likely due to a number of issues with pulling out of fights, as well as missing weight.
Multiple weight misses at featherweight (145lbs) led him to go up in weight to the lightweight division (155lbs). He then missed the cutoff for lightweight, coming in at 157.5lbs. Unfortunately unable to rise up above the shadow casted by Khabib, Zubaira has been officially released into free agency.
Jose Johnson – Over Before It Started
Jose Johnson competed on Dana White’s Contender Series in August of 2022 to earn his UFC contract with a hard fought decision victory over Jack Cartwright. Since then, he has been training hard for his UFC Debut which was scheduled for November 2022. However, due to an undisclosed medical issue, he was forced to pull out of said fight.
Following this, Johnson was scheduled to face Garret Armfield on February 25. On February 23, he was forced to pull out of his second scheduled UFC bout. As a result, the UFC has decided to part ways with him.
This is very much a case of, “it was over before it started.” It does feel like Jose Johnson is a talented young fighter that we didn’t give much of a chance. The big issue is that we don’t know what is going on with him medically, and if it is something that is proving to be a recurring issue, it makes sense for the UFC to part ways with him.
What do you make of these fighters being removed from the roster? How many losses should a fighter be allotted before being cut from the roster, how many medical pull outs for that matter?