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Ranking the Top 10 UFC Fighters of All Time

The UFC celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, so to celebrate that achievement, Johnny Covers ranks the top ten UFC fighters of all time. Read on to see who made his list.
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Ranking the Top 10 UFC Fighters of All Time

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the UFC is as big as it’s ever been, with some of the best talents the sport has ever seen just now starting to hit their prime. While there is only one fighter still active that can already be considered one of the GOATs (hint, he’s very active), let’s take a closer look at the ten best UFC fighters ever to put on the coveted UFC gloves. 

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Ranking the Top 10 UFC Fighters of All Time

10. Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor is widely regarded as one of the most important fighters in the history of the UFC. It is reasonable to assume that the Irishman is credited for the success and notoriety the promotion has achieved in recent years. During the course of his illustrious career, his bouts broke multiple records for both pay-per-view buys and live attendance, and he currently holds the top three spots for biggest UFC gates of all time. 

But he not only spoke a good game but also had the ability to back it up. After defeating Eddie Alvarez in 2016, he established a new record by becoming the first fighter to hold titles in two distinct weight classes simultaneously. Even though his domination and overall skill may not be on par with the rest of the fighters on our list, the impact that he has had on the sport has been extraordinary.

9. Randy Couture

Randy Couture is widely regarded as one of the most dominant grapplers in the history of the UFC. "The Natural" was the name given to the man who first won championships in two separate weight classes long before BJ Penn did it. At 16, Couture is also the current holder of the record for the most title fights.

He was able to switch between the light heavyweight and heavyweight classes effortlessly and used his high-level grappling talents to wear down the majority of his opponents. He is revered across the MMA community as a pioneering figure who helped start the UFC.

8. BJ Penn

Speaking of Penn, no list would be complete without him. Without a doubt, one of the most talented competitors the UFC has ever witnessed, Penn excelled in all facets of the game and was known for his well-rounded style. 

He was a volume boxer who would out-strike his opponents and had high-level grappling and submission skills. He was also very good at submitting his opponents. Because of his abilities, he is one of the few people who has ever held a title in more than one weight category. 

7. Daniel Cormier

Cormier, widely considered to be among the best grapplers ever to compete inside of an octagon, got his start in the sport with Strikeforce before causing havoc in the UFC. Cormier was already challenging Jon Jones for the light heavyweight championship by the time he fought for the fifth time in the UFC.

By winning the titles of light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, he became only the second fighter in the history of the UFC to hold the title of champion in two different weight classes concurrently.

6. Demetrious Johnson

Don’t let his 5’3” frame fool you, “Mighty Mouse” deserves a spot on every top 10 all-time UFC fighter list that is made. 

His lightning-fast takedowns and ground-and-pound style completely destroyed his opponents, making him a fantastic wrestler, dominating on the way to becoming the first-ever champion of the UFC's flyweight division. He never lost his focus and successfully defended his title 11 times before losing his title in 2018 and switching over to ONE Championship.

5. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib is unquestionably one of the most skilled grapplers the company has ever seen. The well-trained boxer, who was born in Dagestan, left the ring with a perfect record of 29 wins and 0 losses.

In his prime, he was victorious over the top fighters of his time, including Conor McGregor, whom he faced and defeated before making the decision to end his athletic career early.

4. Amanda Nunes

There has never been a more dominant female fighter in the history of the UFC than Amanda Nunes. Throughout her career, she has been successful in breaking several unbeaten records. 

The Brazilian striker is one of just four combatants in history to have won championships in two distinct weight classes at the same time. In addition, she has victories over six other champions from the past, including fighters such as Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, and Valentina Shevchenko, among others.

3. Anderson Silva

In his prime, Silva was an unbeatable force to be reckoned with and is often regarded as the best striker of all time. He held the title for a record-setting 2,457 days, making his reign the longest ever for any UFC weight class to this day, and it's possible that this record will never be topped. 

The Brazilian brawler won 16 consecutive fights and has successfully defended his middleweight championship title ten times.

2. George St-Pierre

George St. Pierre is widely regarded as the best mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter of all time, and even though I have him as No. 2, I wouldn’t argue too much. His reign as welterweight champion of the UFC was one for the ages as GSP was at the height of his career when he went on a winning streak of 13 fights and successfully defended his title nine times in a row. 

St. Pierre boasts the record for the most takedowns ever recorded in the history of the UFC. This propelled him to win the middleweight championship after defeating Michael Bisping after an absence of four years from the octagon, during which he had vacated the welterweight title. He is only the fourth fighter in the history of the UFC to win titles in two different divisions of the organization. 

1. Jon Jones

And finally, the man of the hour. 

Jones’ climb to the top of the light heavyweight division in the UFC was spectacular, and he successfully defended his championship 11 times. His career at light heavyweight includes victories over notable competitors such as Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Daniel Cormier (2x), Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort, amongst others. He was the greatest light heavyweight of all time, and the one time he ever lost, it was because he was disqualified for throwing illegal elbows. 

Cementing Jones’ “GOAT” status for me was his dominant clinching of the heavyweight title, recently against Ciryl Gane. A worthy heavyweight contender, Jones made it look easy, finishing him inside 2.5 minutes in the octagon. 

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Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping games for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as All-In Magazine, Blitz Predict, FantasyPros, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, and most recently, OddsChecker. In addition to giving out picks on Twitter, Johnny is the host of the podcast The Daily Sports Bet -- a 10 minute or less listen with actionable insights and no fluff or BS. Starting the podcast in June, he closed out 2021 up 26 units with a winning percentage of 55%.

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