Many long-time mixed martial arts fans often wonder about who are the best MMA fighters of all time. Well, look no further because we have you covered with a rundown of the 10 top competitors to ever grace the Octagon.
Bookmark this page and come back over the next few months as we expand our list and include other stars who are often in the greatest MMA fighter of all time debate. Without further ado, let’s get to the list.
10. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (27-14-1)
While his record no longer sparkles as it used to, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua had a legendary fighting career. He was the young stud who took the sport by storm in PRIDE FC. Then he disappointed in his early days with the UFC but rose back up to greatness to become the UFC light heavyweight king by being the first fighter to solve the Lyoto Machida puzzle.
Furthermore, he cemented his legend in several of the greatest fights of all time, including a couple of near-death experiences with fellow UFC and PRIDE icon Dan Henderson.
9. Daniel Cormier (22-3)
There is no question that Daniel Cormier is one of the best MMA fighters of all time. He is one of just eight fighters in UFC history to hold belts in two weight classes and is among only three athletes that was able to defend both. Plus, he won heavyweight gold in Strikeforce during their memorable big man tournament.
He has a hit list that includes MMA legends like Dan Henderson, Frank Mir, Stipe Miocic, and Alexander Gustafsson, and his only losses in the UFC were against two other fighters on this list. Both are the greatest ever in their divisions.
8. Fedor Emelianenko (40-7)
Fedor Emelianenko is without a shadow of a doubt the greatest fighter to never compete in the UFC. Yet despite not checking that box off during his career, he was still able to have a truly special career as an undersized fighter in the largest weight class in the sport.
While he didn’t look the part, he was an elite-level athlete that had few weaknesses and was dangerous no matter where the fight went at his peak. His runs in Affliction and Bellator will get knocked, but his ability to stay relevant by fighting legit competition into his mid-40s adds to what was a one-of-a-kind career
7. Kamaru Usman (20-3)
While there will always be a debate on who is the greatest UFC welterweight ever if Kamaru Usman is your preferred choice it is hard to argue against him. Especially after he started his Octagon run with fifteen straight wins and six in title fights.
Yet, what truly makes him special is his ability to evolve from a wrestling and cardio-dominant fighter to a complete MMA competitor. There is little he can’t do and he showed it by beating top talents like Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, Tyron Woodley, and Gilbert Burns. Usman lost few rounds during his peak period and that is why he is one of the best UFC fighters of all time.
6. Stipe Miocic (20-4)
Stipe Miocic is the best UFC heavyweight of all time, full-stop. Yes, he wasn’t perfect and suffered a few losses during his run in the Octagon. However, there is no division more volatile and harder to maintain relevancy than heavyweight. Yet for a decade he was an elite talent in the division as he scored wins over legends of the sport like Cormier, Fabricio Werdum, and Junior dos Santos.
What really makes Miocic special is he was able to do so without being a gifted athlete and was often the underdog in some of his biggest wins.
Who is the best UFC fighter right now?
The top fighter in the UFC today is debatable. However, if one had to choose a specific fighter over all the rest, the most likely choice would be featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski. He has soundly beaten two of the best 145ers of all time — Max Holloway and Jose Aldo — and has yet to lose a bout in his division. Furthermore, there is no UFC fighter more complete than the Australian.
5. Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0)
Khabib Nurmagomedov was not an athlete as gifted as St-Pierre, Silva, Johnson, or Jones yet he dominated on a level that none of them ever did. During his 13 fights in the Octagon he never lost a round and rarely even had difficult moments.
“The Eagle” fought nearly every elite fighter of his era and beat them all definitively, including Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje. He was a part of the biggest fight in UFC history and he won it. Enough said.
4. Demetrious Johnson (25-4)
Demetrious Johnson is the greatest flyweight in MMA history and it isn’t even close. There was little Johnson couldn’t do in a cage, and if not for a lack of finishes, he would be at the top of this list. What also makes “Mighty Mouse” a true UFC legend is he reigned over their 125-pound division for six years with honor, respect, and grace.
He added to his legacy by being a part of a rare MMA trade and having more special moments during his run in ONE Championship, including a reign as their flyweight king.
3. Anderson Silva (34-11)
Anderson Silva is not just one of the very best MMA fighters of all time, but he is the king of Brazilian cage fighting. “The Spider” was one of the few fighters that’s legend was so impressive many of his foes were beaten even before they reached the cage. While he had several head-scratching moments during his UFC career, he was a truly awe-inspiring talent that many fight fans pick as the greatest pound-for-pound striker the sport has ever seen.
In the end, age was what finally brought Silva down, and not a man that could beat him in his prime.
2. Georges St-Pierre (26-2)
Canadian Georges St-Pierre was his homeland’s greatest fighting export and the best ambassador in the sport’s history. Like Johnson, he was an honorable assassin who dominated one of the promotion’s toughest divisions with respect and grace. Rarely did he lose a round during his peak.
Yet, what cemented his amazing legacy was in knocking the retirement rust off after four years away and moving up in weight to be one of the elite eight fighters to win belts in two divisions.
1. Jon Jones (27-1)
Jon Jones is the best MMA fighter of all time, while also being one of its most controversial. While there are some that will question his place in the sport due to failed drug tests, it is hard to overlook his absurd resume during his 15-year run in the UFC.
He beat multiple former champions and future Hall-of-Famers, and on several occasions made it look easy. He added to his legacy in 2023 when he made a long-awaited move up in weight and crushed Ciryl Gane to become the latest fighter to win belts in two divisions.
If a fight fan was creating the perfect fighter in the latest UFC video game, it would likely end up looking like Jon Jones.