Ranking the greatest MMA fighters of all time

Combined martial arts (MMA) has been round without end. Over the previous few a long time, its reputation has skyrocketed due to the UFC and different MMA promotions. These days, the UFC rivals skilled boxing and has arguably surpassed it in some respects. 

With that being mentioned, let’s consider the best MMA fighters of all time. 

All the fighter’s information have been discovered on UFC Stats. The primary 20 slides of this text are devoted to the 20 biggest male fighters in MMA historical past, and the remaining 10 are devoted to the highest 10 all-time girls fighters. 


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Honorable mentions

Michael Bisping combating in UFC 204 (2016).
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Earlier than we get to the official rankings, listed here are our honorable mentions: Michael Bisping (30-9), Cain Velasquez (14-3), Urijah Faber (35-11), Frankie Edgar (24-11-1), Israel Adesanya (23-2), Francis Ngannou (17-3), Rashad Evans (20-8), Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (38-14), T.J. Dillashaw (17-5), Forest Griffin (19-7), Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1 1 NC), Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (27-13-1), Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-17 2 NC), Chael Sonnen (29-15-1), Claudia Gadelha (18-5), and Yuka Tsuji (24-3).


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1. George St-Pierre (26-2)

George St-Pierre (26-2)

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George St-Pierre is the best MMA fighter of all time. He realized karate after being bullied by children at elementary college. From this struggling, he discovered his calling. The remainder is historical past. St-Pierre’s run because the welterweight champion of the UFC was legendary. In his prime, St-Pierre went on a 13-fight profitable streak together with 9 consecutive title defenses. St-Pierre has recorded probably the most takedowns in UFC historical past

After vacating the welterweight title and leaving the octagon for 4 years, St-Pierre beat Michael Bisping for the middleweight title. He grew to become simply the fourth fighter in UFC historical past to develop into a two-division champion. After the very fact, he vacated the middleweight title due to ulcerative colitis. St-Pierre is the uncommon fighter who walked away on the prime.  


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2. Jon “Bones” Jones (26-1 1 NC)


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Jones was a dominant fighter. He loved a meteoric rise because the UFC’s mild heavyweight champion, profitable 11 title defenses. All through his profession, he is overwhelmed the likes of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans, Daniel Cormier, and Vitor Belfort. The very best mild heavyweight of all time, his solely loss was by disqualification due to throwing unlawful elbows. Whereas his off-field points have been extremely publicized, he is nonetheless one of many greats. In latest information, Jones has jumped to the heavyweight division. 


Anderson Silva (34-11 1 NC)

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The best striker of all time, Silva was unstoppable in his prime. He spent 2,457 days as middleweight champion, the longest title reign in UFC historical past. This file might by no means be damaged. The Brazilian brawler received 16 fights in a row and defended his middleweight championship 10 instances. After breaking his fibula and tibia, Silva was by no means the identical. Regardless of ending his profession with a 1-5 file, it did not tarnish Silva’s legacy. His championship bout with Chael Sonnen in UFC 117 exemplifies his resiliency and can to win. 


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4. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (27-3-1)


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Do not let his measurement idiot you (5-foot-3, 125 kilos), Johnson is likely one of the GOATs. An important wrestler, his lightning-fast takedowns and ground-and-pound fashion devastated his opponents. Johnson was the UFC’s first flyweight champion. He did not look again, defending his title 11 instances. Clearly the most effective flyweight in UFC historical past, he was dethroned in 2018. Now, he fights in ONE Championship, an MMA promotion primarily based in Singapore. 


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5. Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov (29-0)


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A wonderful grappler, Khabib’s flawless floor sport wore out his opponents and beat them into submission. He beat the most effective the light-weight division threw at him. He beat Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Rafael Dos Anjos all through his profession. After his father’s demise, he retired in his prime because the reigning light-weight champion with an undefeated file besides.


Jose Aldo (31-8)

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Aldo began in World Excessive Cagefighting and labored his method as much as the UFC, the place he grew to become the featherweight champion. Aldo recorded eight title defenses throughout his reign as champion earlier than being dethroned by Conor McGregor in 2015. He was deadly at Brazilian jiu-jitsu and spent a lot of his profession placing his opponents to sleep. At one level in his profession, he did not lose for over a decade and received 18 fights in a row. After a protracted profession, Aldo lastly retired in 2022.


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7. Daniel “D.C.” Cormier (22-3 1 NC)


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One of many most interesting grapplers to step into the octagon, Cormier obtained his begin with Strikeforce earlier than wreaking havoc within the UFC. By his fifth battle within the UFC, Cormier was combating Jon Jones for the sunshine heavyweight championship. He grew to become the second fighter in UFC historical past to be champion in two weight lessons concurrently after being topped light-weight and heavyweight champion. Cormier retired after back-to-back losses to Stipe Miocic. Now, he is thriving as a commentator for the UFC. 


