15 Greatest MMA Fighters of All Time

Mixed martial arts (MMA) has exploded in popularity over the past few decades, with millions of fight fans tuning in to watch the world’s best fighters compete in the octagon. 

While the sport is relatively new compared to others, there have been plenty of legendary fighters who have left their mark on the game. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, their accomplishments, and what makes them stand out from the rest. 

Whether you’re a hardcore MMA fan or new to the sport, this list of the greatest MMA fighters is sure to impress and inspire.

Let’s dive in.

Jon Jones

john jones best mma fighter of all time

Arguably the best MMA fighter of all time has to be Jon Jones. Say what you will about his many personal problems, there is no one more talented than Jones. 

When Jon steps into the octagon, no opponent can touch him. His range awareness, length, and wrestling ability are among the best we’ve ever seen.

During his career, Jones ruled the light heavyweight division with an iron fist. When Jon is focused, no other fighter in the world can touch him.

He has beaten numerous all-time greats from Daniel Cormier, Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida, and Rashad Evans. Jones recently made his return to the heavyweight division beating Ciryl Gane to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Jon Jones is undeniably one of the best fighters in the history of MMA.


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Georges St-Pierre

best mma fighters

No greatest MMA fighters list can be complete without the legend Georges St-Pierre. There is no fan or MMA expert or fan in the world that would refute the greatness of GSP.

A two-time UFC Welterweight Champion that had arguably the greatest run in the history of the division and maybe the UFC. During his second run as welterweight Champion, Georges developed world-class wrestling ability to go along with his striking.

His wrestling ability was so good that he could’ve earned a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. During his second run as welterweight champion, GSP would defend his title a record nine times. Beating top fighters like BJ Penn, Josh Koshcheck, Nick Diazm Carlos Condit, and Dan Hardy.

After defeating Jhony Hendricks, Pierre went into semi-retirement for four years until 2017. That year, he went up a weight class to challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight title.

GSP defied the odds to become a 3x UFC champion. Becoming one of only a few fighters to hold titles in multiple weight classes.

Georges St-Pierre is no doubt one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.

Randy Couture

best mma fighters of all time

Captain America Randy Couture is one of the most beloved MMA fighters of all time. He got into MMA late in his 30s but had an incredible career.

Couture began his career as a heavyweight, where he would win the UFC Heavyweight Championship 2 times. Beating Maurice Smith the first time and then Kevin Randleman when he came back to the UFC.

Then in 2003 at the age of 40, Couture would drop to light heavyweight. Beating legends like Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, and Vitor Belfort to become the light heavyweight champion on two occasions.

Couture would then retire briefly, but come out of retirement and fight for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Captain America would shock the world, beating Tim Sylvia to become a heavyweight champion for a third time.

No one else in the history of MMA has done what Couture has in his career. Randy Couture is one of the best to ever enter the octagon. 

BJ Penn 

bj penn best mma fighter

If you take away the sad end of his career, BJ Penn was one of the best fighters ever in his prime. Penn came into MMA after becoming the first American BJJ world champion.

He had unbelievable grappling ability and later would develop world-class striking. BJ’s well-rounded MMA game would lead him to become one of the very first UFC Lightweight Champions.

Then he would shock the world to become the first UFC champion in two divisions by submitting the great Matt Hughes. He would journey around the sport of MMA before coming back to the UFC when they revived the lightweight division.

When BJ returned, he developed great cardio and was one of the best to ever fight in MMA. His second reign as UFC Lightweight Champion is one of the best in the sport which was sheer dominance.

Penn may have held on for too long to fight, but when he was in his prime, he was one of the best in the history of MMA.

Anderson Silva

best mma fighter anderson silva

When the UFC began taking off in the late 2000s, the best in the sport of MMA was Anderson Silva. For almost seven years, Silva was the most dominant MMA fighter in the world.

He ruled the UFC middleweight division with an iron fist. Destroying everyone in his path with highlight reel knockout after knockout.

During his seventeen-fight win streak and a division record ten title defenses, hardly anyone came close to beating Anderson. Only Chael Sonnen, who was submitted in the fifth round and was stopped in their rematch.

