50 Best UFC Fighters of All Time (2024 Update)

The UFC has had many incredibly talented fighters over the past three decades. With so many great fighters, it’s no surprise that the debate about who is the best UFC fighter of all time is never-ending.

Best UFC fighters with Khabib, Adesanya, and Voklanovski

Keep in mind that this topic is highly subjective, but we looked a number of factors, including professional record, championships won, dominance, money drawn, raw talent, and more.

Whether you agree or disagree, share who you think is the GOAT in the comments at the bottom of the page.

1. Georges St-Pierre

EVERY Georges St-Pierre Finish EVER

Years Active 2002 to 2013, 2017
Birth Country Canada
Professional Record 26-2

Widely regarded as one of the best UFC fighters of all time and, in many eyes, the best ever was GSP. Georges St Pierre was one of the most well-rounded fighters in UFC history, who never stopped learning.

After a bullying incident as a child, Georges discovered martial arts training and became passionate about learning self-defense skills. He began training in Karate and later picked up wrestling in his late teens.

Georges would have his first pro-MMA fight at twenty-one in 2002 and enter the UFC in 2003 after going 5-0. When Pierre debuted, MMA fans knew he was a special athlete.

He showed flashes of greatness in every fight. Even losing his first title fight shot match against UFC great Matt Hughes didn’t diminish fan expectations.

Pierre bounced back to win five fights in a row before dismantling Hughes in a rematch for the title. His next match against Matt Serra was one of the most shocking upsets in UFC history.

But from that loss, GSP would get together with Firas Zahabi and John Danaher. Also, he spent extensive time training with the Canadian amateur wrestling training.

This dedication to improving would lead to Georges winning his second welterweight title and UFC record title run. After losing the welterweight title, GSP would win twelve straight fights, which included nine title defenses.

Then, four years after walking away from the sport, GSP returned to win the UFC middleweight title from Michael Bisping. He added to his legacy by becoming a champion in two-weight classes.

GSP was special because he never declined and always improved with every fight.

2. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Every Khabib Nurmagomedov Finish

Years Active 2008 to 2020
Birth Country Daegastan
Professional Record 29-0

A newer addition to the debate of who is on the best UFC fighters of all time list is Khabib Nurmagomedov. Arguably the most dominant UFC fighter in the history of the sport.

Khabib grew up practicing wrestling and Sambo from an early age. His life was dedicated to training and becoming the best fighter he could be.

He would smash everyone in front of him, no matter if it was MMA, wrestling, or Sambo. From the age of eighteen until he retired, Khabib did nothing but smash.

There was rarely a moment in Khabib’s career when he was in trouble or hurt. Khabib would come into the UFC with a perfect 16-0 record and ragdoll everyone put in front of him.

Khabib was on an imminent collision course with Conor McGregor during his path of destruction to the title. The beginning and end of the event were filled with nonstop chaos.

From the moment Conor threw the dolly, it unleashed a monster in Khabib that crushed Conor and wasn’t satisfied. He jumped into the audience to fight members of Conor’s team, which led to the wildest scene in UFC history.

Nuragomedov would go on to defend the belt twice against Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. He would easily dispatch both fighters by submission with little to no resistance.

His last title defense was emotional, as it was after the death of his beloved father. Khabib promised his mother this was his last fight, and he’s kept that promise.

The Eagle goes down as one of the GOATs of the lightweight division.

3. Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva Top 5 Finishes

Years Active 1997 to 2020
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 34-1(1 No Contest)

There was no other fighter like Anderson “The Spider” Silva. When his UFC reign began, many considered him one of the greatest UFC fighters ever. He’s also one of the UFC all-time knockout leaders.

The legendary striker would spend the earlier part of his career fighting everywhere, from PRIDE to Cage Rage. During this time of his career, Anderson would show flashes of greatness and suffered a few growing pains.

Silva was seemingly unknown to casual UFC fans when he entered the UFC, but hardcore MMA fans were aware of him.

UFC commentator Joe Rogan was among the first to tell people that the spider would be a champion. From the moment he dismantled Chris Leben and then shattered Rich Franklin’s face with a knee to win the title. It was evident that it was Anderson’s time.

For the next seven years, Anderson would put on highlight reel performance after highlight reel performance. The Spider was clearly one of the most talented fighters of all time during his legendary run.

Anderson “The Spider” Silva is a legend everyone respects and considers a GOAT. He was one of the most talented fighters of all time who had an amazing career.

4. Jon Jones

Jon Jones Top 5 Finishes

Years Active 2008 to Present
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 27-1*

Hands down, one of the greatest of all time is Jon “Bones” Jones. Jon is a once-in-a-generation athlete who heads and shoulders above his rivals. He is more talented and skilled than any other UFC fighter in history.

A seemingly perfect fighter that has little to no weakness. Jon entered the UFC with a 6-0 record in his first year as a pro. The hype would grow behind Jon with every fight, and he’d meet it each time.

Jones displayed elite athletic ability combined with technical skill and was not afraid to experiment in the cage. There was no stage too big for Jones, and he always performed.

He wasn’t afraid of starting his first title fight against Shogun Ruaa with a flying knee. From that moment on, Jon overwhelmed Shogun to win the title and begin the era of Bones.

It didn’t matter who the UFC put in front of Jon Jones. He took out everyone put in front of him with little to no difficulty.

The only person who could defeat Jon was Jon. His partying lifestyle, positive steroid tests, and personal problems caused long hiatuses in his career.

Jon’s saga of troubles started with a hit-and-run while possessing cocaine, resulting in being stripped of the title. In the middle of this sad sage, Jon would have his rivalry with nemesis Daniel Cormier.

Jones would dominate Cormier in both fights but was stripped of the title twice for different reasons. Despite these slip-ups, Jon’s talent is undeniable, and he would win his light heavyweight title back.

Bones would win his title back and take another hiatus from the sport. Jon would put on 30 lbs of muscle during this hiatus to prepare for a heavyweight run.

When Jon returned, he would make it clear that he is one of the best UFC fighters to have ever lived. Dominating Gane to win the UFC Heavyweight Champion and become a two-division champion.

5. Vitor Belfort

Top 5 KOs de Vitor Belfort

Years Active 1997 to 2017
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 26-14

Only a few fighters in the history of MMA possessed the talent of Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort. Vitor was already considered one of the world’s best fighters when he was only twenty.

The Carlson Gracie Sr student would explode onto the scene in 1997. Entering the UFC 12 Tournament as the youngest competitor of the tournament.

Belfort displayed elite power and athleticism as he battered both opponents in less than 3 minutes of combined octagon time. His next win would be a statement KO win over Tank Abbott that firmly established he was the world’s best fighter.

The Phenom would have a turbulent fighting career after becoming the youngest UFC champion. He would suffer from tough losses against Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, and Kazushi Sakuraba.

But Vitor would have some highlight reel wins between these losses, including MMA legend KO-ing Wanderlei Silva. The Brazilian would eventually win the UFC Lightheavyweight belt but lost it to Couture in the rematch.

During this time, Vitor’s sister was tragically killed by human traffickers, but he managed to continue fighting. After years of setbacks, Vitor would return to the UFC in 2009 and stay with the company until 2018.

The beginning of his last UFC run was considered the best run of Belfort’s career. Fans donned him the TRT Vitor and TRVitor for using then-legal physical enhancement supplements.

We watched Belfort blaze past numerous future and former champions during this run. Knocking everyone out from Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson (twice), Michael Bisping, and Luke Rockhold, and submitting Anthony Johnson.

Vitor would even earn another light-heavyweight title shot, where he came milliseconds from becoming champion. He locked in a tight armbar that nearly broke Jones’ arm.

Throughout his MMA career, Vitor Belfort was a multi-time champ and a superior athlete with well-rounded abilities. No doubt a future UFC Hall of Famer and one of the MMA greats.

