17 Best Muslim UFC Fighters of All Time (2024 Update)

When Khabib Nurmagomedov signed with the UFC in 2012, he was just another fighter hoping to make it big. Within a few years, he established himself as a force to be reckoned with and opened the door for Muslim fighters from his hometown of Dagestan and beyond to try their luck in the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion.

Greatest Muslim UFC fighters side by side

Since 2012, the UFC and other big promotions have signed dozens of highly talented Muslim fighters. However, only a small percentage of them have truly been able to leave their mark on the sport. In this article, we will take a look at the best Muslim UFC fighters in history and discuss their impact on the sport.

17. Javid Basharat

Years Active 2016 to Present
Country Afghanistan/United Kingdom
Record 14-0

Javid Basharat is one of the most highly-rated prospects in the UFC right now.

Born in Paktia, Afghanistan, Basharat fled his war-torn homeland with his mother and brother, Farid Basharat, when he was only five years old. The family settled in London, England, where the Basharat brothers reunited with their father.

Basharat initially wanted to play football but later changed his plans and joined an MMA training facility in England’s capital.

The Afghan-born prospect started his mixed martial arts journey in 2016 when he was 21 years old. After winning his first ten MMA fights with a perfect finishing record, Basharat tried his luck in Dana White’s Contender Series. ‘The Snow Leopard’ won his fight by a guillotine choke and entered the UFC bantamweight shark tank, where he currently holds three decision victories.

Basharat currently trains at the famous Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas. He is an excellent grappler as well as a very polished striker.

16. Amir Albazi

Amir Albazi Career Highlights!!││CSC││Amir "The Prince" Albazi

Years Active 2009 to Present
Country Iraq/United Kingdom
Record 17-1

Amir Albazi shares a strikingly similar story to Javid Basharat.

Born in war-torn Iraq, Albazi fled his country of birth at a young age. Seeking safety, his family found refuge in Syria before eventually settling in Sweden. Adjusting to a new life proved to be challenging, especially when Albazi mingled with the wrong crowd, which led him to become involved with gangs and criminal activities.

Luckily, mixed martial arts came to the Iraqi prospect’s rescue. Albazi discovered the sport by luck when he happened to watch UFC fights on television. The next day, he found a place in the cheapest gym in the area.

Albazi made his professional MMA debut in 2009, competing only once in the year. In 2010, Albazi competed twice before taking a break from fighting from 2010 to 2014 to focus on his studies. Albazi resumed his journey while pursuing a degree in sports science from the University of Roehampton in London.

From 2014 onwards, Albazi competed nine times with eight victories and a defeat before signing with the UFC.

He is currently undefeated in the UFC flyweight division, where he is in pole position to fight for the belt. Albazi is primarily a wrestler with solid striking fundamentals.

15. Askar Askarov

Askar "Bullet" Askarov Highlights 2022 [HD]

Years Active 2013 to Present
Country Russia
Record 14-1-1

Askar Askarov is one of the biggest ‘What Ifs’ in UFC history.

The Dagestani flyweight star was born deaf, and though his hearing has improved over the years, he can only hear approximately 20 percent of the sounds most people can. This means that he is unable to hear instructions from his team during his fights.

The fact that he dominated some of the toughest flyweights in the world with his disability is truly remarkable.

Askarov started his martial arts journey through wrestling at a young age. He participated in the Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey in 2017 and won a gold medal.

His mixed martial arts journey started four years prior to his Deaflympics success. Askarov joined the unforgiving world of mixed martial arts in 2013, winning his first fight by a rear-naked choke.

In his ninth professional fight in 2016, Askarov won the Absolute Berkut Championship flyweight title by submitting Jose Maria Tome in the fifth round.

After three successful title defenses, Askarov signed with the UFC and immediately fought one of the best fighters in the division, Brandon Moreno. The fight ended in a draw, but Askarov bounced back into winning ways with spectacular performances against Tim Elliot, reigning flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja, and four-time title challenger Joseph Benavidez.

In his fifth promotional fight, Askarov lost to Kai Kara-France in March 2022.

Later that year, Askarov was set to face Brandon Royval in a high-stakes flyweight bout. However, the bout was canceled the day before the event due to weight management issues.

