Would you believe that skinny UFC fighters rule most UFC divisions?
“If you’re bigger, you’re most likely to win.” Sadly, MMA doesn’t work that way. As proof, below are the best skinny UFC fighters of all time.
Are you in disbelief that skinny men have what it takes to fight under the biggest MMA promotion in the world? Let’s get right into the article.
13. Chase Hooper
Chase “The Dream” Hooper is a young Featherweight fighter who has shown greatness since his UFC debut against Canaan Kawaihae. 50% of his UFC fights went to distance as of his last Colares match-up. Just like any fighters on this list, Chase is thin and a bit tall.
Hooper uses his ‘skinny’ body to maneuver around the octagon and damage his opponent with speed and accuracy. After striking, he likes to mix things up by going to the ground and playing Jiu-Jitsu with his enemy using his long arms and legs.
Based on how Chase has performed in his previous fights, it’s easy to say that this kid is a superstar in the making.
12. Stefan Struve
Stefan Struve is one of the tallest fighters ever to step foot inside the octagon. He is also one of the skinniest Heavyweight to climb up to the UFC ladder. He is known to have extremely long legs and reach that he uses effectively to create distance to his opponents.
Struve’s long hands made it possible for him to have some submission wins under his UFC record. One of his most impressive submissions is when he fought Daniel Omielanczuk and won via D’arce choke.
Today, Stefan is now permanently retired and is committed to being a full-time MMA journalist, traveling around the world.
11. Donald Cerrone
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is one of the UFC’s certified living legends. He has fought dozens of fights under the organization. He is a Welterweight star known for his swift head kicks and overall fight durability in cardio.
Top pick for Black Friday deals!
Venum are quickly becoming a powerhouse of martial arts and combat sports equipment. Quality gear that stands the test of time, with a unique style that helps any boxer look fresh.
When standing beside some Welterweights such as Jim Miller, Darren Till, and Leon Edwards, Cerrone is skinny. Despite that, Donald managed to fight on top of the division for years with his speed, power, and cardio.
10. Neil Magny
Neil Magny is the record holder for the most decision-wins in UFC history. With that, it’s evident that Neil has a monster gas tank within him as he can easily last 3 to 5 rounds of high-level Mixed Martial Arts against the best men in the world.
Neil shines mainly in the championship rounds, where his opponents are already done with fighting. With his record, he is famous for outlasting his opponent every time. His ‘skinny’ body composition helped him to achieve this ‘most decision wins’ record.
After sensing that his opponent’s already tired, Neil lets his hands go and rack up some points until the last second of the fight.
9. Zabit Magomedsharipov
Zabit Magomedsharipov was one of the most promising UFC Featherweight rising stars back in his day. He is a thin Dagestan fighter with a world-class striking and submission game. With his first few fights in the UFC, he has shown excellent skills and an entertainment factor.
Unfortunately, Zabit suffered some health issues that made him stop fighting for a while. He took his time to recover and be 100% fine with his physical health. However, he chose to retire early from the sport permanently.
Today, Zabit is pursuing his career as a professional Medical Doctor. He stopped fighting men and chose to fight diseases instead.
8. Max Holloway
Max “Blessed” Holloway is the former UFC Featherweight champion. He is famous for his out-of-this-world striking showmanship. Moreover, he combines this striking greatness with an unbelievable gas tank that helps him endure five rounds of total war with anyone brave enough to face him.
Max is obviously thin compared to other buff Featherweights such as Alexander Volkanovski and Jose Aldo. Despite that, Max didn’t let his lean body be his disadvantage. He used this to have more punching speed and be extra elusive.
One of his most memorable fights is against Kalvin Kattar. His speed and fantastic defense made the fight a striking clinic. Even making one of UFC’s most historical moments.
7. Tony Ferguson
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 holds a massive 12-fight win streak back then before losing to Justin Gaethje.
