In the past decade, the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts and UFC have skyrocketed to epic proportions. People tend to look at the fighters currently on the roster and rank them as the best UFC Fighters ever.
However, UFC has a rich history filled with Superstars who may not be as popular among the current fans as they never saw them at their best. More often than not, many of these fighters are overlooked by new generation UFC fans when talking about the best UFC Fighters ever.
In this article, we will be taking a look back at the 25-year history of UFC, which is full to the brim with some of the best fighters to ever walk in the Octagon. We will be ranking the best UFC fighters ever in this article.
For this, we will be considering their fight records, style of fighting, drawing power, tenure in the UFC, and whether they were ever caught taking PED.
Honorary Mentions: Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort.
If you disagree with any of the UFC ranking please sound off in the comments below!
Without any further ado let's get into it. Here are the top ten fighters of the past 25 years in the UFC.
#10 Jon Jones
A fighter who would have been much higher on this list if it were not for his unfortunate history involving performance-enhancing drugs, Jon Jones is still one of the fighters who are yet to be properly defeated in his time with the UFC or even outside.
The one loss which acts as a blemish on his otherwise perfect record was one of the most controversial referee decisions due to a disqualification for strikes.
The attacking capabilities of this fighter do not really leave much space open for doubt. His style leaves all of his opponents scrambling for a way to get back into the fight, or to even secure a foothold while facing him.
Jones is now set to see if he can extend his record even further, facing Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232.
#9 Matt Hughes
A fighter who is often overlooked when looking back at the best of all time in UFC, Matt Hughes did it all during his time in the UFC.
Not only was he a two-time UFC Welterweight Champion, his success and influence which fighting was such, that his opponents were often left open-mouthed while the master plied his craft.
He was quite justifiably inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in May of 2010 during the UFC fan expo. Not only a feature in one Hall of Fame, but he is also an inductee of the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
Hughes’ separate runs in the Ultimate Fighting Championship saw him have two incredible and separate six-fight winning streaks, something which is quite an achievement for any fighter.
He defeated all the available opposition in the welterweight division and then went on to defend the belt a then-record seven times, a record which was broken by a later member on this list.
#8 Khabib Nurmagomedov
There's a reason that Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently one of the most popular fighters in the world.
Currently, on a 13 fight winning streak in the UFC Khabib has become the face of the UFC Lightweight Division. After an extremely controversial UFC 229, where Nurmagomedov secured a victory over Conor McGregor.
There is no doubt right now that Khabib is possibly one of the most accomplished fighters on the mat, and he has managed a 27-0 record in his career, something which is incredible by anyone's standards.
His infrequency between fights is one of the reasons that he is not higher up on this list, having fought in only 5 fights in the last 5 years.
It will be interesting to see who is next for Khabib when he finally comes back to the UFC following the Nevada Athletic Commission hearing this month.
#7 Ronda Rousey
Although Ronda Rousey's exit from the sport of MMA and entry into the world of professional wrestling in WWE, left a bitter taste in the mouths of UFC fans all over the world, prior to her back-to-back losses, Ronda Rousey was considered to be one of the all-time greats in the world.
She left an indelible mark for what she did in the Women's Division in UFC. She acted as a trailblazer in UFC, creating a path for many more women to follow. In fact, many lay the now burgeoning UFC Women's Divisions squarely at her feet.
She had a 12-fight win streak beating the likes of top women in MMA like Cat Zingano and Miesha Tate, before finally losing to Holly Holm and later Amanda Nunes.
While her time in the UFC may be over, what can never be forgotten is the impact she created in the division, something which was felt the world over.
#6 Demetrious Johnson
Another recent fighter on this list, 'Mighty Mouse' Demetrious Johnson is perhaps one of the most overlooked talents in the UFC in recent time.
Talking of people who single-handedly ran an entire division, one has to look no further than Demetrious Johnson for exactly that. The face of the UFC Flyweight Division during his run with the company, Johnson was synonymous with the Flyweight Title.
With a 13-fight win streak since going to Flyweight, Johnson defended the UFC Flyweight Title a record 12 times. He eventually lost the title to Henry Cejudo in his 13th fight for the belt.
