Can Siblings Be Good in the UFC at the Same Time?

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As of late, no siblings have both been good at the same time in the UFC. Notably and recently, there have been the Shevchenko Sisters, Diaz Brothers, and the Pettis Brothers. Notably and not recently, Frank and Ken Shamrock, Big and Little Nog. Since a UFC sibling is fighting on the main card of this weekend’s UFC Vegas 38 card, let’s take a look at some UFC fighter siblings, their run’s as UFC fighters, and try to figure out why siblings can’t seem to both be good at the same time.

Old Days (Pre-2011)

The Nogueira Brothers

Big Nog and LIttle Nog are two names that are UFC lore. They were also very good at the same time, except it wasn’t in the UFC. The identical brothers dominated Pride in the early 2000s, but it didn’t go so well when they made the crossover to the UFC. Big Nog took the jump in 2007, and after some nice wins early, he ran into Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir twice, all resulting in losses. After, he only beat Dave Herman before losing three more times and retiring in 2015- amassing just five wins in nine years. Little Nog had more wins but ultimately suffered the same fate. Starting with the UFC in 2009, Little Nog started 2-2, then improved to 4-4. He fought twice in 2016, going 1-1, and then three times, one each year from 2018-2020, where Little Nog went 1-2, bringing his overall UFC record to 6-7. The Nogueira twins are potentially the most similar people, having similar UFC records (6-7) and (5-6) for Big Nog. Their names are barely different as well. Little Nog is Antonio Rogerio “Minotouro” Nogueira. Big Nog is Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira. Fun fact, Big Nog is only two and a half centimetres taller than Little Nog.

The Shamrocks

Frank and Ken Shamrock, though not biological brothers are the following example of a pair that can’t seem to both be elite in the UFC at the same time. Starting with Ken and UFC 1 in 1993, he fought from then till 1996. This was back when the UFC was still a tournament-style with a crowned winner at the end of each event. Ken went 6-2-1 over the three years at UFC events. Ken would later come back to the UFC in 2002 at UFC 40 against Tito Ortiz, where Ken would find himself with another mark in the loss column. He fought four more times in this UFC stint, going a total of 1-4 over that stretch. Frank Shamrock fought under the UFC banner for the first time in 1997 and would fight a total of five times under the promotion with a final record of 5-0, with a notable win over his brother’s eventual rival Tito Ortiz.

Recent Siblings (2012-Current)

The Shevchenko Sisters

Starting with one of the most glaring instances of sibling talent hoarding, Valentina Shevchenko is almost undoubtedly the second most remarkable women’s martial artist and one of the pound-for-pound greatest of all time, more generally. She has been running through every woman put in front of her (not named Amanda Nunes), seemingly with ease. There are cases to be made that she may have won one of the Amanda Nunes fights, but she was fighting a much bigger woman in that fight. In stark contrast to “The Bullet’s” track record of success, her sister Antonina Shevchenko has much less to show for her UFC career. She won her first fight on the Contender Series and then her first official match. Next up, the buzzsaw that is Roxanne Modafferi- which resulted in a loss for “La Pantera.” Moving on, she’s been 2-2 over her last four.

The Daukaus Brothers

Chris Daukaus and Kyle Daukaus are lesser-known examples, but excellent examples nonetheless. Chris Daukaus came off a big win over (20-6) Shamil Abdurakhimov and will be fighting Derrick Lewis next, a fight many think the older Daukaus can and will win, which should set him up to be a challenger in 2022 for the belt. Chris Daukaus has a win over Aleksei Oleinik in 2021 and in 2020, a victory over (12-6) Parker Porter, who has been on a two-fight win streak of his own in the UFC since that fight. Kyle Daukus’s UFC career tells a different story. He lost a decision in May of 2021 to Phil Hawes and another decision in his first UFC fight to Brendan Allen in 2020. Going into his fourth UFC fight, the younger Daukaus is (1-2) and then fights Kevin Holland. After a brutal clash of heads, Kyle Daukaus slips in a rear-naked choke that gets the best of Kevon Halland. However, the fight was ruled a no-contest for the headbutt, and baby brother Daukaus was stripped of his win. 

