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Ranking The 25 Greatest UFC fighters of all time

The UFC was born in 1993, but it wasn’t until 2001 when Dana White became the president where the fighting league became popular. Boxing used to be the top combat sport, but these days UFC reigns supreme.

There have been a plethora of great fighters to come and go. From every weight class, we have seen this organization grow from a wild experience into one of the most recognized sports leagues in the world.

This league has had some of the best fighters in the world and it was difficult to narrow it down to the top 25. Here is a list of names that are more than deserving to be on the list, but didn’t quite make the cut.

Cain Velasquez, Tito Ortiz, Ronda Rousey, Wanderlei Silva, Urijah Faber, Quinton Jackson, Robbie Lalwer, Israel Adesanya, Mirko “Cro-Cop”, Cris Cyborg, Valentina Schevchenko, and Vitor Belfort.

With that said, here are the top 25 greatest UFC fighters of all time.

25. BJ Penn

Career Record: 16-14-2

Weight Class: Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight

Awards: 2x Fight of the Night, 2x Submission of the Night, Knockout of the Night, Tapout of the Night, Hall of Fame

UFC Belts Achieved: Lightweight & Welterweight

UFC Title Defenses: 3

His record might not be there, but BJ Penn was a monster in his prime. He’s highly regarded as one of the most dangerous submission artists in UFC history.

24. Royce Gracie

Career Record: 15-2-3

Weight Class: Welterweight, Middleweight, Lightheavyweight 

Awards: 3x UFC Tournament winner, Most fights in a single night (4), UFC Viewers Choice Award, UFC Hall of Fame

UFC Belts Achieved: N/A

UFC Title Defenses: N/A 

You can’t have a top UFC fighter list and leave Royce Gracie out. He’s essentially the father of the sport and fought before weight classes became mandatory. Gracie was known as a submission artist using his MMA Gi. He was the first-ever inductee for the Hall of Fame alongside Ken Shamrock.

23. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Career Record: 34-10-1, 1 NC

Weight Class: Heavyweight

Awards: 2x Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night, UFC Hall of Fame

UFC Belts Achieved: Interim Heavyweight

UFC Title Defenses: 0

Antonio Nogueira helped put Brazil on the map in the world of MMA. He was a tremendous all-around fighter that could always find a way to win. Nogueira is a true legend of the sport.

22. Dominick Cruz

Career Record: 23-3

Weight Class: Bantamweight

Awards: 3x Fight of the Night, Performance of the Night, Most wins in UFC/WEC Bantamweight History (13)

UFC Belts Achieved: Bantamweight

UFC Title Defenses: 3

Famously known for his unorthodox approach, Dominick Cruz has been one of the best martial artists throughout his career. He transitioned smoothly from the WEC into the UFC during the merger and has been at the forefront of the sport for years.

21. Max Holloway

Career Record: 22-6

Weight Class: Featherweight

Awards: Knockout of the Night, 4x Fight of the Night, 4x Performance of the Night, Most wins in UFC Featherweight History (22)

UFC Belts Achieved: Featherweight

UFC Title Defenses: 3

Easily one of the most exciting fighters in UFC history. Max Holloway always puts on a spectacular performance. A true warrior, Holloway loves to stand and bang and put on a show each time he enters the Octagon.

20. Junior dos Santos

Career Record: 21-9

Weight Class: Heavyweight

Awards: 3x Knockout of the Night, 3x Fight of the Night

UFC Belts Achieved: Heavyweight

UFC Title Defenses: 1

Junior dos Santos was at one point the best Heavyweight fighter in the world. His knockout power was one of a kind and not many could stop him.

19. Frankie Edgar

Career Record: 24-9-1

Weight Class: Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight

Awards: 8x Fight of the Night, 2x Performance of the Night, Knockout of the Night

UFC Belts Achieved: Lightweight

UFC Title Defenses: 3

Perhaps one of the best boxers in MMA history, Frankie Edgar often went into the Octagon with a solid game plan. He should be considered as one of the best Lightweights of all time.

18. Henry Cejudo

Career Record: 16-2

Weight Class: Flyweight & Bantamweight

Awards: 4th All-Time Double-Champ, 3x Performance of the Night, Fight of the Night

UFC Belts Achieved: Flyweight & Bantamweight

UFC Title Defenses: 2

The fourth UFC star to earn the title “Champ-Champ.” Henry Cejudo finally won his first belt then steamrolled for a second. He has to be considered a top 15 fighter, as he’s on a shortlist of people to hold two belts simultaneously.

