MMA is an incredibly brutal but entertaining sport, completely understandable. When we think of MMA, who comes to mind? We wanted to list ten of the best MMA fighters in history. We have tried to select a range of fighters because we understand that people might have differing opinions, depending on the types of fights. Furthermore, we have taken many elements into account, including their career highlights, win to loss ratio, memorable fights and overall accomplishments. For instance, we wanted to include a range of modern UFC fighters that have helped make this highly enjoyable sport so popular. We also acknowledge that other fighters can be classified as the best MMA fighters in history, which we haven’t listed.
However, before we start, it is important to highlight that mixed martial arts sport has been actively practised since 648 BC, during the first Olympics in ancient Greece. In addition, MMA also originates from the Han Dynasty in ancient China. This incredible sport has been popular throughout the ages. The first MMA organisation was formed in 1985 by Satoru Sayama, also known as “Tiger Mask”, who developed effective and realistic combat. However, most fans agree that “MMA” became popular after the launch of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) on 12th November 1993.
1) Anderson Silva
Career Record: 34-11-0, 1NC
We believe that Silva earned our number spot in our list of the best MMA fighters in history because he longest reign as UFC champion for 2,457 days. It would be an understatement to say that he was a phenomenal fighter in his prime. Moreover, once he started using movement as his primary defence and put his hands down, the fight would normally end with a knockout. Finally, we feel that his most memorable fight was UFC 117: Silva vs Sonnen. Silva took control of the fight from the offset, which meant he caught the champion off guard and won in the first round.
2) Georges St-Pierre
Career Record: 26-2
This fighter has been recognised as one of the most versatile fighters in terms of his MMA fighting skills. St-Pierre was voted as being the leading welterweight champion for several years. He decided to retire in 2013, and he has a record for having the highest amount of wins in title bouts. St-Pierre also holds the record for having the longest title streak in UFC.
3) Khabib Nurmagomedov
Career Record: 29-0
Nurmagomedov, who is also known as “The Eagle”, has a pristine fighting record, which stands at 29-0. We feel he is one of the best MMA fighters in history because of this immaculate career. He ended his lightweight career with a clean winning record. The Eagle is recognised as one of MMA’s leading grapplers/wrestlers.
4) Jon Jones
Career Record: 26-1-1NC
Jones takes our number four slot because he became one of the youngest UFC champions when he was only 23 years old. Moreover, he is also has a variety of achievements in his MMA career, including having one of the longest winning streaks, the most victories through submission and the most title defences. It is worth noting that his only loss was quite controversial against Matt Hamill. Jon “Bones” Jones is still actively fighting, and he still strives to become a heavyweight champion.
5) Amanda Nunes
Career Record: 21-4
It wouldn’t be an accurate list of the best MMA fighters in history if we didn’t include the “Champ-Champ.” Amanda Nunes is an incredible fighter, her techniques, resilience and presence in the ring are what make her the ultimate women’s champion. Moreover, she is the only fighter in UFC history who defended two belts simultaneously. Nunes only provides the viewers with an outstanding 5* performance. Nunes is still actively fighting for UFC and continues to defend both of her belts.
6) Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell
Career Record: 21-9
We could not add one of the original UFC legends, Chuck Liddell, also known as “The Iceman.” He had his debut UFC fight in 1998 against Noe Hernandez. Liddell has had twenty-three fights since his first UFC match, which leaves him with a 67% finish rate. We felt he deserved mentioning on this list as he is so underrated, yet The Iceman was viewed as the people’s champion when he was in his prime.
7) Daniel Cormier
Career Record: 22-3-1NC
Cormier, is described as being one of the best MMA fighters in history. He is also the second fighter to be known as “Champ-Champ” in UFC. He is also viewed as being one of the best wrestlers in UFC and being able to have a strong standup game, which is why he can confidently fight toe-to-toe with some of the best MMA fighters.
8) Matt Hughes
Career Record: 45-9
We felt that we couldn’t include Matt Hughes, who is described as the ultimate pure wrestler in UFC history. The best thing about Hughes was his showmanship and the that he would never back down. Really, UFC should give credit to Hughes because he would not quit a fight until he heard the bell ring. His fighting style and spirit is possibly why the UFC main event became so popular.
9) José Aldo
Career Record: 29-7
Aldo was one of the most popular MMA fighters in UFC. However, he is now (sadly) more well-known for his famous knockout defeat against McGregor. Still, many fans of UFC view Aldo as one the best MMA fighters in history.
10) Conor McGregor
Career Record: 22-5
McGregor is a showman. He knows how to capture the crowd’s attention. Not only that, he has a way of getting into his opponent’s head, for instance, Jose Aldo. Since McGregor understands entertainment, UFC has promoted and pushed him. In 2021 McGregor was deemed as the highest-grossing professional athlete in the world. This accolade was completely unexpected for a UFC fighter.