UFC has sky-rocketed in popularity in recent years and following a massive revenue jump in 2016 which followed through in 2017 and 18 thanks to some very famous and infamous (UFC 229 springs to mind!) fight cards, has established itself as a truly global sport.
Given that we have had UFC people fundraise on PledgeSports, we couldn’t help but be swept up in the craze that comes with the UFC and thought it was time to weigh in on the debate of who are the best UFC fighters in the history of the franchise.
So, here’s our 10 Best UFC Fighters Ever – if you have any additions to make just let us know!
10. Jon Jones
This fighter who would have been much higher on this list if it were not for his unfortunate and repeated history involving performance-enhancing drugs. But Jon Jones is still a fighting and UFC legend.
His attacking capabilities are second to none. His style leaves all of his opponents scrambling for a way to get back into the fight, or to even secure a foothold while facing him. He proved this again at UFC 232 in December 2018 increasing his win loss record to 23-1.
9. Matt Hughes
A two-time UFC Welterweight Champion, UFC Hall of Fame inductee, and NJCAA Hall of Fame inductee, Hughes’ tenures in the Ultimate Fighting Championship saw him put together two separate six-fight winning streaks, defeating all the available opposition in the welterweight division, and defended the belt a then-record seven times.
Hughes was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in May 2010 during the UFC Fan Expo in conjunction with UFC 114 and to this day is considered pound-for-pound one of the best UFC fighters of all time.
8. Randy Couture
During his tenures in the UFC, Couture became a three-time UFC Heavyweight Champion, two-time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, an interim UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and the UFC 13 Heavyweight Tournament Winner.
Couture is the first of only three fighters to hold two UFC championship titles in two different divisions (along with B.J. Penn and Conor McGregor).
A fighter who would have been much higher on this list if it were not for his unfortunate history involving performance-enhancing drugs, Jon Jones is still one of the fighters who are yet to be properly defeated in his time with the UFC or even outside.
7. BJ Penn
As a former UFC Lightweight Champion and UFC Welterweight Champion, Penn is one of only three fighters in UFC history to win titles in multiple weight classes, as mentioned above.
Penn was also a Co-champion in the UFC 41 Lightweight Tournament, due to an eventual draw opposite Caol Uno in the tournament finale.
Through his tenures as champion, Penn unofficially unified the UFC Lightweight Championship (against Sean Sherk) and broke the all-time lightweight title defense record.
In a testament to being one of the best UFC fighters ever, Penn was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, as the inaugural inductee in the Modern-Era Wing by career-long rival Matt Hughes, during International Fight Week in July 2015.
6. Demetrious Johnson
Known for his quick striking and elusive movement, Johnson has also landed the most takedowns in UFC Flyweight history and holds the record for the latest finish in UFC history with a submission win at 4:59 of the fifth round against Kyoji Horiguchi.
He is also the only UFC fighter to record over 10 takedowns in three different fights and as of August 2017 is officially ranked by UFC as the #2 pound-for-pound fighter.
5. Ronda Rousey
She is the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, as well as the last Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. She won 12 consecutive MMA fights, six in the UFC. She won 11 of those fights in the first round, nine of them by armbar submission.
In May 2015, two magazines ranked Rousey as the most “dominant” active athlete.In September 2015, voters in an online ESPN poll selected Rousey as the Best Female Athlete Ever.
Later that month, she claimed to be the UFC’s highest paid fighter, male or female. In 2015, she was the third most searched person on Google. As of January 2017, Rousey is ranked the #4 female bantamweight fighter in the world according to the UFC.
4. Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor Emelianenko is by near unanimous agreement the greatest heavyweight in the history of the UFC.
His win streak speaks for itself – of Fedor’s 29-fight streak between April 6, 2001, and June 26, 2010, there were just five decisions out of 28, which equates to a finishing percentage of 82.1%.
Ten of the fights were against fighters who at some point in their careers held major MMA championships, and that doesn’t include his high profile career win over Mirko Cro Cop.
The Russian also holds career wins over Andrei Arlovski, Mark Coleman (twice), Mark Hunt, Matt Lindland, Big Nog (twice), Kevin Randleman, and Tim Sylvia and has been touted by many accomplished fighters and media outlets as the greatest heavyweight there has ever been.
3. Conor McGregor
McGregor was UFC Lightweight Champion and former UFC Featherweight Champion. During his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, the Irishman has competed as a featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight. As of 2017, he is ranked 3rd on UFC’s pound for pound rankings with a win loss record of 21-4.
In 2008, McGregor started his MMA career and, in 2012, he won both the Cage Warriors Featherweight and Lightweight Championships, holding both titles simultaneously before vacating them to sign with the UFC.
In 2015, at UFC 194, he defeated José Aldo for the UFC Featherweight Championship via knockout thirteen seconds into the first round. This was the fastest victory in UFC title fight history.
Upon defeating Eddie Alvarez for the UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 205, McGregor became the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight divisions simultaneously.
His 2018 loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 could see him loose a few places on this list.
2. Georges St. Pierre
A three-time former Welterweight Champion of the UFC, having won the title twice in 2006 and 2008, as well as an Interim title in 2007.
Frequently cited as one of the best UFC fighters of all time, St-Pierre was ranked as the #1 welterweight in the world for several years by Sherdog and numerous other publications.
In 2008, 2009, and 2010 he was named the Canadian Athlete of the Year by Rodgers Sportsnet. Fight Matrix lists him as the top MMA Welterweight of all time and most accomplished fighter in MMA history.
He retired on December 13, 2013, holding the record for most wins in title bouts and the second longest combined title streak in UFC history (2,204 days).
1. Anderson Silva
He has 13 post-fight bonuses, the second most in UFC history. UFC president Dana White and several mixed-martial-arts publications have called Silva the greatest mixed martial artist and best UFC fighter of all time.
At the tender age of 42, he is currently ranked the #6 contender in official UFC middleweight rankings.
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