A few weeks later, Askarov parted ways with the UFC after requesting his release. The news of his departure from the UFC surprised many in the MMA community since he was tipped to be the next flyweight champion.

14. Muslim Salikhov

PERFECT UFC FIGHTER - MUSLIM SALIKHOV - DAGESTANI KING OF KUNG FU - HIGHLIGHTS [HD]

Years Active 2011 to Present
Country Russia
Record 19-4

Muslim Salikhov is one of the most underrated Muslim UFC fighters. The Sanda specialist is an exceptional striker and has scored notable victories inside the Octagon, but he tends to get overshadowed by bigger names.

Born and raised in Dagestan, Russia, Salikhov started practicing Wushu Sanda at the famous Five Directions of the World training facility in his hometown.

Salikhov is a decorated Sanda Wushu practitioner. He has won numerous tournaments, most notably winning a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Wushu Tournament. He also won medals at the 2009 World Games and World Combat Games.

After a successful career in Wushu, Salikhov transitioned to mixed martial arts in 2011. Outside the UFC, Salikhov competed 14 times, with 13 victories and a loss. He most notably defeated Melvin Guillard at Kunlun Fight in the summer of 2017 before signing with the UFC.

Although he had a losing start to his career in the world’s top MMA promotion, Salikhov bounced back with five straight wins against Ricky Rainey, Nordine Taleb, Laureano Staropoli, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, and Francisco Trinaldo.

Salikhov currently holds an impressive 19-4 professional record.

13. Umar Nurmagomedov

Umar Nurmagomedov Highlights 2023 [HD]

Years Active 2016 to Present
Country Russia
Record 16-0

Umar Nurmagomedov belongs to the next generation of Dagestani fighters who are levels ahead of their predecessors in terms of skill set.

Born and raised in Kizilyurt, Dagestan, Russia, Nurmagomedov started his martial arts journey at a young age. He started with wrestling but later took up Muay Thai and kickboxing as well.

A few years after training in his native Kizilyurt, Nurmagomedov moved to the region’s capital, Makhachkala, to train under the tutelage of the godfather of Dagestani combat sports, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov at the Eagles MMA camp, where young Umar trained with the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev.

At the age of 19, Umar bagged his first major trophy when he won the world championship in Combat Sambo under the WCSF organization. A year later in 2016, ‘Young Eagle’ became WMMA’s world champion in amateur MMA.

In the same year, Umar turned professional, winning his first six fights in a comfortable fashion. In his seventh professional fight, the Dagestani sensation won the Samara MMA Federation bantamweight title. In his tenth MMA fight, Umar won the Gorilla Fighting Championship bantamweight title. He defended both his titles once before joining the UFC in 2021.

Umar currently holds a 4-0 record in the UFC bantamweight division.

12. Nasrat Haqparast

NASRAT HAQPARAST - All UFC Fight Highlights 🔥

Years Active 2012 to Present
Country Germany/Afghanistan
Record 15-5

Nasrat Haqparast hasn’t quite found his footing yet in the UFC, but he’s a very talented campaigner.

Born and raised in Germany to Afghan parents, Haqparast started taking kickboxing classes at 14 years old to get in shape since his parents believed he was overweight. While practicing kickboxing one day, Nasrat happened to watch an MMA sparring session in the room next to his kickboxing class. The German-born Afghan was instantly hooked.

Haqparast started his professional mixed martial arts journey at 17 years old, but his debut ended in a horrible fashion as he was choked out in the first round. However, he secured eight wins in as many fights after a disastrous debut.

At 8-1 as a professional mixed martial artist, Haqparast signed with the UFC. He lost his UFC debut as well but bounced back with three consecutive victories against Mark Diakiese, Thibault Gouti, and Joaquim Silva.

In his fifth UFC fight, Haqparast faced a major setback as he was knocked out cold in only 70 seconds. Haqparast’s inconsistent run in the UFC continued as he won two and lost two of his next four fights. Haqparast is currently riding a two-fight winning streak, and he seems to be coming into his own.

