A decorated grappler, Travis Lutter had three previous fights in the UFC prior to TUF season 4, but only one win in the octagon. He showed better form on the show though, tapping out Scott Smith and then claiming a decision victory over Pete Sell to reach the final. In the finale Lutter wasted no time sealing a submission victory over Patrick Cote to become the winner of the fourth season.
As a reward Lutter’s first bout after the show was for the middleweight title against Anderson Silva. Undoubtedly the biggest fight of his career, Lutter was widely criticized for failing to make weight, causing the contest to become a non-title bout. He almost redeemed himself in the fight, giving Silva arguably his toughest test in the octagon to date after forcing him to fight from his back. In the second round, just when it seemed Lutter had a strategy that could win, Silva caught the BJJ black belt in a triangle choke that forced him to tap out. Injuries meant that it would be over a year until Lutter fought again at UFC 83 where he would lose to another tough competitor, Rich Franklin. Despite the caliber of his opponents the UFC had seen enough and Lutter earned the dubious distinction of being the first TUF winner to be cut from the UFC.
It would be 18 months later before Lutter fought again as potential fights fell through, but he kept busy teaching at his own academy in Texas, and opening up another 10,000 square ft training facility in the area in 2009. In October, at the age of 36, Lutter finally stepped back into the cage at MFC 22 to face another UFC veteran Jason Macdonald and picked up a unanimous decision victory which took his pro record to 13-5. It is expected that Lutter’s next fight will again be with the Canadian promotion MFC in April – May, with Thales Leites being mentioned as a potential opponent.