Best UFC Fighters Of All Time

By Nika

The blended martial arts world, MMA,  is overwhelmed with skillful fighters, as everybody boasts of their own abilities.

Factors such as championships, dominance in their weight classes, and fight styles all come into play when determining the greatest fighters in UFC history. It’s a challenging job, as evidenced by the amount of disgruntled people.

While some may argue that Conor McGregor’s rise to fame and success makes him a top contender, others point to the impressive record of Robert Whittaker or the dominance of Khamzat Chimaev. 

Females participating at the sport like Holly Holm have also contributed greatly to the sport, most especially by proving that achieving at a high level has nothing to do with gender at all.

With multiple weight classes and a vast pool of talented martial artists to choose from, the task of ranking the best is no easy feat. And those names are taken up by Cain Velasquez, Michael Bisping, Alexander Volkanovski, and many more champions. 

They have all got their titles and are known to the fans for the massively impressive results they produced.

In the world of fights and statistics, it is important to remember that rankings remain subjective, and there is no one-size-fits-all formula for determining greatness. 

With this in mind, as we are sitting back and watching the next bout we should give credit to the fighters for the awe-inspiring achievements they have made.

The Pound-for-Pound Debate: All-Time Greats

The MMA pound-for-pound ranking is the system which lets fans evaluate fighters based on their skills and dominance across different weight classes. 

It allows comparisons between fighters of different sizes, acknowledging that a smaller fighter may possess exceptional skills and be just as dominant as a larger fighter.

In the question about who was the greatest UFC fighter of all-time, there are several names which top the selection but arguments put it down to personal taste. 

Names like Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, and Khabib Nurmagomedov often come up in discussion, but there are many more.

Here is our list of the 15 best UFC fighters of all time (without any particular ranking):

Anderson Silva

  • Record: Silva boasts one of the longest win streaks in UFC history and held the Middleweight Championship for nearly 7 years, defending it 10 times. His fights were marked by spectacular finishes and a mastery over his opponents.
  • Dominance: Silva’s ability to outstrike and outmaneuver his opponents with a blend of Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu set the standard for striking in MMA. His reign in the middleweight division is often cited as the gold standard for dominance.

Jon Jones

  • Record: Jones has the most title defenses in the light heavyweight division, with a nearly unmatched record in title fights. Despite controversies outside the octagon, inside it, his record is exemplary.
  • Dominance: Known for his incredible reach, creativity, and wrestling base, Jones has defeated a who’s who of the light heavyweight division, often making it look easy against the best in the world.

Georges St-Pierre

  • Record: St-Pierre was a two-division champion (Welterweight and Middleweight) with multiple title defenses in the welterweight division, showcasing his dominance over a long career.
  • Dominance: Renowned for his wrestling, striking, and game plan execution, GSP was a versatile fighter who could dominate opponents wherever the fight went, making him one of the most dominant champions in UFC history.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

  • Record: Khabib retired undefeated, with a perfect record, and successfully defended his Lightweight Championship on multiple occasions.
  • Dominance: Known for his unparalleled wrestling, ground control, and pressure, Khabib dominated every opponent he faced, often in their own areas of strength, cementing his legacy as one of the most dominant fighters ever.

Demetrious Johnson

  • Record: Johnson holds the record for most consecutive title defenses in UFC history, dominating the flyweight division for years.
  • Dominance: “Mighty Mouse” showcased an ability to adapt and overcome in every aspect of MMA, from striking to wrestling to submissions, making him one of the most technically proficient and dominant champions.

Amanda Nunes

  • Record: Nunes is the first woman in UFC history to become a two-division champion (Bantamweight and Featherweight) and has defended titles in both divisions.
  • Dominance: Her victories over the biggest names in women’s MMA, often by knockout, have established her as the most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport.

Henry Cejudo

  • Record: Cejudo is one of the few fighters to have won UFC championships in two different weight classes (Flyweight and Bantamweight), including dethroning long-time champions in both divisions.
  • Dominance: Known for his Olympic-level wrestling, Cejudo also developed striking skills that allowed him to compete with the best in both divisions, showcasing versatility and adaptability against different styles.

