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Ever wondered who dominates the octagon in the brutal ballet of MMA?

From bone-crushing submissions to knockout strikes, these 15 warriors have etched their names in the annals of combat.

Strap in as we dissect the chronicles of these elite fighters, one roundhouse at a time.

Best MMA Fighters:

  1. Anderson Silva
  2. Georges St-Pierre
  3. Jon Jones
  4. Fedor Emelianenko
  5. Demetrious Johnson
  6. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  7. Daniel Cormier
  8. Amanda Nunes
  9. Randy Couture
  10. BJ Penn
  11. Conor McGregor
  12. JosΓ© Aldo
  13. Stipe Miocic
  14. Henry Cejudo
  15. Ronda Rousey

#1 Anderson Silva

  • 🌍 Nationality: Brazilian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: April 14, 1975
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Middleweight Fighter
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Longest title reign in UFC history (2,457 days), Most successful title defenses in UFC Middleweight history (10), UFC Fighter of the Year (2012), UFC Middleweight Champion

Anderson “The Spider” Silva is celebrated for his surgical precision and fluid movement in the octagon, changing the game with his striking and defensive skills. His reign as the UFC Middleweight Champion set a high bar for excellence, featuring knockouts and submissions that thrilled fans around the world.

Silva’s legacy reaches beyond the cage, inspiring a generation of fighters in Brazil and globally. Silva has also ventured into acting and philanthropy, using his prominence to contribute to causes like children’s healthcare. Despite his professional setbacks, including a high-profile doping suspension, Silva’s influence on MMA remains indisputable.

#2 Georges St-Pierre

  • 🌍 Nationality: Canadian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: May 19, 1981
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Welterweight/Middleweight Fighter
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Two-division UFC Champion (Welterweight, Middleweight), UFC Hall of Fame Inductee, Most wins in UFC title fights (13), Fighter of the Year (2009)

Known as “GSP,” Georges St-Pierre is widely regarded for his tactical prowess and sportsmanship. His well-rounded fighting style, featuring a mix of striking, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, made him one of the most dominant champions in UFC history. His methodical approach to combat and relentless pursuit of self-improvement have become benchmarks for aspiring fighters.

GSP’s impact extends beyond his fighting skills; he’s known for advocating for anti-doping measures and athlete rights. His contribution to martial arts in Canada and philanthropy, including work with school programs and anti-bullying campaigns, cements his status as both a sports legend and a champion for positive social impact.

#3 Jon Jones

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: July 19, 1987
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Light Heavyweight Fighter
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Youngest champion in UFC history, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Numerous “Fight of the Night” and “Performance of the Night” Awards, Pound-for-pound No.1 Rank in UFC

Jon “Bones” Jones is celebrated for his exceptional reach, creativity in the octagon, and a skill set that has overwhelmed the highest level of competition. Jones’ grappling and striking versatility, unorthodox offense, and strategic mind have made him a formidable force in MMA, holding the record for the youngest UFC champion ever.

Despite his transcendent talent, Jones’ career has been marred by legal issues and failed drug tests, prompting discussions on wasted potential. Nevertheless, his efforts in charity work and community service reflect his attempts to give back. Jones’ complex legacy is one of sheer brilliance within the sport, shadowed by controversy outside of it.

#4 Fedor Emelianenko

  • 🌍 Nationality: Russian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: September 28, 1976
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Heavyweight Fighter
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: PRIDE Heavyweight Champion, Multiple MMA championships across various organizations, Longest undefeated streak in MMA (28 fights over nearly a decade)

Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko is revered for his stoic demeanor and devastating sambo-based combat style, which brought him fame during the PRIDE era. His knockout power and grappling acumen solidified his status as one of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history.

Fedor’s impact on MMA is global, especially in Russia and Japan, where he became a cultural icon. Off the ring, his private life remains low profile, embracing his role as a father and sports ambassador. He’s faced ups and downs, including high-profile losses later in his career, but his contributions to popularizing MMA worldwide are undeniable.

#5 Demetrious Johnson

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: August 13, 1986
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Flyweight Fighter
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: UFC Flyweight Champion, Most consecutive title defenses in UFC history (11), Fight Matrix Awards for Fighter of the Year (2017), Multiple “Performance of the Night” Awards

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is celebrated for his lightning-fast speed and technical mastery, making him one of the most dominant champions in UFC history. His versatility in striking, clinch work, and ground game has solidified his legacy as a pacesetter in the flyweight division.

Johnson’s influence stretches beyond the octagon, advocating for fighter rights and fair pay. Not to mention, his Twitch streaming presence and openness about gaming and life balance make him relatable and respected by fans. The combination of his record-setting UFC career and engaging personality ensure his enduring fame in MMA circles.

