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Joe Stevenson Bio

Joseph Christopher Stevenson (born June 15, 1982) is an American mixed martial artist fighting out of Hesperia, California. Coached by (UFC Hall of Famer) Matt Hughes, Stevenson rose to prominence by becoming The Ultimate Fighter 2 Welterweight Tournament Winner. Following a drop in weight class and two-year undefeated streak, he was ranked among the top UFC Lightweight competitors, culminating into a title shot for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship against B.J. Penn at UFC 80: Rapid Fire (after the title was stripped from Sean Sherk). Stevenson fought most of his career as a Lightweight and made his Featherweight debut at UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry. He is the former King of the Cage Lightweight Champion.


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Mixed martial arts career
    • 2.1 The Ultimate Fighter
    • 2.2 UFC start
    • 2.3 UFC Lightweight Championship
    • 2.4 UFC after loss to Penn
    • 2.5 Post-UFC
    • 2.6 The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption
  • 3 Television work
  • 4 Personal life
  • 5 Championships and achievements
    • 5.1 Submission grappling
  • 6 Mixed martial arts record
    • 6.1 Mixed martial arts exhibition record
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


Stevenson began wrestling at the age of 11 and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the age of 13. He moved to Las Vegas in 2004, and began training at Marc Laimon's Cobra Kai in Las Vegas. In March 2008, Stevenson opened his own school in his hometown of Victorville, California. "Joe Stevenson's Cobra Kai" teaches MMA as well as boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu. On November 8, 2008, Stevenson earned his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Robert Drysdale. After his loss to Diego Sanchez, Stevenson got a call from Rashad Evans for an invite to check out his camp at Jackson's Submission Fighting. After being reluctant at first, he finally joined Greg Jackson's camp in April 2009.

Mixed martial arts career

The Ultimate Fighter

Stevenson was one of the more experienced fighters participating in The Ultimate Fighter 2. He had a professional record of 23-6-0 and held the 155 lb (70 kg). championship at King of the Cage and the 170 lb (77 kg). at Gladiator Challenge going into the show.

On November 5, 2005, Stevenson defeated Luke Cummo by unanimous decision, winning The Ultimate Fighter 2 welterweight tournament and earning a six-figure contract with the UFC, UFC president Dana White said "that was Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin, only on the ground".

UFC start

On April 6, 2006, in his first fight after winning The Ultimate Fighter 2, he was upset by Josh Neer at Ultimate Fight Night 4, losing the fight by unanimous decision. Following the loss, Stevenson announced that he would drop down to the Lightweight division for future bouts.

On July 8, 2006, at UFC 61, Stevenson won his 155-pound debut against Yves Edwards. After opening up a deep cut on Edwards from the top position, the doctors were forced to pull Edwards from the match.

Stevenson returned to the Octagon at UFC 65, defeating Japanese fighter Dokonjonosuke Mishima by guillotine choke in the first round.

Next, Stevenson was booked for the main event at UFC Fight Night 9 against fellow Season 2 contestant Melvin Guillard. Despite a war of words between the two fighters, particularly by Guillard leading up to the bout, Stevenson made quick work of his opponent, knocking down Guillard with a punch before securing a fight-ending guillotine choke.

At UFC 74, Stevenson defeated Kurt Pellegrino by unanimous decision. After the fight doctors determined that during the course of the fight Stevenson's nose had been fractured. With his string of victories at 155, Stevenson established himself as one of the top contenders in the UFC's very competitive Lightweight division.

UFC Lightweight Championship

Stevenson was set to fight BJ Penn for the UFC Interim Lightweight Championship at UFC 80 due to ongoing litigation regarding Sean Sherk's steroid use. On December 4, 2007, the California State Athletic Commission upheld a reduced suspension for Sherk, prompting the UFC to strip him of the lightweight championship. UFC President Dana White then confirmed that Stevenson and Penn's match would be to fill the vacant lightweight championship, but the winner of that fight would face Sherk at the next opportunity.

Just seconds after the start of the fight, Penn knocked Stevenson down with a right uppercut. From the top position, Penn landed a strong elbow to the head of Stevenson—causing a serious cut on Stevenson's hairline. In the second round, Stevenson fought more aggressively but was still unable to threaten Penn. After taking Stevenson's back, Penn secured a fight-ending rear naked choke at 4:02 of the second round.

UFC after loss to Penn

At UFC 86, Stevenson returned to the Octagon and defeated Gleison Tibau by guillotine choke submission after pulling guard. Tibau tapped quickly at 2:57 in the second round.

At UFC 91 on November 15, 2008, Stevenson was set to face top-contender Kenny Florian in a highly anticipated bout. Despite stating that he was offended to be considered an underdog against Florian, Stevenson was outclassed in the bout. After being taken down three minutes into the fight, Stevenson was mounted and eventually gave up his back to Florian. Florian forced Stevenson, who had just attained his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, to submit to a rear naked choke just 4:03 into the first round.

Stevenson returned at UFC 95 in the main event against debuting lightweight Diego Sanchez, and lost via unanimous decision. According to a post-fight statement, he is interested in a rematch.

Stevenson defeated The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz by unanimous decision at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale. Stevenson showed superior wrestling and controlled the majority of the fight.

