There have been many great MMA fighters throughout the years but the question on everyone's mind is the same, who is the greatest MMA fighter of all time? This question is very difficult to answer and there is no one way to classify such a position.
For our ranking we considered many different things like the fighters competition, accomplishments, and how good they really were at their prime. Fighters with titles in multiple divisions and with a bigger number of fights also have the upper hand over others in this list.
Many fighters on this list also fought way past their prime and quickly declined but we are mostly focused on the skill, wins, and competition of these fighters at their best. Let's go ahead and take a look at the top 25 greatest MMA fighters of all time!
25. Valentina Shevchenko
Valentina Shevchenko is quite possibly the most elite female striker in the history of MMA. Shevchenko has a long history of winning world championships in Muay Thai as she has won 8 gold medals and one silver while representing both Kyrgyzstan and Peru.
Shevchenko has an MMA record of 23 total fights, 20 wins, and 3 losses. Two of those losses came from the one and only Amanda Nunes who is the greatest female MMA fighter of all time so we can cut her some slack. Shevchenko has also defeated the likes of Holly Holm, Julianna Pena, and Jessica Eye. Shevchenko is intimidating and quite possibly the best female striker the MMA has ever seen.
24. Antonio Nogueira
Antonio Nogueira or "Big Nog" is one of only 3 fighters to be the Pride Heavyweight Fighting Champion and the Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC). Nogueira had some of the best grappling skills the division has ever seen and he took down some big names like Dan Henderson, Tim Sylvia, and Fabricio Werdum.
Nogueira came to the UFC from Pride and still managed to win a title which is very impressive. Big Nog retired with a record of 46 total fights, 34 wins, and 21 of those wins by submission which is no surprise to anybody because of how good his grappling skills were. Nogueira got inducted into the UFC's Hall of Fame in July 2016.
23. Alistair Overeem
Alistair Overeem is a 6'4, 256lb monster of a man known for his knockout power and great striking skills. Overeem had some very notable wins over big fighters like Vitor Belfort, Brock Lesnar, and Fabricio Werdum. Overeem was the first fighter to hold world titles in K-1 kickboxing and MMA simultaneously.
The Demolition Man had one big downside however and that was his weak chin. Overeem really knew how to give a punch but not really receive one as his shot taking durability was low. As of March 2021 Overeem has an MMA record of 67 total fights, 47 wins, 19 losses, and one no contest.
22. Robbie Lawler
"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler is one of the most aggressive fighters we have seen. Definitely of the most entertaining fighters to watch on this list Lawler really knew how to put on a show and is the only fighter to have won three "Fight of the Year" awards consecutively.
Lawler had some tough fights against the likes of Carlos Condit and Rory McDonald and his run as champion was excellent. Lawler has 44 matches, 28 wins, and 15 losses with four of those losses coming from his last 4 matches. Ruthless really is the perfect nickname for the fighter.
21. Matt Hughes
Matt Hughes had some of the best techniques to slam his opponents to the ground and wrestle them into inevitable defeat. Hughes would get his opponents to the ground and it was almost a won fight by then because his ground game was at another level. Matt Hughes also has excellent submission skills and good power behind his punches which made him a man to fear.
Hughes has wins over some top level opponents like Sean Sherk, BJ Penn, and the one and only Georges St-Pierre. Hughes retired with a record of 54 total fights, 45 wins, and 9 losses. He had some next-level ground skills and unmatched sominance in the ring.
20. Eddie Alvarez
Eddie Alvarez won world championships in both the UFC and the Bellator MMA and he is on this list for his performance in both. Alvarez was a champion in both welterweight and lightweight divisions showing that he can perform in multiple divisions and what he provided was pure eye candy for the fans.
"The Underground King" defeated some strong opponents like the likes of Anthony Pettis, Rafael dos Anjos, and Eduard Folayang. As of March 2021 Alvarez MMA record is 38 matches, 30 wins, and 7 losses. Eddie Alvarez always gave the fans a good fight and is a two division champion.
19. Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya has earned his spot on this list and can only go up from here as he is currently still an active fighter as of March 2021. He has already defeated some big names like Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, and Yoel Romero. Nicknamed the "Last Stylebender" for his style of fighting, Adesanya is considered one of the best strikers in the world of MMA.
Adesanya has an MMA record of 21 total fights, 20 wins, 15 of them by knockout, and 1 loss. As of March 2021, he is the UFC Middleweight Champion and ranked #6 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings. He has shown some serious skill and won his first 20 fights in a row!
18. Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo had a rough start in the UFC losing his first two matches and not looking like anything promising. However, in his rematch with Demetrious Johnson he pulled off the upset and shocked all UFC fans. After that fight began one of the most incredible runs ever seen.
Cejudo is a two division champion winning in both flyweight and bantamweight while also being the only person to win a UFC title and an Olympic gold medal. He retired with a record of 18 total fights, 16 wins, and 2 losses, his very first two fights.
17. Quinton Jackson
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is known for his aggressive fighting style and outlandish personality. He would bring his opponents over his head and then slam them down onto the ring. Jackson has some great power and knows how to deliver a punch.
Rampage had some very notable wins against the likes of Dan Henderson, Lyoto Machida, and Chuck Liddell. As of March 2021 he has a record of 52 total fights, 38 wins, and 14 losses. He defeated Chuck Liddell for the title of UFC light heavyweight champion.
16. Randy Couture
Randy Couture is one of the few MMA fighters to become a champion in two different weight classes. Couture was at his prime for a long period of time especially compared to some other fighters on the list and he is a former three-time UFC heavyweight champion and two-time light heavyweight champion.
"The Natural" has competed in a record 16 title fights and has some very memorable wins over big names like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. He also reclaimed his UFC heavyweight title while in his 40's to which to a lot of people is "too old" to compete, but Couture proved them wrong.
15. Chuck Liddell
Chuck Liddell was once the most dominant light heavyweight in the league and one old school fans will remember forever. "The Iceman" had vicious hands and knew how to take a punch. He had memorable fights and even took out some of the biggest names like Vitor Belfort, Tito Ortiz, and Randy Couture.
Liddell retired with a record of 30 fights, 21 wins, and 9 losses. Watching the Iceman was always a crowd favorite as his aggressive style made for some of the most entertaining matches we have ever seen. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2009.
14. Dan Henderson
Dan Henderson had some absolutely epic fights at Pride. He is someone who has good knockout power and his knockout against Michael Bisping is one of our favorites. Hendo had good grappling skills, a monstrous overhand right, and an iron chin that came in handy against some of his tougher opponents.
Hendo was a Pride Welterweight Champion, Pride middleweight Champion, and strikeforce light heavyweight Champion. He also had some very notable wins like his bouts against Vitor Belfort, Big Nog, Mauricio Rua, and Fedor Emelianenko. He never got the UFC title but still had a spectacular career and defeated some of the UFC's top ever fighters.
13. B.J. Penn
B.J. Penn had some rough times in the UFC for sure but there is no denying that in his prime he was an absolute machine. At the lightweight division he was a beast and he was a UFC champion in both lightweight and welterweight divisions. Even though he doesn't have the most impressive of records there is no denying that Penn had raw talent and went through four divisions to fight.
"The Prodigy" had a record of 32 total fights, 16 wins, 14 losses, and 2 draws. He also has some impressive wins over big opponents like Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, and Diego Sanchez. Penn's matt work and grappling skills were next level and he is also one of the fastest people ever to receive a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
12. Dominick Cruz
Dominick Cruz is the only person who was able to defeat Demetrious Johnson in his prime. Cruz had fantastic movements that were very unique to him and his fighting style that made him stand out and if it weren't for injuries he would be even higher up on this list.
"The Dominator" Has had some very notable wins like his bouts against TJ Dillashaw, Demetrious Johnson, and Brian Bowles. He retired with a record of 26 total fights, 23 wins, and 3 losses. Besides his impressive record, Cruz brought a new style of fighting to the UFC and his great footwork and style made him impossible for opponents to hit.
11. Daniel Cormier
Daniel Cormier found success in both light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions as he was a champion in both and is the second fighter in the history of UFC to defend titles in two different weight classes and was the first to ever do it in two different divisions.
Cormier retired with a record of 26 fights, 22 wins, 3 losses, and 1 no contest. He has won a world championship in every promotion that he has fought in. Some notable wins Cormier had were against the likes of Josh Barnett, Alexander Gustafsson, and Dan Henderson. He truly dominated almost every opponent he came up against.
10. Stipe Miocic
Stipe Miocic is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion with next level boxing ability and advanced wrestling techniques. As of March 2021, Miocic has a record of 23 total fights, 20 wins, 15 wins by knockout, and 3 losses. He took some heavy losses but then turned it around and went on one of the best streaks the UFC has ever seen.
Miocic defended his title 4 times in his two reigns and he holds the record for the most wins in title fights for his division at 3. He has taken out some of the biggest names the sport has seen and many that are on this same list like Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, and Daniel Cormier.
