The UFC has produced countless high-skilled fighters in different divisions through the years.
As the sport gets bigger and bigger, it’s inevitable to wonder who is the best UFC fighter of all time?
Jon Jones would fit the throne as the best UFC fighter of all time. He dominated the Light Heavyweight division for years. At 23, Jon snatched the title and defended it eight times in a row. He also defended it three more times in his second reign.
Are you expecting to see your favorite fighter on the list of the best of the best? Dive in below to find out if they made the cut as one of the best UFC fighters of all time.
Who are the best UFC fighters of all time
Below are the fighters who proved themselves the best among thousands of MMA fighters? Former champs and some current champions with their unique achievements in the sport.
Randy “The Natural” Couture has a total of 30 pro MMA fights, and 25 of these are under the UFC. He has a UFC record of 16 wins and nine losses. He fought 16 of his 25 fights in a title fight.
Couture has a total record of 19 wins and 11 losses. With a 37% knockout, 21% submission, and 42% decision wins, he truly is a good definition of a well-rounded mixed martial artist.
Randy “The Natural” Couture is the oldest UFC fighter ever to hold a world title. He successfully captured it at the age of 43 by beating a 32-year-old fighter,
Tim Sylvia. He did this in one of the most dangerous weight classes in the UFC, the Heavyweight division.
Many fighters below achieved greatness at a young age and are still and will continue to dominate their respective divisions. Despite the greatness he achieved in the sport, it is undeniable that he took a long time to reach it. It’s also the main reason why he landed on the 13th spot.
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Matt Hughes has 54 pro MMA bouts. He is a former Welterweight champion and has successfully defended seven times. He fought George St Pierre, BJ Penn, and Frank Trigg.
Hughes has a 45/9/0 pro-MMA record. With these 45 wins are 21 knockouts, 14 submissions, and only ten fights that went to distance. This record reflects the entertaining fighting style that UFC fans admire him for.
Despite these numbers, we can’t compare his achievements to the younger fighters of modern mixed martial arts. Especially those young fighters who have already marked their name in the sport.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson has the longest title defense win streak in the UFC. During their first match-up, he defended his belt 11 consecutive times against flyweight monsters like Ray Borg, Tim Eliott, and even Henry Cejudo.
Johnson has a UFC record of 17 wins, three loses, and a draw. 14 of these 21 UFC fights are title fights.
Unfortunately, after a streak-ending loss to Henry Cejudo, the UFC decided to trade him with one of ONE FC’s finest, Ben Askren. One of the biggest cross-organization trades that went wrong, most especially on the side of UFC.
This ambitious trade prevented Demetrious from regaining his name and having the chance to cement his legacy in UFC. Suppose he had the opportunity to continue his UFC career and even move up to Bantamweight. In that case, he might’ve been a double champ.
Stipe Miocic holds the record for having the most consecutive title defenses in the heavyweight division, which is 3. Three consecutive defenses might sound small, but in Heavyweight, champions are commonly overthrown on their first or second title defense.
By 2021, Stipe has a 20/4/0 record, with 15 of his wins coming from a knockout and the remaining five being via decision. His last 8 UFC fights are title fights that are all main events.
In his ongoing career, he has already fought Daniel Cormier 3 times and the current undisputed Heavyweight King, Francis Ngannou 2 times. He is also rumored to fight Jon Jones soon. A win over Jones will surely rank him up on this list.
Israel, “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya, has been the Middleweight king since 2019. He has a total of 6 title defenses under his belt. Aside from that, he also fought Anderson Silva and won via 3-round domination.
Adesanya is known for his showmanship. Aside from that, he entered the UFC with an undefeated record of 11-0. He then proceeded to ram all fighters his way until he became the interim champ and eventually unified it by knocking out Robert Whittaker.
By his 6th title defense, Israel has a record of 23 wins and one loss. Fifteen wins are done via stoppage, while the remaining eight are left for the judges’ decision. Moreover, It only took him five fights to earn an interim title shot in the UFC.
His ranking must’ve been higher if he completed his champ-champ attempt in the Lightheavyweight division. Unfortunately, Jan Blachowicz’s ground game is enough to stop The Last Stylebender.
The First champ-champ in the UFC, “The Notorious” Connor McGregor, is one of the most dominant Featherweights of his time. He holds the record for the fastest finish in a unification bout against Jose Aldo.
After being with Nate Diaz in Welterweight, Conor went down to Lightweight and obliterated the champion, Eddie Alvarez. This fight allowed him to solidify his legacy in the entire sport of MMA.
His rank could’ve been much higher if he had managed to defend his Featherweight and Lightweight belts. However, Conor chose to fight Mayweather in Boxing, causing him to vacate both of his belts.
The most dominant Lightweight on the planet, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, is an undefeated fighter with a record of 29/0. Most of his wins are submission wins. His skills on the ground allowed him to defend his belt against McGregor, Poirer, and Gaethje.
You might be wondering, why is a 29/0 fighter not even in the top 3? That’s because only 13 of his fights are from the UFC. The remaining wins are fairly meaningless wins against journeymen. It’s one of the main points against him being considered a GOAT.
He was still undefeated in the UFC before retiring, which makes him deserve a spot on this list.
Henry, “The Messenger” Cejudo, holds an overall MMA record of 16 wins and two losses before retiring in 2020. 50% of these wins are knockout, while the other 50% are judges’ decisions. He is the fourth UFC fighter to hold two championship belts in two separate weight classes.
Cejudo is also the first person to win an Olympic gold medal and win a UFC belt. That’s how he got his “Triple C” nickname on social media. Former champions TJ Dillashaw, Dominick Cruz, and Demetrious Johnson are some notable names under his record.