The striking of the spider was one of the best we had ever seen in the sport of MMA. Silva has since retired from MMA but is still competitive in boxing in his late 40s.

We all recognize Anderson Silva as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.

Demetrious Johnson

best mma fighter in the world

One fighter that has never gotten the respect that he should is flyweight GOAT Demetrious Johnson. In the UFC, nobody could touch the skill of Mighty Mouse.

He is one of the most well-rounded fighters on the planet. During his run as UFC Flyweight Champion, he defended his title for a UFC record eleven times.

Johnson finished his opponents in a variety of ways and was just superior in every facet of MMA. Then after he lost a close decision against Henry Cejudo, Johnson was signed with ONE Championship.

In ONE Championship, Johnson would continue to prove that he is one of the best ever. Winning the inaugural ONE Championship Grand Prix Flyweight Championship and then the ONE Championship Flyweight Championship.

You will never hear an argument about Demetrious Johnson being on any greatest MMA fighters list.

Jose Aldo

jose aldo best mma fighter

In the WEC, Aldo had already established himself as one of the best MMA fighters in the world.

Once the WEC merged into the UFC, he continued to prove it in front of millions of people. From 2008 to 2014, Jose Aldo had one of the greatest runs of any MMA fighter ever.

When he became the UFC Featherweight Champion, he destroyed nearly everyone. Proving that he was the king of the featherweights.

Even after his earth-shattering loss to Conor McGregor, Jose was able to regroup and regained his title. Then after suffering some losses, critics began saying that Also was washed up and should retire.

But he proved those critics wrong and had a renaissance in the bantamweight division. Showing that he was still a world-class MMA fighter.

Aldo’s dominance helped improve the sport of MMA and makes him one of the greatest MMA fighters ever. 

Henry Cejudo

best mma fighter Henry Cejudo

There has never been a more accomplished athlete in the history of combat sports than Henry Cejudo. After becoming an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, Cejudo ventured into MMA to become one of the best fighters ever.

After losing to Demetrious Johnson, Cejudo took his abilities to a whole other level. He would come back to become a more well-rounded fighter and avenge his loss to Johnson.

Becoming the first-ever fighter to be an Olympic gold medalist and UFC champion. However, Cejudo was not done making history as he wanted to add more to his legacy.

Henry would then move up to bantamweight to fight champion TJ Dillashaw for the title. He would shock the world by dramatically finishing Dillashaw. Becoming one of the few fighters to hold two UFC titles simultaneously.

Cejudo has since retired but has repeatedly teased fans that he’ll come out of retirement to fight another champion. Don’t be surprised to see the Olympic gold medalist come out of retirement and win another UFC championship. 

Alexander Volkanovski

greatest mma fighter in the world Alexander Volkanovski

A fighter who is now considered the best featherweight in the history of MMA is Alexander Volkanovski. His reign of dominance is one of the best we’ve ever seen in the sport.

To earn a title shot, Volkanovski beat the GOAT of the featherweights in Jose Aldo. He would then dethrone Max Holloway, who was on his way to being the greatest featherweight of all time.

During his reign as champion, Volkanovski cleared out the division. Defending his title multiple times and cementing his legacy by beating Max Holloway three times.

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Conor McGregor 

best mma fighter Conor McGregor 

This pick may cause some debate, but there is no argument for what Conor McGregor has done for the sport. McGregor has put more eyes on the sport than any current fighter on the roster.

Tens of millions tune in every time he fights to see what he will do. He didn’t just earn this status with his mouth, but with hard work.

The Notorious Conor McGregor laid a path of destruction to get where he is at. Defeating all of the featherweight contenders and beating one of the all-time greats Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds. 

Then as featherweight champion, he would move up and beat Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight championship. Becoming a two-division champion.

Following this McGregor would box Floyd Mayweather in one of the most viewed PPV matches of all time. You can hate his antics, but you can’t argue how McGregor has elevated MMA.

Amanda Nunes 

best mma fighters amanda nunes

Without question, the greatest female MMA fighter of all time is none other than Amanda Nunes. After beating Miesha Tate for the women’s bantamweight title and destroying Ronda Rousey, Nunes had the best run of any female fighter ever.