6. Randy Couture

Randy Couture Highlights

Years Active 1997 to 2011
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 19-11

Randy Couture is one of the most beloved UFC fighters in the history of the sport. He is a fan favorite who had one of the longest and storied careers in MMA history.

Couture was a Greco-Roman wrestling standout throughout the 1980s and 1990s. His path as a Greco-Roman wrestler was actually due to a clerical error by the US Army. Randy was placed on the Greco-Roman wrestling team when he applied for the freestyle team.

During his wrestling career, Randy would win multiple high-level tournaments and was an Olympic team alternate multiple times. Towards the end of Couture’s wrestling career, he would begin competing in early MMA events in 1997.

He was already 34 years old but had two decades of wrestling experience. This experience would get him to begin his fighting career within the UFC.

In his first four fights, Couture would use his superior wrestling to win the UFC 12 Tournament and heavyweight title. A contract dispute would make Randy part ways with the UFC, and his submission defense skills would be exposed in Japan.

After suffering those two losses, Randy bounced back to the Rings King of Kings Tournament. He also won back the UFC heavyweight title from Kevin Randleman at UFC 28.

His second title reign would last two title defenses before Couture dropped the title to Josh Barnett. This title loss would be followed by a second loss to Ricco Rodriguez, leading Randy to move to light heavyweight.

At 40 years old, this would be another career resurgence for Captain America. Randy would beat prime Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz to become a three-time UFC champion and two-division champ.

Following his second KO loss to Liddell, Couture would announce his first retirement. Retirement would last less than a year as fans were thrilled to hear Randy come back at heavyweight against Tim Sylvia.

UFC 68 would be one of the greatest moments in UFC history as Randy had the fight of his life. Rocking Sylvia early on and dominated him with superior wrestling for 25 minutes to win his fifth UFC title.

Captain America was already a beloved fan favorite, but this moment made him an icon. No other fighter has had the success of Randy Couture and been able to fight the best into their late 40s. Nobody had a career like the legendary Captain America Randy Couture.

7. Matt Hughes

Every Matt Hughes Finish Ever!

Years Active 1998 to 2011
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 45-9

Before GSP, the reigning king of the UFC welterweight division was the legendary UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes. One of the best ground-and-pound experts in the world and easily one of the best MMA fighters ever.

Matt was a cornfed country boy who grew up wrestling and working on his family farm. This upbringing made him tough and insanely strong.

He was a natural wrestler who would use that ability to earn a scholarship to East Illinois University. At 24, Hughes would transition to MMA with no formal training in the style.

Using just his strength and wrestling, Hughes was able to earn an 8-1 record before debuting in the UFC in 1999. He fought sporadically within the UFC and other promotions between 1998 and 2001 to earn a record of 29-3.

Matt would join MMA legend Pat Miletich’s legendary gym in Iowa. When Matt returned to the UFC in late 2001, he would firmly establish himself as the king of the welterweights.

He smashed through everyone from Carlos Newton, Mach Sakurai, and Frank Trigg on multiple occasions. He beat everyone, including a young GSP, using his superior wrestling and power.

After losing his UFC title in 2004, Matt would win his title back and have some of the best moments of his career. Beating Frank Trigg again in an epic comeback win, avenging a loss to BJ Penn, and stopping UFC legend Royce Gracie.

This would be the best run of Hughes’ career before GSP beat him at UFC 65. The Illinois native would continue fighting until 2011 and retire with a record of 45-9, including 2 titles and 7 title defenses.

Hughes is considered an MMA legend and created the blueprint for wrestlers to succeed as a fighter. We are so happy to see Matt recovering from his horrific accident and continuing his journey to normalcy.

8. Jose Aldo

Top Finishes: Jose Aldo

Years Active 2004 to 2022
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 31-8

Before Alexander Volkanovski even started fighting, the original king of the featherweights was Jose Aldo. Jose had MMA fans buzzing, for he had even stepped foot in the Octagon.

Originally, the Nova Uniao fighter earned early fame from his WEC bouts. He came in with a 10-1 record and annihilated everyone he faced using superior striking skills.

He’s doing everything from knocking out Cub Swanson with a flying switch knee to dissecting Mike Brown for the WEC title. His battering of Urijah Faber’s lead leg at WEC 48 is considered one of the worst beatings in MMA history.

When the WEC merged with the UFC, Dana White gave Aldo the belt because he was the champion. Now on a bigger stage, Aldo firmly established himself as one of the GOATs.

Aldo would be the first UFC Featherweight Champion and have a legendary reign that lasted five years. He starched everyone from Kenny Florian, Frankie Edgar, and the Korean Zombie and a total of seven title defenses.

During this time, nobody was better than Jose Aldo. No featherweight fighter had the striking ability or conditioning to keep up with the 145 lb king.

Even though he suffered a life-shattering loss to Conor McGregor, UFC 194 was one of the most watched fights ever. Aldo would win the interim title but lost his stranglehold on the featherweight division after two losses against Max Holloway.

Jose knew he was at the end of his hall-of-fame career and had a short resurgence at bantamweight. During this period, Aldo still looked like a contender, but the years of fighting had taken their toll.

Aldo would retire in 2022 and immediately be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Everyone loves Jose Aldo and considers him a legend for all he’s done in the sport.

He has now moved on to a pro boxing career, where he’s fought in multiple boxing events in two years.

9. Demetrius Johnson

Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson [HIGHLIGHTS] ~ [G.O.A.T] Fights

Years Active 2006 to Present
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 25-4

We often judge fighters by their accolades. One fighter who is considered to possess the best skill in the sport’s history is Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

When the UFC created their flyweight division in the early 2010s, Demetrious quickly established himself as the world’s best flyweight. He dealt with problems fighting bigger opponents at bantamweight, but flyweight was perfect for him.

The Matt Hume student would evolve as a fighter after earning a draw with Ian McCall in his flyweight debut. Johnson would win the inaugural flyweight title against Joe Benavidez and put a stranglehold on the title for five years.

During this run, Might Mouse made it look too easy. He defended his title a record of eleven times that consisted of countless GOAT moments.

Demetrius would seemingly put on a career performance every time he defended his title. Finishing off numerous top fighters, which included stopping Henry Cejudo with strikes.

The best moment of Johnson’s career was his last successful title defense against Ray Borg. He was able to suplex Borg as he simultaneously locked in an armbar. A move that is now called the mouse trap.

After losing his title to Cejudo, Johnson would make history as part of the first fighter trade. ONE Championship traded Ben Askren to the UFC in exchange for Demetrious Johnson.

Since then, Johnson has been fighting and continuing to add to his legacy. He is the reigning ONE 135lb Champion with a current record of 25-4-1.

In MMA history, no fighter has possessed the talent of Demetrious Johnson. It is an easy choice for a list of the all-time great fighters who just won gold at the Masters World BJJ Championship.

10. Royce Gracie

EVERY Royce Gracie UFC Finish EVER

Years Active 1993 to 2016
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 15-2-3

When discussing MMA’s evolution, one fighter, in particular, must be thanked. That is the legendary MMA pioneer Royce Gracie.

Without Royce Gracie and his family, there would be no UFC. If his brother Rorion didn’t partner with rich businessmen to make his family’s idea a reality, the UFC wouldn’t exist.

The pressure of revolutionizing a sport and proving that his family’s martial art was the most effective all rested on Royce. People didn’t think Royce had a chance in a no-holds-barred tournament against larger fighters specializing in striking.

He would display the power of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and dominate his competition. Once his fights hit the ground, his opponents were helpless.

The smaller Royce would do what he wanted to his opponents. During the early days of the UFC, Gracie would win three of the first four UFC tournaments. Royce would have won four in a row but was injured in his UFC 3 win against Kimo Leopoldo.

