There plenty of ways to approach this question which makes it so much fun to debate. Do you go with those that have changed the landscape of the MMA world that had lesser careers, or do you base it completely off resume and talent? In my opinion you’ve gotta do a little bit of both. So check it out and let me know if you agree with my top 10.
#10 Randy “The Natural” Couture (19-11)
At first glance the casual MMA fan will question why a man with a 19-11 record made this list. Well, he made the list cause the mans a pioneer of the sport and an all-time bad ass! “The Natural” had his first pro fight at UFC 13 in 1997, and didn’t hang up his gloves until after UFC 129 in 2011. He won both the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight belts over that span and is a member of the UFC Hall of Fame.
#9 Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (35-12)
Another pioneer and living legend is the “Axe Murderer.” He’s achieved everything in the sport except for that elusive UFC belt. He won the PRIDE middleweight belt, PRIDE middleweight grand prix, most KO’s in PRIDE history and most consecutive PRIDE middleweight title defenses (PRIDE was the biggest MMA organization in the world back in the day). Now at 40 years old he hasn’t fought since 2013 but is scheduled to take on Chael Sonnen in one of those great Bellator fights of, “who’s more washed up?”
#8 Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey (12-2)
Not much to say here. She is the reason the UFC brought women in by dusting every woman that stood in her way for 5 years. The two losses that likely ended her career take nothing away from what she achieved.
#7 Matt Hughes (45-9)
I was tempted to leave Hughes off the list because my cousin got into a fight with him at a bar a few years back and said the guys a complete douche… Unfortunately he’s one of the best fighters ever as he cleaned out the UFC’s 170 lbs division for 5 years. He captured the UFC welterweight title on two occasions and is a member of the Hall of Fame. A few late losses in his career put a dent in his record and should be ignored, as he should’ve stuck to bar fights at that stage of his career.
#6 Demetrius “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (26-2)
This man just doesn’t get any respect! Well after tying Anderson Silva’s record for most consecutive title defenses last week, his greatness can no longer be denied. His level of competition has been a little sketchy, but it’s not his fault nobody at 125 is on his level. He’ll defend his title one more time and then likely look for a super-fight with Cody Garbrandt if he defeats TJ Dillashaw.
#5 Conor “The Notorious” McGregor (21-3)
The only fighter to ever hold two UFC belts at the same time. Top that… Ended Jose Aldo’s 10 year reign of terror in 13 seconds. Top that… Had the balls to fight a man two weight classes above him on 8 days notice, lost, went back and beat him at in that same weight class (a weight in which he showed up to the fight weighing less than). Top that… Get the point? He’s a bad ass and also happens to be the best selling fighter of all-time. In time he could find himself topping this list.
#4 Fedor “The Last Emporer” Emelianenko (36-4)
You could make a case that you could put these next 4 in any order, but I have to knock Fedor for the fact that he’s never stepped foot in the octagon. He absolutely dominated all over the world as he started his career 31-1 over a 9 year span where he beat some of the best fighters ever. A 3 fight skid looked like the end for Fedor, but he’s won 5 straight (against bum sniffs) and takes on former half way decent UFC fighter Matt Mitrione on that same Bellator card that has Silva vs Sonnen.
#3 Georges “Rush” St-Pierre (25-2)
The best welterweight of all-time could easily be #1 on this list, had he stayed retired. But his announcement that he’s returning to the cage after a 3 1/2 year hiatus has me questioning why he stepped away. My theory is he had razor thin decisions with Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks (I thought he lost both fights) and those made him realize he couldn’t hang with all the young bucks the 170 lbs division was producing. And now that he’s back he’s fighting an old un-athletic Michael Bisping at 185 instead of taking the absolute wrecking ball that is Tyron Woodley whose taken over 170 lbs since GSP left. GSP is great and maybe the best to ever do it, but I think he’s ducked a lot of fights, which I can’t respect.
#2 Jon “Bones” Jones (22-1)
That one blemish on Jones’ record came from an illegal elbow he threw in a fight he was absolutely dominating, so he really is 23-0 in everyone’s eyes. If not for his constant suspensions, Jones is probably already #1 at just 29 years old. He’s taken out every one at 205 you can think of, but has only had 3 fights in the past 3 years which has robbed us as the fans the opportunity to see him move to heavyweight to capture a second title. He’s undoubtedly the most talented fighter we’ve ever seen, and with his suspension up in June he’ll likely take on Daniel Cormier this summer to try to reclaim his belt that the UFC was forced to strip him of.
#1 Anderson “The Spider” Silva (34-8)
He’s not the fighter he once was having lost 4 of his last 5, but the man is still out there taking on world class competition at 42 years and fighting competitively. But when “The Spider” took the octagon for the first time on June, 28th, 2006… It was like nothing we’d ever seen before as he merked an ultra-tough Chris Leben in 49 seconds with a barrage of knees that completely rearranged Leben’s face. That performance was enough to earn him a title shot where he took Rich Franklin behind the wood shed and slaughtered him like a pig in under 3 minutes. That was the beginning of his 16-0 start under the UFC banner that saw him stop 14 of those 16 fights. He is undoubtedly the best to ever do it.