#6 Khabib Nurmagomedov

  • 🌍 Nationality: Russian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: September 20, 1988
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Lightweight Fighter
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Undefeated UFC Lightweight Champion, Longest active undefeated streak in MMA at the time of his retirement (29 wins), Two-time Combat Sambo World Champion

Khabib Nurmagomedov, often simply known as “Khabib,” dominated the lightweight division with his exceptional wrestling and relentless pressure. His striking, ground-and-pound, and grappling have been nearly insurmountable obstacles for his opponents. Khabib retired with an unblemished record, a testament to his skill and discipline.

Khabib’s legacy in sport is complemented by his influence on global MMA and his devout following, particularly in Russia and Dagestan. He’s also recognized for his humility, loyalty to his roots, and philanthropic efforts. Khabib’s leadership in training younger fighters and his role in societal causes such as children’s sports initiatives underline his commitment to making a difference beyond the octagon.

#7 Daniel Cormier

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: March 20, 1979
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Light Heavyweight/Heavyweight Fighter
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Two-division UFC Champion (Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight), Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion, UFC Hall of Fame Inductee

Daniel “DC” Cormier is hailed for his world-class wrestling, strategic fight IQ, and the power he demonstrated across two weight classes. His storied rivalry with Jon Jones and his redemption arc to claim the heavyweight title have marked him as one of the greats in MMA’s modern era.

Cormier’s influence extends into broadcasting, where his insightful commentary educates and entertains fans. He’s known for advocating for wrestler’s transitions to MMA and mentoring young athletes. His work ethic and affable personality have endeared him to many, making him an invaluable ambassador for the sport.

#8 Amanda Nunes

  • 🌍 Nationality: Brazilian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: May 30, 1988
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Bantamweight/Featherweight Fighter
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: First woman to become a two-division UFC champion, First and only fighter in UFC history to defend two titles while actively holding them, Longest reigning women’s champion

Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes is renowned for her ferocious power and capability to end fights quickly, earning her a reputation as one of the most lethal strikers in women’s MMA. Her skill set across multiple weight classes is unparalleled, leading her to victories over the biggest names in the sport.

Beyond the octagon, Nunes breaks barriers as an LGBTQ+ icon and role model, embracing her sexuality with pride and advocating for equality. Her dedication to family, evident in her public sharing of the joy of becoming a parent, showcases a different side of the fierce competitor fans behold in the cage. Nunes represents empowerment and excellence within the landscape of sports and society.

#9 Randy Couture

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: June 22, 1963
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Mixed martial artist (Heavyweight & Light Heavyweight)
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 3-time UFC Heavyweight Champion, 2-time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Hall of Fame Inductee

Nicknamed “The Natural” and later “Captain America,” Randy Couture is known for his exceptional wrestling abilities, strategic approach to fighting, and cardiovascular conditioning. Despite starting his career at an age when many athletes consider retirement, Couture’s dedication and skill have made him one of the sport’s most enduring figures.

His ability to compete successfully in two weight classes, coupled with his longevity, has cemented Couture’s legacy as a pioneer in MMA. Off the cage, he has appeared in multiple acting roles, notably in the “Expendables” film series, and is active with his charity work, supporting veterans and their families.

#10 BJ Penn

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: December 13, 1978
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Mixed martial artist (Lightweight & Welterweight)
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 1-time UFC Lightweight Champion, 1-time UFC Welterweight Champion, Hall of Fame Inductee

BJ Penn, also known as “The Prodigy,” is revered for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, quickness, and flexibility inside the Octagon. Penn, one of the few fighters to win titles in multiple UFC weight classes, is celebrated for his fearless fighting style and willingness to battle any challenger.

His career has included notable highs and some challenges, including a string of losses towards the end and controversies outside the ring. Nevertheless, BJ Penn’s contributions to MMA, particularly his promotion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, remain significant, and his legacy is secured as one of the sport’s all-time greats. His charitable efforts in Hawaii and mentorship of young fighters have also been part of his off-field contributions.

#11 Conor McGregor

  • 🌍 Nationality: Irish
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: July 14, 1988
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Mixed martial artist (Featherweight & Lightweight)
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 1-time UFC Featherweight Champion, 1-time UFC Lightweight Champion, first fighter to hold UFC championships in two weight classes simultaneously

Conor McGregor, known as “The Notorious,” stands out for his precise striking, exceptional trash talk, and psychological warfare. His flamboyant persona and ability to sell fights have made him one of the most recognizable and influential figures in MMA history.

