The UFC has produced countless high-skilled fighters in different divisions through the years.
I’ve picked out who I think are the top eleven prospects that fit the category as the best UFC fighters of all time, plus my one top pick:
Jon Jones is 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. And is now the Heavyweight champion and ranked best pound-for-pound fighter.
Disagree with me? Cast your vote about who the GOAT is:
Keep scrolling to find out who made the top list.
Table of Contents
Randy “The Natural” Couture had 30 pro-MMA fights, many under the UFC banner.
His professional career even began straight with the promotion at UFC 13, which is rare for new fighters today.
He retired with a UFC record of 19 wins and 11 losses, with a large dose of his fights taking place for a belt and against some of the toughest legends of the UFC.
His victories were a solid mixture of knockouts, submissions, and decisions, as well as competing in Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight divisions—showing just how versatile he was.
Randy is the oldest UFC fighter ever to win a world title. He successfully captured it at the age of 43 by beating Tim Sylvia. He later lost it to Brock Lesnar.
An incredible feat, even today. As only Glover Teixeira has come close to beating that record.
Many fighters on this list achieved greatness at a young age and are still and will continue to dominate their respective divisions.
But Couture was competing and winning up to 48 years old before he finally hung up the gloves.
Undeniably, he deserves a spot on this list as one of the greatest ever to do it, considering his success at such a high level for many years in the promotion.
Matt Hughes has 54 pro-MMA bouts. He is a former Welterweight champion and has successfully defended the belt seven times.
He fought several notable names like George St Pierre, BJ Penn, Royce Gracie, and Matt Serra during his UFC years.
Most of his wins came by knockout, and only ten went the distance to see the judge’s scorecards. He’s a finisher and was an absolute brute.
I fondly remember his participation in The Ultimate Fighter TV series, where we got to see just how brash and animalistic the man truly is, even in a social setting.
His success throughout his UFC reign and a 22-1 (win-loss) record before that make him one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson has the longest title defense win streak in the UFC’s record books.
He defended his belt 11 consecutive times against Flyweight monsters like Ray Borg, Tim Elliott, and even Henry Cejudo.
After a streak-ending loss to Henry Cejudo, the UFC traded him with one of ONE FC’s “finest,” Ben Askren.
One of the biggest cross-organization trades that went wrong, especially for the UFC.
Although Askren did pay his dues in some way when he was knocked out cold by Jorge Masvidal in mere seconds with a flying knee—the media attention after that probably made it all worth it.
But it did mean that DJ lost the chance of regaining his victory over Cejudo in a trilogy, which many fans would probably still like to see.
If he had the opportunity to continue his UFC career and even move up to Bantamweight, he could have become a double champ in time.
With his success at the UFC and continuing that at ONE Championship, he’s often called one of the most diverse martial artists in multiple disciplines and named by some as the greatest MMA fighter of all time.
He certainly fits the grade as one of the best black UFC fighters around in the history of combat sports, too.
Stipe Miocic holds the record for having the most (3) consecutive title defenses in the Heavyweight division.
Three consecutive defenses might sound small, but in Heavyweight, champions are commonly overthrown on their first or second title defense.
Stipe has been throwing it down with the best of the best at Heavyweight. And what’s more, he’s still competing at age 40.
He has already fought Daniel Cormier three times and The Predator – Francis Ngannou – twice.
He is also rumored to fight Jon Jones sometime in the near future.
Whether he wins or loses, you can’t deny that Miocic has verified his status as a great by knocking out most of his opponents in clinical fashion.
Israel, “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya, has been the Middleweight king for the majority of the last few years.
He’s defended his belt multiple times from many opponents and clearly isn’t afraid of being challenged.
When he first entered the UFC, he was undefeated and then proceeded to rise up the ranks swiftly, becoming the champion by knocking out Robert Whittaker.
Izzy ran a 20-0 record until he attempted to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the Light Heavyweight belt.
He was later defeated by his nemesis from the Glory Kickboxing days, Alex Pereira, by TKO. Only to return and beat him by KO to reclaim his belt.
Many fans say that The Stylebender is a boring fighter, as he “plays it safe” in several fights by keeping opponents at a distance and poking them until the decision.
My take is that this is what makes him such a perfect fighter and worthy of consideration as the best UFC fighter ever when you add on his recent redemption story against Poatan with that dynamite knockout.
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, which was against Jose Aldo.
After throwing with Nate Diaz in Welterweight, Conor went down to Lightweight and obliterated the champion, Eddie Alvarez.
That fight allowed him to solidify his legacy in the entire sport of MMA and made him one of the most popular sportspeople on the planet.
While his recent efforts in the cage have been lackluster, he was once exceptional in the octagon and had lightning in his left hand.
I know there will be haters out there about his attitude, and you have reason to dislike him, but you likely can’t argue about him being one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time.
The most dominant Lightweight on the planet, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, is an undefeated fighter at retirement with a record of 29-0.
Most of his wins are by submission. His skills on the ground allowed him to defend his belt against McGregor, Poirer, and Gaethje.
Though only 13 of his fights are from the UFC, the remaining were relatively easy 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.
Many consider him the best MMA fighter ever because of his record and being seemingly unbeatable on paper, too.
Henry, “The Messenger” Cejudo, has had an incredible impact on the UFC after becoming a champ-champ himself.
He’s the fourth UFC fighter ever to hold two championship belts in two separate weight classes.
Cejudo is also the first to win an Olympic gold medal and a UFC belt. That’s how he got his “Triple C” nickname.
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 first retirement.
He came back recently to face Aljamain Sterling but was unsuccessful. Perhaps he will continue to recover his status before sailing off into retirement again.
He’s certainly one of the best short UFC fighters in existence, and some might say he is deserves the status of the greatest UFC fighter ever.
Anderson “The Spider” Silva held a record of 34-11-1 when he retired from MMA in 2020.
Incredibly, 23 of his wins were by KO/TKO. The way he won his fights is what continues him in this conversation as one of the top UFC fighters.
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.
His career was on a rampage after wins against Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, and Demain Maia (among others) until his unfortunate leg break against Chris Weidman in their rematch in 2013.
After years of recovery, Silva returned to fight but was never the same as before, losing all but one of his last fights.
He has since moved on to the boxing world, defeating former UFC Light Heavyweight Tito Ortiz easily.
I will never forget that front-kick knockout during his UFC career, eliminating Vitor in the first round. Legendary!
Georges St. Pierre
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is one of the most dominant Welterweight champions ever, with 15 title fights and 8 of these being title defenses.
And it wasn’t against any nobodies, either, as he faced UFC titans such as BJ Penn, Dan Hardy, Thiago Alvez, Matt Serra, and Matt Hughes during that reign.
After defending his title one last time against Johny Hendricks, GSP vacated the title to retire.
After four years, he returned and became a two-time champion by choking out Michael Bisping in the third round.
After winning the title once again, he rode off into the sunset as potentially the best MMA fighter of all time.
Jon “Bones” Jones is the most dominant Light Heavyweight champion ever to set foot in the octagon.
Jones holds the record of being the youngest UFC champion at the age of 23.
Despite being younger in years at the time, he still defended his belt against UFC veterans for eight matchups 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 Light Heavyweight division.
Technically, he’s never lost a fight. He has one disqualification due to illegal elbows on his record (which counts as a loss) and one No-Contest against Daniel Cormier (PED use).
But neither of those are true losses, and therefore his record disguises that he has never been beaten in MMA. And the names he has fought, it’s a long list of who’s who.
For my money, he’s the best MMA fighter of all time and is the GOAT.