In his next bout, Stevenson defeated Spencer Fisher by submission due to strikes at UFC 104. Stevenson secured the crucifix position and landed elbows, forcing Fisher to submit.

Stevenson went on to face top 10 contender George Sotiropoulos on February 21, 2010, at UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia. Stevenson lost a very one sided fight by unanimous decision, but was awarded Fight of the Night honors.

Stevenson was expected to face former Pride Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi on August 1, 2010 at UFC Live on Versus: 2. However, Stevenson pulled out of the bout with an injury and was replaced by Tyson Griffin.

Stevenson faced fellow TUF winner Mac Danzig on December 11, 2010 at UFC 124. Stevenson lost via a left hook KO as Danzig was moving back toward the cage. This loss was his first KO loss since 1999.

Stevenson suffered his third consecutive loss after falling short via unanimous decision to Danny Castillo on March 3, 2011 at UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann.

Stevenson was defeated by Javier Vazquez via unanimous decision in his featherweight debut on June 26, 2011 at UFC on Versus 4. After having four consecutive losses, Stevenson was released from the UFC. He became the fourth The Ultimate Fighter winner to be released from the UFC.


Stevenson signed a new contract with the Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA). He fought Dakota Cochrane at Lightweight in the main event of RFA 3: Stevenson vs. Cochrane on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at the Viaero Event Center in Kearney, Nebraska. Stevenson was rocked early in the first round by a knee from Cochrane, yet Stevenson managed to take Cochrane down to control him throughout the round. At the start of the second round, Cochrane rocked Stevenson again and managed to secure a rear naked choke. Stevenson escaped the attempt, but Cochrane was able to quickly take Stevenson's back a second time and finished via submission due to a rear-naked choke.

Stevenson next fought Dominique Robinson at Sugar Shane Promotions on January 30, 2015. He lost the fight via split decision.

After a year-and-a-half away from the sport, Stevenson returned to the cage July 30, 2016 for the California Fight League. He faced Daniel McWilliams and won the fight via TKO in the first round.

Stevenson made a quick return to the cage, facing Gabriel Miglioli at Tru-Form Entertainment on August 26, 2016. He won the fight by unanimous decision.

Stevenson is a contestant of The Ultimate Fighter season 25, consisting of fighters that have been competing in previous The Ultimate Fighter seasons.

The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption

In February 2017, it was revealed that Stevenson would compete again on the UFC's reality show in the 25th season on The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption. Stevenson was the fifth pick overall for Team Dillashaw. He was defeated by Justin Edwards in the opening round by unanimous decision. He was defeated by Hayder Hassan by knockout in the first round in the wildcard bout.

Television work

Stevenson signed on to play Fight Coach "Daddy" for 3 episodes in the first season of the DirectTV 2014 series Kingdom. Ultimately he ended being a recurring character, appearing regularly in the episodes.

Personal life

Stevenson is the only son of Carolina Smith of Victorville, California. He has one older sister, Monica; a younger sister, Reye; and a step sister, Jessica. Stevenson's first wife, Lisa, gave him two sons; Joe Jr. and Tyler. Stevenson and his second wife, Maia, have two sons, Frankie and Maximus. Stevenson's father, Raymond, died from bone marrow cancer when Joe was 17.

He graduated in the class of 2000 from Silverado High School in Victorville, California. As a Hawk Wrestler, he placed in CIF as a sophomore and senior (4th at Masters in March, 2000). Stevenson put his life on hold when his maternal grandfather suddenly became ill in 1999. After finishing high school in June, Joe "Daddy" Stevenson married his first wife; became a father of Joey Jr.; continued to fight professionally for King of the Cage; and wrestled at Victor Valley College to become the 198-lb champion at the 2000 Southern California Community College Regionals (a title previously held by fellow-UFC-star, Tito Ortiz). Stevenson was up a few weight divisions due to his last-minute change of schedule with King of the Cage, and also because of his friend, teammate and two-time Community College All-American at 184, UFC fighter, Phillip Miller.

Stevenson has struggled with alcoholism his whole adulthood, but claims to have been sober since 2014.

Championships and achievements

  • Ultimate Fighting Championship
    • The Ultimate Fighter 2 Welterweight Tournament Winner
    • Fight of the Night (Four times) vs. Yves Edwards, Diego Sanchez, Nate Diaz, George Sotiropoulos
    • Submission of the Night (Two times) vs. Dokonjonosuke Mishima, Melvin Guillard
    • First The Ultimate Fighter Tournament Winner in UFC Welterweight History
  • King of the Cage
    • KOTC Lightweight Champion (One time; fifth)
    • KOTC Welterweight Champion (One time; second)
  • Ring of Fire
    • Ring of Fire Welterweight Championship
  • Rage In The Cage
    • Rage In The Cage Welterweight Championship

Submission grappling

  • Grapplers Quest
    • Grapplers Quest Hall of Fame

Mixed martial arts record

Mixed martial arts exhibition record

External links

  • Professional MMA record for Joe Stevenson from Sherdog Edit this at Wikidata
  • UFC Profile
  • Official Website of Joe Stevenson
  • Joe Stevenson's Cobra Kai

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