Ranking all the DWCS Season 2 contract winners

Dana White's Contender Series contract winners ranked from worst signing to best.
Mar 9, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Maycee Barber before her fight with Katlyn Cerminara (not shown)
Mar 9, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Maycee Barber before her fight with Katlyn Cerminara (not shown) / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Dana White's Contender Series was a hit after its inaugural season, and Season 2 upped the ante. Seven more contracts were given out in Season 2 while also making it the last season to be held at the TUF Training Center before moving to the UFC APEX.

The second season once again went on for eight weeks, which would also be the last time that happened, as it was moved up to 10 weeks starting in season 3. From Season 2, 12 of the 23 contract winners are still with the UFC, though two have stepped away from the sport, and one was re-signed to the roster after appearing on the Ultimate Fighter 31

Plenty of fighters from this list stand out. Anthony "Fluffy" Hernandez could be in title contention with a few more wins. Alonzo Menifield scored the fastest knockout in DWCS history and is ranked No. 13 in the light heavyweight division. Ryan Spann was ranked two spots ahead of Menifield but just lost his third straight at UFC Vegas 91.

Former flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko's sister Antonina debuted this season but hasn't fought in almost two years. Edmen Shahbazyan started his UFC career on fire but has since cooled off. Nigeria's Sodiq Yusuff is ranked No. 15 in the featherweight division and Kennedy Nzechukwu is a player in the light heavyweight division. Here are our rankings for each of the 23 fighters who won a contract in season 2 of DWCS:

Note: Chase Hooper was given a developmental contract on the season but was not officially signed to the UFC until 2019.

23. Jeff Hughes

UFC record: 0-3 (1)

Jeff Hughes had a pretty impressive resume before joining the UFC. Hughes compiled a record of 9-1 with five finishes, claiming LFA's heavyweight title and defending it once before impressing on DWCS. Coming off his title defense against future Ultimate Fighter and PFL alum Maurice Greene, Hughes knocked out Josh Appelt in the first round and would debut at UFC Kansas eight months later.

Hughes would go winless in four fights with the organization, losing his debut and rematch to old foe Greene. An eye poke would render his fight with Todd Duffee a no-contest and a month later he would lose to Raphael Pessoa. Hughes' last fight with the UFC would be a submission loss to TUF 28 winner Juan Espino. All four of his opponents are no longer with the UFC and Hughes hasn't fought since being released after UFC 253 nearly four years ago.

22. Te Edwards

UFC record: 0-2

Te Edwards had a short UFC stint after his win on DWCS. Edwards only has nine pro-fights and hasn't fought in over five years. An RFA and Bellator vet before appearing on DWCS, Edwards was known as a powerhouse at 5-1 with all wins coming by way of knockout in the first round. Edwards would also finish his opponent Austin Tweedy in the same fashion to earn his contract.

Edwards made his UFC debut at UFC Moncton against Don Madge and would go 0-2 with the organization, losing his next and most recent fight to veteran Dennis Bermudez at UFC Brooklyn.

21. Domingo Pilarte

UFC record: 0-2 (1)

Domingo Pilarte was an LFA and Fury FC veteran before appearing on DWCS, compiling a 7-1 record. After his win against Vince Morales, Pilarte would debut at UFC San Antonio against Felipe Colares and lose by a split decision.

Pilarte would lose to Journey Newson (though the fight would be overturned due to a failed drug test for Newson) and veteran Brian Kelleher. Pilarte last fought at UFC Vegas 34 before being released from the organization and hasn't fought in almost three years.

20. Bobby Moffett

UFC record: 0-2 (1)

Bobby Moffett was a champion on the regional scene, fighting for promotions like WXC, RFA, and LFA before appearing on DWCS. Moffett would beat Jacob Kilburn and with a 13-3 record, debut at UFC Denver against Chas Skelly. Moffett's win against Skelly was overturned after a controversial early stoppage by the referee.

Moffett would go 0-2, losing to Bryce Mitchell and Enrique Barzola before being released by the UFC. Moffett would move on to fight for the PFL and Fury FC, last competing a little over a year ago.

Matt Sayles
Matt Sayles / UFC

19. Matt Sayles

UFC record: 1-3

Matt Sayles has fought at featherweight, bantamweight, and lightweight throughout his career, though featherweight is where he earned his DWCS contract against Yazan Hajeh. A veteran of the now-defunct World Series of Fighting, Sayles was 6-1 before appearing on DWCS.

Sayles made his debut at UFC 227 against Sheymon Moraes and would go 1-3 with the UFC, picking up his lone win against Kyle Nelson. Sayles was submitted by Bryce Mitchell and Jordan Leavitt, last appearing at UFC Vegas 45, and hasn't fought in over two years.