11. Muhammed Mokaev

YOUNG KHABIB in UFC ▶ 31-0 UNDEFEATED DAGESTANI - MUHAMMAD MOKAEV HIGHLIGHTS [HD]

Years Active 2020 to Present
Country Russia
Record 10-0-1

Muhammad Mokaev is often compared with Khabib Nurmagomedov because of their heritage and undefeated MMA records.

Born and raised in Dagestan, Mokaev faced a challenging upbringing due to poverty and political tensions. He spent his early years learning wrestling techniques in Dagestan, but after his mother’s passing, he and his father migrated to the United Kingdom as refugees, where initially they struggled to make ends meet.

Mokaev endured bullying at school due to language barriers but found solace in combat sports. In 2013, he joined the Manchester Wrestling Club and later the Kaobon MMA facility, paying his way by cleaning mats. In 2015, Mokaev began his amateur MMA journey and most notably won two IMMAF world championships.

Mokaev had a lengthy amateur career from 2015-2020, during which he competed 23 times with as many victories.

In August 2020, Mokaev signed with BRAVE Combat Federation and made a successful start to his professional career by securing a decision victory against his opponent. A few weeks after his debut, Mokaev competed under the banner of Ireland’s Celtic Gladiators, winning his fight by TKO in only 51 seconds.

Between BRAVE CF and Celtic Gladiators, Mokaev fought seven times with six wins and a no-contest. Mokaev signed with the UFC in 2022 and made a successful start to his promotional career at UFC London when he won by submission in less than a minute.

‘The Punisher’ currently holds four victories in the promotion. Mokaev is primarily known for his incredible wrestling, but he’s very tricky in the striking department as well.

10. Rafael Fiziev

Rafael Fiziev - a Wild Knockout Artist in UFC

Years Active 2015 to Present
Country Azerbaijan
Record 12-2

Rafael Fiziev is one of the finest strikers currently competing in the UFC.

Fiziev was born in Korday, Kazakhstan, but he moved to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, when he was young.

When Fiziev was a kid, his dad bought him and his cousin two pairs of boxing gloves and told them to fight. Fiziev didn’t initially like the sport since he got beat up, but eventually ended up learning Muay Thai after being bullied at school.

In addition to Muay Thai, Fiziev also learned other fighting styles like Combat Sambo, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and wrestling.

Fiziev started his martial arts journey with Muay Thai and kickboxing, competing in 47 fights, with 39 victories and 8 losses.

In 2015, he transitioned to mixed martial arts, winning his first five fights by first-round knockout. Fiziev’s sixth professional victory came by second-round knockout, following which he signed with the UFC in 2019.

Fiziev had a poor start to his UFC career, as he was TKO’d in less than two minutes. However, he bounced back in a big way by winning his next six fights, with his most notable victories coming against Renato Moicano, Bobby Green, and Rafael dos Anjos.

A striking phenom known for his flashy kicks and exceptional punching power, Fiziev is one of the most talented Muslim fighters to grace the UFC, and he still has a long way to go in the promotion. Rafael Fiziev is truly an impressive striker.

9. Zabit Magomedsharipov

Zabit Magomedsharipov MMA Highlights 2019

Years Active 2012 to 2020
Country Russia
Record 18-1

With the looks of Abraham Lincoln and the fighting abilities of Bruce Lee, Zabit Magomedovsharipov was the toughest puzzle to solve at featherweight until his untimely retirement in 2020. For the Dagestani, the sky was truly the limit.

Born and raised in Khasavyurt in Dagestan, Magomedsharipov started practicing freestyle wrestling at ten years old, followed by Sanda. At 12 years old, Zabit joined the Wushu boarding school, Pyat Storon Sveta, where he studied and trained under the tutelage of Gusein Magomaev.

After completing his education, Magomedsharipov entered the unforgiving world of mixed martial arts in 2012. In his first seven fights, Zabit piled up six wins and a loss. In his eighth MMA fight, he entered the Absolute Championship Berkut featherweight Grand Prix.

Magomedsharipov won the tournament before winning the inaugural ACB featherweight title, which he defended once and then signed with the UFC in 2017.

Zabit made a blistering start to his UFC career, winning the Performance of the Night in his first two fights against Mike Santiago and Sheymon Moraes. Magomedsharipov’s third UFC fight was a Fight of the Night, and so was his final career fight against Calvin Kattar in November 2019.