17. Michael Bisping

Career Record: 30-9

Weight Class: Middleweight & Lightheavyweight

Awards: The Ultimate Fighter 3 Lightheavyweight Tournament Winner, 5x Fight of the Night, 2x Performance of the Night, UFC Hall of Fame

UFC Belts Achieved: Middleweight

UFC Title Defenses: 1

One of the most prolific fighters in UFC history, Michael Bisping put himself on the map after winning the Ultimate Fighter. From there he was consistently at the top of the rankings and delivered exhilarating performances.

16. Kamaru Usman

Career Record: 19-1

Weight Class: Welterweight

Awards: The Ultimate Fighter 21 Welterweight Tournament Winner, 4x Performance of the Night, Fight of the Night, Most consecutive wins in Welterweight history (14)

UFC Belts Achieved: Welterweight

UFC Title Defenses: 4

Kamaru Usman has four title defenses and is just getting started. He doesn’t seem like he’s going to slow down anytime soon as he’s chasing Georges St-Pierre for Welterweight greatness.

15. Randy Couture

Career Record: 19-11

Weight Class: Lightheavyweight & Heavyweight

Awards: UFC Tournament Winner, 2x Fight of the Night, UFC Viewer Choice Award, UFC Hall of Fame

Belts Achieved: 3x Heavyweight champ, 2x Lightheavyweight champ, Interim Lightheavyweight Champ

Title Defenses: 0

Randy Couture might be the most influential fighter in UFC history. He’s known for his grind-it-out style against the cage and mauling people with dominant wrestling. Couture is a UFC legend.

14. Alistair Overeem

Career Record: 47-19-0, 1 NC

Weight Class: Lightheavyweight & Heavyweight

Awards: Performance of the Night, Fight of the Night, Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, DREAM Heavyweight Champion

Belts Achieved: 0

Title Defenses: 0

Alistair Overeem achieved legendary status before he even came into the UFC. He’s considered to be one of the best fighters in MMA history, as he has fought in nearly every league imaginable.

13. Dan Henderson

Career Record: 32-15

Weight Class: Welterweight, Middleweight, Lightheavyweight, & Heavyweight

Awards: UFC Middleweight Tournament Winner, 4x Fight of the Night, 2x Performance of the Night, Knockout of the Night, 2007 MMA Fighter of the Year, 2011 Fight of the Year, UFC Hall of Fame, PRIDE Welterweight & Middleweight Champion, Strikeforce Lightheavyweight Champion

Belts Achieved: 0

Title Defenses: 0

One of the most exciting knockout fighters in MMA, Dan Henderson has proven to be a threat no matter where he fights. He dominated leagues outside of the UFC then continued to be at the top of the rankings throughout his career.

12. Matt Hughes

Career Record: 45-9

Weight Class: Welterweight

Awards: 2x Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night, 2005 Submission of the Year, UFC Hall of Fame

Belts Achieved: 2x Welterweight

Title Defenses: 7 Total

Matt Hughes is perhaps the greatest pure wrestler of all time. His high motor kept his opponents on the defense most of the time and he never quit until the bell was rung. Similar to Couture, Hughes played a huge factor in popularizing the UFC.

11. Chuck Liddell

Career Record: 21-9

Weight Class: Lightheavyweight & Heavyweight

Awards: 2x Fight of the Night, 2x Knockout of the Night, UFC Hall of Fame

Belts Achieved: Lightheavyweight

Title Defenses: 4

In the early 2000s, Chuck Liddell put the UFC on the map with his ferocious knockouts while wearing his famous mohawk. Liddell could be credited as being almost everyone’s first favorite fighter when they began watching MMA.

10. Conor McGregor

Career Record: 22-5

Weight Class: Featherweight, Lightweight, & Welterweight

Awards: First UFC Double-Champ, 7x Performance of the Night, 2x Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night, Fastest Title Fight victory in UFC history (13 seconds), 2015 Fighter of the Year, 2021 Highest Paid Athlete

Belts Achieved: Featherweight & Lightweight

Title Defenses: 0

Conor McGregor just understands entertainment. He used his mouth to gain attention then used his fists to back it all up. McGregor is the first-ever “Champ-Champ” and ended up being the highest-paid athlete in the world in 2021, a feat nobody expected from a UFC fighter.