He was recently traded from the UFC in favour of Ben Askren and is now fighting in One Championship instead. While the move was made as a signal of UFC closing down the Flyweight Division, it's one which was surprising nonetheless given the immense impact Johnson had during his run with the UFC.
#5 BJ Penn
A fighter with an incredible history behind him, there is a tendency to call BJ Penn overrated. A fighter who was known for fighting out of his weight-division, there is a reason that he is often referred to as the best fighter to have ever walked into the Octagon.
With an unnatural knack for winning fights outside his natural weight class, BJ Penn has always been a divisive topic, not the least for his 16-9-2 career record.
Given the fact that the man is even now considering a comeback, something has to be said about his ability to fight. He was 2nd-ever fighter to be a multi-divisional Champion in the UFC, with wins against Matt Hughes for the Welterweight Title and win against Joe Stevenson for the Lightweight Title handing him this particular distinction.
With incredible feuds against the likes of Matt Hughes in his career, BJ Penn is a fighter who can never be overlooked when ranking the best UFC fighters ever.
#4 Conor McGregor
A name on such a list which is sure to bring its share of detractors, there is a reason that Conor McGregor is an all-time great fighter in the UFC.
Often known only for his foul-mouthed approach at psyching out his opponents before actual fights, Conor McGregor was handed a lesson by another person who deserves an honorary mention on this list, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
So why include him on this list?
The fact is that Conor McGregor has won his share of important UFC fights in the most incredible manner possible. In fact, such has been the impact of his run in the fight promotion, McGregor might be single-handedly responsible for shooting UFC to the stars in term of popularity.
McGregor will always have his share of detractors, but at this point, it is safe to say the McGregor knows how to draw in a crowd. Love him or hate him, if Conor McGregor is fighting, that is something you will be watching if you are a fan of the UFC.
#3 Randy Couture
Sometimes, what Mixed Martial Arts fans forget, is that the fight sport is about much more than records. Fighters fight against greats and sometimes they win while other times, they are not so lucky.
Randy Couture is just such a fighter in the UFC. While his ability in the Octagon is not something that's even possible to dispute, Randy Couture has shown again and again that he is a fighter capable of making memories inside the Octagon which is often about more than just a record.
He was the first fighter ever to become a multi-divisional Champion. He won the Light Heavyweight Title on two separate occasions and also won the Heavyweight Title on three occasions.
However, his last title victory which came at age 43, when he took on a top-form Tim Sylvia is something which can never be ignored. In one of the most shocking victories of all time, he overcame all odds to defeat Sylvia and pick up the Heavyweight Title.
#2 Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva is considered far and wide to be the best UFC Fighter of all time.
Throughout his career, he spent his free time in breaking record after record. Be it most consecutive wins, most title defences, most knockdowns, most finishes, he has held all of these records at one point or other.
In fact, he still holds a few of them.
Throughout his career, he has fought in long fights, in short fights, and even with broken ribs on an occasion. His legend is unparalleled. What he has done in the Octagon, no one has come even close to doing. For this reason, the fact that he is number 2 on this list must be puzzling right?
The only reason he is number 2 and not the 1st one, is because of what he did outside the Octagon. Taking performance-enhancing drugs has cost him a lot in the last few years, and is something that has to be frowned upon considering his position in the world of MMA.
Now that he is set to make a comeback, the time has come to put the past in the past, and let him put on a show that every MMA fan will be looking forward to when he takes on Israel Adesanya.
#1 Georges St-Pierre
Georges St-Pierre remains the best, most well-rounded fighter to have ever stepped into the Octagon. What he has achieved throughout his career is nothing to turn your nose up at. Given the fact that he has done it all in the UFC and is still fighting is something to take note of.
He has had a history of winning fights by all methods, something which is commendable in and of itself. Be it the incredible knockout of Matt Hughes in their second fight, submission of Frank Trigg or riding out the entire fight and being dominant during his fight with Nick Diaz.
Currently, at 13 wins, which is one of the longest winning streaks in the history of the UFC, his contribution to the sport by being a consistent fighter is something which remains undeniable.
If there is one person who deserves to be at the top of this list while ranking the best UFC Fighters ever, it is none other than GSP himself.