At 18-1 as a professional, Magomedsharipov was in pole position to fight for the belt and was considered as good as Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski.

From 2019-2021, Magomedsharipov didn’t compete, which he later revealed was due to the UFC’s false promises. The Dagestani claimed that the UFC guaranteed him a title shot after his win against Kattar, but they never followed through. In the summer of 2021, it was reported that the top featherweight contender was suffering from health issues related to his immune system, which ultimately required career-threatening surgery.

In 2022, Magomedsharipov announced his retirement from the sport, putting an abrupt end to what could have been a legendary career.

 8. Movsar Evloev

Rise of Movsar Evloev

Years Active 2014 to Present
Country Russia
Record 17-0

Movsar Evloev is a seriously scary featherweight prospect who believes he has the skills to take down the likes of Max Holloway and UFC 145-pound kingpin Alexander Volkanovski.

Born and raised in Ingushetia in Russia, Evloev started training in Greco Roman Wrestling at a young age, and he’s currently a Master of Sport in his discipline. A graduate in computer programming and law, Evolev put his studies first and sport second but still competed in mixed martial arts contests every now and then.

Evloev made his professional MMA debut in 2014, submitting his opponent in the second round. A high-level wrestler who likes to take his opponents down and dominate them on the mat, Evloev has made smothering his opponents a habit. In his first 10 professional fights, Evloev maintained his perfect record with four stoppage wins and three submissions.

He also won the interim M-1 bantamweight title in 2017 before unifying it against UFC counterpart Sergey Morozov. Following two successful title defenses, Evloev signed with the UFC in April 2019.

Since 2019, Evloev has competed seven times, with all of his wins coming by way of decision. He holds notable victories against Nick Lentz and Dan Ige.

7. Shavkat Rakhmonov

Rise of Shavkat Rakhmonov

Years Active 2014 to Present
Country Kazakhstan
Record 17-0

Shavkat Rakhmonov is the most exciting Muslim UFC fighter.

Born and raised in Shurchi, Uzbekistan, Rakhmonov spent much of his childhood in poverty, working as a loader to make ends meet.

When Shavkat wasn’t working, he was locking horns with kids in his neighborhood in street fights. It wasn’t until he moved to his ancestral homeland of Kazakhstan that Rakhmonov’s life changed dramatically. ‘Nomad’ discovered MMA in Kazakhstan when he happened to visit a DVD store in a local market.

A few days later, Rakhmonov joined a local martial arts gym. He started his journey with Combat Sambo and won several tournaments before transitioning into MMA in 2017.

Rakhmonov has had a dominant career so far. He started his journey in Russia, where he was reportedly cornered by Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov in his debut.

Outside the UFC, Rakhmonov fought twelve times with as many wins and finishes. He also won the GFC and M-1 welterweight titles while also defending each once.

In 2021, Rakhmonov signed with the UFC. He made a successful start to his career in the promotion by submitting Alex Oliveira. In his second fight, he defeated Carlston Harris, and in his third, he beat Michel Prazeres.

In his fourth and fifth UFC fights, Rakhmonov beat Neil Magny and Geoff Neal, respectively.

Against Neal, in particular, Rakhmonov showcased more than just his elite skill set. Being one of the most powerful strikers in the UFC welterweight division, Neal landed shots that would have knocked anybody else out. Shavkat took those on the chin and kept coming forward, ultimately securing the victory with a gruesome standing rear naked choke. It was a truly violent finish.

Primarily a Sambo master, Rakhomonov is a menace on the feet. He is incredibly powerful and versatile, with stinging punches and a wide array of kicks. With 17 finishes in 17 fights, Shavkat ‘The Nomad’ Rakhmonov is one of the most violent men on the planet.

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6. Belal Muhammad

Rise of Belal Muhammad

Years Active 2012 to Present
Country United States
Record 23-3-1

Belal Muhammad is a criminally underrated fighter. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves despite being the dark horse of the UFC welterweight division.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, to Palestinian parents, Belal started his martial arts journey with high school wrestling. A few years later, Muhammad discovered mixed martial arts and started training first at the Valle Flow Striking and then at the Chicago Fight Team.