18. Juan Adams

UFC record: 1-3

Juan Adams was a collegiate wrestler and an NFL tryout before transitioning to MMA in 2017. Adams went 3-0 with the LFA before earning his contract on DWCS against Shawn Teed. Adams made his debut at UFC Milwaukee against Chris De La Rocha and was victorious, but then would go 0-3 after that.

Adams suffered losses to future ONE heavyweight champion Arjan Bhullar, fellow DWCS winner Greg Hardy, and Justin Tafa, fighting out his contract with the organization which chose not to renew it. Adams would later become the Fury FC heavyweight champion before joining the PFL, and last fought about a year ago.

17. Jordan Griffin

UFC record: 1-4

Jordan Griffin had a successful career on the regional scene, becoming featherweight champion across three organizations including KOTC. After a stint in LFA, Griffin appeared on DWCS with a 16-5 record and beat Maurice Mitchell, later debuting at UFC Milwaukee against Dan Ige.

Griffin would go 1-4 with the UFC, his lone win coming against TJ Brown. Griffin suffered losses to Ige, Chas Skelly, Youssef Zalal, and Luis Saldana before being released by the UFC. Griffin got back in the win column on the regional scene, last competing in 2024.

16. Jordan Espinosa

UFC record: 2-4

Jordan Espinosa fought on the regional scene, including the LFC/LFA banner, before appearing on DWCS. Espinosa was one of the fighters in season 1 to get a first-round finish, but it wasn't enough to get him signed. At 12-5, Espinosa secured his contract in season 2 with a win over Riley Dutro and made a successful debut at UFC Nashville against Eric Shelton.

Espinosa struggled after that, going 1-4, but fought a gauntlet of ranked flyweights. Espinosa beat Mark De La Rosa but suffered losses to Matt Schnell, Alex Perez, David Dvorak, and Tim Elliott before being released from the organization. Espinosa last saw action a little over two years ago and hasn't fought since.

15. Bevon Lewis

UFC record: 1-3

Bevon Lewis was another fighter who appeared in the inaugural season of DWCS but didn't get his contract until season 2 when he beat Alton Cunningham. Lewis fought at middleweight under the LFA banner and made his UFC debut with a 6-0 record at UFC 232 against veteran Uriah Hall.

Lewis would go 1-3 with the organization, his lone win coming against Dequan Townsend. After losses to Darren Stewart and Trevin Giles, Lewis was released from the UFC. Lewis would go on to fight for the PFL, moving up to heavyweight. Lewis most recently signed back with the LFA and debuted at light heavyweight, losing his return to Ozzy Diaz.

Dwight Grant
Dwight Grant / Handout/GettyImages

14. Dwight Grant

UFC record: 3-5

Dwight Grant had a decent run with the UFC following his win on DWCS against Tyler Hill. A veteran of Bellator, Grant was 8-1 and made his debut at UFC Milwaukee against Zak Ottow. After that split decision loss, Grant would go 3-1, including wins against Carlo Pedersoli, Stefan Sekulic, and veteran Alan Jouban.

Grant would then go on a skid, losing to Daniel Rodriguez, Francisco Trinaldo, Sergey Khandozhko, and Dustin Stultzfus, as his contract wasn't renewed after that. Grant hasn't fought in almost two years.

13. Devonte Smith

UFC record: 3-3

Devonte Smith was 7-1 with all finishes before appearing on DWCS and earning a contract against Joe Lowry. Smith debuted at UFC Denver and picked up wins against Julian Erosa, Justin Jaynes, and Dong Hyun Ma, adding two more finishes to his resume.

After showing potential early on with the organization, Smith would then go 1-3, losing to Khama Worthy, Jamie Mullarkey, and Ludovit Klein. Smith was released over two years ago and hasn't fought since.

12. Roosevelt Roberts

UFC record: 4-4 (1)

Roosevelt Roberts is currently on his second stint with the UFC and is looking to improve on his first run. Roberts was a champion on the regional scene while also fighting for Bellator before appearing on DWCS and beating Garrett Gross. Roberts went 4-3 with one no-contest during his first run with the organization.

Roberts made his debut during the Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale against Darrell Horcher and also picked up wins against Thomas Gifford, Alexander Yakovlev, and Brok Weaver before going winless in his next three against Vinc Pichel and Jim Miller. After a highlight reel knockout loss to Ignacio Bahamondes at UFC Vegas 34, Roberts was released and picked up two wins outside the UFC before joining season 31 of TUF. Roberts impressed on TUF but lost his comeback fight to Mateusz Rebecki at UFC 295.

UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje
Greg Hardy / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

11. Greg Hardy

UFC record: 4-5 (1)

Greg Hardy was a polarizing figure for the UFC when he was featured and then signed after going 3-0 as an amateur and collecting two straight first-round knockouts on DWCS against Austen Lane and Tebaris Gordon. The former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys defensive end had an interesting run in the heavyweight division, though fans were not happy with his signing due to a history of domestic violence.

Hardy debuted at UFC Brooklyn and lost via illegal knee to Allen Crowder, but would win three straight against Dmitrii Smoliakov, Juan Adams, and Ben Sosoli; his last fight was overturned due to Hardy using an inhaler between rounds. Hardy was then matched up with former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov, a fight which surprisingly went to a decision in Volkov's favor. Hardy would win two straight against Yorgan de Castro and Maurice Greene but then struggled against the ranked fighters in the division.

After losses to Marcin Tybura, Tai Tuivasa, and Serghei Spivac, Hardy was not re-signed by the UFC and has since ventured into boxing.

10. Antonina Shevchenko

UFC record: 4-4

Like her younger sister Valentina, Antonina Shevchenko is a decorated kickboxer who wanted to follow in her sister's footsteps while transitioning to MMA. Shevchenko beat Jaymee Neivara to earn a contract on DWCS. Shevchenko started her career 6-0 and made her debut at the TUF 28 Finale against Ji Yeon Kim.

Since her debut win, Shevchenko has alternated wins and losses, picking up wins over Lucie Pudilova, Ariane Lipski, and most recently Courtney Casey at UFC Vegas 58, while losing to Roxanne Modafferi, Katlyn Chookagian, Andrea Lee, and Casey O'Neill. Shevchenko hasn't lived up to the hype her sister has become and has been out of action for almost two years.

9. Ian Heinisch

UFC record: 3-4

Ian Heinisch was a champion on the regional scene, fighting for the now-defunct WSOF and becoming the LFA middleweight champion, before beating Justin Sumter on DWCS. Heinisch was 11-1 when he made his UFC debut, beating Cezar Ferreira at UFC Buenos Aires.

Heinisch would beat Antonio Carlos Junior and then go 2-4 after that, squeezing a Gerald Meerschaert win between losing two straight to Derek Brunson, Omari Akhmedov, Kelvin Gastelum, and Nassourdine Imavov. After being out of action for two years due to concussion symptoms, Heinisch retired in July of 2023.

8. Jimmy Crute

UFC record: 4-4-1

Jimmy Crute was a regional champion in his home country of Australia going undefeated at 7-0 before appearing on DWCS and beating Chris Birchler to get to the UFC. Crute would go 4-1 initially, debuting with a win against Paul Craig at UFC Adelaide.

Crute picked up wins against Sam Alvey, Michal Oleksiejczuk, and Modestas Bukauskas, but has been on a 0-3-1 run since. Crute's losses to former light heavyweight challenger Anthony Smith, former champion Jamahal Hill, and most recently a rematch loss against Alonzo Menifield have him taking time away from the sport. Crute decided to step away from his "unhealthy obsession" in July of 2023.

7. Edmen Shahbazyan

UFC record: 6-4

Edmen Shahbazyan, who at the time was a training partner of Ronda Rousey and her camp, was hyped up coming into this season. Shahbazyan was 6-0 with all first-round finishes and did the same to Antonio Jones in 40 seconds on DWCS. Shahbazyan would have one of the most impressive runs off of DWCS, going 4-0 and getting a main event in his fifth bout. Shabazyan made his debut at the TUF 28 Finale against Darren Stewart.

After picking up wins against Stewart, Charles Byrd, Jack Marshman, and veteran Brad Tavares, Shahbazyan was matched up with Derek Brunson. After Brunson brought him back down to earth, Shahbazyan would go 0-2 and change camps. Shahbazyan has been 2-1 since, most recently beating AJ Dobson at UFC Vegas 89 and is looking to get himself back in the rankings.

6. Kennedy Nzechukwu

UFC record: 6-5

Nigeria's Kennedy Nzechukwu was unsuccessful in his first attempt on season 1 of DWCS, but after going 5-0, including a run with LFA, Nzechukwu debuted at UFC Philadelphia after beating Dennis Bryant in season 2. Nzechukwu lost to Paul Craig but would then go on a 6-2 run, holding wins over Darko Stosic, Carlos Ulberg, Danilo Marques, Karl Roberson, Ion Cutelaba, and Devin Clark.

Nzechukwu has lost his last two to Dustin Jacoby and most recently former light heavyweight title challenger Ovince Saint Preux at UFC Vegas 88. Nzechukwu has been flirting with the rankings but hasn't been able to crack them 11 fights into his career.

