Open main menu

Tarec Robert Saffiedine (born 6 September 1986) is a Belgian professional mixed martial artist who competed in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A professional MMA competitor since 2007, Saffiedine has also formerly competed for DREAM and Strikeforce, and was the last Strikeforce Welterweight Champion.

Tarec Saffiedine
Born (1986-09-06) 6 September 1986 (age 33)
Brussels, Belgium
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)
Reach70 12 in (179 cm)[1]
StyleKarate, BJJ, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Wrestling, Judo, Wing Chun
Fighting out ofTemecula, California, United States
TeamTristar Gym
Team Quest
Evolve MMA
Tiger Muay Thai
RankBlack belt in Shihaishinkai Karate[2]
Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[2]
Red belt in Taekwondo[citation needed]
Green belt in Judo[citation needed]
Years active2007–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout1
By submission5
By decision10
By knockout1
By decision6
Amateur kickboxing record
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog


Saffiedine was born to a Lebanese father, who emigrated to Belgium to study as an ophthalmologist, and a Belgian mother. His father was a Taekwondo practitioner, and since the age of ten Saffiedine has trained in Judo, Wing Chun and Taekwondo. Saffiedine grew up in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert in Brussels and also played basketball in his youth. Inspired by the Japanese comic book Tough, he finally took up Karate at age 16, and in 2005 received a black belt in Shihaishinkai, a style of knockdown karate that includes striking, throws and ground fighting.[3] He also has an amateur kickboxing record of 12–1–1[4] and later began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai, and then Wrestling when he emigrated to the United States.[5] Early in his career he worked a number of jobs including in a restaurant, a cinema, as a gardener, and a security guard. He received his nickname, "Sponge", from one of his coaches because he learns quickly.[6] He is also known to switch stances frequently.

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Saffiedine made his professional mixed martial arts debut in March 2007, beating his opponent Guillaume Janvier with a kimura submission. He went on to fight a further three times that year, all in promotions in his native Belgium and France. In January 2008, he relocated to the United States and began training with Team Quest. His first fight since his trans-Atlantic move came in June that year at Ultimate Cage Wars 12 in Canada, where he defeated his opponent Rich Bondoc with an armbar submission. In 2009, he had two fights in the United States and won both.


From there, Saffiedine went to Japan to compete in DREAM. His first fight came against Seichi Ikemoto at DREAM 10: Welterweight Grand Prix 2009 Final. The bout was not part of the Welterweight Grand Prix, but was a reserve bout. Saffiedine went on to win a unanimous decision.

His next opponent under the promotion's banner was Yoon Dong-Sik, which took place at DREAM 12. He replaced former WEC Middleweight Champion Paulo Filho in the match on short notice, and lost by way of split decision. Saffiedine normally competes as a Welterweight (170 lbs.), but since he was replacing Filho, he fought as a Middleweight (185 lbs.).[7]


He then returned to the United States to compete at Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs. Hashi, where he defeated James Terry by way of unanimous decision. He used effective striking to keep his opponent off balance, going as far as to open a cut under Terry's left eye that was bleeding profusely by early in the third round. Though his opponent, an experienced wrestler, did attempt some takedowns, Saffiedine shrugged off most of them or got to his feet quickly when the action did hit the mat. All three judges scored the fight 30–27 in favor of Saffiedine.[8]

Saffiedine was next scheduled to face off against Nate Moore on 21 May 2010 at Strikeforce Challengers: Lindland vs. Casey. The opening round provided some back-and-forth action with Moore pushing forward with a wrestling attack, then responding well when Saffiedine began to take control with his strikes. That changed in the second, as Moore returned to his takedown-heavy strategy, but Saffiedine stood tall in the face of the attack and delivered powerful punches while remaining on his feet. A well placed punch by Saffiedine ended the fight by knockout at 1:21 of the second round – his first career knockout win.[9]

He then faced grappler Brock Larson on 11 September 2010 at Shark Fights 13, on loan from Strikeforce.[10] After a minute-long feeling-out period, Larson shot out of the gate with punches and was dropped by a side-stepping Saffiedine's first strike. From there, Saffiedine continued to outstrike Larson and was also able to defend against takedowns for all three rounds. All judges scored the fight 30–27 in favour of Saffiedine as he won via unanimous decision.[11]

Saffiedine's next fight was against Tyron Woodley at Strikeforce Challengers: Woodley vs. Saffiedine.[12] He and Woodley squared off in the main event.[13] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.