For many fans, Royce may not have been the best overall fighter, but he was the best of the time. More importantly, he was the fighter that MMA needed to be the best.

Because of Royce Gracie’s early UFC performances, he showed the effectiveness of grappling. These displays of Jiu-Jitsu showed that a fighter must possess high-level grappling skills to succeed.

Not only was MMA able to grow, but Jiu Jitsu and grappling as a whole would also grow. Royce is, without a doubt, a MMA pioneer.

11. Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman | Greatest Year

Years Active 2010 to Present
Birth Country Nigeria/United States
Professional Record 20-3

Kmaru Usman has established himself as one of the best UFC welterweight fighters of all time. The Nigerian-born fighter is a special athlete who is a well-rounded fighter.

Usman grew up wrestling in Texas and was one of the best in the state. His talent led him to earn a scholarship to a Division II school called Nebraska at Kearney.

In Kamaru’s third year, he’d win the Division II title and finish the season with a 44-1 record. After a short stint training at the Olympic Training Center, Usman would transition to MMA.

Usman began his MMA training with the Blackzillians team in 2011. As a standout in wrestling and a natural athlete, Kamaru would quickly pick up MMA.

The Blackzillians began hyping Kamaru up even before he made his pro debut. He used his power and superior wrestling to smash his first opponent in the first round.

But Usman hit some adversity in his second fight as he was submitted with an RNC. This loss gave Usman the focus to become an elite fighter.

He would roll through his competition before earning a spot on the season of TUF: Blackzillians vs. ATT. The Nigerian Nightmare would get everyone’s attention on this show.

Kamaru demonstrated he was a superior athlete with the skills to match by winning the TUF season. After winning TUF in his UFC debut, Kamaru began working his way up the ranks.

He took all of his opponent’s down at will and laid to smothering top pressure. The people believed him when he outworked BJJ legend Demian Maia and former UFC champ Rafael dos Anjos.

His statement win over reigning champ Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 was a clear changing of the guard. The reign of the Nigerian Nightmare would last for five titles and be filled with exciting fights.

This included his legendary battles with division bad guy Colby Covington and KO wins over Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal.

If it wasn’t for that critical error in the fifth round against Leon Edwards, Usman could still be the champion. Kamaru is one of the greatest of all time for a multitude of reasons.

He is the first Nigerian-born UFC champion, the best TUF champion ever, and defended his title five times. Usman’s legacy is set, but he’s looking to add to it as he attempts to regain his title.

12. Tyron Woodley

Every Tyron Woodley Finish

Years Active 2008 to 2021
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 27-7

After GSP vacated the welterweight title, there were debates about who would be the new king of the division. For a brief period, Tyron Woodley would establish himself as a ledgend.

The standout wrestler was an athletic specimen who would later develop dynamite knockout power. Woodley wrestled at the University of Missouri before transitioning to MMA.

For many years, he would find success in MMA without formal coaching. Eventually, he would begin training with American Top Team before moving to Roufus Sport with Din Thomas in his corner.

Woodley would enter the UFC with a 10-1 record, showing potential but facing turbulence. He knocked out fighters like Josh Koshcheck and Carlos Condit but lost decisions to Jake Shield and Rory MacDonald.

Both fans and critics heavily scrutinized Woodley for these performances. Woodley would then realize his potential and earn a title shot against Robbie Lawler at UFC 201.

Tyron cracked Lawler with the first punch of the fight to win the title in the first round. Beginning the reign of Woodley.

People expected great things from Woodley during his reigns but were often disappointed by him. This was most apparent in his next three fights against Stephen Thompson and Demain Maia.

Fans were critical of Woodley’s safe strategies to win and not finish the fights. Woodley would hush critics in his next fight with a career-best performance against Darren Till.

Putting the highly-touted UK fighter to sleep with a darce choke for a third successful title defense. Woodley wouldn’t have the best ending of his career, but he was an all-time great fighter when he was on.

13. Conor McGregor

Top Finishes: Conor McGregor

Years Active 2010 to Present
Birth Country Ireland
Professional Record 19-6

Hate or love him, you can deny the influence and ability of “The Notorious” Conor McGregor. The former two-division champ is the most known and popular fighter in the history of the UFC.

Conor came into the UFC with a bravado and talent to match. He was never afraid to stir the pot to get people talking about his fights.

But even though Conor took trash talk to new heights, he almost always delivered on his promises. Millions would flock to watch the Irish fighter compete as a featherweight contender.

McGregor was a born promoter who knew how to get eyes of his fights. With every knockout, the legend of Conor grew and began to explode in the lead-up to his grudge match with Jose Aldo.

The two would nearly come to blows multiple times before meeting at UFC 194. In the first twelve seconds, McGregor would land a picture-perfect counter-left hook to floor Aldo.

But as soon as Conor became the champ, he had his eyes set on bigger prizes. McGregor would then fight in two matches against one of the best Jiu-Jitsu fighters of all time, Nate Diaz, and it was one of the most-watched PPV fights in history.

The Notorious McGregor would continue to make history by knocking out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. Winning the UFC Lightweight Championship and becoming a two-division champion.

Conor’s stardom would go beyond MMA as he would participate in a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. It was a match that earned Conor the biggest payday of his career.

He would return to MMA to meet Khabib at UFC 294 in the most chaotic event in UFC history. Conor would lose the bout, and Khabib started a riot.

This led to another two years away from fighting, where we saw Conor return to KO Donald Cerrone. He would then lose two straight fights against Dustin Poirier, where he broke his leg in the second match.

McGregor has been adamant that he will make a comeback, but nobody knows for sure. One thing that’s for sure is Conor has already established his legacy. You may not like his attitude, but his ability is unquestionable. Another fun fact about McGregor is that he’s the highest-paid UFC fighter of all time.

14. Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya | UFC Greatest Hits

Years Active 2012 to Present
Birth Country Nigeria/New Zealand
Professional Record 26-2

Few fighters have entered the UFC with as many expectations behind him as Israel Adesanya. He not only met those expectations but surpassed them.

The Nigerian immigrant began learning martial arts from an early age due to the influence of anime and action movies. He would become well-versed in striking and begin kickboxing during his late teens.

Adesanya would quickly rise through professional kickboxing. Fighting throughout Australia and Asia before earning a spot in Glory kickboxing.

Stylebender would work his way to winning the Glory Middleweight title before retiring from kickboxing with a 75-5 record. The only person who dominated Adesanya was Alex Pereira, which would be a theme in Israel’s career.

When Israel was invited to fight in the UFC, he would dedicate 100% of his training to MMA. Stylebender would quickly display his elite striking skills that had not been seen since Anderson Silva debuted. He’s easily one of the best strikers in MMA history.

Luckily for Stylebender, he could fight his idle right before Anderson retired. Their bout at UFC 234 was a passing of the torch moment, where Adesanya was to be the chosen one.

Israel would have to go through an absolute war with Kelvin Gastelum to earn the interim middleweight title. He became the king of the middleweight division after dismantling ex-champ Robert Whitaker in the 2nd round at UFC 243.

The champ was above the rest of the division as he defended his title five times. Stylebender would also attempt to become a two-division champ, where he came up short against former light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz.

Adesanya would return to owning the middleweight division with three more title defenses. Then, his nemesis Alex Pereira finally met him again in MMA and took the title from him.

This was when Israel would prove he was among the top UFC fighters. In their rematch at UFC 287, Israel absorbed Pereira’s best shots and landed a counter knockout to win back his title.

The Nigerian star is now a 2x champion and has proven to be among the sport’s all-time greats. Israel is still young but has already established himself as one of the best to ever step into the octagon.

