Believe it or not, the slim and slender fighter has continued to be an excellent frame for succeeding in MMA.
Part of the reason is these ectomorph body types can cut down to a weight class where they’ll maintain the advantage of longer reach to keep their opponent at bay.
It even helps when the fight gets down to the ground because the longer-limbed fighter is harder to hold and also opens up more submission options for them.
To prove the point, I’ve collected together the best skinny UFC fighters we’ve ever seen. Let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
Dan “The Hangman” Hooker is a notable tall skinny UFC fighter that has fought at both Featherweight and Lightweight.
Particularly when he was competing in Featherweight and standing 6’0″ tall, he would have a significant height and reach difference to his opponents.
And even at Lightweight, his tall and lanky frame looks very different to most fighters in the division, who are often a little smaller but more muscular or stocky.
Hooker fights out of City Kickboxing alongside high-level fighters like Israel Adsesanya (also on this list) and Kai Kara-France.
He’s considered a fan favorite considering that he will take just about any fight and sometimes surprise us with his ability to take incredible levels of damage and keep walking forward.
Chase “The Dream” Hooper is the young fighter who has shown great potential since his official UFC debut against Daniel Teymur but also beat Canaan Kawaihae during Season 2 of Dana White’s Contender Series.
His record so far has been straight down the line with wins or losses.
He gets a matchup where either his Jiu-Jitsu mastery or flurry punches secure a victory, only to lose the next fight.
Still, considering his age and the undefeated streak before entering the UFC, he’s one of my top skinny MMA fighter picks because the kid’s clearly got talent and plenty of years to build on it.
He stands 6’1″ tall and currently competes in Lightweight at 155 lbs.
He used to be a Featherweight specialist, using his tall frame as an advantage against most others in that weight.
But after having some difficulties cutting the weight, he decided to move up and has said he feels much better recovery with the extra pounds.
Rewinding a few years, Stefan Struve stands out as one of the most interesting and skinniest UFC fighters due to his huge 7’0″ tall frame.
He is the tallest UFC fighter to ever step inside the octagon and is also (probably) the skinniest Heavyweight to ever climb the UFC ladder.
Struve’s long limbs no doubt helped him secure most of his wins by submission before he retired, 18 of them out of 29 wins, in fact.
He had impressive subs over the likes of Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Daniel Omielanczuk with the Brabo choke.
Today, Stefan is committed to being a full-time MMA journalist, traveling around the world and bringing eyes to the new age of fighters.
Neil Magny is a notable UFC skinny fighter since he has long been able to use his extra height and reach to establish unbeaten recorders like the most decision wins in UFC history.
He’s 170 lbs and stands 6’3″ tall, competing in the Welterweight division. Even in that weight class, he’s taller than most competition.
Neil has a monster gas tank as he can easily last the full 3-5 rounds of high-level mixed martial arts, often pushing fights to the decision.
He’s competed with other high-level Welterweights like Daniel Rodriguez, Max Griffin, and Robbie Lawler.
Neil shines mainly in the later rounds, where his opponents are already fatigued and can’t keep up the pace.
After sensing that his opponent’s tank has depleted, Neil lets his hands go and rack up some points until the last seconds.
Cory “Sandman” Sandhagen is one of the skinniest MMA fighters whose talents have been a delight to watch, as you can always expect a flashy flying knee, spinning elbow, or advanced footwork, causing opponents a lot of problems.
For the Bantamweight weight class, he’s particularly skinny and tall, weighing 135 lbs and 5’11” tall. It’s common for him to be towering over his matchups.
He entered the UFC in 2018 and eventually created a seven-fight win streak before succumbing to a rear naked choke to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250.
In my opinion, Cory has been on the bad end of a couple of decisions with his losses to T.J. Dillashaw and Petr Yan.
But he soon bounced back with recent victories over Yadong Song via TKO and, despite another questionable judge’s scorecard, a confident win over “Chito” Marlon Vera.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is one of the UFC’s certified living legends.
He has fought dozens of fights under the organization — a Welterweight star best known for his swift head kicks and overall fight durability.
When standing beside some Welterweights such as Jim Miller, Darren Till, and Leon Edwards, Cerrone is skinny in comparison.
He stands 6’0″ tall at 170 lbs. He isn’t the tallest of his weight class, but he’s certainly always had a skinnier-looking frame.
But he did manage to fight close to the top of his division for many years, acting as something of a gatekeeper to the new blood.
After a rematch with Jim Miller, which he lost, Donald announced his retirement from MMA.
Zabit Magomedsharipov was one of the most promising UFC Featherweight rising stars, with a 6-fight win streak between 2017-2019 in the UFC (and a 14-fight streak overall).
He’s a thin Dagestani fighter with a world-class striking and submission game.
Standing 6’1″ tall at a fighting weight of 145 lbs, he had a reach advantage over most competition.
Unfortunately, Zabit suffered some health issues, which made him take an extended break, only to eventually retire and turn his attention to becoming a medical professional himself.
Zabit also added in this interview (above) that the UFC would promise one thing for him and do something different, while most opponents were unwilling to fight him, so he could rarely get an opponent.
I like to call this the Dagestani fear effect.
Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson is the former interim Lightweight title holder.
He holds up to his nickname as he turns into the boogeyman when he steps inside the octagon. Tony held an impressive 12-fight win streak until he met Justin Gaethje at UFC 249.
That defeat turned Tony’s luck spiraling downward as he then went on his biggest losing streak.
Tony’s low muscle and fat percentage make him look skinny when fighting much thicker guys in the division, standing 6’0″ tall at 155 lbs.
El Cucuy is at his best when he’s out-working his opponents, absorbing tons of damage (often way too much), and confusing his opponent until he can grab a submission choke.
Sean “Suga” O’Malley wowed the world with his slick striking skills and pure knockout power despite being about as thin as a beanpole.
Suga stands 5’11” tall and can cut down to 135 lbs to compete in Bantamweight.
It shows that bulky guys don’t always possess knockout power — or at least Sean is particularly good at finding the chin.
O’Malley often fights buff Bantamweights, but he still manages to put them to sleep.
His thin body frame helped him gain a massive speed advantage. With this speed, he can touch his opponent with lightning speed while at the same time dodging counter shots coming his way.
Some fighters included in Sean’s head collection are Eddie Wineland, Thomas Almeida, Kris Moutinho, and Raulian Paiva.
Max “Blessed” Holloway is the former UFC Featherweight champion
The Blessed one is famous for his out-of-this-world striking showmanship.
He combines this striking with an unbelievable gas tank that helps him endure five rounds of total war with anyone brave enough to face him.
Max is thin compared to other buff Featherweights such as Alexander Volkanovski and Jose Aldo. He’s 5’11” tall and weighs 145 lbs come fight day.
But Max doesn’t let his lean body become a disadvantage. More of the opposite, he uses his speed and accuracy to rack up the strikes landed.
One of his most memorable fights in recent years was against Calvin Kattar. His speed and fantastic defense made the fight a striking clinic.
One of the UFC’s most loved fighters, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, is another worthy for this list.
Unlike other Middleweights of his time, he has an unusual body with lower muscle mass than others, with a height of 6’2″ and weighing 185 lbs during his cage fighting days.
He is loved by many because of his entertaining fights full of finesse, striking showcases, and amusing taunts (which occasionally cost him big).
His slim body type enabled his crafty fighting style, where he could land awkwardly angled strikes that caught opponents off-guard.
Anderson Silva has won against various bulky Middleweights such as Derek Brunson, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, and Rich Franklin.
Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya is the Middleweight King.
Israel is tall, has long arms and legs, and is undeniably skinny when standing beside other Middleweights like Paolo Costa, Jared Cannonier, and Marvin Vettori.
He’s a massive 6’4″ tall and cuts down to 185 lbs without issues.
Israel uses his long arms to establish distance from his opponents and pokes and wears them down with stabbing jabs, calf kicks, and the occasional head kick.
Another advantage of Adesanya is his smooth movement. With his thin build, he can move in and out quickly, leaving his opponent fighting where he used to be while he establishes new angles.
Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira has become a force of nature in the Lightweight division, winning the belt and previously having to vacate it. He’s constantly up at the top challenging for the title.
Charles can be considered skinny compared to other Lightweights like Michael Chandler and Rafael Dos Anjos. He stands 5’10” tall and weighs 155 lbs for a fight.
Oliveira has shown success inside the octagon despite being skinny with his high-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grappling pedigree.
He’s no pushover on the feet, either, with excellent timing on his shots. His prime strategy is to get a knockdown to enable him to jump the back and lock in a rear naked choke.
A tactic that has allowed him to maintain several records, like the most submissions in the UFC’s history.
Nate Diaz is one of the most entertaining skinny fighters we’ve seen in the UFC.
He’s 6’0″ tall and would weigh in at 170 lbs for Welterweight fights while he was still in the promotion.
He has a body built like a bystander, thin, long, and non-muscular. But can compete with other legends and even throw in some trash-talking and Stockton slaps all the while.
Nate is known to be a durable fighter that doesn’t back down and typically has enough stamina to keep dealing blows long into the fight.
Jon “Bones” Jones is probably the most dominant UFC Light Heavyweight ever.
While he was competing in that division, he was often considered pretty skinny, considering he’s a huge 6’4″ tall and could cut down to the 205 lbs limit for Light Heavyweight.
Even Joe Rogan would often comment about how small Jon Jones’s calves were, a surprising bodily trait considering his overall power.
Lately, though, his fight weight was 248 lbs for his switch to the Heavyweight weight class, where he is (currently) the champion. He doesn’t look so skinny anymore.
Whatever division he’s competing in, he possesses serious knockout power and strength to disarm his opponents with his grappling.
He’s often used his long reach to pick at a fighter, long enough until they make a bad reaction and give up the clinch or grappling advantage to Jones.
Maybe it’s his body frame with the advantage of length that has allowed him to be good all over the cage.
Clinical in striking and dominant in any grappling (especially up against the fence) — his longer limbs have helped him be such a victorious competitor.
Which is why Jon Jones still tops out this list. He may not be slim and slender anymore, but his record of success during his Light Heavyweight days still makes him the ultimate skinny black UFC fighter.