Since the UFC’s debut in 1993, mixed martial arts have grown tremendously. Over the next two decades, MMA became a global phenomenon that produced dozens of famous combatants and numerous promotions. Some of these athletic combatants have transcended the sport and helped MMA reach unprecedented heights.
This list of the most renowned mixed martial arts fighters is merely a starting point; an introduction to a world of personalities and athletes who have attained mythic proportions. This is by no means an exhaustive or definitive “All-Time Best” list. If you sense that a combatant is absent from the list below, please contact us.
List of the most renowned MMA competitors
“The Spider” Silva was once the greatest combatant in the world pound for pound. He was the longest-reigning champion in the history of the UFC, dominating the middleweight division for nearly seven years. Some people believe that Silva is the finest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter of all time, but that is a debate for another day and a different list.
Silva unified the UFC and Pride middleweight championships and once held the mark for most successful title defenses with 16. In his second fight with the promotion, he won the middleweight championship and dominated for the next 2,457 days. Anderson would also hold multiple promotion-wide records for strikes.
During a rematch fight against Chris Weidman, Silva suffered a gruesome fractured limb.
Georges St-Pierre is the only other fighter on this list who could rival Silva as the finest MMA fighter of all time. The Canadian MMA legend known as GSP was a two-division champion and widely regarded as the greatest welterweight combatant of all time.
GSP suffered two defeats in his first three years in the UFC.
Since then, however, St-Pierre has won every fight. He has defeated legends of the sport such as BJ Penn and Matt Hughes. He has also defeated some of the greatest combatants of this generation, including Nick Diaz and Michael Bisping.
During the height of his tenure, GSP was also the UFC’s best PPV attraction.
GSP will always be regarded as one of the finest athletes of all time, despite the fact that others have surpassed him in this category.
The UFC’s Ronda Rousey
You cannot think of women’s mixed martial arts without thinking of Ronda Rousey. The two will eternally be synonymous. Rousey has done more for women’s mixed martial arts than anyone before her. It will be difficult for any female MMA celebrity to surpass Ronda’s achievements.
When she earned the bronze medal in Judo at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Rousey became the first American woman to achieve an Olympic medal in the sport. In 2010, she turned professional and participated in a number of successful MMA bouts for a variety of promotions. She would become Strikeforce’s Women’s Bantamweight Champ before moving on to the UFC in 2012.
During her prime in the UFC, Rousey would become the greatest celebrity in the organization. She was the company’s first female champion and went nearly three years unbeaten. Rousey successfully defended her title six times before ultimately succumbing. During this winning stretch, she was the primary attraction on pay-per-view, patented her arm-bar submission, and revolutionized the sport for female combatants.
Rousey would be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame as the first female combatant in history. In addition to her modest Hollywood career, she has gone on to become a WWE superstar.