15. BJ Penn

BJ Penn Highlights

Years Active 2001 to 2019
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 16-14

When thinking about the UFC greats, certain legendary runs in MMA come to mind. During BJ Penn’s resurgence as a lightweight, he was considered one of the best fighters ever.

Penn wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime athlete but one that was obsessed with fighting. From when BJ was a kid, he was on the Island fighting other kids.

When he discovered BJJ, he dedicated his life to becoming a world champion. He would achieve his black belt in three years and become the first American BJJ world champion.

At this time, BJ Penn had one of the best BJJ games on the planet. His BJJ game was so good that his MMA debut was in the UFC.

BJ spectacularly won his first three fights and was assumed to win the lightweight title. The Prodigy would face Jens Pulver, who had the fight of his life to win the title by decision.

Penn would rebound and go 3-0-1 in his next four bouts. Fight fans knew Penn was fearless, so seeing him go to welterweight to fight Matt Hughes was no surprise.

At UFC 46, Penn displayed the best takedown defense that had been seen in MMA at that point. From early on, BJ controlled Hughes and submitted him with an RNC in the first round to become welterweight champ.

After a dispute with the UFC, Penn would spend the next two years fighting outside the UFC. Even venturing up to light heavyweight to fight future UFC champ Lyoto Machida.

When BJ and the UFC returned on good terms, he was welcomed into the company. He nearly beat GSP, who edged BJ out by a close split decision and then lost the rematch with Hughes.

This would be the time that BJ would get together with trainer Jason Parillo. Jason would begin putting Penn through grueling cardio workouts to prepare him for fights.

Fixing the cardio problems that had always been a hole in Penn’s game. The Prodigy would evolve into an elite MMA athlete with world-class ability to take over the reopened UFC lightweight division.

We saw what many fans believe was the best run by a champion in UFC history for the next six fights. BJ was a complete fighter that outclassed his opponents.

He was better than them at every facet of the sport, and they couldn’t stop him. From becoming the second two-division champ in history to defending his title three times, Penn was the best in the world.

Despite Penn hanging on for too long at the end of his career, he’s still considered one of the best ever.

16. Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo | UFC Greatest Hits

Years Active 2013 to Present
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 16-3

There has been one Olympic gold medalist and UFC champion in combat sports history, Henry Cejudo. Nobody has a record equal to Henry Cejudo as a combat sports athlete.

Before Henry ventured into MMA, he was an elite wrestler who would make history at the 2008 Olympics. Winning gold in freestyle wrestling.

Being a champion, Henry would look for new hills to climb and turned his attention to MMA. After going undefeated in smaller promotions, Cejudo would make it to the UFC and win his first four fights.

But Henry hit the biggest challenge of his career when he suffered first and second defeats back-to-back. He would bounce back from these losses and have the run of his career.

Henry would develop that crisp striking game to go along with his elite wrestling to become well-rounded. The Olympic gold medalist would win two straight to meet Mighty Mouse in a rematch.

This time, Cejudo would dethrone the flyweight king as the new champ. His reign as flyweight champ was shortlived due to Henry moving up to challenge for the bantamweight champion.

At this point, Cejudo had developed a fighter ego and had begun building up his fights. Henry built up a big match against TJ Dillashaw, where he knocked out the champion when he was on steroids.

Cejudo would defend the belt twice, with the last being a KO win over OG bantamweight king Dominick Cruz. He would then retire from the fight game, but not really, as he never stopped stirring the pot on Twitter.

His attempts to get matches with featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski were ignored, but a match with Aljamain Sterling did materialize. After three years off, Henry attempted to retake his title but came up short against Sterling UFC 288 by a split decision.

Henry is unsure if he’ll continue fighting, but new champ Sean O’Malley is currently calling him out.

17. Chuck Liddell

Chuck Liddell | UFC Greatest Hits

Years Active 1998 to 2011, 2018
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 21-9

When the UFC exploded in popularity in the early 2000s, the face of the sport was Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell. Chuck was one of the most exciting and dominant champions in UFC history.

The California native grew up wrestling and later took up learning Kenpo Karate for longtime coach John Hackleman. At 29 years old, Chuck would make his MMA debut at UFC 17 to beat Noe Hernandez by decision.

He would also venture to Brazil to fight underground MMA legend Jose Landi-Jons in a Vale Tudo fight. Liddell would lose his second UFC match to Jeremy Horn, but he’d learn from the loss and continue developing.

The Iceman would win his next four fights and look good, but he just wasn’t the Iceman yet. His rise in popularity began when he took a fight against UFC legend Kevin Randleman, who was moving down to light-heavyweight.

Chuck showed no fear and knew how to handle a high-level wrestler like Randleman. As Kevin came in for a takedown, Liddell landed a thunderous right hand that put Randleman out.

That KO would make Chuck one of the early premiere fighters of the UFC. He would continue his early rise with a 10-fight win streak, including wins over three former champions.

But Chuck ran into Captain America at UFC 43, who outworked Chuck and got on the mat. After the TKO loss, Dana White would send Chuck to fight in PRIDE, where he went 1-1.

On his return, he would have one of the trademark KOs of his career at UFC 47. The Iceman blazed former champ Tito Ortiz with a 10+ punch to KO in the second round.

It was an iconic UFC moment that he followed up with a KO over Vernon White and a rematch against Couture. This was right when the UFC exploded in popularity.

Millions watched Chuck win the UFC title with a 2nd KO. The era of the Iceman would make him one of the sport’s first superstars.

His reign as champion would last for four title defenses that were all highlight-reel knockouts. Chuck battered Jeremy Horn, KO’d Couture in their rubber match, KO’d Babalu Sobral and Tito Ortiz a second time.

The Iceman’s reign as champ would come to an end as Rampage would knock him out in the first round. But even though the pioneer of sprawl and brawl’s chin was starting to give out, he had one more in him.

The Iceman’s last win would be to settle a long debate of who would win between him and Wanderlei Silva. At UFC 79, the two legends would have a war, where the Iceman would emerge the winner.

Liddell suffered some bad losses late in his career, but it doesn’t negate his accomplishments. He was among the most famous champions and one of the most talented and exciting fighters ever.

18. Dominick Cruz

Dominick "The Dominator" Cruz Highlights || "Eyes On Fire"

Years Active 2005 to Present
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 24-4

The original king of the UFC bantamweight division is multi-time champion Dominick Cruz. No fighter has gone through the tribulations that Cruz has gone through.

Dominick was a standout wrestler with good boxing skills who made a name for himself in the WEC. He had his battles with Team Alpha Male fighters Urijah Faber and Joe Benavidez as he won the promotion’s belt.

After five title defenses and boosting his record to 17-1, the WEC would merge into the UFC. Dominick would become the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Champion from the merger.

His first title defense would be a grudge match against Urijah Faber, which Cruz would win. He would only defend the belt one more time against Mighty Mouse before Dom’s knee blew out.

It would be three years before we ever saw the OG 135 lb king fight again, which many thought was unlikely. Dom would defy the odds and make a triumphant return by knocking out Takeya Mizguki at UFC 178.

But Cruz would be sidelined with another knee injury that put him on the shelf for another two years. His body refused the ACL replacement, so he was sidelined even longer.

We wouldn’t see Dom fight for two more years, but he somehow came back to beat TJ Dillashaw to win his belt back.

Cruz would defend the title once before losing it to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207. Then Cruz’s nightmare would continue as he would be sidelined by another knee injury from 2016 to 2020.

Once again, Dom would return, but time and the injuries have slowed down his signature style. He’s still a dangerous fighter, but it’s unlikely that Dom will ever fight for the title again.

If injuries didn’t plague Dom, he would have had the longest bantamweight title run in UFC history.

19. Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier bullying opponents

Years Active 2009 to 2020
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 22-3

Almost no fighter has the resume that stacks up to Daniel Cormier. The former Olympic wrestler entered MMA like a man possessed and became a multi-time champion.

