15 Best UFC Fighters of All Time

Since 1993, UFC has been around for some time, and there have been quite a few best fighters of all time.

The popularity of the sport skyrocketed after 2001 under President Dana White. Now, there are millions of fans worldwide who enjoy this wild sport.

UFC is also one of the most recognized leagues in the world. With players from various weight class, there has been over hundreds of fighters who have become UFC champion.

Rountree in UFC Fight Night 160
Rountree in UFC Fight Night 160

However, only a few of the fighters have reign over the rest. Nevertheless, these players have proved themselves as the greatest fighters UFC has seen.

Thus, we have compiled a list of the best UFC fighters that we think deserve their spot at the top. So without further delay, let us take a look.

15 Best UFC Fighters of All Time

The list has been compiled with the help of various trusted sources like the DAZN, Oddschecker, etc. But before getting into the details, let us take a quick look at the table below.

Fighters NameCareer Record
15. Henry Cejudo16-2
14. BJ Penn16-14-2
13. Max Holloway22-6
12. Conor McGregor22-5
11. Matt Hughes45-9
10. José Aldo29-7
9. Dan Henderson32-15
8. Amanda Nunes21-4
7. Daniel Cormier22-3-0
6. Stipe Miocic20-4
5. Dementious Johnson30-4-1
4. George St-Pierre26-2
3. Jon Jones26-1-0
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov29-0
1. Anderson Silva34-11-0

15. Henry Cejudo

  • Age: 35 years old
  • Weight Class: Flyweight & Bantamweight

The first fighter on our list is former UFC fighter Henry Cejudo. Henry is also a former mixed martial artist and freestyle wrestler.

Cejudo started his early career as a wrestler during his freshman and sophomore years. Then he also treaded into the mixed martial arts career in 2013.

It was only in 2014 he signed with the UFC. Cejudo is the only athlete who has held the Olympic gold medal and a UFC title. He is also a former UFC Flyweight Champion and Bantamweight Champion.

Henry_Cejudo_smiling

Similarly, Cejudo is the second UFC fighter to defend titles in two weight divisions. Meanwhile, he is the fourth UFC fighter to hold two different weight classes titles simultaneously.

Cejudo announced his retirement in 2020 after successfully defending his UFC bantamweight title. Henry is considered one of the greatest combat athletes of all time.

UFC is the largest MMA promotion company in the world. Click here to read about the top ten best UFC fights of all time!

14. BJ Penn

  • Age: 43 years old
  • Weight Class: Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight

Regarded as one of the best competitors in the UFC’s history, the next fighter on our list is BJ Penn. He is also a professional mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.

In 1997, Penn began his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practice. Furthermore, he was the first non-Brazilian to win the black-belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Rio de Janeiro.

His ability and accomplishment caught UFC’s attention. Then on May 21, 2001, Penn made his first UFC debut. Again, his mixed martial skills helped him get victories over his opponents.

BJ-Penn
BJ Penn (Source: Instagram)

Similarly, his skills made him the second fighter among seven to win titles in multiple weight classes in UFC history. Likewise, he is also a former UFC Lightweight Champion and UFC Welterweight Champion.

Because of his accomplishments in the UFC, Penn was inaugurated into the Modern-era wing of the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015.

13. Max Holloway

  • Age: 30 years old
  • Weight Class: Featherweight

The next UFC fighter on our list is Max Holloway. He is a mixed martial artist who made his debut in the UFC in 2012.

Growing up, Holloway had a tough childhood. His parents were heavy drug users, and his mother constantly abused him. At 15, he started training kickboxing at the end of his sophomore year.

Holloway proved gifted in the sport. With just three days of training, he won his first amateur bout. By age 19, he had gained a reputation of a skillful fighter that grabbed UFC’s attention.

Max Holloway, full package of confidence
Max Holloway, full package of confidence

Consequently, Holloway was number 7 in the featherweight prospect of 2012 in Bloody Elbow’s 2012 World MMA Scouting Report. Furthermore, he was the youngest fighter among the UFC roster when he debuted.

In 2017, Holloway won the title of the UFC Featherweight Champion. He defeated José Aldo to win the championship. As of 2021 raking, he is number 1 in UFC featherweight and 6th in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.

