In a year that shuffled plans for everyone on the UFC roster, five fighters stood out above the rest to be the ones who made lemonade out of lemons in 2020.
2020 was a year of many lost things, but it was also a year where several fighters had opportunities to make the most of the situation. Last minute card changes became an all too frequent occurrence and it gave several fighters the chance to seize moments in the spotlight as they became available. Here are the top five UFC fighters to have made lemonade out of lemons in 2020.
5. Justin Gaethje
At the onset of the world being turned upside down, the biggest casualty was the mega fight that was cursed to never happen between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. When it became clear that Nurmagomedov would not make it to the fight, the search began for a new dance partner who would join Ferguson at the return of mixed martial arts.
Enter Justin Gaethje, the odd man out of the title picture despite being on an impressive three fight knockout streak when the year began. Ferguson and Nurmagomedov were set to collide, Conor McGregor was fully expected to collide with the winner later in the year, and there was no room for Gaethje to be fighting for the title in 2020. But when the opportunity arose, Gaethje stepped in on several weeks’ notice and turned in the performance of his career in battering Ferguson to claim the interim lightweight championship. Though he would come up short against Nurmagomedov later in the year, the mission to prove that he belonged among the cream of the crop had already been accomplished.