The Louisiana native won the US National Championship six times in a row from 2003 to 2008. After missing the Olympics due to a health emergency, Cormier transitioned to MMA.

He joined the legendary American Kickboxing Academy and quickly became a monster. After a year of training, Cormier had his pro debut at a Strikeforce event in 2009.

Daniel won the bout but didn’t start focusing on MMA until the following year. From 2010 til he retired, Cormier was one of the most active fighters in the world.

In four years, Cormier earned an 11-0 record and won the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP tournament. Due to the UFC merger, Daniel would enter the UFC and win his first two fights at heavyweight before dropping down.

His goal was to work his way into a bout with light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. Jon and Daniel had one of the fiercest rivalries in the history of the UFC.

Cormier got his wish at UFC 182 and was devastated to come up short. But Jones’ personal problems (that created more tension between them) caused him to vacate the belt.

Since Jon put himself on the shelf, Cormier would take his place at the top of the division. He beat Anthony Johnson for the title and defended it twice before Jon was reinstated.

Their rematch would be another devastating loss for Cormier, but there would be another controversy. Jones tested positive for steroids, so Cormier retained.

Daniel would TKO Volkan Oezdemir in his last defense before vacating and moving to heavyweight. He believed he was far more talented than heavyweight fighters and wanted to add to his legacy.

The former light heavyweight champ would realize his goal and knock out Stipe Moicic at UFC 226. After submitting Derrick Lewis, Cormier would shockingly lose the title to Moicic in their rematch.

When he wasn’t able to win the rubber match against Stipe, Daniel called it a career. He left an impressive legacy as a two-division champion that defended his belts. He’s no doubt one of the best to ever step foot into the octagon.

20. Dan Henderson

EVERY Dan Henderson Finish EVER!!

Years Active 1997 to 2016
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 32-15

Only a few MMA legends are as beloved or accomplished as Dan Henderson. Hendo had one of history’s longest and most impressive fight careers.

At the same time Dan was competing as an elite amateur wrestler, he also began his fight training. He would train for both sports along with Randy Couture and Matt Lindland at Team Quest.

Henderson medaled at prestigious wrestling tournaments in the Greco-Roman division. This included the World Cup and Pan American Games.

Dan would venture into MMA and make his debut at a Vale Tudo tournament in Brazil. After winning that tournament, Henderson was invited to the UFC 17 tournament, which he would also win.

But instead of staying with the UFC, Dan decided to fight in Japan. He’d make his debut in Japan by winning the Rings King of King Tournament in two separate events.

This win would get him invited to PRIDE, which at the time was the world’s biggest MMA promotion. From 2000 to 2007, Henderson would make a name for himself in Pride.

Fighting the best fighters on the planet and becoming a double champ before the promotion was sold. Hendo would return to the UFC in a unification bout against Rampage Jackson.

The UFC fans embraced the legend on his return to the octagon. He came up short in his first two returning bouts but increased his legend at UFC 100.

He fought TUF winner Michael Bisping and flatlined him with a powerful right, and followed it up with an iconic smash. After a stint in Strikeforce, where Dan knocked out legend Fedor, he returned to the UFC in 2011.

Dan would have an epic battle with Shogun Rua and have another war two years later. In his late 40s, he was still knocking out top contenders.

His last bout would be a loss, but it was another highly entertaining rematch against Michael Bisping.

21. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Every Shogun Rua Finish So Far!

Years Active 2002 to 2023
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 27-14

Only a handful of fighters hold gold in both PRIDE and the UFC, and Shogun Rua is one of them. Mauricio had an incredible career and is an all-time great.

The Chute-Boxe fighter displayed his violent trademark style to make a name for himself in PRIDE. He would fly over his opponent’s guards and his opponent’s with viscous stomps.

He laid a path of destruction in his early prime in PRIDE to win the 2005 PRIDE GP Tournament. When the UFC bought PRIDE, Shogun was an easy choice to be offered a contract.

His UFC debut would be disappointing as he lost to Forrest Griffin and took two years off due to injuries. Shogun would return from his break and become revitalized.

Mauricio would bounce back with two KO wins over Mark Coleman and Chuck Liddell. This earned him a title shot against Lyoto Machida, which many thought Rua won.

In their rematch, Shogun looked like PRIDE Shogun and knocked out Machida in the first round. Becoming the second fighter ever to hold a belt in PRIDE and the UFC.

After this win, Rua would lose the title and continue fighting for the next decade. His most notable bouts were his legendary wars with Dan Henderson at UFC 139 and a UFC FN.

In January of this year, Mauricio Rua stepped into the Octagon for the last time in his home country of Brazil. Even though time took its toll on Shogun, he was one of the most feared fighters in the world.

22. Max Holloway

Top Finishes: Max Holloway

Years Active 2010 to Present
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 25-7

There is almost no other fighter that has worked harder than Max Holloway. He did the impossible and took the featherweight throne from Jose Aldo to build quite a legacy.

The Hawaiian native was always a scrapper growing up, which made MMA an easy choice. At barely 20 years old, Max made it into the UFC with a 4-0 record.

Being young, he would endure growing pains by going 3-3 in his first six UFC fights. Losing to future champs like Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.

These losses would fuel Max as he developed one of the most dangerous styles in the UFC. In his nine wins to earn a title shot, he displayed superior boxing and high-level submission skills.

Blessed would not be denied as he outstruck former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis for the interim title. He established that it was the era of Blessed after stopping Jose Aldo in two straight matches.

Max defended the belt twice and attempted to become a double champ when he faced Dustin Poirier. The Holloway era ended abruptly as Alexander Volkanovski took the crown at UFC 24.

Despite not getting the title back, Holloway has destroyed everyone but Volkanovski. Every time he fights, Max has put on spectacular striking displays.

He was a dominant champ and is continuing to set many new records.

23. Alexander Volkanovski

Alexander Volkanovski's 10-Fight Win Streak to Start UFC Career

Years Active 2012 to Present
Birth Country Australia
Professional Record 26-2( Title Defenses)

Alexander Volkanovski has proven he is the greatest UFC Featherweight Champion ever. Originally, Alex was a pro rugby player who began practicing MMA during the off-season.

He became passionate about fighting and gave up rugby to pursue a career as a pro fighter. Volkanovski would lose over fifty pounds and, over the years, earned a record of 13-1 before entering the UFC.

Whoever the UFC put in front of Volk got steamrolled. The New Zealand-based fighter proved that he was talented by beating Jose Aldo to earn a shot at the featherweight title.

Fight fans assumed Holloway would wreck Volkanovski, but Alex was confident in his skills. He not only beat Max for the title but beat him in the immediate rematch.

Incredibly, as Alex continues to fight, his skills are getting better. With every win, he has evolved to another level. Alex even beat Max for a third time to silence critics for good.

Then, to add to Alex’s legacy, he nearly became a two-division champ against Islam Makachaev. He’s also arguably the best P4P fighter in the world right now.

24. Frankie Edgar

Top Finishes: Frankie Edgar

Years Active 2005 to 2022
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 24-11

Frank Edgar had an epic career filled with some incredible moments. He exploded onto the scene early in his UFC career as an undersized lightweight.

But despite not cutting weight, Edgar displayed the best combinations of boxing, wrestling, and endurance. Edgar was able to outwork all of his opponents early on.

Even when the odds were against him facing legend BJ Penn for the title, Edgar proved his doubters wrong. He beat BJ and outworked him in their first and second matches.

As the champion, Frankie would have wars with Gray Maynard and Benson Henderson. He would nearly win the title in his rematch against Benson but lost a controversial split decision.

Edgar would finally start cutting weight and make multiple attempts to win the UFC Featherweight title. Unfortunately, Frankie never became champion again, but he would have some impressive wins during his career.