9. José Aldo

Career Record: 29-7

Weight Class: Bantamweight, Featherweight, & Lightweight

Awards: 4x Fight of the Night, 2x Performance of the Night, WEC Featherweight Champ

Belts Achieved: 2x Featherweight

Title Defenses: 7 Total

Many view José Aldo as the pound-for-pound greatest of all time. He seemed unbeatable once he joined the UFC and still fights at the top of the rankings to this day.

8. Amanda Nunes

Career Record: 21-4

Weight Class: Women’s Bantamweight & Women’s Featherweight

Awards: Third UFC Double-Champ, First Fighter in UFC History to defend two belts simultaneously, Most wins in UFC History amongst women (14), 5x Performance of the Night

Belts Achieved: Women’s Bantam & Featherweight

Title Defenses: 7 Total

The third “Champ-Champ” in UFC history, Amanda Nunes absolutely demolished two weight classes simultaneously. Who knows how long her reign will continue as she plans to defend both belts for as long as possible.

7. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Career Record: 29-0

Weight Class: Lightweight & Welterweight

Awards: 3x Performance of the Night, 2020 UFC Honors Submission of the Year

Belts Achieved: Lightweight

Title Defenses: 3

Going 29-0, Khabib Nurmagomedov set the pace in every single fight he participated in. His wrestling is so strong it makes elite wrestlers look like novices. Khabib is arguably the greatest of all time.

6. Demetrious Johnson

Career Record: 30-4-1

Weight Class: Bantamweight, Flyweight

Awards: UFC Flyweight Championship Winner, 3x Fight of the Night, 4x Performance of the Night, Submission of the Night, Knockout of the Night, 2019 ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion

Belts Achieved: Flyweight

Title Defenses: 11

Demetrious Johnson silently defended the Flyweight title 11 consecutive times. That’s tied for first all-time with Jon Jones. Johnson can be credited for putting the Flyweight division on the map, as it is now one of the most thrilling weight classes in the UFC.

5. Daniel Cormier

Career Record: 22-3-0, 1 NC

Weight Class: Lightheavyweight & Heavyweight

Awards: Second UFC Double-Champ, 3x Performance of the Night, 2x Fight of the Night, Strikeforce Heavyweight Champ, 

Belts Achieved: Lightheavyweight & Heavyweight

Title Defenses: 4 Total

The second “Champ-Champ” in UFC history. Daniel Cormier is without a doubt a true legend of the sport. He’s one of the best wrestlers in the world but also has the standup game to go toe-to-toe with the best in the world.

4. Stipe Miocic

Career Record: 20-4

Weight Class: Heavyweight

Awards: 5x Performance of the Night, 3x Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night

Belts Achieved: 2x Heavyweight

Title Defenses: 4 Total

Stipe Miocic is considered the best Heavyweight fighter of all time and he’s still in the UFC. This weight class bounces around more often than any other class, as Heavyweights have the knockout power to end the bout at any moment. Miocic has proven to be a top athlete throughout his MMA career.

3. Georges St-Pierre 

Career Record: 26-2

Weight Class: Welterweight & Middleweight

Awards: 4x Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night, Submission of the Night, Performance of the Night, UFC Hall of Fame

Belts Achieved: 2x Welterweight, Middleweight

Title Defenses: 9 Total

Georges St-Pierre was known to stick to his game plan and dominate the fight. What was more impressive, is St-Pierre would often play to his opponent’s strengths and outclass them at their own game. He is arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all time.

2. Jon Jones 

Career Record: 26-1-0, 1 NC

Weight Class: Lightheavyweight & Heavyweight

Awards: 4x Fight of the Night, 2x Submission of the Night, Knockout of the Night, Performance of the Night, Youngest UFC Champion (23 Years Old), UFC Hall of Fame

Belts Achieved: Lightheavyweight

Title Defenses: 11

After winning the Lightheavyweight title at just 23 years old, Jon Jones defended the belt 11 times. After beating everyone in the division, Jones has moved up to Heavyweight where he awaits his first opponent.

1. Anderson Silva 

Career Record: 34-11-0, 1 NC

Weight Class: Middleweight, Lightheavyweight

Awards: 7x Knockout of the Night, 5x Fight of the Night, 2x Submission of the Night, Longest Title reign in UFC history (2,457 days), 

Belts Achieved: Middleweight

Title Defenses: 10

Perhaps one of the most dominant title reigns in UFC history, Anderson Silva proved to be the best during his prime. Once he put his hands down and used movement as his main defense, every viewer knew what was coming next… a knockout.