Some of the best fighters to ever walk the planet have made names for themselves during the UFC’s 30-year history.
Following are our picks for the top five fighters in UFC history.
Most UFC fighters regard Jon Jones as the best. The former light heavyweight champion is the perfect fighter, possessing exceptional wrestling skills and a fighting IQ we may never see again.
There are fighters, like Khabib Nurmagomedov, who have been more dominant in their statistical advantage within a fight, such as not losing rounds en route to numerous victories. Jones has 26 wins in his time in MMA, 19 in the UFC, building a record no other man can touch.
Illegal elbows resulted in his only MMA defeat, to Matt Hamill, but observers have since claimed Jones shouldn’t have been disqualified.
Jones has defeated practically all the light heavyweight greats of the past 20 years, sealing his spot as the greatest. Jones defeated five former or future light heavyweight champions, as well as legends such as Alexander Gustafsson.
Jones holds many UFC records in the light heavyweight division, including the most title defenses, most wins, and longest win streak. He also won the title in 2018 after beating Gustafsson a second time.
His life outside of the cage has affected both his legacy and his number of fights. To us, he’s the Floyd Mayweather of the UFC, the Michael Jordan of fighting.
Notable wins: Daniel Cormier, Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Glover Teixeira, Mauricio Ruiz, Ryan Bader, Vitor Belfort, Alexander Gustafsson, Stephan Bonnar
In terms of overall MMA ability, few men could compare with Georges St-Pierre, regarded as the best until Jones arrived on the scene.
Like Jones, he is a double champion at his chosen weight class, having lost to Matt Serra in arguably the biggest upset in UFC history. While St-Pierre lost twice, he convincingly made amends for both those losses. First, he defeated Serra in a rematch for the title, then defeated Matt Hughes in a title fight two years after losing to him.
St-Pierre evolved like no other fighter. He entered the UFC and popularized karate, then became a first-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and one of the best wrestlers on the roster at the time.
Similar to Jones, perhaps we didn’t see him enough after he took four years off beginning in 2013. Despite that, the Canadian returned after four years and won the title in a weight class he had never fought, beating Michael Bisping for the middleweight crown.
After winning the title back from Serra in 2007, he went on to win his last 13 fights. He held the record for most wins in title bouts and the second-longest combined title streak in UFC history (2,204 days), while also defending his title nine consecutive times.
Notable wins: Matt Serra, Michael Bisping, Matt Hughes, B.J. Penn (x2), Nick Diaz, Dan Hardy, Carlos Condit, Johnny Hendricks, Josh Koscheck (x2)
Khabib Nurmagomedov is probably the most dominant fighter in UFC history, having lost just one round in his career. He also is the only unbeaten fighter on this list. He isn’t regarded as the best simply because of the sensational résumés of fighters like Jones and St-Pierre. The Russian also didn’t help his cause by retiring on a 29-0 record and not making it to 30-0 against someone like Charles Oliveira.
Nurmagomedov’s only loss within a round came in a win over Conor McGregor, when he dropped round three. Nurmagomedov beat McGregor in the next round after smashing him around the octagon.
Nurmagomedov was also the first to introduce combat sambo to the MMA world on a global stage. If he got his hands on you, you would lose the round and potentially the fight.
There is an argument for having the former lightweight champion further up this list. In our opinion, that’s difficult to justify, given the caliber of fighters that Jones took down.
Notable wins: Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor, Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta
When it comes to title-winning runs and domination over one division, Anderson Silva is unrivaled.
The Brazilian, a former UFC middleweight champion, holds the record for the longest title reign in UFC history at 2,457 days after winning the belt in 2006 and losing it to Chris Weidman in 2013. He lost that fight because he was too busy showboating; Weidman caught him off guard and knocked him out.
This record-breaking total of 16 consecutive victories in the UFC is enough to put him on this list, but Silva was also arguably the best striker on the planet and even has a third-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, despite only three submission wins in his career.
Should Silva have retired on top and bowed out many years earlier, perhaps he would be the undisputed greatest of all time. However, with seven wins in his last eight UFC fights and just one win against Derek Brunson in this time, he has done himself no favors.
Notable wins: Chael Sonnen (x2), Forrest Griffin, Demian Maia, Vitor Belfort, Stephan Bonnar, Dan Henderson
It’s tempting to put Alexander Volkanovski here. Still, despite recently losing the title, Kamaru Usman is our pick for No. 5. Even in that loss to Leon Edwards for the welterweight title, Usman only lost in the last minute because of a head kick from the Brit.
Previously, Usman lapped the welterweight division, and if he could have survived the last minute of his title defense with Edwards, many were prepared to call him a better welterweight than St-Pierre. With this in mind, how can we not put him on this list?
Usman has beaten Colby Convington twice, Jorge Masvidal twice, Sean Strickland, Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns. He has beaten Edwards, but it was in 2015.
There are few better résumés in UFC history, and what makes the Nigerian so incredible is how he has managed to develop from a dominating wrestler to one of the welterweight’s most powerful and technical strikers.
Notable wins: Leon Edwards, Colby Covington (x2), Jorge Masvidal (x2), Gilbert Burns, Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia
Source: Read Full Article