Frankie has been a fan favorite for over a decade and was one of the sport’s most accomplished fighters. He finally retired in 2022 to end a future HoF career.

25. Cain Velazquez

Fighter Timeline: Cain Velasquez

Years Active 2008 to 2020
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 14-3

Cain Velasquez had one of the most special runs as a champion in UFC history. During the early 2010s, Cain was the best fighter on the planet.

The AKA fighter grew up wrestling and boxing before venturing into MMA. Cain would enter the UFC in 2008 with just two professional MMA fights.

Anybody that the promotion put in front of Cain was immediately taken out. When he knocked out legend Minotauro Nogueira in 2009, everyone assumed he would be the champ.

Cain would put on the best fight of his career as he completely dominated Brock Lesnar to win the title. His combination of elite wrestling, KO power, and lightweight speed made people believe Velasquez was the world’s best fighter.

After losing the belt to Cigano, Cain would win the title back and defend the belt three times. He would lose the title to Werdum and be plagued with injury problems until the end of his career.

These injuries were noticeable in his KO loss to Francis Ngannou, and everyone was okay with his retirement. If it weren’t for those injuries, Cain Velasquez could have been the best UFC heavyweight ever.

26. Stipe Miocic

Top Finishes: Stipe Miocic

Years Active 2010 to Present
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 20-4

When people talk about the best UFC heavyweights ever, Stipe Moicic doesn’t get enough credit. The Ohio native is a skilled wrestler and former Golden Glove boxer.

After competing in amateur boxing, Stipe was convinced to try MMA. It would turn out to be the right choice, as he became one of the top fighters in history.

The firefighter would earn a 6-0 record before getting into the UFC. He would win some fights and overcome adversity to become the division’s best.

Stipe would become champion by knocking out Fabricio Werdum and defending his title three times. Most notably, he put on the best performance of his career against Francis Ngannou.

He would win a trilogy of fights with Daniel Cormier before losing his title to Francis. Stipe is now waiting for a date for his fight with new division champion Jon Jones.

Many already view him as one of the best ever, but a win against Jones would define his legacy.

27. Amanda Nunes

Amanda Nunes Top 5 Finishes

Years Active 2011 to 2023
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 23-5

There is one female fighter that stands above the rest, and that is former two-division champ Amanda Nunes. Amanda had a legendary career, where we saw her create an impressive legacy.

Once she battered Miesha Tate to become the champion, everyone knew it was her time. Nunes displayed her incredible knockout power and striking ability in her record title defenses.

Many fans believe Amanda made her statement as the best ever by knocking out Cyborg Santos. This stunning win put her at the top of the hill, and she would only be knocked off once.

Even when Amanda lost her title, she showed the heart of a champion and won it back. Amanda once announced her retirement at the end of her last fight, which was met with a standing ovation. There is no other female fighter that has the legacy of Amanda Nunes.

28. Valentina Shevchenko

Valentina Shevchenko's Championship Reign

Years Active 2003 to Present
Birth Country Kyrgyzstan
Professional Record 26-2

If Amanda Nunes is the best women’s bantamweight fighter of all time, Valentina Shevchenko is the best flyweight. There is no other fighter that has the resume of the ex-champion.

Before going full-time into MMA, Valentina was one of the best female kickboxers in the world. Once she retired from kickboxing, she decided to take over MMA.

When she reached the UFC, the flyweight division didn’t exist yet, so she fought in the bantamweight division. She had some success but didn’t show her true potential until the flyweight division was created.

From the moment the division was created until this year, Valentina was the queen of the flyweights. She didn’t just beat her opponents but outclassed them all.

She currently owns the record for most title defenses and finishes in the women’s flyweight division. Shevchenko shockingly lost her title and is on a mission to reclaim it.

Everyone considers her one of the best UFC fighters, but a second title would add to her legacy.

29. Antonio Minotauro Nogueira

tribute - Antonio Rodrigo ''Minotauro'' Nogueira

Years Active 1999 to 2015
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 34-10

During his time, Antonio Minotauro Nogueira was one of the best fighters on the planet. The only person to ever hold the PRIDE and UFC Heavyweight titles had a long and successful career.

Minotauro had some of the best submission skills of his era and decent striking. His time in PRIDE was the prime of his career, where he won titles and had numerous wars.

By the time Antonio got to the UFC, he was already beat up but still one of the best in the world. He shocked the world by coming behind to beat Tim Sylvia for the title.

But Big Nog would continue fighting despite the damage from years of fighting. He’d have some classic fights before retiring.

30. TJ Dillashaw

♦ T.J. Dillashaw || Highlights ♦ HD

Years Active 2010 to 2022
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 17-8

Many fans are rightly critical of TJ Dillashaw, but he was an incredibly talented fighter. He is one of only a handful of fighters to win the UFC Bantamweight Championship multiple times.

The California native grew up wrestling and naturally made the transition to MMA thanks to UFC vet Mark Munoz. Just a year after getting into MMA, Dillashaw was invited to a season of TUF and lost in the finals against John Dodson.

He’d win some fights before losing a split decision to Raphael Assuncao. Around this time, TJ began working with Duane Ludwig, who evolved him as a fighter.

TJ dismantled Renan Barao for the title and defended the belt twice before losing it to Dominick Cruz. Dillashaw would bounce back to win the title and defend it once before losing it again to Henry Cejudo.

In his attempt to win his third title, TJ would come up short against Aljamain Sterling. He was open about being injured going into the fight, and everyone saw it.

This injury has led TJ to retire from MMA. But even though his career was cut short, Dillashaw already had a legendary career.

31. Rose Namajunas

Top Finishes: Rose Namajunas

Years Active 2010 to Present
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 11-6

Rose Namajunas is one of the most talented UFC fighters in history. Thug Rose has had an interesting career, to say the least. Shocking the world by dethroning the strawweight queen Joanna, losing her title and mind, and then regaining the title.

She went from practicing Taekwondo as a kid to becoming the first 2x UFC Strawweight Champion. Rose started training with Greg Nelson and later moved to train at Grudge Training Center.

Her early years as a pro fighter were okay, with a 2-2 record and a notable loss to UFC vet Tecia Torres. Namajunas got on the 2013 edition of TUF, featuring the debut of the strawweight division.

Despite losing at the TUF finals, Rose improved her record to 6-3 and pulled off highlight reel finishes. The fan-favorite shocked the world by dethroning her and beating her again in the rematch.

Thug Rose was on top, but she quickly lost her title and suffered from her known mental issues. But once again, Rose proved she is an all-time champion by coming back and slaying another division monster.

The moment Rose knocked out Weili Zhang was one of the most emotional moments in UFC history. Not a dry eye was in the house to see Rose become one of the top UFC fighters ever.

32. Weili Zhang

Zhang Weili | UFC Greatest Hits

Years Active 2013 to Present
Birth Country China
Professional Record 24-3

The reigning queen of the strawweight division is champion Zhang Weili. Zhang is the new monster of the division, who achieved history by becoming the second 2x strawweight champ.

The first Chinese champ in UFC was bred to be a champion. From age six, Zhang practiced Shaolin Kung Fu before moving to Sanda and adding Shuai Jiao.

As a teen, Weili worked various odd jobs before becoming a gym instructor and began learning BJJ. She met Chinese MMA pioneer Wu Haotian, who got her into MMA.

Zhang’s lifelong love of martial arts training turned her into one of the best female MMA fighters in the world. Despite losing her first professional fight in 2013, Weili would emphatically finish nearly all of her opponents before entering the UFC.

Once the world’s biggest MMA promotion, Weili quickly made her way to the title and cemented her legacy. Destroying Jessica Andrade for the title and taking out the original strawweight monster, Joanna.