12. Conor McGregor

  • Age: 34 years old
  • Weight Class: Featherweight, Lightweight, & Welterweight

Conor McGregor is an Irish mixed martial artist who currently fights in the Lightweight division of UFC. He is ranked as number 9 in the UFC lightweight rankings as of July 19, 2021.

McGregor began boxing at age 12 at Crumlin Boxing Club. Initially, he picked up boxing to defend himself against the bullies and raise his confidence. Later, he made his mixed martial arts debut in 2007.

The following year in 2008, McGregor made his professional debut for MMA in the lightweight division. Likewise, he has also played in the welterweight division. Additionally, he had a professional boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Conor McGregor during his game
Conor McGregor inside the ring

McGregor has since then become one of the biggest names of UFC. He is the biggest pay-per-view draw in MMA history. Moreover, he has headlined five out of the six highest-selling UFC pay-per-view events.

As a result, McGregor is also among one of the world’s highest-paid athletes. Forbes listed him among the highest-paid athlete in 2021, with reported earnings of $180 million.

11. Matt Hughes

  • Age: 48 years old
  • Weight Class: Welterweight

On our number 11 is a former mixed martial artist, wrestler, and UFC fighter, Matt Hughes. Matt is regarded as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history.

Hughes played wrestling in school and college during his early years and was a Class A state wrestling champion. In 1998, he made his debut in mixed martial arts. The following year in 1999, he made his UFC debut.

Hughes made his promotional debut at the UFC 22: There Can Be Only One Champion event. He defeated his Bulgarian opponent Valeri Ignatov.

Matt-Hughes
Matt Hughes (Source: Instagram)

During the height of his career, Hughes was the number 1 pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world. Moreover, the American UFC fighter is regarded as one of the greatest welterweight fighters of all time and one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in UFC’s history.

Hughes retired from the sport in 2013. Matt was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2010 as the eighth inductee.

10. José Aldo

  • Age: 35 years old
  • Weight Class: Bantamweight, Featherweight, & Lightweight

Next up, we have a Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and UFC fighter, José Aldo. He is regarded as the greatest featherweight ever; he made his MMA debut at age 17.

Although he started training in capoeira (Brazilian martial art) to defend himself, he grabbed the Brazilian jiu-jitsu trainer’s attention. Determined to train in mixed martial arts, Aldo moved to Rio de Janeiro at age 17.

It was then he began his training and also made his MMA debut. Following the UFC/WEC merger, Aldo was the first UFC Featherweight Champion.

Jose_Aldo_2015
Jose Aldo 2015 (Source: Wikimwdia.org)

He has the record of being undefeated for over a decade, from 2005 to 2015. In addition, the Sherdog ranked Aldo as the greatest featherweight in mixed martial arts history in its 2017 pound-for-pound ranking.

Currently, he competes in the Bantamweight division. Aldo has been ranked number 3 in the UFC bantamweight rankings as of December 6, 2021.

9. Dan Henderson

  • Age: 51 years old
  • Weight Class: Welterweight, Middleweight, Lightheavyweight, & Heavyweight

Dan Henderson is an American former mixed martial artist, Olympic wrestler, and former UFC fighter. He made his debut in the MMA in 1997, following the footsteps of other wrestlers.

Henderson used to compete in freestyle wrestling. However, his most notable achievements were in Greco-Roman wrestling. Similarly, he was a national junior and university national champion several times.

Henderson began his mixed martial arts training in 1997. In his first debut match in the MMA the same year, he emerged victoriously. For nearly two decades, he had on and on relationship with UFC.

Dan Henderson
Dan Henderson

Henderson was the last Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion. Likewise, he was also the last Welterweight and Middleweight Champion of the Pride Fighting Championships.

Henderson was in the UFC Middleweight Championship two times during his career, UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship. The 51 year UFC fighter was the oldest fighter on the UFC roster before retiring in 2016.

8. Amanda Nunes

  • Age: 34 years old
  • Weight Class: Women’s Bantamweight & Women’s Featherweight

We have a woman UFC fighter next on our list. Amanda Nunes is a mixed martial artist and UFC fighter from Brazil. She is the current holder of the UFC’s Women’s Featherweight Champion.

Nunes is widely regarded as the greatest female mixed martial artist of all time. A very energetic child, she initially aspired to become a soccer player. However, her mother’s influence led her to martial arts training.