Saffiedine was supposed to face Evangelista Santos at Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson but the fight was cancelled.[14]

Saffiedine fought Scott Smith at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. He was the replacement for Paul Daley, who was the original opponent for Saffiedine. He defeated Smith via unanimous decision.

Saffiedine fought Tyler Stinson to a split decision victory at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine.

Saffiedine defeated Roger Bowling via unanimous decision at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman.

In the last ever bout in Strikeforce history, Saffiedine utilized powerful leg kicks to win a 5-round unanimous decision against Nate Marquardt at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine to become the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion.[15]

Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit

It was announced shortly after the final Strikeforce event that Saffiedine would be amongst the promotion's former fighters brought over to the UFC.[16]

Saffiedine was expected to face former EliteXC Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler on 27 July 2013 at UFC on Fox 8.[17] However, Saffiedine was forced out of the bout with an injury and was replaced by Siyar Bahadurzada.[18] Bahadurzada also suffered an injury and was then replaced by Bobby Voelker.[19]

Saffiedine was expected to face Jake Ellenberger on 4 January 2014 at UFC Fight Night 34.[20] However, in late November, Ellenberger pulled out of the bout citing a hamstring injury and was replaced by Hyun Gyu Lim.[21] Saffiedine won via unanimous decision.[22] The win also earned Saffiedine his first Fight of the Night bonus award.[23]

A fight with Jake Ellenberger was rebooked for UFC 172.[24] However, Saffiedine had to pull out of the fight due to an undisclosed injury suffered in training.[25]

Saffiedine faced Rory MacDonald on 4 October 2014 at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine.[26] After being out-struck the first two rounds, Saffiedine was finished for the first time in his career via TKO in the third round, as he was dropped by an uppercut and follow up punches leading to the stoppage.[27]

A bout with Matt Brown was expected to take place on 14 February 2015 at UFC Fight Night 60.[28] However, it was announced on 1 January 2015 that Saffiedine had pulled out of the bout, citing a groin injury.[29]

After an extended hiatus spent rehabbing a litany of injuries, Saffiedine returned to face Jake Ellenberger on 30 January 2016 at UFC on Fox 18.[30] He won the fight by unanimous decision.[31]

Saffiedine faced Rick Story on 29 May 2016 at UFC Fight Night 88.[32] He lost the fight by unanimous decision.[33]

A pairing with Matt Brown was rescheduled, and was expected to take place on 30 December 2016 at UFC 207.[34] However, Brown was pulled from the fight on 11 November in favor of a matchup with Donald Cerrone three weeks earlier at UFC 206.[35] Saffiedine instead faced Dong Hyun Kim.[36] Kim was awarded a split decision victory.[37]

Saffiedine faced Rafael dos Anjos on 17 June 2017 at UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correia.[38] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[39]