Weili would shockingly lose her title to Rose by KO and lose the rematch by decision. This was when Zhang showed she was one of the best female fighters ever by bouncing back and winning the title. Now in the middle of her second title run, Weili is loved by fans.

33. Dustin Poirier

Top Finishes: Dustin Poirier

Years Active 2009 to Present
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 29-8

UFC vet is one of the promotion’s fan favorites, and it’s had an all-time great run, which isn’t over. The King of Lafayette, Louisiana, had a long way to the top and remains one of the sport’s top UFC fighters.

Dustin Poirier grew up in Louisiana and got into fight training during his teen years. He went undefeated during his early pro career after making a name for himself as an amateur.

The Diamond entered the UFC with an 8-1 record and quickly made his way up the featherweight division. After 11 UFC fights in the featherweight division, Dustin moved to lightweight.

This would be the best decision of his career, as The Diamond was entering his prime. Despite an early loss, Dustin would have numerous wars and beat the UFC’s best lightweights.

He had his epic wars with Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Max Holoway. All among the best fighters in the history of the UFC featherweight and lightweight divisions.

34. Justin Gaethje

Top Finishes: Justin Gaethje

Years Active 2011 to Present
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 25-4

Justin Gaethje quickly established himself as one of the top UFC fighters in the sport from his debut. The lifelong wrestler got into MMA without formal training and used his wrestling and power to beat early opponents.

He was also blessed with crazy knockout power and began crushing all of his early opponents. After finishing all of his opponents in the WSOF, Gaethje made his highly-anticipated UFC debut.

Gaethje’s UFC run can be summed up in one word: war. Every time Gaethje enters the octagon, you’re either seeing a KO, war, or both.

This mindset made for some memorable early fights but mixed results for Gaethje. After his coach, Trevor Whittman, told him he would never be champion if he didn’t evolve, and Justin did just that.

He became a more technical fighter to go along with his wrestling and bruising KO power. His evolution was apparent to all MMA fans with his masterful performance against Tony Ferguson.

Out-striking the TUF vet with technical and calculated strikes without getting into a blind war. He stopped Tony in the fourth and became the interim champ.

This has been the high point of Justin Gaethje’s career thus far, but his start is rising. He aims to win his title and continue going to war with the UFC’s best fighters.

35. Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira | UFC Greatest Hits

Years Active 2009 to Present
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 34-9(1 No Contest)

Charles Oliveira has had one of the most spectacular rises to becoming one of the top UFC fighters. Spending years in the UFC, bouncing up and down the ranks of two divisions before becoming a star.

The former UFC lightweight champ has been in the UFC for thirteen years. We’ve seen the young do Bronx grow and evolve into an all-time great.

Throughout the beginning of Oliveira’s UFC career, it was a tale of two Charles. You could see the world-beating Charles, who cuts through his opponents. Then you could also see Charles, who makes mental errors in winnable fights.

After showing flashes of greatness for his first seven years in the UFC, do Bronx broke through his ceiling. The Brazilian native went on a spectacular 11-fight unbeaten streak.

During Oliveira’s all-time run, he would break multiple records in reroute to becoming UFC lightweight champion. Charles then topped himself during his title reign, proving he was a true champion.

36. Michael Bisping

Every Michael Bisping Finish Ever!

Years Active 2004 to 2017
Birth Country United Kingdom
Professional Record 30-9

It’s hard to name an athlete who had a harder journey to becoming one of the top UFC fighters than Michael Bisping. The count started his career in 2004 and blasted through the competition in Europe.

His skills and undefeated record earned Bisping a spot on TUF, which he also easily won. Throughout Bisping’s career, he was set up to be a champion but kept coming up short.

Mike blasted through most of his competition with well-rounded skills but suffered losses against top fighters. He’d always get near the title but never quite get the gold.

This made MMA fans write off Bisping as a top UFC fighter who would never win the big match.

That was until Bisping went on his incredible 3-fight win streak to win and defend the UFC middleweight title.

Bisping weathered the assault of Anderson Silva to win a decision and earn a rematch for the title against Luke Rockhold. Luke came in cocky and learned a lesson never to take Michael Bisping lightly.

The Count dropped Rockhold in the first round to finally become the middleweight champion. Then, to avenge the biggest humiliation of his career, Bisping called out Dan Henderson to fight for the title. They would go to a war, which Bisping edged out to defend his title.

37. Rampage Jackson


Years Active 1999 to 2019
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 38-14

Before Jon Jones took ownership of the light heavyweight division, one of the early kings was Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Rampage became one of the top UFC fighters ever after an accomplished run in PRIDE.

In Japan, Jackson became a star, knocking out numerous fighters and landing his classic powerbomb KO. After Quinton’s contract with PRIDE expired, he would make an anticipated UFC debut.

From 2007 to 2012, Rampage was one of the top light heavyweight fighters in the world. After knocking out Marvin Eastman in his debut, Rampage was given an immediate title shot.

Fighting Chuck Liddell in a rematch, where Jackson finished him with strikes in PRIDE. Rampage would put The Iceman’s lights out again, earning the UFC light heavyweight title.

Jackson’s big personality made him one of the most popular fighters of the 2000s. He only defended the title once, but it was a historical win against PRIDE champion Dan Henderson to unify the titles.

Quinton would continue adding to his career in PRIDE, where he had more memorable scraps with old rivals.

Popular Related Article: The Greatest Muay Thai Fighters of All Time (Ranked)

38. Maurício Shogun Rua

Shogun Rua | UFC Greatest Hits

Years Active 2002 to 2023
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 27-14-1

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was one of the best light heavyweight fighters in the world for over a decade. The Brazilian fighter from Chute Boxe Academy was a talented athlete and an expert at violence.

In PRIDE, Shogun became one of the youngest champions ever. Stomping and soccer-kicking his early opponents to win the 2005 PRIDE GP.

Rua had a disappointing start to his UFC run. After being upset by Forrest Griffin, Rua took two years to recover from his injuries from fighting in Japan.

When Shogun returned to the octagon, he would look like the Rua of old. Blasting through Mark Coleman and Chuck Liddell to meet Lyoto Machida, who went to war with Rua.

Machida earned the decision, but many felt Rua won, which led to an immediate rematch. Rua stopped Machida in the first round to become UFC champion.

The former champion would continue fighting for a decade, but he made his legacy. Shogun goes down as one of the top UFC fighters and overall MMA athletes.

39. Forrest Griffin

Forrest Griffin Highlights

Years Active 2001 to 2012
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 19-7

Forrest Griffin’s wild brawl with Stephan Bonnar started the UFC’s explosion in popularity. The first TUF winner instantly became a star in the promotion.

Being one of the early stars of the UFC, Forrest would get a lot of opportunities, and he took them. Griffin proved early that he wasn’t just a reality TV personality.

Griffin would go to war with the best fighters in the UFC. Losing a questionable split decision to Tito Ortiz before upsetting Shogun Rua in his UFC debut.

This led to Forrest getting a title shot against Rampage Jackson. Forrest was a big underdog, but he had the fight of his life.

He outfought the champion to become the first TUF fighter to win a UFC world title. Griffin spent a career making history, and the UFC may not be here without him.

40. Brandon Moreno

Rise of Brandon Moreno

Years Active 2011 to Present
Birth Country Mexico
Professional Record 21-7-2

Brandon Moreno has established himself as one of the top UFC fighters, becoming a multi-time champion. The young Mexican fighter started his fighting career in 2011 with mixed results.

Despite starting his career with a sub .500 record, Brandon would improve his skills and go on an 8-fight-win streak. This streak got Moreno into the UFC in 2016 for his first run.

After a strong debut, Moreno faltered, lost two fights, and was released. His second UFC run would begin a few months later, and Brandon has established himself as a top flyweight.