Unlike other champ-champs who didn’t defend the title, Henry Cejudo managed to defend the Flyweight and Bantamweight title simultaneously before officially retiring. After an incredible Bantamweight title defense against Dominick Cruz, he immediately announced his retirement.
What a way to end his career; however, some say this retirement might be temporary. He’s certainly one of the best short UFC fighters in existence and hopefully, he will return.
Anderson “The Spider” Silva holds a record of 34 wins, 11 losses, and one no contest. Twenty-three of these wins are knockouts, three coming from submission, and eight decision wins.
Silva immediately got his title shot in his second UFC fight after knocking out Chris Leben 49 seconds in the first round. He also managed to win this title fight against Rich Franklin via Technical stoppage.
Everything’s going great in Silva’s career until his nerve-frightening leg injury against Chris Weidman. After years of recovery, Silva returned to fight but was never the same as before, losing 5 of his last six fights.
Despite that unfortunate UFC ending, Silva continued to fight in Boxing. He recently fought former UFC Lightheavyweight champ Tito Ortiz and won via knockout. This shows that Silva can still fight at a high level despite being past his prime.
George St. Pierre
George “Rush” St. Pierre is one the most dominant Welterweight champion with 15 title fights, and 8 of these are title defenses. He did these against UFC titans such as BJ Penn, Dan Hardy, Thiago Alvez, Matt Serra, and Matt Hughes.
After defending his title against Hendricks, GSP vacated the title. After four years, he returned and became a two-time champion by choking out Michael Bisping in the third round. After winning the title again, he then vacated it and never came back until now.
Jon “Bones” Jones is the most dominant Lighheavyweight champion that has ever set foot in the octagon. Jones holds the record of being the youngest UFC champion at the age of 23. Despite being a less experienced fighter, he proceeds to defend his belt against UFC veterans for eight consecutive times before vacating the title.
He then returned and regained his thrown against Daniel Cormier and defended his title 3 more times proving that he’s the true king of the Lightheavyweight.
After his last fight against Dominick Reyes in 2020, Jones has a record of 26 wins and one loss. This only loss is a disqualification loss in a fight he’s dominating. Moreover, 38% of his wins are knockouts, 23% are submissions, and the remaining 38% are decision wins.
Common questions about the best UFC fighters
Getting the number one spot above doesn’t mean that you’re already the best in every aspect of MMA. Below are the answers to the questions that set these top dogs apart.
Who is the best UFC puncher of all time?
The best UFC puncher of all time is Conor McGregor. With most of his wins coming from a knockout, it’s undeniable that his hands’ speed and power are extraordinary. He also managed to Box with one of the Boxing GOATS with fluidity despite being an MMA fighter.
One of the most famous punches thrown in the Octagon is landed by “The Notorious” Conor McGregor. This is the punch that left Featherweight champion Jose Aldo out cold. This nasty left hand snatched the record of the fastest title fight in UFC history.
McGregor also showcased how good his Boxing is by going head to head against an undisputed Boxer, Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
Despite losing via referee stoppage, Connor showed the world his speed and power. He dominated Flloyd in the first few rounds making it look like Mayweather’s the underdog. After rounds of high-volume punches, Connor gassed out, which caused him to lose the fight.
Is Conor McGregor the greatest UFC fighter ever?
Conor McGregor is not the greatest UFC fighter ever. With his past fights, it’s hard to include him in the top 5 conversations. However, if he comes back and redeems his name, he might have a chance to be the greatest. He’s young but still can pack a punch.
Connor only managed to win 1 of his last four fights. However, Unlike other fighters who got washed up after several consecutive defeats, these losses didn’t stop him from being a superstar not only in the world of MMA but also in the field of whiskey and fashion.
Despite not being the best fighter of all time, Connor deserves to be called “The Most Successful Fighter of All Time” due to his record-breaking pay-per-views that changed the UFC game. Also, considering the top-of-the-line lifestyle, he’s living with his family even though his way past his prime.”
Is Khabib Nurmagomedov the greatest UFC fighter of all time?
Khabib is not the greatest UFC fighter of all time. Yes, he’s undefeated in the UFC, but his 29-0 record can be deceiving. He only fought 13 fights in the UFC, and only 3 of them were title defenses. Most of his wins came from outside the UFC.
Despite Khabib’s pure dominance in the Lightweight division, the truth must be said. He is not the greatest UFC fighter of all time. His undefeated 29-0 record makes him overrated.
Being called the best UFC fighter is not as easy as being undefeated. If undefeated is the main requirement, why not give some eyes to Yaroslav Amosov, with a 26-0 record with nine knockouts, ten submissions, and other undefeated UFC fighters.
Despite not being the best UFC fighter of all time, it is agreeable that Khabib is the most dominant Lightweight that has ever set foot in the octagon; you can never argue.
Who are the best pound-for-pound UFC fighters of all time?
There are a lot of pound-for-pound fighters that managed to be the best among the rest throughout the years. Some notable names are Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, and current Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
One of the most dominant pound-for-pound kings is Jon “Bones” Jones. He is the youngest UFC champion at the age of 23. During his reign, he stopped various UFC big names such as Rampage Jackson, Shogun Rua, and Glover Texiera. He even choked out Lyoto Machida with a nasty standing guillotine.
His various legal controversies made him relinquish the title for a year. But that didn’t stop him from returning and taking what was originally his. After suspension, he fought Daniel Cormier, regained his thrown, and became a two-time champion.
He then defends it again three more times before moving up to heavyweight. Rising victorious in the Heavyweight division will cement his GOAT spot even better.
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Joe Bloom is the lead author and editor of MMA Hive. Joe has been a passionate mixed martial artist in training since 2019, having studied Boxing and Muay Thai at BaliMMA and Soma Fight Club, as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with RitualsJJ.