To fill the time between Charles Oliveira’s epic lightweight championship win last weekend and the highly anticipated Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt Fight Night event this coming Saturday night, we’ve cast an eye over Tapology‘s list of the top 25 MMA & UFC fighters of all time.
The great thing about the Tapology top 25, when compared to other similar lists, is that it’s voted for by users of the site who create and submit their own rankings.
Each user’s rankings are then compiled on the database to provide a consensus agreed fans’ list, which (judging by said rankings) gives a touch more importance to factors such as personality and overall impact on the sport than perhaps an analysts’ list does.
Anyway, without further ado, iiiiiiit’s tiiiiiiiime!
25. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (27-12-1)
24. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (26-11)
23. Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira (34-10-1)
22. Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (24-9-1)
21. “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (35-14-1, 1 NC)
20. Cain Velasquez (14-3)
19. Dan “Hendo” Henderson (32-15)
18. Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo (16-2)
17.”The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-14-2)
16. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor (22-5)
15. Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz (23-3)
Often cited as an MMA fighter who forever changed the game, bringing in elite-level footwork and Mayweather-esque defensive capabilities, Dominick Cruz went on to become a 2x bantamweight champion with the UFC. Truthfully, Cruz would likely feature far higher up this list had his career not been so blighted by injury.
14. Max “Blessed” Holloway (22-6-0)
After going on a near five-year 13-fight win streak that included capturing the featherweight strap in a win vs Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, and then twice defending the UFC gold vs the legendary Jose Aldo, it’s little surprise to see the “Blessed” one creep into the top 15.
13. Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes (21-4)
“The Lioness” hasn’t tasted defeat inside the Octagon for over six years. Still active, the reigning, defending women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion has done away with a murderer’s row of elite-level talent in both those divisions, including Valentina Shevchenko (twice), Cris Cyborg, Miesha Tate, and Ronda Rousey.
Nunes’ next scheduled fight is against Julianna Pena in August — expect the dominance to continue!
12. Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell (21-9)
The Iceman’s power punching and on-the-edge persona made him the UFC’s most beloved and marketable star during the mid-2000s.
Liddell won the UFC light heavyweight championship from fellow great Randy Couture via a spectacular TKO that also saw The Iceman pick up the 2005 UFC Knockout of the Year award. Liddell defended the belt on four occasions before eventually losing to one Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Liddell’s fight with Wanderlei Silva in 2007 was also voted the UFC Fight of the Year.
11. Matt Hughes (45-9)
Matt Hughes’ elite-level wrestling skills saw him capture the welterweight crown vs Georges St- Pierre at UFC 50 in 2004. Hughes is one of only two men to have ever beaten Rush (unless you count the time Johny Hendrix was absolutely robbed at UFC 167).
St-Pierre would eventually go on to reclaim his championship crown from Hughes, but not before the UFC Hall of Famer had defended it against such stiff competition as Joe Riggs, Royce Gracie and B.J. Penn.
10. Randy “The Natrual” Couture (19-11)
Couture competed in a record 16 title fights and is tied for the record for the most wins in UFC Heavyweight Championship bouts with Stipe Miocic.
The fourth member of the UFC Hall of Fame, Couture is the only combatant over the age of 40 to have won a UFC championship fight and is one of very few UFC champions to reclaim a title he had lost, a feat he accomplished three times – once at light heavyweight and twice at heavyweight.
“The Natural” indeed.
9. Jose Aldo “Junior” (29-7)
If you’d only watched the last five years of Aldo’s career, you could be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was about – the Brazilian star was never again the same after that shock title loss to the aforementioned Conor McGregor.
That said, it’s important to remember that Aldo, a 3x UFC featherweight champion, once went undefeated for over a decade and, up until said loss to McGregor, was commonly cited as being the greatest fighter in the history of the sport of MMA.
8. Daniel “DC” Cormier (22-3, 1 NC)
DC is the former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion of the world, losing to just two opponents in a stellar 11-year career, Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic.
A wrestler with a propensity to stand and trade, Cormier was also the first fighter to successfully defend titles in two separate weight classes and the fifth multi-divisional champion in UFC history.
7. Stipe Miocic (20-4)
A two-time UFC heavyweight champion who holds wins over the likes of Daniel Cormier, current champ and the man who just recently took his belt, Francis Ngannou, Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum (among others), it’s little surprise to see Stipe is so highly regarded by Tapology users.
6. “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC)
A combat samba and judoka specialist, Emelianenko once went on a 28-fight win streak that included wins over four UFC champions.
Though he may never have fought under the banner of the UFC, The Last Emperor is without a doubt one of MMA’s greatest ever fighters – it’s good to see it recognised by the fans.
5. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (30-4-1)
Known for his quick counter-striking and elusive movement, Demetrious Johnson still holds the record for the most finishes in UFC flyweight history.
Mighty Mouse won the inaugural UFC flyweight title vs Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152 in 2012 and went on to defend his crown no fewer than 11 times.
4. Anderson “The Spider” Silva (34-11, 1 NC)
A taekwondo, capoeira and muay thai specialist, Anderson Silva revolutionised the sport of MMA. The Brazilian still holds the record for the longest title reign in the history of the UFC, a reign that spanned 2,457 days and lasted for almost seven years.
3. Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov (29-0)
Despite coming up against such top talents as Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje, Edson Barboza and Dustin Poirier, Khabib Nurmagomedov was never beaten inside the Octagon and, following the tragic loss of his father, the Dagestani legend opted to retire as lightweight champion.
2. Jon “Bones” Jones (26-1(DQ), 1 NC)
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones has been the dominant force in the light heavyweight division for over a decade and can claim to have seen off the likes of Rashad Evans, Shogan Rua, Rampage Jackson and Daniel Cormier in the Octagon.
The long-limbed striker can also lay claim to the most title wins in UFC history (14) and the most title defences (11).
In truth, Jones would likely be top of this list if not for his own battles with PEDs and a series of run-ins with the law, including a hit-and-run incident that occurred in 2015.
1. Georges “Rush” St-Pierre (26-2)
GSP is the most technically gifted MMA fighter ever to step foot inside the Octagon. In a stellar career, the Canadian has claimed victories over the likes of Nick Diaz, Matt Hughes and Carlos Conduit on his way to winning titles in both the welterweight and light heavyweight divisions.