Dana White Contender Series has become one of the best paths to the UFC for fighters all around the globe, and today we take a look back to 2017 to see how the contract winners of DWCS season 1 did after their life-changing performances.
The Hawaiian bantamweight became the first fighter to earn a contract in the history of DWCS. Defeating future Ultimate Fighter winner Ricky Turcios to secure the contract, Salmon’s UFC career did not last too long. Going 0-2 in the promotion, “Boom Boom” lost two fights in the first round to Khalid Taha and Randy Costa. Since his release, Salmon has won in LFA and has gone 1-1 in PFL.
Main eventing the inaugural DWCS card, Kurt Holobaugh won the bout, but the win was later overturned due to unlawful use of an IV light before the fight. Dana White still gave Holobaugh the contract, but his UFC run was unsuccessful. Holobaugh lost his debut bout to Brazilian Raoni Barcelos, followed by two more losses to Shane Burgos and Thiago Moises before being released from his contract. Since his release, Holobaugh has won both of his bouts, fighting in XFC.
One of the most successful fighters to come off of the show. O’Malley earned his contract by getting a highlight KO and seriously impressing Dana White in the second week of the show. Since getting his contract in 2017, “Suga,” Sean went 4-0, with his most impressive performance coming against Eddie Wineland before being stopped by Marlon Vera. After this loss and many thought the hype was over, O’Malley would regain momentum, gaining three victories in a row before his most recent bout ended in a no contest after Sean caught Pedro Munhoz with an eye poke. O’Malley is scheduled to fight the former champion, Petr Yan, at UFC 280 in October.
Geoff Neal is one of the standouts of the season. He started his UFC career 5-0 with big wins against Belal Muhammad, Niko Price, and Mike Perry before losing in his first UFC main event against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Neal would then lose to Neil Magny. Recently, Geoff Neal has regained his momentum, coming off wins over Santiago Ponzinibbio and TUF 21 standout Vicente Luque. Following these two high-profile wins, Neal ranked #6 in the UFC welterweight rankings.
Roberson earned the contract after defeating Ryan Spann on the show in just 15 seconds. “Baby K” went 4-2 in the first two years of his UFC career before losing four bouts in a row. The most noticeable came against Marvin Vettori and Khalil Rountree. He was released from his UFC contract after his recent loss in July against Kenedy Nzechukwu, who is also a season 1 vet.
Davis was not given an easy run in the UFC. Starting 1-2 in the company, Davis would fight Zabit Magomedsharipov, where he lost via Kneebar. Davis would then beat Randy Costa before losing two split decisions to end his first UFC run, the last being Giga Chikadze. He would go on to win four fights on the regional scene before being given a 2nd shot in the UFC, where he lost his return fight. He is now set to fight Mana Martinez in October.
Marquez won the main event of the show against Phil Hawes to earn his contract. Marquez has gone 3-2 during his UFC tenure. Still contracted to the UFC, Marquez is set to fight Deron Winn in December.
Perez has had a very successful run in the UFC, starting 3-0, before losing to veteran Joseph Benavidez. Perez would bounce back with another three-fight win streak before facing champion Deiveson Figueiredo, where he lost in the first round. After an almost two-year break after many cancelled bouts, Perez lost to Pantoja in late July and is set to face prospect Amir Albazi in December.
Rodriguez had a four-year run in the UFC, where he went 2-5-1NC before being released. In June, Rodriguez returned to CES, the company he built his name before DWCS, and won.
Dawson earned his UFC contract at just 23 years old and has had a good run so far in the company. Coming into the UFC with a record of 12-1, Dawson has gone 6-0-1 during his run, with his draw coming in a bout versus Ricky Glenn. Dawson is most recently coming off of a victory over Jared Gordon in April. Dawson is one of the most underrated stars to come off of the show.
Byrd had to win twice during the first season of DWCS to earn his contract. Things looked promising when he won his debut against John Phillips. Things soon went downhill for Byrd, taking three straight TKO losses before being released by the company. Byrd hasn’t fought since his last UFC fight in June 2020.
Sanchez had a short run in the promotion. Defeating JP Buys to earn his contract, Sanchez would lose back-to-back fights to end his UFC career at 0-2. Since then, Sanchez has gone 1-1 in LFA and won his last fight in Combate in 2019. He hasn’t fought since.
Lopez defeated Steven Peterson to earn his UFC contract. Since his DWCS bout in 2017, Lopez has only fought three times, going 2-1 in the company. “The Golden Boy” is booked to fight Mario Bautista in November, which will be his first fight in over three years!
Crowder earned his contract with a victory over Don’Tale Mayes but only had a short run with the promotion. “Pretty Boy” lost his debut to Justin Willis before winning his next bout due to an illegal knee thrown by Greg Hardy. Crowder’s last fight came against Jair Rozenstruik, where “Bigi Boy” would knock Crowder out in 9 seconds. Crowder hasn’t fought since this fight in 2019.
Mueller came into DWCS with a record of 3-0, and after a debut victory over Shana Dobson, things looked promising for Mueller. After her win, she would go on a three-fight losing streak to Yanan Wu, Poliana Botelho and JJ Aldrich before being released from the promotion with a company record of 1-3. Since her release in 2019, she has only fought once, and that came in a decision loss for Invicta in late 2021.
Frevola came into the UFC undefeated, becoming 6-0 after his DWCS victory. Since earning his contract, Frevola’s UFC record stands at 3-3-1. His most noticeable victory came over Jalin Turner. Frevola’s losses come to some top fighters, such as Arman Tsarukyan and Terrance McKinney. ‘Steamrolla’ is set to fight 13-0 Ottman Azaitar at UFC 281 in November.
Featured image credits to UFC