Over the years, numerous exceptional MMA fighters have emerged, prompting the perennial question: who is the ultimate MMA champion? Determining the answer isn’t straightforward, yet we aim to identify the top 5.
Our assessment considers diverse factors like competition, achievements, and peak performance. Fighters holding titles in multiple divisions and boasting a substantial fight record hold a favourable position.
While some on the list may have surpassed their prime, our focus remains on their prime skills, victories, and competition. Let’s explore the quintet of the greatest MMA fighters of all time without further ado!
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov, known as “The Eagle,” is a retired Russian mixed martial artist who soared to the top of the MMA world. Born on September 20, 1988, in Dagestan, Russia, Khabib’s journey in the sport has been nothing short of remarkable.
Khabib’s undefeated record of 29-0 speaks volumes about his dominance in the lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). His grappling skills are second to none, with a wrestling background that he honed from a young age.
One of Khabib’s most notable moments came in October 2020 when he faced Justin Gaethje at UFC. In the second round, Khabib secured a submission victory, solidifying his reputation as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history.
What sets Khabib apart is his skill inside the cage and his humility outside of it. Known for his respect towards opponents and a commitment to his values, Khabib retired in October 2020, leaving an indelible mark on the sport.
2. Jon Jones
Jones solidified his position atop this ranking by securing the heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane. His effortless submission victory and seamless transition to the division affirmed his belief in dominating among the giants.
Despite facing setbacks with title strips and legal issues, Jones’ in-cage skills remain unparalleled. Whether showcasing top-tier wrestling or dynamic striking, he excels in making crucial in-fight calculations and adjustments, a trait unmatched in the sport.
Unlike Silva or Fedor, his peak hasn’t been marred by late-career losses. Even if he never notches another win, Jones has undeniably proven himself the greatest in MMA history.
3. Anderson Silva
Silva boasts an impressive record with a 17-fight winning streak and 10 successful title defences, a resume shared by every top contender on this list. His dominance was evident in a striking game that outclassed opponents, regardless of their talent.
Additionally, Silva ventured into the light heavyweight division thrice during his prime, securing knockout victories against James Irvin, Forrest Griffin, and Stephan Bonnar. Beyond defeating opponents, Silva annihilated them, showcasing mastery from start to finish. While his peak ended abruptly, for years, Silva stood as the world’s best fighter.
4. Georges St-Pierre
GSP is the greatest welterweight in history, clinching the UFC welterweight title twice and defending it successfully nine times. With only two career losses to Hughes and Serra, he asserted his superiority in rematch victories.
Throughout his tenure, GSP triumphed over a formidable lineup of contenders, displaying rare moments of vulnerability before retiring on a high note with a tough and controversial win against Johny Hendricks. His return after a four-year hiatus, defeating Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship, added an extra layer to his all-time legacy.
5. Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor Emelianenko, often hailed as “The Last Emperor,” is a legendary Russian MMA fighter born September 28, 1976. His career, which spanned from 2000 to 2012 and beyond, earned him a reputation as one of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history.
Fedor’s stoic demeanour and powerful striking abilities made him a force to be reckoned with. Competing in various organizations, including PRIDE and Strikeforce, Fedor achieved a staggering 10-year undefeated streak, facing and defeating some of the toughest opponents in the heavyweight division.
His fights against the likes of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Cro Cop are iconic moments in MMA history. Fedor’s well-rounded skill set, combining striking and grappling, allowed him to dominate his opponents.
While Fedor faced challenges later in his career, his impact on the sport is undeniable. Even in his defeats, he displayed resilience and sportsmanship, earning the respect of fans and fellow fighters alike. Fedor Emelianenko’s legacy endures as a symbol of dominance and excellence in the heavyweight division.
What are the main components of MMA?
MMA includes striking arts such as boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai, as well as grappling arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling. Fighters use a combination of techniques to defeat their opponents.
Can I bet on MMA?
Yes, you can bet on MMA. Betting on MMA is popular, and sportsbooks offer various types of bets, including money line, over/under, and prop bets. You can bet with Lottoland sportsbook or any reputable sportsbook.
How are MMA fights scored?
MMA fights are typically scored based on effective striking, grappling, aggression, and octagon control. Judges assign points for successful techniques and overall performance.
Are there different weight classes in MMA?
Yes, MMA has various weight classes to ensure fair competition. Common weight classes include Flyweight, Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, and Heavyweight.
How are MMA fighters trained?
MMA fighters undergo comprehensive training in multiple disciplines, including striking, grappling, conditioning, and strategy. Training camps often focus on improving skills and developing fight-specific game plans.
Do MMA fighters wear any protective gear?
MMA fighters typically wear small fingerless gloves, a mouthguard, and protective cups for male fighters. Unlike other combat sports, MMA fighters do not wear headgear during competitions.
How do fighters qualify for the UFC?
Fighters often gain entry to the UFC by building a successful record in regional promotions or through impressive performances on reality TV shows like “The Ultimate Fighter.” Exceptional skill and marketability play key roles in UFC selection.