Muhammad started his mixed martial arts journey in 2012, winning his first nine fights before suffering his first career loss in his UFC debut.

Things went from bad to worse for Belal as he was knocked out by Vicente Luque in his third promotional fight. Muhammad suffered his third career loss at the hands of Geoff Neal.

Since then, Muhammad has won all but one fight, which ended in a no-contest due to an accidental eye poke against Leon Edwards. Muhammad’s most notable career wins have come against Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson, and Gilbert Burns.

Muhammad’s best career performance came against Burns in the UFC 288 co-main event. Despite accepting the challenge on a couple of weeks’ notice right after the conclusion of Ramadan, Muhammad dominated the Brazilian for five rounds to win comfortably. From quick combinations to crushing body kicks, Muhammad displayed a wide array of weapons, winning by scores of 50-45, 49-46, and 49-46 to extend his undefeated streak to 10 consecutive fights.

A wrestler by default, Muhammad is a very polished striker who has the skills to give technical strikers in his division a run for their money.

5. Magomed Ankalaev

Magomed Ankalaev | Top Knockouts

Years Active 2014 to Present
Country Russia
Record 18-1-1

Magomed Ankalaev is Dagestan’s best shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.

Born and raised in Makhachkala, Russia, Ankalaev first began training in Greco-Roman wrestling while studying at the Dagestan State University, where he graduated in sports sciences. By then, he was already a Master of Sport in Combat Sambo.

After completing his studies, Ankalaev transitioned into mixed martial arts because he was intrigued by the similarities between MMA and Combat Sambo. He started his journey with amateur MMA and turned professional in a very short time because he was way better than the opposition he was facing.

Ankalaev had a slow start to his professional MMA career as he secured three decision victories in his first three fights. In his fourth and fifth professional fights, Ankalaev scored first-round finishes, and in his seventh fight, he won the World Fighting Champion Akhmat light heavyweight title by stopping Maxim Grishin in the fourth round.

In his eighth professional fight, Ankalaev defended his belt against Wagner Prado.

At 9-0 as a professional, Ankalaev signed with the UFC, but his debut went horribly wrong. The Dagestani face Scottish grappling ace Paul Craig in his debut. Ankalaev was dominated, but with just a second left in the fight, he was forced to tap due to a suffocating triangle choke.

Since then, Ankalaev has competed 10 times inside the UFC Octagon, with nine victories and a draw. He has several top names on his resume, including former title challengers Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos.

Following notable wins against top contenders, Ankalaev received an opportunity of a lifetime when he was booked to fight Jan Blachowicz for the vacant light heavyweight title at UFC 282.

Magomedov was a sizable favorite, but Blachowicz proved to be tougher than many expected. He used low kicks to devastating effect, badly compromising Ankalaev’s movement as the rounds progressed. However, Ankalaev still managed to land the better shots on the feet and controlled the action in rounds three, four, and five.

Unfortunately, their fight was ruled a split draw, meaning that the title remained vacant.

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4. Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev BEST Knockouts & UFC Highlights

Years Active 2018 to Present
Country Russia
Record 12-0

Khamzat Chimaev is one of Dana White’s favorite fighters, and for good measure. He loves to fight anyone, anywhere and anytime, and all while going from one weight class to another. He’s an absolute star in mixed martial arts.

Born in a remote village in Chechnya, Chimaev started wrestling as a kid, and he won several tournaments at the junior level. In his teenage years, Chimaev left Chechnya for Sweden with his mother to join his brother in the Scandinavian country.

After moving to Sweden, Chimaev wrestled at multiple clubs, most notably BK Athen. Within a few months, he established himself as one of the best freestyle wrestlers in the country. Chimaev won a gold medal at the Swedish Freestyle National Championships at 86 kilograms in 2016 and 2017 and at 92 kilograms in 2018.

The UFC star decided to take up mixed martial arts in 2015 after watching Conor McGregor’s featherweight title fight against Jose Aldo at UFC 194, where the Irishman won by knockout in only 13 seconds. Chimaev was so inspired by McGregor’s performance that he ended up joining All-Stars MMA in Stockholm, Sweden, within the next few days.