On November 26, 2019, it was reported that Saffiedine was released by UFC.[40]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
23 matches 16 wins 7 losses
By knockout 1 1
By submission 5 0
By decision 10 6
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 16–7 Rafael dos Anjos Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correia 17 June 2017 3 5:00 Kallang, Singapore
Loss 16–6 Dong Hyun Kim Decision (split) UFC 207 30 December 2016 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 16–5 Rick Story Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Garbrandt 29 May 2016 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 16–4 Jake Ellenberger Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Bader 30 January 2016 3 5:00 Newark, New Jersey, United States
Loss 15–4 Rory MacDonald TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine 4 October 2014 3 1:28 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Win 15–3 Hyun Gyu Lim Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Saffiedine vs. Lim 4 January 2014 5 5:00 Marina Bay, Singapore Fight of the Night.
Win 14–3 Nate Marquardt Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine 12 January 2013 5 5:00 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States Won the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship.
Win 13–3 Roger Bowling Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman 18 August 2012 3 5:00 San Diego, California, United States
Win 12–3 Tyler Stinson Decision (split) Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine 7 January 2012 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 11–3 Scott Smith Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson 30 July 2011 3 5:00 Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States
Loss 10–3 Tyron Woodley Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce Challengers: Woodley vs. Saffiedine 7 January 2011 3 5:00 Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Win 10–2 Brock Larson Decision (unanimous) Shark Fights 13: Jardine vs Prangley 11 September 2010 3 5:00 Amarillo, Texas, United States
Win 9–2 Nate Moore KO (punch) Strikeforce Challengers: Lindland vs. Casey 21 May 2010 2 1:21 Portland, Oregon, United States
Win 8–2 James Terry Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs. Mahe 26 February 2010 3 5:00 San Jose, California, United States Return to Welterweight.
Loss 7–2 Yoon Dong-Sik Decision (split) DREAM 12 25 October 2009 3 5:00 Osaka, Japan Middleweight bout.
Win 7–1 Seichi Ikemoto Decision (unanimous) DREAM 10 20 July 2009 2 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Win 6–1 Mike Arellano Submission (americana) War Gods 5 30 May 2009 1 2:44 Alpine, California, United States
Win 5–1 Scott Rose Submission (arm-triangle choke) Long Beach Fight Night 4 19 April 2009 1 0:58 Long Beach, California, United States
Win 4–1 Rich Bondoc Submission (armbar) Ultimate Cage Wars 12 27 June 2008 1 2:18 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Win 3–1 Raymond Jarman Decision (unanimous) Shooto Belgium: Encounter the Braves 15 December 2007 3 5:00 Charleroi, Belgium
Win 2–1 Sebastian Grandin Submission (armbar) Xtreme Gladiators 3 9 June 2007 1 2:38 Paris, France
Loss 1–1 Kamil Uygun Decision (unanimous) Night of the Gladiators 21 April 2007 2 5:00 Brakel, Belgium
Win 1–0 Guillaume Janvier Submission (kimura) Shooto Belgium: Consecration 31 March 2007 1 1:15 Charleroi, Belgium

