The 5 best UFC fighters from the USA
Despite the UFC being a US-based promotion, and the United States producing the majority of the UFC’s champions over the years, it’s interesting to note that the two fighters that most observers would say were the UFC’s best ever – Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva – came in from Canada and Brazil respectively. Discounting them, though? Only a fool would deny that the US has produced some of the absolute best UFC fighters of all time.
So many, in fact, that they’re quite hard to rank. Of the UFC’s current ten divisions, nine of the first-ever champions hailed from the USA. Of course, some stand out above the others, although there are clearly arguments to be made for multiple fighters. Here are my top five UFC fighters from the USA.
Tito Ortiz – The Huntington Beach Bad Boy was once the UFC’s biggest star and his PPV sales backed that up as he sold untouchable numbers for years during Zuffa’s early years. He also managed an impressive five successful defences of his Light-Heavyweight Title, but history hasn’t really been kind to his record and he lost a lot of fights on his way down, keeping him out of the top five.
Ronda Rousey – Just two years ago, Rowdy Ronda was seen as the sport’s most dominant champion, as she’d been destroying her opponents – ranked fighters like Cat Zingano and Sara McMann – in a matter of seconds to defend her Bantamweight Title. But her loss to Holly Holm knocked her off her perch, she took a year off only to be destroyed by Amanda Nunes, and at this point, she’s looking more and more like the female version of Royce Gracie – a pioneer in a developing area – than a female GSP or Anderson Silva.
Dominick Cruz – Cruz brought the Bantamweight Title over from the WEC where he’d already made two successful title defences, and in the UFC he defended against Urijah Faber and Demetrious Johnson before a litany of serious injuries sidelined him for the best part of three years and forced him to relinquish his title. He was able to use his unique style to recapture his title almost four years after giving it up but then lost it to Cody Garbrandt in a fight that seemed to indicate his prime years were over. Could’ve made the list had he been more active, though.
Frank Shamrock – The UFC’s first 205lbs champion, Shamrock was a man before his time – he could strike, grapple and wrestle and also had better cardio than all of his foes. He defended his title successfully on four occasions, even beating the much larger Tito Ortiz in a war of attrition. But he chose to retire in his prime and never returned to the UFC once it exploded in popularity, meaning he’s since been surpassed.