9. Amanda Nunes
Amanda Nunes is the first woman to become a two-division champion (Bantamweight and Featherweight) and the third fighter in all of UFC history to hold titles in two different weight classes along with Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier. We believe that Nunes is the best female MMA fighter of all time and she can back that up with her results.
Nunes is the only fighter in the UFC to defend two titles while actively holding them. She has some very notable wins against some of the top female fighters of all time like Valentina Shevchenko, Holly Holm, Cristiane Justino, and Ronda Rousey. Her knockout power is also impressive and more than half of her wins have been by knockout.
8. Jose Aldo
Jose Aldo was the first ever UFC featherweight champion after the WEC/UFC merger and is a former three-time UFC featherweight champion. He remained undefeated for over a decade and is one of the most dominant featherweights of all time. His quick loss against McGregor makes some fans forget just how good he truly has been.
Aldo was a monster in his WEC days and as of March 2021, has a record of 36 total fights, 29 wins, and 7 losses. He also defeated some big names like Cub Swanson, Mike Brown, and Urijah Faber. Many consider Aldo as the greatest featherweight in MMA history.
7. Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor is a social media and trash-talking icon. Besides all the showy stuff, there is no denying that McGregor is a serious top fighter. His left hand is one of the best to have ever been in the sport and if he can get back on track he will be way higher on this list as he is still active as of March 2021.
McGregor is mostly known for defeating Jose Aldo by knocking him out in the first 13 seconds making it the fastest UFC title fight in history. He also has other very notable wins like his bouts with Max Holloway, Chad Mendes, Nate Diaz, and Eddie Alvarez. Conor was also the first fighter to defend UFC titles in two different weight classes.
6. Demetrious Johnson
Demetrious Johnson Is the only flyweight champion that the UFC has had as of March 2021. Ever since he claimed the throne he has defended it and is on track to beat the record for most consecutive title defenses. He has also landed the most takedowns in UFC flyweight history.
The "Mighty Mouse" has some notable wins against opponents like Henry Cejudo, Miguel Torres, and Joseph Benavidez. As of March 2021 he has a record of 34 total fights, 30 wins, 3 losses, and one draw. We don't know if anyone can rival just how good Johnson is at the flyweight division.
5. Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor Emelianenko never fought in the UFC like the majority of the other fighters on this list but that doesn't take away from the fact that he is an absolute machine and has one of the most impressive undefeated streaks at 28 consecutive wins. He is often called the best heavyweight fighter ever.
"The Last Emperor" has some very notable wins against great opponents like the likes of Mark Hunt, Mirko Filipovic, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. As of March 2021, he has a record of 46 total fights, 39 wins, 6 losses, and 1 no contest. Many consider him the best of all time and he has a serious record to back that claim up.
4. Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva would absolutely destroy people when he fought. He holds the record for the longest title hold in the UFC at 2,457 days and also recorded 16 consecutive victories during that reign as well. Silva is without a question one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.
"The Spider" retired with an MMA record of 46 total fights, 34 wins, 11 losses, and 1 no contest. He had some wins against some of the best fighters like Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin, and Dan Henderson. Silva had one of the best counter attacking games ever seen in the sport and his fights were always crowd pleasers for the fans.
3. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov is the longest reigning UFC lightweight division champion and his excellent grappling has won him many fights and cemented him as one of the best fighters in MMA history. Not only does he win all his fights, he also does it in a dominating fashion.
"The Eagle" retired with a perfect record of 29 total fights and 29 wins, something unheard of in MMA. He has wins over some of the most dominant forces in the sport like Michael Johnson, Rafael Dos Anjos, and Conor McGregor. As of March 2021, Khabib is ranked #1 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings.
2. Jon Jones
Jon "Bones" Jones has the record for being the youngest UFC champion at 23 years old. Jones is a former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion and holds many records in that division like most title defenses, longest win streak, most submission victories, and most wins.
As of March 2021 Jones has a record of 28 total fights, 26 wins, 1 loss, and 1 no contest with his only loss being a controversial disqualification against Matt Hamill. He has defeated big names like Shogun Rua, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, and Daniel Cormier. Jones is still active as of March 2021 and if he also becomes a heavyweight champion there is no question that he is the greatest of all time.
1. Georges St-Pierre
Georges St-Pierre has the most insane all around skills of any MMA fighter ever. He won UFC championships in both welterweight and middleweight divisions and is considered by many as the greatest fighter in the history of MMA.
St-Pierre has defeated big names like the likes of Matt Hughes, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit, and BJ Penn. He was also ranked as the #1 welterweight in the world for many years and retired in 2013 with the record of the most wins in title bouts and the second longest combined title streak in the UFC. He retired with a record of 28 fights, 26 wins, and 2 losses.