Daniel Cormier

  • Record: Cormier held titles in the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight divisions, defending the Light Heavyweight title multiple times. His only professional losses came against fighters considered among the best in the history of MMA.
  • Dominance: Cormier’s wrestling base, combined with heavy hands and high fight IQ, allowed him to control fights both on the feet and on the ground, making him a dominant force in two of the toughest divisions.

Stipe Miocic

  • Record: Miocic holds the record for the most title defenses in the UFC Heavyweight division, which is known for its volatility and unpredictability.
  • Dominance: His boxing skills, combined with wrestling and cardio, allowed him to overcome larger opponents and emerge victorious in fights where he was often considered the underdog, showcasing his dominance in a division where one punch can change everything.

José Aldo

  • Record: Aldo was the inaugural UFC Featherweight Champion after transitioning as the WEC Featherweight Champion, defending his title seven times in the UFC. He was considered unbeatable for a decade.
  • Dominance: Aldo’s striking, particularly his leg kicks, and his defensive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu made him a fearsome champion. His speed and power, along with tactical intelligence, kept him at the top of his division for years.

Max Holloway

  • Record: Holloway holds the record for the longest winning streak in the UFC Featherweight division and has multiple title defenses to his name. He is known for his durability, volume striking, and ability to adjust mid-fight.
  • Dominance: His wins over top contenders and former champions, coupled with his relentless pace and boxing skills, have made him one of the most dominant featherweights in UFC history.

Cris Cyborg

  • Record: Cristiane Justino, known as “Cyborg,” is a former UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion with a record that speaks volumes of her dominance in women’s MMA across multiple organizations.
  • Dominance: Cyborg is known for her aggressive striking and knockout power. Her reign in the featherweight division was marked by overwhelming victories over her opponents, showcasing her as one of the most feared strikers in women’s MMA history.

Conor McGregor

  • Record: The first fighter in UFC history to hold titles simultaneously in two weight classes (featherweight and lightweight), McGregor has been a pivotal figure in popularizing MMA globally.
  • Dominance: Known for his striking precision, knockout power, and psychological warfare, McGregor’s ability to finish fights early and his performances against top contenders have made him one of the most iconic figures in the sport.

Kamaru Usman

  • Record: Usman is a former UFC Welterweight Champion with a record that showcases his dominance in one of the UFC’s most competitive divisions.
  • Dominance: Renowned for his wrestling, strength, and improved striking, Usman’s control over his opponents and ability to adapt his game plan has seen him successfully defend his title multiple times, defeating top contenders and former champions.

Israel Adesanya

  • Record: Adesanya is the UFC Middleweight Champion with multiple title defenses, known for his striking, speed, and precision.
  • Dominance: “The Last Stylebender” has utilized his kickboxing background to outclass his opponents, showcasing a level of striking creativity and defense that has kept him ahead of the competition in the middleweight division.

Conclusion

One may say that defining the best UFC fighter is a very challenging proposal. 

With the diverse skill sets displayed in the octagon, it’s vital to appreciate the complexities and nuances of each fighter’s abilities. 

From the thunderous explosiveness in Conor McGregor’s strikes to the exceptional technical skills that Demetrious Johnson presents, these are some of the aspects that makes a true champion.

The landscape of the UFC is constantly evolving, with new contenders emerging and established fighters pushing their limits. 

The rise of islam makhachev and ilia topuria’s domination are serving seasonings in the exchangeable conversation on the “greatest” title still underway.

In this ever-changing environment, it’s important to invite discussions and hear different perspectives. 

Indefinitely, beliefs that a fighter holds the most merits of all time are highly relative to one’s personal tastes and implicit factors.

Encouraging readers to share their thoughts on the rankings fosters a dialogue that celebrates the diversity and talent within the sport.

The UFC is presently winning audience’s hearts in every part of the world. 

So we need to consider the past and present fighters for their success and further expect the uprising of the new contenders too.

Recognizing the challenges and triumphs of each fighter allows us to fully appreciate the sport and engage in the ongoing conversation on who truly deserves the title of the best UFC fighter of all time.

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