The Pettis Brothers

The Pettis brothers are a fine example, perhaps the best example, of siblings not being able to put it together simultaneously. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis is in the running to be a UFC hall of fame with knockouts of Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and wins over Gilbert Melendez, Michael Chiesa, and current lightweight champ Charles Oliveira. Anthony Pettis has shown us from a young age that he can contend. He has put forth a fantastic career where even the losses are contested enough to make fans fall in love, culminating with him being crowned lightweight champion, defending his belt in the process. “Showtime’s” brother Sergio Pettis, he wasn’t doing all that hot while Anthony was at his peak. Sergio Pettis entered the UFC in 2013 and faced Will Campuzano, and beats him in a unanimous decision win. Next fight, 3rd round submission to Alex Caceres. While Anthony goes 2-5 from 2015-2017, Sergio goes 4-2 in the same time frame. Anthony would go on to be 4-3 until he leaves the UFC to sign with the PFL in 2021. In that time, little brother Pettis goes 2-2 and is no longer in the UFC by the end of 2019. However, we have seen Sergio surge in Bellator, recently capturing their 135-pound belt. Aside from a few years when these brothers were both mediocre in the UFC, it seems like Talent only flows one way in the Pettis family, and only one person can wield it at a time. 

The Diaz Brothers

Diaz Brothers are the most notorious fighters on this list. Nate Diaz has been active since 2007 with the UFC when he was on the ultimate fighter, finishing with him winning the season. Nate Diaz went on to win his first five fights with the UFC, suffered a quick two losses in 2009, and then went 9-6 from then till 2016 and his notorious first fight with Conor McGregor. Nick Diaz started with the UFC in 2003, going 4-1 in his first 5. Then, Nick loses the ultimate fighter in season 2 to Diego Sanchez, suffers two more quick losses, then picks up two wins before he found himself no longer with the UFC in 2006. From 2008-2011, Nick Diaz was unbeatable, knocking off names like B.J. Penn, Sakurai, Frank Shamrock, and more. While Nate is making a name for himself in the UFC, Nick rejoins the UFC in 2011, gets his win over B.J. Penn before a loss to Georges St. Pierre, and a no-contest to Anderson Silva for testing positive for marijuana, and he never fought again until 2021. If you were following that closely, the Diaz family might have what the Pettis family is on, where they can’t seem to have both siblings flourish in the UFC win column at the same time. 

Why Is This?

No idea. The same rule applies to marriages, pointing mainly to Amanda and Nina Nunes. Many intelligent people had thought training and living with the most dominant woman or person in MMA history would rub off and Nina Nunes would be a force to be reckoned with. Not the case, with a record of 10-7 after two losses to Mackenzie Dern and Tatiana Suarez. If Nina starts winning, maybe bet the house on Amanda’s next opponent.

Perhaps the reason is that being at the top of the UFC requires such focus and determination, and effort that two people who share a last name and some other kind of attachment can’t possibly attain it at the same time. To be the best, you have to beat the best, but you also have to have 100% of the team and camps focus, and that can’t be done for two people at the same time unless Trevor Wittman coaches you. That being said, there is no way all three of Trevor’s fighters (Kamaru UsmanRose Namajunas, and Justin Gaethje) win at UFC 268. If they do, we need to investigate and study that camp like it was a crashed UFO to figure out how it is being done. Also, this article will be deleted to erase any proof of my scepticism.

Follow Tom Kowalsky at @PickinFightsTom on Twitter, @PickinFights on Instagram and his weekly UFC Betting show on YouTube. You can also check out Tom and his team over at Stay up to date with the latest MMA News and Discussions @OTHeroicsMMA!

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Tom Kowalsky is an avid UFC/MMA watcher and has spent time practicing martial arts himself for years. Tom Graduated the University of Maryland in 2019 with a degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship. He started a YouTube show in 2021 call PickinFights where he discusses the weeks upcoming card with new weekly guests and became a writer for Overtime Heroics in September of 2021. Follow Tom Kowalsky at @PickinFightsTom on Twitter, @PickinFights on Instagram.