In 2008, Nunes made her professional debut at Prime MMA Championship 2. Unfortunately, Ana Maria defeated her by armbar submission in the first round.

Invicta FC weigh-ins

After making his debut in the UFC, she has become the first woman to become a two-division UFC champion.

Moreover, Nunes is the third fighter after Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier to simultaneously hold two UFC titles in two weight classes. Furthermore, she is the first and only fighter to defend two UFC titles while holding both.

As of 2021, Nunes is ranked number 1 in the UFC women’s bantamweight rankings, and as of 2022, she is ranked number 2 in women’s pound-for-pound rankings.

7. Daniel Cormier

  • Age: 43 years old
  • Weight Class: Lightheavyweight & Heavyweight

On our number 7 of the best UFC fighters of all time is a former UFC fighter, mixed martial artist, and amateur wrestler, Daniel Cormier.

Cormier was a Greco-Roman Wrestler and has won a bronze medal in the world championships in the cadet division. He also was a six-time US World or Olympic Team member and a World Cup runner-up.

Similarly, his biggest achievement was the Pan American Games gold medal and two times Pan American champion. After success as a wrestler, Cormier began his mixed martial arts journey and made his MMA debut in 2009.

Daniel Cormier

He traveled to Australia to make his debut fight for Xtreme MMA. In 2010, Cormier won the XMMA Heavyweight Championship. Furthermore, he won his second MMA title two weeks later by winning the KOTC Heavyweight Championship.

A former UFC Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion, Cormier was the second fighter to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously in UFC history. Likewise, he was the first fighter to defend two titles in two divisions.

Cormier announced his retirement on August 15, 2020. Currently, he is an analyst and commentator for the UFC.

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6. Stipe Miocic

  • Age: 39 years old
  • Weight Class: Heavyweight

Stipe Miocic is a professional mixed martial artist who made his UFC debut in 2010. Miocic is considered the greatest UFC heavyweight fighter of all time by critics, commentators, and media.

Initially trained in martial arts, Miocic was also trained in boxing. He reached the quarter-finals in the Golden Gloves boxing champion and was an NCCA Division I wrestler.

Before signing with MMA, he first fought in the Ohio-based MMA promotion (NAAFS). Miocic’s career in MMA began with a huge success. He won his first six fights by knockout and became the NAAFS Heavyweight Championship.

Stipe Miocic
Stipe Miocic

Then, UFC signed him in a multi-fight deal on June 14, 2011. Since his debut, Miocic has made a record for the most wins in the heavyweight title fights.

Similarly, he also has the longest title defense streak in the heavyweight division. Likewise, he has nine fight-night bonus awards, which are the most in the history of the UFC Heavyweight division.

Miocic was ranked number 2 in UFC heavyweight rankings as of 2021 and number 11 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings as of 2022.

5. Demetrious Johnson

  • Age: 35 years old
  • Weight Class: Bantamweight, Flyweight

On our number 5 is a mixed martial artist and a current number one Flyweight ONE Champion, Demetrious Johnson. He is considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time.

Born in Kentucky, Johnson was a star athlete during his high school. He played track, wrestling, and cross country. In 2007, Demetrious started his MMA career and won his professional debut fight with a first-round knockout.

Johnson was part of the World Extreme Cagefighting. After UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting, he transferred to UFC. His debut fight after the merge was in 2011 at the UFC 126.

Demetrious-Johnson
Demetrious Johnson (Source: Instagram)

Famous for his quick strikes and evasive movement, Johnson is the only fighter in UFC to record over 10 takedowns in three different fights. Similarly, he also has the record for most finishes in UFC flyweight history.

The ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion, Johnson is number 9 in a pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts and as the number 2 flyweight by Sherdog.

4. Georges St-Pierre

  • Age: 41 years old
  • Weight Class: Welterweight & Middleweight

The next UFC fighter is a former Canadian mixed martial artist. Widely considered as one of the most amazing fighters in MMA history, Georges St-Pierre debuted in UFC at UFC 46.

As a young boy, St-Pierre was inspired by Jean-Claude Van Damme. As a result, he initially started training in Kyokushin Karate from his father. Similarly, he has trained in wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and boxing.

Although he was defeated in his UFC debut match, he won his next match via technical knockout in only 1:42 of the first round.