Nunes destroyed anyone who stepped in the cage with her. This included knocking out Cris Cyborg for the UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship.

Nunes became the first female fighter to hold two titles simultaneously. After losing her bantamweight title in a shocking loss to Julianna Pena, Nunes would win it back.

Amanda is already considered one of the best MMA fighters of all time. At this point, she is just building her legacy until she wants to step away from fighting.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

best mma fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov

Many consider Khabib Nurmagomedov one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. During his career, Khabib was one of the most dominant fighters ever.

Nobody came close to beating Khabib and he beat everyone that stepped in front of them. But he didn’t just beat his opponents. He broke them.

Nurmagomedov would “smesh” all of his opponents and break their will to fight. His takedowns were unstoppable and his pressure was relenting.

Anyone that thought there would be a test for Khabib was easily dispatched. He retired as UFC Lightweight Champion with a perfect record of 29 wins and 0 defeats.

Since retiring, the UFC has tried to lure Khabib out of retirement for big-money fights, but with no luck. He is now focused on becoming the greatest MMA coach in the history of the sport. 

Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier best mma fighter

If he wasn’t fighting in the same era as Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier could easily be considered the best MMA fighter ever. After transitioning into MMA, Cormier became a world-class wrestler who developed a powerful striking game.

Daniel would use his well-rounded skills to be one of the best in the world for nearly a decade. Winning three world titles in two organizations and in two different divisions.

His first UFC title was winning the light heavyweight championship against Anthony Johnson. Cormier would defend the title four times and then move to the heavyweight division.

In the heavyweight division, Cormier would cement his legacy by beating champion Stipe Miocic. He would defend the title one time and then lose twice to Miocic before retiring.

Without a doubt, Daniel Cormier goes down as one of the greatest MMA fighters ever.

Stipe Miocic 

best mma fighter Stipe Miocic 

Another fighter that doesn’t get as much love as he should is the great Stipe Miocic. Through true grit and determination, Miocic became one of the greatest fighters of all time.

After beating Fabricio Werdum for the heavyweight title, Stipe would have an incredible first run as champion. He cemented the run by beating Francis Ngannou in his last defense. It was one of the greatest performances by a heavyweight fighter ever.

Stipe would then have a trilogy of fights with Daniel Cormier, where he would win the last two fights. Becoming champion for a second time.

Since then, Miocic lost his title to Ngannou but is on a quest to regain his title. He’s already one of the best ever, but a third title may make him THE heavyweight ufc goat.

Kamaru Usman

best mma fighter usman

After GSP, the greatest welterweight champion has to be Kamaru Usman. The Nigerian Nightmare went undefeated in the UFC from 2015 to 2022.

In that time, he would win the UFC Welterweight Championship and defend it five times. During his reign as champion, Usman would have a lot of critics who claimed he was boring and couldn’t finish opponents. He would prove those critics wrong and display a well-rounded MMA game.

Out of his five title defenses, Usman finished three of his five opponents spectacularly. 


Do you want to win your next fight, transform your body & unleash your potential as a martial artist?

We work exclusively with combat athletes to improve their performance, optimize their recovery time, and reduce stress during training.

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Who Is The Greatest MMA Fighter of All Time?

The world of MMA has produced some of the greatest athletes in the history of combat sports. From dominant champions such as Anderson Silva to trailblazers who paved the way for future generations, the sport has seen its fair share of legendary fighters. 

While the debate over who is the greatest of all time may never be fully settled, one thing is certain: the fighters on this list have left an indelible mark on the sport and will forever be remembered as some of the best to ever step into the octagon. 

Whether it’s their unmatched skills, unbreakable spirit, or their ability to capture the hearts of fans around the world, these fighters have earned their place among the all-time greats of MMA.

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Gareth Davies

I'm a martial arts competitor and enthusiast. Over the last 15 years, I have trained and competed in several martial arts. I live in Manchester U.K working as a strength & conditioning coach when I'm not travelling and exploring martial arts around the world.
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