Former UFC flyweight Tim Elliot is trying to get his old job back.
Seeded third in the The Ultimate Fighter flyweight tournament to determine the next challenger for reigning UFC Champion Demetrious Johnson, Elliot pulled off the rarely seen bulldog choke submission on opponent Charlie Alaniz.
Elliot now advances to the quarterfinals, and inspires this closer look at some of the more memorable bulldog chokes in UFC history.
Though there is no sole fighter credited with its creation, the bulldog choke stretches as far back as at least the early 1900s, where it was a regular feature in the arsenal of six-time world Heavyweight Champion wrestler Ed “Strangler” Lewis. The tough-nosed, less-civilized cousin of the rear-naked choke, it's a maneuver that has remained startlingly effective (if infrequently seen) in an era of the sport where the average grappling IQ is arguably higher than ever.
Truthfully, this list could also be called "the best bulldog chokes in recent memory." Here, in no particular order, are the five best bulldog chokes in UFC history.
Carlos Newton over Pat Miletich: UFC 31
Oft described by Rener Gracie as a "glorified headlock," the bulldog choke made its first appearance in the UFC thanks to Carlos Newton and his insanely shredded arms. Squaring off against future UFC Hall-of-Famer Pat Miletich in a welterweight title fight, Newton locked in the choke midway through the third round following a scramble against the fence. If you look close enough, you can actually see Miletich's jaw flatten under the pressure of Newton's Rambo II-esque biceps (not Rambo, Rambo II). Terrifying stuff.
Chris Lytle over Tiki Ghosn: UFC 47
Chris Lytle may be known as one of the most entertaining brawlers to ever grace the Octagon, but he actually holds one of the most diverse collections of submission wins in promotional history. From his straight armbar win over Matt Brown to his triangle-kimura combo over Jason Gillam, Lytle's tenacity on the mat when it came to improvising fight-ending chokes and arm/leglocks was truly second to none.
Already a veteran of some 30 fights by the time he was booked against Tiki Ghosn at UFC 47 in 2004, Lytle showcased some old hand savviness by snatching up a bulldog choke over future best buddy of Rampage Jackson, Tiki Ghosn. According to sources close to the fight, Ghosn would later claim that the only reason he tapped out was due to a cut.
Yancy Medeiros over Damon Jackson: UFC 177
As with any great submission, it was only a matter of time before the bulldog choke was modified to meet the needs of an increasingly jiu-jitsu-literate UFC roster. That evolution took place on the night of August 30th, 2014 at UFC 177: Dillashaw vs. Soto, and like most innovations, it seemed to happen almost by accident.
Early in the second round of their main card opening bout, lightweights Yancy Medeiros and Damon Jackson were engaged in a battle of wills against the fence when the Hawaiian attempted to counter a takedown by latching onto a guillotine choke. As Jackson attempted to spin out of the hold, Medeiros employed the brilliant gameplan of "just holding on and squeezing for dear life," taking his opponent to the mat and turning his neck into a fulcrum point upon which to inflict just ungodly amounts of pressure until he was forced to tap out.
To this day, it is rumored that Damon Jackson is forced to ingest upwards of 30 lozenges a day just to maintain his normal speaking voice.
Urijah Faber and Raquel Pennington over Francisco Rivera and Ashlee Evans-Smith: UFC 181
Given the incredible rarity at which the bulldog choke has been successfully pulled off in MMA competition, the chances of witnessing two in one night is basically as slim as seeing two flying knee knockouts in the same night, in back-to-back fights (hint: UFC 189).
And yet, that's exactly what fans at the Mandalay Bay Events Center were treated to on the night of UFC 181 in December of 2014. In their bouts against Francisco Rivera and Ashlee Evans-Smith, respectively, bantamweights Urijah Faber and Raquel Pennington managed to pull off the sparsely-seen submission to devastating effect -- the former following an unfortunate eye poke early in the second round and the latter with just one second left in the opening round.