Georges-St-Pierre-Welterweight-Champion
Georges St-Pierre Welterweight Champion (Source: Instagram Image)

St-Pierre has trained in various gyms with several groups throughout his fighting career. He was also a two-division UFC champion and won titles in the welterweight and middleweight divisions.

At his retirement in 2013, St-Pierre had the record for most wins in title bouts and the second longest combined title streak in UFC history. He retired as the reigning Welterweight Champion but made his return in 2017 at UFC 217.

3. Jon Jones

  • Age: 35 years old
  • Weight Class: Lightheavyweight & Heavyweight

We are down to our top 3 picks for the best UFC fighters of all time. On our number 3 is a professional mixed martial artist and the youngest champion in UFC history Jon Jones.

Jones was a wrestler and state champion during his school years. He picked up Criminal Justice at the Morrisville State College; however, he dropped out to start his MMA career.

Then in 2008, he made his MMA professional debut. Over three months, Jones had a record of 6-0, remaining undefeated. His UFC debut was the same year at UFC 87.

Twenty-three olds Jones after crowned as UFC light heavyweight champion against Shogun Rua (Source: ufcespanol.com)

With unorthodox striking and takedowns, he won his debut UFC fight, and since then, Jones has made various records in the UFC. For example, Jones has the record for the most title defenses, longest win streak, most submission victories, and most wins.

Unfortunately, his professional career between 2015 and 2017 was marred by several controversies. Furthermore, he was stripped of his titles three times due to disciplinary action.

But Jones was able to get back on track after the 2017 suspension lift. As of 2022, he is number 7 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.

In the world of MMA, female fighters are no less than the man. Click here to read about some of the greatest female fighters!

2. Khabib Nurmagomedov

  • Age: 33 years old
  • Weight Class: Lightweight & Welterweight

The second place goes to the Russian former professional mixed martial artist and UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov. He is widely regarded as the greatest lightweight in the history of MMA.

Nurmagomedov was trained in sambo, judo, and wrestling. He made his professional debut at MMA in 2008 and had four wins in under a month.

Then in 2011, UFC signed Nurmagomedov on a six-fight deal in the UFC’s lightweight division. He made his UFC debut fight on January 20, 2012, at UFC on FX 1. He stood victorious against Kamal Shalorus.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Nurmagomedov is the first Muslim fighter to win a UFC title. In addition, he was the longest-reigning UFC Lightweight Champion. Moreover, by the time he retired, Nurmagomedov had a record of 29 wins and no losses.

Similarly, he was number 1 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings by his retirement. Nurmagomedov has been working as a mixed martial arts coach and cornerman since his retirement.

1. Anderson Silva

  • Age: 47 years old
  • Weight Class: Middleweight, Lightheavyweight

And here we are, on our number 1 of the best UFC fighters of all time is a Brazilian-American mixed martial artist, boxer, and UFC fighter Anderson Silva.

Silva has been dubbed as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time by UFC president Dana White, UFC commentator Joe Rogan, and MMA pundits.

He began his martial arts as a child; he trained in jiu-jitsu and later in taekwondo, capoeira, and muay Thai. Initially, Silva fought in the Brazilian welterweight category and debuted in MMA in 1997.

Anderson-Silva-Winning-Middleweight-Championship-In-UFC
Anderson Silva Winning Middleweight Championship In UFC (Source: Instagram Image)

Similarly, from 2002 to 2006, he was part of the Pride Fighting Championships and Cage Rage. Then in late April 2006, UFC signed him to a multi-fight contract. Silva made his debut fight on June 28, 2008, at Ultimate Fight Night 5.

On his debut fight, Silva knocked out Chris Leben, who had gone undefeated in the UFC with five consecutive victories. Then onwards, he went ahead to become a UFC Middleweight Champion.

Additionally, his record of the longest title reign in UFC history still is left to be surpassed. Likewise, he had the UFC record of 16 consecutive victories between 2006 to 2013. Sliva retired from UFC in 2020 and returned to boxing.

Conclusion

UFC is a tough and wild sport where the fighters pour their blood and sweat. The fighters on the list are some of the best ones that UFC has ever seen in its history.

Their skills and talent stand out among hundreds of fighters in the league. Therefore, making these fighters, without an argument, the best UFC fighters of all time.

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