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Fight Card – UFC Fight Night MacDonald vs. Saffiedine". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Tarec Saffiedine – Official UFC Fighter Profile". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  3. ^ Breakout Strikeforce star Tarec Saffiedine discusses big win, journey to big show Archived 30 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Brock Larson vs. Tarec Saffiedine rounds out main card of stacked Shark Fights 13 event". 26 August 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  5. ^ Tarec Saffiedine: "I'm prepared for everything in this fight". (20 May 2010). Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
  6. ^ Tarec Saffiedine – a interview Archived 15 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. (1 March 2010). Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
  7. ^ Chris Nelson. "Paulo Filho No-Shows DREAM.12, Tarec Saffiedine Rumored to Replace".
  8. ^ Non, Sergio (27 February 2010). "Tarec Saffiedine cruises to Strikeforce decision over James Terry". USA Today.
  9. ^ Tarec Saffiedine Post Fight Interview
  10. ^ "Brock Larson vs. Tarec Saffiedine completes Shark Fights 13 pay-per-view lineup". 25 August 2010.
  11. ^ Hunt, Loretta. (12 September 2010) Prangley Hands Jardine 5th Straight Loss. Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
  12. ^ 5 Fights Official for Jan. 7 Strikeforce Challengers. (6 December 2010). Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
  13. ^ "Tyron Woodley vs. Tarec Saffiedine Heads Strikeforce Challengers 13". 6 December 2010.
  14. ^ "Update: Saffiedine-'Cyborg' Now Unlikely for 'Feijao vs. Henderson'". 3 February 2011.
  15. ^ Knapp, Brian. (12 January 2013) Tarec Saffiedine Dethrones Nate Marquardt, Claims Welterweight Crown in Strikeforce Finale. Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
  16. ^ Whitman, Mike. (16 January 2013) UFC Reveals List of Strikeforce Fighters Making Jump to Octagon. Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
  17. ^ Staff (11 April 2013). "Robbie Lawler vs. Tarec Saffiedine targeted for UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle". Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  18. ^ Staff (4 June 2013). "Bahadurzada replaces injured Saffiedine, meets Lawler at UFC on FOX 8". Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  19. ^ Staff (11 July 2013). "Siyar Bahardurzada out at UFC on FOX 8, Bobby Voelker faces Robbie Lawler". Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  20. ^ Staff (12 October 2013). "Jake Ellenberger-Tarec Saffiedine targeted for UFC's January debut in Singapore". Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  21. ^ Dave Doyle (30 November 2013). "Jake Ellenberger reveals hamstring injury forced him out of UFC Fight Night 34". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  22. ^ Dann Stupp. "UFC Fight Night 34 results: Tarec Saffiedine chops down Hyun Gyu Lim". Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  23. ^ Matt Erickson and John Morgan. "UFC Fight Night 34 bonuses: Saffiedine, Lim, Holloway, Doane earn $50,000". Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  24. ^ Staff (24 January 2014). "Jake Ellenberger says he's fighting Tarec Saffiedine at UFC 172 in April". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  25. ^ Dave Walsh (28 March 2014). "Jake Ellenberger vs. Robbie Lawler Slated for UFC 173". Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  26. ^ Matt Erickson (31 July 2014). "Rory MacDonald vs. Tarec Saffiedine headlines UFC Fight Night 54 in Halifax". Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  27. ^ Steven Marrocco (5 October 2014). "UFC Fight Night 54 results: Rory MacDonald stops Tarec Saffiedine with TKO in third". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  28. ^ Staff (17 November 2014). "Matt Brown vs. Tarec Saffiedine headlines UFC Fight Night 60 in Colorado". Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  29. ^ John Morgan and Dann Stupp (1 January 2015). "Injured Tarec Saffiedine out of planned UFC Fight Night 60 headliner with Matt Brown". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  30. ^ Marc Raimondi (4 November 2015). "Jake Ellenberger vs. Tarec Saffiedine added to UFC on FOX 18". Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  31. ^ Ben Fowlkes (30 January 2016). "Tarec Saffiedine outworks Jake Ellenberger for decision". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  32. ^ Mike Bohn and Matt Erickson (19 March 2016). "UFC Fight Night 88 gets 8 new fights". Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  33. ^ Steven Marrocco (29 May 2016). "UFC Fight Night 88 results: Long layoff no problem for Rick Story in smooth win over Tarec Saffiedine". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  34. ^ Ariel Helwani (18 October 2016). "Matt Brown vs. Tarec Saffiedine targeted for UFC 207". Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  35. ^ Dave Doyle (11 November 2016). "Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown slated for UFC 206". Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  36. ^ Adam Hill (15 November 2016). "Tarec Saffiedine gets new opponent for UFC 207". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  37. ^ Dave Doyle (30 December 2016). "UFC 207 results: Dong Hyun Kim ekes out split decision over Tarec Saffiedine". Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  38. ^ Staff (3 April 2017). "Rafael dos Anjos to make welterweight debut at Singapore UFC event". Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  39. ^ "UFC Singapore Results: Rafael dos Anjos defeats Tarec Saffiedine |". | 17 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  40. ^ Martin, Damon (26 November 2019). "Former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine released from the UFC roster". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  41. ^ MMAjunkie’s ‘Fight of the Month’ for January 2014. MMAjunkie (8 February 2014). Retrieved on 2017-06-17.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Nate Marquardt
3rd and final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion
12 January 2013 – 12 January 2013
Strikeforce banner dissolved into UFC