After training with the likes of Alexander Gustafsson and Reza Madadi at the All Stars training facility, Chimaev kick-started his MMA journey in the amateur circuits. Within a few fights, it became clear that he was much better than fighters at the amateur level. Therefore, he turned pro in 2018.

Chimaev started his professional journey with a bang in 2018, winning his first four fights with as many finishes. In only his fifth professional fight, Chimaev faced multiple-time Combat Sambo world champion Ikram Aliskerov. On paper, it was a tough fight for ‘Borz,’ but he proved his naysayers wrong with a thunderous knockout of the Dagestani.

At 6-0, Chimaev signed with a UFC and secured two victories in ten days, rising to heights of fame. The Chechen-Swede’s popularity rose further when he knocked out veteran Gerald Meerschaert in less than 17 seconds a couple of months after his promotional debut in July 2020.

In late 2020, Chimaev was booked to face Leon Edwards in a potential welterweight title eliminator, but their fight was called off three times due to injuries and health issues. Chimaev spent the majority of 2021 struggling with COVID-related illness.

Since his return in late 2021, he has competed and won three times against Li Jingliang, Gilbert Burns, and Kevin Holland.

3. Islam Makachev

Islam Makhachev | UFC Resume - 2022

Years Active 2010 to Present
Country Russia
Record 24-1

Islam Makhachev is one of the greatest Muslim UFC fighters to grace the UFC Octagon.

Born and raised in Makhachkala, Dagestan, Makhachev started wrestling at a young age, much like most of his peers. In the early days of his career, Makhachev competed in several competitions and won most, but his biggest triumph came in 2016 when he won the World Combat Sambo Championship.

Makhachev started his MMA journey six years prior to his Combat Sambo world championship win in 2016. He made a successful start to his MMA career with a decision victory and continued to pile up wins until he joined the UFC.

After a successful promotional debut in early 2015, Makhachev was knocked out cold by Adriano Martins in only his second fight. The loss was a major turning point in Dagestani’s career as it helped him identify mistakes in his game early, giving him ample time to work on them.

Since his loss to Martins, Makhachev is on a twelve-fight winning streak, with notable non-title victories against Bobby Green and Dan Hooker.

Makhachev scored the biggest win of his career against Charles Oliveira in their vacant lightweight title fight at UFC 280.

From the beginning of their fight, Makhachev proved that he was more than just a wrestler. The Dagestani dictated range and landed solid punches to rock Oliveira and dominate most of the grappling exchanges in the first round. The second round played out the same way, with Makhachev dropping Oliveira with a big right hand and following up and jumping on an arm triangle choke that forced a tap.

In his first title defense, Makhachev showcased glimpses of his underrated striking by hurting Alexander Volkanovski multiple times in a back-and-forth contest at UFC 284. Makhachev won the fight by a hard-fought majority decision.

While Makhachev still has a long way to go in terms of beating Khabib Nurmagomedov as the greatest Muslim fighter in history, his coach Javier Mendez believes he’s a lot better than ‘The Eagle’. The reason why Mendez believes such is because he thinks Makhachev has more tools in his arsenal.

2. Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman | Greatest Year

Years Active 2012 to Present
Country Nigeria
Record 20-3

Kamaru Usman is one of the greatest welterweights in the history of mixed martial arts. The Nigerian was truly a Nightmare for UFC welterweight contenders in his heyday.

Born in Auchi, Nigeria, Usman spent his early years in his home country before moving to the United States with his mother and siblings to join their father, who was already residing in America.

Usman started his martial arts journey through high school wrestling. He compiled a 53–3 record as a senior and placed third at the Texas state championships before wrestling at the senior national tournament.

In college, Usman wrestled in Iowa at William Penn University for a year, where he was an NAIA national tournament qualifier in 2007. However, he couldn’t make it to the tournament because of a snowstorm. Interestingly, some of his teammates left early with the team’s head coach without notifying him.

Feeling betrayed, Usman left William Penn University and joined the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he continued his combat sports journey. Usman became the NCAA Division II national champion at 174 pounds in 2010.

Following a successful college wrestling career, Usman focused his energies on making the 2012 Olympic team. Unfortunately, he couldn’t fulfill his dream due to injuries.