After 5 straight impressive performances and going 5-0-1, Moreno earned a title shot against Deiveson Figueiredo. His four fights with Figueiredo are currently the high point of Moreno’s career.

Brandon had epic performances to win the title, losing the title, and then reclaiming the belt. His last win against Deiveson established Moreno as one of the best flyweights ever.

41. Deiveson Figueiredo

Top Finishes: Deiveson Figueiredo

Years Active 2012 to Present
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 21-3-1

Deiveson Figueiredo is currently on a mission for greatness. The former UFC flyweight champ and successful hair stylist aims to be the best UFC flyweight of all time.

But in the cage, Figueiredo is a complete fighter with high-level grappling and knockout power. The Brazilian flyweight walked through the competition in Brazil during his early pro career.

He came into the UFC with a perfect 11-0 record. It looked like Deiveson would quickly fight for the title before losing a decision to Jussier Formiga.

This loss sparked an evolution in Deveson’s game as he looked like a champion. Figueiredo made easy work of Joe Benavidez but missed weight.

After stopping Joe again in their rematch, Figueiredo defended his belt and then went to war with Brandon Moreno. Their four battles would result in three title changes and a draw.

Unfortunately for Deiveson, he lost the 4th meeting and hasn’t fought since. If he’s able to rebound, he could become the first 3x UFC flyweight champion.

42. Ronda Rousey

EVERY Ronda Rousey Finish EVER!!

Years Active 2011 to 2016
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 12-2

Ronda Rousey put Women’s MMA in the UFC on the map. She was the face of women’s MMA and one of the most successful fighters in the sport.

Rousey started out in Judo and became an Olympic silver medalist. She then transitioned to MMA and set the sport on fire.

Every time Ronda fought, she was dominant and finished all of her fights with an armbar. MMA fans started to take note of Rousey’s skill in Strikeforce before the UFC bought the company.

Once she entered the UFC, Ronda became an instant star and one of the top UFC fighters. Fight fans tend to forget that Rousey was one of the most dominant champions in history.

She finished all her opponents with little to no resistance in her six title defenses. Not to mention, all 12 of her professional wins were stoppages. “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey paved the way for many of the greatest female MMA fighters of today.

43. Cris Cyborg

Cris Cyborg Top 5 Knockouts

Years Active 2005 to Present
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 26-2(1 No Contest)

For over a decade, Cris Cyborg was considered the queen of women’s MMA. She didn’t just win but completely dominated almost all of her opponents.

Cris started fighting professionally before the UFC included a women’s division. The Brazilian powerhouse has spent most of her career fighting outside of the company.

She first caught the attention of MMA fans during her time in Strikeforce. But despite her dominance, Cyborg waited eleven years to enter the UFC.

A UFC women’s featherweight division was created just for her. Cris continued crushing her opponents, beating the better competition like former champ Holly Holm.

Despite going 6-1 in the UFC, Cris and the organization didn’t get along, which led to her joining Bellator. Cyborg is the current Bellator champion and started a pro boxing career.

44. Joanna Jędrzejczyk(Joanna Champion)

Joanna Jedrzejczyk's Championship Reign

Years Active 2012 to 2022
Birth Country Poland
Professional Record 16-5

The original queen of the strawweight division was the great Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She firmly established herself as one of the top UFC fighters to ever compete in the promotion.

Joanna Champion got into MMA in 2012 after a successful kickboxing career. The Polish fighter entered the UFC with an undefeated record of 6-0.

Joanna showed she was a special fighter from the start of her UFC run. Lighting up her opponents with her superior Muay Thai skills.

Her talent led to her becoming the strawweight champion and the first dominant champion of the division. Jedrzejczyk defended her belt a division record 5 times and called herself the boogeyman.

Even after her reign as champion, Joanna would fight in some of the most classic bouts in UFC history.

45. Francis Ngannou

Fighter Timeline: Francis Ngannou

Years Active 2013 to Present
Birth Country Cameroon
Professional Record 17-3

No fighter was more terrifying than former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou. From the moment Francis stepped into the octagon, everyone knew he was a force.

He didn’t just beat top heavyweights but knocked them into another orbit. This led him to a title shot against Stipe Moicic, where we finally saw the Cameroon fighter falter.

After the loss, it took a couple of fights for Francis to find himself again. After moving to Xtreme Couture, the monster would return, and he continued knocking his opponent’s heads off.

Francis would avenge his title loss and make history by knocking out Stipe. Unfortunately, Francis’ reign was cut short due to contract issues with the UFC.

Even though his UFC run abruptly ended, Francis is still one of the top UFC fighters ever.

46. Lyoto Machida

☆ Lyoto "the Dragon" Machida || Highlights / Knockouts ☆

Years Active 2003 to Present
Birth Country Brazil
Professional Record 26-12

One of the early UFC light heavyweights to take the throne as champ was Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. The Karate master came into the UFC with his unique, striking style, which his opponents couldn’t solve.

Lyoto entered the UFC with an 8-0 record and preceded to mystify his opponents. None of his six opponents could figure the Karate master out, and he even finished former champ Tito Ortiz by submission.

The Dragon proved he was the real deal in his first title match against Rashad Evans. Machida put on one of the best striking displays in UFC history to become light heavyweight champion.

Unfortunately for Machida, he lost his title in a rematch against Rua, and the Jones era started shortly after the loss. Despite that, Machida had a memorable UFC run and continues to compete in Bellator.

47. Tito Ortiz

Every Tito Ortiz Finish Ever

Years Active 1997 to 2019
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 27-12-1

Tito Ortiz was the original king of the light heavyweight division. The Huntington Beach Bad Boy was one of the first MMA stars and one of the top UFC fighters.

Millions of fans tuned in to watch Ortiz dominate competition during the 2000s. Fans either loved or hated Tito, but he loved the reactions either way.

Ortiz was most known for winning the UFC light heavyweight title against Wanderlei Silva and then defending it 5-times. He was one of the best ground-n-pound specialists in the world, who continued fighting for almost 30 years.

48. Frank Shamrock


Years Active 1994 to 2009
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 23-10

When talking about the top UFC fighters, fans have forgotten the early legend Frank Shamrock. The brother of legend Ken Shamrock had a great career, if not more successful than his brother.

After fighting in Pancrase against legends like Bas Rutten, Frank got entered the UFC against Kevin Jackson. Frank never lost a match during his run in the UFC.

Shamrock went on to win the inaugural UFC light heavyweight title and defend it 5 times. Unfortunately for Frank, this wasn’t the greatest MMA era when it came to pay.

After pay disputes, Frank left the company and has rarely been mentioned since, despite being the first light heavyweight champion.

49. Ken Shamrock

Ken Shamrock Highlight

Years Active 1993 to 1996, 2000 to 2010, 2015 to 2016
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 28-7-2

The legend Ken Shamrock was one of the original UFC fighters. Just like Royce Gracie, Ken was a ground specialist who showed the importance of grappling in MMA.

During the 90s, Ken Shamrock was dominant in MMA. After fighting in the first UFC event, Ken went on to become Pancrase champion and UFC champion. He was a legend who paved the way and had numerous classic bouts in both the UFC and PRIDE.

50. Tim Sylvia

Tim Sylvia UFC Highlights

Years Active 2001 to 2013
Birth Country United States
Professional Record 31-10

When talking about UFC heavyweights, new fans might not be aware of the dominance of Tim Sylvia. During the 2000s, Tim Sylvia was one of the top UFC fighters in the world.

In just his second UFC bout, Sylvia won the UFC heavyweight title from Ricco Rodriguez. Somehow, Sylvia resumed fighting after Frank Mir broke his arm in his first defense.

Sylvia bounced back to avenge his loss to Andrei Arlovski and become a 2x UFC champion.

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