5. Ryan Spann

UFC record: 7-5

Ryan Spann was a champion on the regional scene, fighting for and becoming the LFC/LFA light heavyweight champion before appearing on DWCS. Spann had lost to Karl Roberson in season 1 and with a 13-5 record, he defeated future PFL light heavyweight champion Emiliano Sordi to earn his contract. Spann would have an impressive run in the UFC up until recently when he lost his spot in the rankings.

Spann debuted at UFC Sao Paulo against Luis Henrique and would win four straight against Henrique, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Devin Clark, and Sam Alvey. After alternating wins and losses, Spann would stand at 7-2 with the organization and join the light heavyweight rankings. After taking out former title challenger Dominick Reyes and looking prime for a title run, Spann has lost three straight against Nikita Krylov, Anthony Smith, and most recently Bogdan Guskov at UFC Vegas 91.

4. Alonzo Menifield

UFC record: 8-4-1

Alonzo Menifield is one of the most successful winners of DWCS. After an injury TKO rendered him the winner in season 1, the former Bellator and LFA vet Menifield backed up his win in season 2 against Dashawn Boatwright and joined the UFC with a 7-0 record, all finishes. Menifield debuted against Vinicius Moreira at UFC Brooklyn. Menifield is currently No. 13 in the light heavyweight rankings.

Menifield had a mediocre start with the organization, picking up wins against Moreira, Paul Craig, Fabio Cherant, and Ed Herman while losing to Devin Clark, former light heavyweight title challenger Ovince Saint Preux, and William Knight. Menifield would then fail to lose in five straight against Askar Mozharov, Misha Cirkunov, Jimmy Crute, and Dustin Jacoby, making some noise in the division. Menifield's hype train was stopped recently with a 12-second loss to Carlos Ulberg at UFC St. Louis.

3. Sodiq Yusuff

UFC record: 6-3

Sodiq Yusuff recently dropped out of the rankings after an impressive run in the UFC where he featured in his first main event. After a stint in Titan FC, Yusuff defeated current UFC lightweight Mike Davis to earn his DWCS contract. Yusuff, another winner out of Nigeria, debuted at UFC Adelaide against Suman Mokhtarian and would win four straight and gaining hype before falling to veteran Arnold Allen.

Yusuff scored 6-1 in his initial run, winning against Sheymon Moraes, Gabriel Benitez, Andre Fili, Alex Caceres, and Don Shainis before being matched up with Edson Barboza in his first main event. Yusuff would fall to the veteran and most recently lost to prospect Diego Lopes at UFC 300.

2. Anthony Hernandez

UFC record: 6-2

Anthony Hernandez became the LFA middleweight champion after taking out current UFC contender Brendan Allen and beating Jordan Wright to earn his DWCS contract. Hernandez's win was overturned after a positive drug test, but he would later debut at UFC Fortaleza, losing to former LFA alum Markus Perez.

Since that loss, Hernandez is 6-1, losing only to Kevin Holland, and has joined the middleweight rankings. Hernandez has won five straight against BJJ ace Rodolfo Vieira, Josh Fremd, Marc-Andre Barriault, fellow DWCS winner Edmen Shahbazyan, and most recently Roman Kopylov at UFC 298. Hernandez was scheduled to face Roman Dolidze at UFC 302, but had to pull out due to injury and is looking to be re-booked. With a couple more wins, Hernandez can make some noise in the title contention picture.

Maycee Barber
Maycee Barber / Steve Marcus/GettyImages

1. Maycee Barber

UFC record: 9-2

Maycee "The Future" Barber was a Legacy Fighting Alliance standout before appearing on DWCS. Barber went 4-0 including three finishes with the LFA and had just turned 20 years old when she finished Jamie Colleen in the third round. Barber's goal was to become the youngest champion in UFC history, but an injury in her fourth fight put a halt on that.

Barber had three finishes before the third round against Hannah Cifers, JJ Aldrich, and submission specialist Gillian Robertson, but hit a setback against Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 246. Though Barber lost by unanimous decision, a knee injury sustained in the fight would keep her out of action for over a year.

Barber would return at UFC 258 against current flyweight champion Alexa Grasso and lose her second straight, but hasn't tasted defeat since. Barber is on a 6-0 run and has changed camps, moving to Team Alpha Male and seemingly matured her fighting style.

Barber stopped the winning streak of Miranda Maverick, beat former title challenger Jessica Eye and former LFA champion Andrea Lee, and then earned her first performance bonus with a hard-fought finish against Amanda Ribas. Barber most recently beat another former title challenger Katlyn Cerminara at UFC 299. Barber could very well be one win away from a title shot and is scheduled to face former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas at UFC Fight Night 243 in Denver, Colorado.