McGregor’s impact on the sport includes record-breaking pay-per-view numbers and increased global attention. Controversies and legal issues have also been a part of his narrative, but his philanthropic work through his own charities, such as the Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey donations, shows a commitment to giving back. McGregor’s entrepreneurial ventures extend his brand well beyond fighting.

#12 JosΓ© Aldo

  • 🌍 Nationality: Brazilian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: September 9, 1986
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Mixed martial artist (Featherweight)
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 2-time UFC Featherweight Champion, WEC Featherweight Champion

JosΓ© Aldo, “Junior,” is distinguished by his devastating leg kicks, speed, and well-rounded fighting skills. As one of the longest-reigning featherweight champions, Aldo dominated the division with his aggressive striking and defensive prowess.

Aldo’s reign in the featherweight class set a high bar for all future competitors in the division, marking him as one of the all-time greats in MMA history. Beyond the Octagon, he is known for his humility and quiet charity work. Aldo’s perseverance through tough upbringing to become an MMA legend is an inspirational story to many young athletes.

#13 Stipe Miocic

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: August 19, 1982
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Mixed martial artist (Heavyweight)
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 2-time UFC Heavyweight Champion, most consecutive successful Heavyweight title defenses in UFC history

Stipe Miocic is recognized for his powerful knockout ability, superb wrestling, and exceptional conditioning. The part-time firefighter and paramedic made history with the most title defenses in the UFC heavyweight division, showcasing his tenacity and heart.

Miocic’s accomplishments have made him a role model for fighters who balance multiple careers, and his commitment to his community as a first responder is equally as impressive as his achievements in the ring. His impact on the heavyweight division and his unassuming personality have endeared him to fans worldwide.

#14 Henry Cejudo

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: February 9, 1987
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Mixed martial artist (Flyweight & Bantamweight)
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 1-time UFC Flyweight Champion, 1-time UFC Bantamweight Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist in wrestling

Henry Cejudo, known as “The Messenger,” is celebrated for his elite wrestling background, quick adaptability, and high fight IQ. Notably, he is an Olympic gold medalist and one of the few athletes to achieve championship status in both the UFC and the Olympics.

Through his ascension in the UFC, Cejudo overcame initial setbacks to become a dominant force in two weight classes. His legacy includes significant victories over formidable opponents, cementing his status as a combat sports legend. Outside the octagon, Cejudo inspires through motivational speaking and philanthropy, particularly with youth wrestling programs.

#15 Ronda Rousey

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: February 1, 1987
  • πŸ₯‹ Position/Role: Mixed martial artist (Bantamweight)
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 1-time UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, 6 successful title defenses, first woman inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame

Ronda Rousey, nicknamed “Rowdy,” revolutionized women’s MMA with her judo-based techniques, particularly her signature armbar. Her dominance and star power helped establish women’s divisions in the UFC and inspired a generation of female fighters.

Rousey’s meteoric rise included becoming the first female UFC champion and a considerable draw for the sport. Her subsequent ventures into acting and professional wrestling have maintained her profile as a crossover star. Rousey’s advocacy for mental health and body positivity, alongside her non-profit work with underprivileged girls, signifies her dedication to empowering others beyond the MMA sphere.

For fans of the sport, explore the best mixed martial arts movies, shows, and documentaries to see these athletes in action and learn more about their stories.

FAQ

Who is the best Mixed Martial Arts fighter of all time?

Georges St-Pierre is the best Mixed Martial Arts player of all time. Here’s a link to our article on why we think Georges St-Pierre is the best MMA fighter of all time. His remarkable record and impact on the sport are unparalleled.

Who are the top 10 greatest Mixed Martial Arts fighters of all time?

Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones, Fedor Emelianenko, Demetrious Johnson, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes, Randy Couture, and BJ Penn are the top 10 greatest Mixed Martial Arts players of all time. These fighters have distinguished themselves with extraordinary achievements in the cage.

Who is the most famous female Mixed Martial Arts fighter?

Amanda Nunes is the most famous female Mixed Martial Arts player. Her dominance in multiple weight classes and significant wins over other top fighters solidify her fame in the MMA world.

Kelly is a travel lover, and an adventure and sports enthusiast, and lover of all things wine. Kelly’s passion lies in exploring Canada and other parts of the world and sharing her experiences with others. As a senior traveller, Kelly aims to inspire others to live their best life and not be afraid to venture out into the world on their own. She encourages solo travel and offers tips and advice on how to do it safely and confidently. In sports, she was one of the MVP provincial champs in volleyball, have 4 years recreational experience in beach volleyball and was an MMA black belt and former instructor.

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