5 of the best active fighters to never win a title

Which current mixed martial artists could be UFC champions if not for bad luck, circumstances, or timing?

UFC belt
UFC belt / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages
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2. Gilbert Burns

Feared welterweight finisher and fan-favorite Gilbert "Durinho" Burns may hold wins over former champions like Tyron Woodley and legends like Demian Maia, but he has never won UFC gold. Despite his immense activity and credentials, he has only challenged for the title once, getting TKO'd by former champion and teammate Kamaru "The Nigerian Nightmare" Usman at UFC 258.

That lone fight in 2021 marks the last time the No. 4 ranked Burns had a title opportunity. The welterweight division has been notoriously jammed at the top and recent circumstances have kept him on the outskirts of contention.

After moving up from lightweight, Burns put on a string of compelling performances on his way to that failed title fight. Even afterward, he's turned down fellow divisional staples like Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, Neil Magny, and Jorge Masvidal. Unfortunately, his "fight all comers mentality" may have hindered him, as it caused him to risk his ranking and come up short twice in matches with Khamzat Chimaev and Belal Muhammad respectively.

Burns is a multiple-time ADCC champion and one of MMA's most decorated grapplers. This gives him a significant edge in the welterweight division's grapple-friendly scope and ensures Burns remains competitive in most contests. The problem is that time isn't on the thirty-seven-year-old Burns's side. He doesn't have a clear path to the title as of yet, but remains active and a fixture at the top in the hopes of capturing that career-defining moment.