Fighters who were never the same after USADA joined the UFC Fighters who were never the same after USADA joined the UFC
Fighters who were never the same after USADA joined the UFC

June 2015 marked the beginning of a new era for the UFC. The promotion announced its partnership with the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA). From that point on fighters would have to adhere to a more comprehensive doping control.

The vast majority of fighters under contract with the UFC adapted to the new era without complications. However for some fighters, the arrival of USADA coincided with the a steep decline in their careers. By no means are we accusing anyone of any wrongdoing, this is merely an account of some curious coincidences.

Renan Barao (34-9-1)

UFC record before USADA: 8-1
UFC record after USADA: 2-7 

Renan Barao got to the UFC in 2011 and had an immediate impact in the bantamweight division. He won his first seven fights in the promotion, winning and defending the interim belt. He was later promoted to undisputed champion and had his first defense beating Urijah Faber.

By then Barao was considered among the best pound for pound fighters in MMA. Surprisingly, in 2014 he was beaten by T.J. Dillashaw. A few months later he bounced back defeating Mitch Gagnon and received the chance to win the belt back. Dillashaw finished him again and Renan began his losing streak until he eventually exited UFC through the back door in 2019.

Renan Barao USADA Diario MMA

Johny Hendricks (18-8)

UFC record before USADA: 12-3
UFC record after USADA: 1-5 

Hendricks joined the UFC in 2009 and his knockout power was something to be respected. Johny won 10 of his 11 fights in the octagon before being granted the opportunity to challenge Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title in 2013. Although he lost a split decision, many fans and experts thought he deserved to win the fight.

After St-Pierre retired, Hendricks faced Robbie Lawler for the vacant title. Johny defeated Lawler by unanimous decision. A few months later he lost the title in the rematch and his career just went downhill from there. He lost his power, his body changed and he consistently struggled to make weight, even after moving up to middleweight. He left the UFC in 2017 and has not fought MMA since. In 2018 he made an appearance in Bare Knuckle FC and was brutally knocked out.

Hendricks USADA Diario MMA

Chris Weidman (15-5) 

UFC record before USADA: 9-0
UFC record after USADA: 2-5 

Before USADA joined forces with the UFC, Weidman was undefeated and was being pushed as a future legend. He looked unstoppable after beating Anderson Silva twice and defending the belt against Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort.

In December 2015 he was knocked out by Luke Rockhold and lost the belt. Since then, he has been viciously knocked out four more times. Chris has only managed to obtain two victories in almost five years. Even though he won his most recent bout against Omari Akhmedov, his performance was nothing to write about.

Weidman USADA Diario MMA

Vitor Belfort (26-14, 1 NC)

UFC record before USADA: 13-6
UFC record after USADA: 2-3 (1 NC)

Vitor Belfort had always been surrounded by controversy regarding banned substances. For years the Brazilian was under Testosterone Replacement Therapy due to “medical reasons.” Back then he was a beast. As a matter of fact, during his second stint in the UFC he only had losses against Anderson Silva and Jon Jones.

When he faced Chris Weidman for the middleweight title in UFC 187, just before USADA, his physique had already changed. After being defeated by Weidman he was knocked out four time. Although one of those was later reverted to a No Contest because Kelvin Gastelum tested positive for marijuana. As of now, Vitor is under contract with ONE Championship and is expected to fight before the end of 2020.

Belfort USADA Diario MMA

In the second (and final) page you will see more champions affected by USADA

Jake Paul McGregor Diaz