In 2012, Usman transitioned to MMA, making a successful debut by stopping his opponent in the second round. The Nigerian was choked out in his second fight but bounced back with 19 straight wins, 15 of which came in the UFC, including TUF.

In his seventh professional fight, Usman beat Hayder Hassan to win The Ultimate Fighter 21 welterweight tournament. In the UFC, he won thirteen straight times, with his most notable victory coming against Tyron Woodley in their welterweight title fight in 2019.

In his first title defense, Usman faced arch-rival Colby Covington in one of the most competitive fights in UFC welterweight history. The two competed in a back-and-forth battle before Usman stopped Covington in the fifth round to successfully defend his belt.

In his next title defense, Usman eased past short-notice replacement Jorge Masvidal after Gilbert Burns, who was originally scheduled to fight the Nigerian at UFC 251, pulled out due to an injury. The Brazilian got his opportunity to lock horns with Usman a few months later at UFC 258, where he was stopped in the third round.

Usman’s next couple of title defenses came in his rematches against Masvidal at UFC 261 and Covington at UFC 268. The Nigerian star won both fights.

In his sixth title defense, Usman faced Leon Edwards. For the first two rounds, Usman had things under control with his elite wrestling and improved striking. However, seconds before the end of the fifth and final round, Edwards put an end to Usman’s legendary title run by knocking him out with a perfectly-timed head kick.

Usman holds a plethora of records in the UFC, including most consecutive wins in the UFC welterweight division (15), second most consecutive wins overall (15), second most significant strikes landed (1334), and second longest control time in the UFC welterweight division (2:13:51).

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Top Finishes: Khabib Nurmagomedov

Years Active 2008 to 2020
Country Russia
Record 29-0

Khabib Nurmagomedov is not just the greatest Muslim fighter, but he’s also one of the best of all time.

Born and raised in Dagestan, Russia, the multiple-time Combat Sambo world champion started wrestling as young as four years old, and by the time he was seven, he was wrestling Grizzly bears.

Khabib started his journey with freestyle wrestling and conquered the world of Sambo and the Russian Army Hand-To-Hand Combat. He also earned a black belt in Judo in his teens.

The undefeated Dagestani started his mixed martial arts journey in 2008, smashing everyone en route to the UFC.

Nurmagomedov continued his dominant run in the UFC, easing past some of the best lightweights in the world. At UFC 223, Nurmagomedov won the lightweight title by beating a short-notice replacement in Al Iaquinta after Tony Ferguson pulled out due to injury and Max Holloway, who stepped in to replace ‘El Cucuy,’ wasn’t medically cleared to fight.

In his first title defense, Nurmagomedov faced bitter rival Conor McGregor at UFC 229.

Heading into the fight, tempers were high since McGregor had crossed the line with his psychological warfare, dragging Khabib’s family, religion, and manager through the mud. Khabib entered the fight with a mission to hurt McGregor.

In the first round, Khabib fought strategically, taking his opponent down in an attempt to wear him down. In the second round, Khabib launched a thunderous overhand right that dropped McGregor. ‘The Eagle’ immediately secured a takedown and proceeded to beat McGregor up with vicious ground-and-pound for the remainder of the round.

The finish came in the fourth round when Khabib smothered McGregor on the mat before forcing him to tap with a neck crank. Following his win over ‘The Notorious’, Khabib caused a massive brawl, jumping out of the cage to attack McGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis, who had talked a lot of smack about the Dagestani as well.

He defended his title two more times, against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 and Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, where he retired from the sport at 29-0 as a professional. The main reason for Khabib’s early retirement was his father’s untimely death due to COVID-related complications in the summer of 2020

Since retiring, Khabib has transitioned to coaching, and he’s now preparing the next generation of Dagestani wrestlers to become MMA champions. Among his most notable students are Islam Makhachev, Umar Nurmagomedov, and Bellator lightweight titleholder Usman Nurmagomedov.

In 2022, Khabib was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame ‘Modern Wing’. He’s one of the highest-paid UFC fighters of all time and will forever be a legend.

Wrap Up:

That does it for this article. Let us know if you agree with our rankings in the comments section below. We always love hearing your thoughts.

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