Stipe Miocic (20-4)

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Miocic is the definition of an athlete. He is a former Golden Gloves boxing champion and Division I wrestler at Cleveland State College. He additionally performed faculty baseball. A two-time heavyweight champion within the UFC, he recorded 4 title defenses and beat the likes of Daniel Cormier, Francis Ngannou, and Junior dos Santos throughout his profession. Miocic can be a firefighter paramedic in Oakwood and Valley View, Ohio. 


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9. Fedor “The Final Emperor” Emelianenko (40-6 1 NC)


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Whereas he by no means fought within the UFC, Fedor continues to be one of many biggest heavyweights ever. He fought in Satisfaction, Strikeforce, and Bellator, amongst different MMA promotions. Like most heavyweights, he was an influence puncher. He may additionally take over fights together with his reckless ground-and-pound fashion. He was a flexible fighter who was an excellent striker. It is a disgrace we by no means obtained to see him within the UFC.  


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10. Conor “The Infamous” McGregor (22-6)


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The Infamous himself. The largest pay-per-view (PPV) attract UFC historical past, McGregor received over followers together with his legendary trash-talking and aggressive combating fashion. McGregor popularized the game and helped flip it into what it’s right now. The Irish brawler grew to become the primary simultaneous two-division champion, holding the featherweight and light-weight belts. A southpaw, McGregor’s accuracy together with his punches made him a knockout menace and a enjoyable fighter to observe. He even boxed Floyd Mayweather in 2017. He was the highest-paid athlete on this planet in 2021. 

Imitated by many however by no means surpassed, his influence on the game is simple. 


Kamaru Usman (20-2)

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Usman comes from a wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu background. When he beat Tyron Woodley for the welterweight title in UFC 235, he grew to become the primary Nigerian to develop into a UFC champion. The pleasure and pleasure of Nigeria, he defended his title 5 instances earlier than being dethroned by Leon Edwards. Usman’s nice run on the prime will not be forgotten anytime quickly. 


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12. Alexander “The Nice” Volkanovski (25-1)


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The very best Australian fighter ever, Alexander has solely suffered one defeat in his whole profession. Top-of-the-line pound-for-pound fighters proper now, he is gone on a powerful title reign as featherweight champion. He is recorded 4 title defenses thus far and is a two-time fight-of-the-night winner. He is overwhelmed the likes of Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, and Max Holloway. At simply 34 years previous and the present featherweight champion, there’s time to climb this listing.


Matt Hughes (45-9)

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A 2000s legend in MMA and a UFC Corridor of Famer, Hughes recorded seven title defenses as welterweight champion. A wonderful wrestler at Southwestern Illinois Faculty, he logged a whopping 45 victories in his skilled MMA profession. In his prime, he was among the best pound-for-pound fighters on this planet. 


Dan Henderson (32-15)

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Henderson fought in Satisfaction, Strikeforce, and the UFC. He wrestled at Arizona State. He fought in a number of weight lessons, together with welterweight, middleweight, mild heavyweight, and heavyweight. Henderson is the definition of an ageless surprise. He is the oldest fighter to compete for a UFC championship at 46 years previous.


Max Holloway (23-7)

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Top-of-the-line strikers in UFC historical past, Holloway is a former featherweight champ and defended his title 3 times. He is the primary American to win the featherweight championship within the UFC. Holloway additionally went on a 13-fight win streak at one level in his profession. He landed probably the most strikes in a profession in UFC historical past with 3,217


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16. Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell (21-8)


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The primary famous person in UFC historical past, Liddell obtained a wave of endorsements due to his world-class combating expertise. An expert kickboxer and Division I wrestler at Cal Poly, Liddell was a pressure to be reckoned with within the octagon. A former mild heavyweight champion, he defended his title 4 instances. His rivalry with Tito Ortiz was legendary. Liddell was inducted into the UFC Corridor of Fame.


Dominick Cruz (24-4)

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Cruz did not lose loads, however he nonetheless confronted adversity. He battled knee accidents for a lot of his profession and misplaced years due to them. In 2011, he needed to vacate his bantamweight title due to these accidents. From 2011-15, he solely fought as soon as, a win in 2014. Then, at UFC Battle Evening 81 in January 2016, Cruz placed on the efficiency of his life. He beat T.J. Dillashaw to reclaim his bantamweight championship in one of many biggest comebacks in UFC historical past. All in all, he defended his belt 3 times and was a longtime contender for the bantamweight.


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18. B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn (16-14-2)


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Penn is the basic instance of a fighter whose file does not inform the entire story. He was nicknamed the prodigy as a result of he earned a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in three years. Penn continually fought in title fights. He grew to become solely the second fighter in UFC historical past to be a champion in two totally different weight lessons (welterweight, light-weight). Penn ended his profession by dropping seven fights in a row. It wasn’t that Penn was unhealthy. He simply hung round for too lengthy. In his prime, nonetheless, he was one of many greats. Penn is a UFC Corridor of Famer.