Tony’s low muscle and fat percentage make him look skinny when fighting much bigger guys like Beneil Dariush and Justin Gaethje. However, his body build helps him have good cardio that allows him to last 25 minutes of a fast phased fight without breathing with his mouth.
Ferguson’s long arms also help him to secure filthy submissions. One of his signature locks is the D’arce choke. His D’arce choke win over Mike Rio is considered one the best and fastest D’arce chokes in UFC history.
6. Anderson Silva
One of the UFC’s most loved fighters, Anderson “The Spider” Silva. Unlike other Middleweights of his time, he has an unusual body with lower muscle mass than others. He is loved by many because of his entertaining fights full of finesse, striking showcases, and funny tauntings and exhibitions.
His ‘skinny’ body helped him be more crafty regarding his striking. With this, he can land all sorts of strikes at rapid speed with extreme precision. Aside from his high-level striking, he is also feared on the ground.
Anderson Silva has won against various bulky Middleweights such as Derek Brunson, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, and Rich Franklin.
5. Israel Adesanya
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. Regardless of that, Israel continues to be the Middleweight’s top dog.
Israel makes use of his ‘skinny’ long arms to establish a good distance. He then uses this distance to land stabbing jabs and swift head kicks. He used these tools to win over Jared Cannonier and one of his rivals, Paolo Costa.
Another advantage of Adesanya is his smooth movement. With his thin build, he can move in and out quickly, leaving his opponent fighting the air.
4. Charles Oliveira
Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira is the record holder of the most UFC finishes. He was the Lightweight King before he was forced to vacate it due to some weight-cutting problems. Charles can be considered skinny compared to other Lightweights like Michael Chandler and Rafael Dos Anjos.
Oliveira has shown success inside the octagon despite being skinny with his BJJ and striking pedigree. With his slender body, he can easily maneuver his body on the ground. This also helps him get on his opponent’s back and lock in a Rare Naked Choke.
What makes Oliveira one of the best is that he’s an all-around fighter. He possesses a knockout power that finished Michael Chandler after surviving a scary knockdown. Charles landed a well-timed left, short hook that started the end of Chandler. Timing is power.
3. Sean O’Malley
Sean O’Malley wowed the world with his slick striking skills and pure knockout power despite being thin and skinny. This is a clear representation that power is not only possessed by bulky guys. O’Malley is fighting buff bantamweights, but he still manages to put them to sleep.
Sean is famous for his walk of KOs. 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 dodge counter shots coming his way.
Some fighters that are included in Sean’s head collection are Eddie Wineland, Thomas Almeida, Kris Moutinho, and Raulian Paiva.
2. Nate Diaz
Nate Diaz is one of the most entertaining skinny fighters in the Welterweight division. He has a body built like a normal by-stander; a thin body, long arms, and legs. This man is a true performer with his sometimes inaudible trash talks to his Stockton slaps.
Nate is known to be a durable fighter; his face might look like a car crash, but you can’t expect him to back down. His low fat and muscle mass were never a liability to his fight game. This helped him to have a monster of a gas tank.
With his excellent cardio, he outlasted Conor Mcgregor in a dog fight. Nate tapped out a tired Conor in the fourth round.
1. Jon Jones
Jon “Bones” Jones is probably the most dominant UFC Light Heavyweight of all time. He is also the youngest UFC fighter to grab the UFC gold at the age of 23. Compared to other Light Heavyweight that he fought like Cormier and Thiago Santos, Jones is undoubtedly skinny, especially his legs.
Despite his ‘skinny’ body, he still possesses a knock-out power. He uses his long arms and legs to have a reasonable distance advantage before unloading a devastating blow, just like how he finished Daniel Cormier with a head kick from nowhere.
His long thin arms and legs are his primary weapon with his submissions. With this, he can easily dominate anyone on the ground or choke his opponents from any angle. Jones’ standing guillotine finish against Lyoto Machida is a good representation of this.
Seems like we didn't get it right this time...
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?
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.