Henry Cejudo (16-2)

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After dethroning Demetrious Johnson as flyweight champion, Cejudo went on a legendary run. He grew to become the fourth fighter in UFC historical past to be champion in two totally different weight lessons concurrently: flyweight and bantamweight champion. He has one title protection in every division. Cejudo retired as a reigning champion in 2020. (Cejudo additionally received a gold medal on the 2008 Summer season Summer season Olympics for wrestling.)


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20. Randy “The Pure” Couture (19-11)


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Couture fought within the early phases of the UFC and was the primary nice heavyweight. Couture was all concerning the glory. He fought in 15 championship bouts and was a six-time champion. He grew to become the primary fighter in UFC historical past to be a two-division champion by profitable the sunshine heavyweight and heavyweight championships. He fought for championships in his 40s and have become the oldest champion in UFC historical past at 43. Couture is a member of the UFC Corridor of Fame


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1. Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes (22-5)


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The best feminine MMA fighter of all time, Nunes realized karate at seven and by no means appeared again. In her profession, she beat a number of the greatest fighters of her period, together with Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, and Miesha Tate. She holds the file for many wins in UFC historical past by a girl and can be the primary brazenly lesbian UFC champion. She’s additionally the primary feminine UFC fighter to win a title in two totally different weight lessons after being topped Bantamweight and Featherweight champion. Nunes’ untouchable legacy will stand the take a look at of time. 


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2. Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey (12-2)


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A former Olympian, Rousey received bronze in Girls’s judo on the 2008 Summer season Olympics. She loved a 12-0 begin to her profession and was the previous UFC bantamweight champion. She has six title defenses to her identify. She was upset by Holly Holm in UFC 193 and retired after her subsequent battle, dropping to Amanda Nunes. One of many first feminine trash talkers in UFC historical past, she introduced fame and acclaim to girls’s UFC. Rousey was inducted into the UFC Corridor of Fame. She is at the moment signed with the WWE. 


Cris Cyborg (21-2 1 NC)

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A legendary featherweight, Cyborg has been topped champion in Bellator MMA, Strikeforce and the UFC. As of January, 2023, she is Bellator’s featherweight champion. From 2005-2018, Cyborg did not lose a single battle. Since dropping the UFC’s featherweight title belt to Amanda Nunes in 2018, Cyborg moved to Bellator and has continued her dominant methods within the octagon. 


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4. Valentina Shevchenko (23-3)

Valentina Shevchenko (23-3)

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A wonderful kickboxer and a southpaw, Valentina is likely one of the biggest flyweights in MMA historical past. As flyweight champion, she recorded a whopping seven title defenses. She is at the moment the reigning UFC flyweight champion as of January 2023. 


Marloes Coenen (23-8)

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Coenen by no means fought within the UFC. As an alternative, she constructed her legacy in Strikeforce and Bellator MMA. At one time, she was Strikeforce’s bantamweight champion. She retired in 2017. 


Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-5)

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Joanna was the best strawweight of all time and logged 5 title defenses throughout her reign as champion. When she received the strawweight title belt in 2015, she grew to become the primary Polish champion in UFC historical past. She was dethroned in 2017. She holds strawweight information for probably the most title bout wins and probably the most wins in a row. Her championship bout with Weili Zhang was named the battle of the 12 months in 2020. 


Miesha Tate (19-9)

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When Tate was a scholar at Central Washington College, certainly one of her associates invited her to affix the MMA membership. The remainder is historical past. From these humble beginnings, Tate rose to champion of the bantamweight division. She wasn’t afraid of a problem. She fought a number of the greatest fighters of her period: Amanda Nunes, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Cat Zingano, and Marloes Coenen. 


Rose Namajunas (12-5)

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Namajunas, who dethroned Joanna Jedrzejczyk as strawweight champion, is a black belt in taekwondo, karate, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She’s a two-time strawweight champion and has two title defenses to her identify. She’s the primary feminine fighter in UFC historical past to win her title again after dropping it. At 30 years previous, there’s nonetheless time for her to climb this listing. 


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9. Megumi Fujii (26-3)

Megumi Fujii (26-3)

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Combating out of Japan, Fujii grew to become a pioneer in girls’s MMA. An important takedown specialist, she fought in varied MMA promotions all through her profession. She began her profession by going 22-0. 


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10. Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (14-6)


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Holm is thought for her surprising upset victory over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. However she’s achieved a lot extra in her profession. An excellent kickboxer, she has received 14 fights, and eight of them have led to a knockout. A one-time bantamweight champ, Holm continues to be combating within the UFC. 

David J. Hunt is a contract author primarily based out of Philadelphia. He ran cross nation at Penn State, grew to become a volunteer firefighter throughout COVID-19, and is a self taught journalist. He is a diehard Philly sports activities fan. When he is not watching sports activities, he enjoys figuring out, fishing, and touring. You’ll find extra of his writing at The Chestnut Hill Native and The Temple Information. You’ll be able to comply with him on Twitter at @dave_hunt44.