With over 37 million active YouTube channels online, video content creation continues to grow in popularity. UFC fighters are certainly no strangers to making this addictive media.
As any fighter in the UFC will know, it’s important to make a good impression when the cameras are rolling, both inside and outside of the octagon. A compelling backstory told with charisma can sometimes be more career-boosting than a win. The ‘rags to riches’ fairy tale is a particular fan favorite.
Prior to the ubiquity of YouTube, fighters were at the behest of the UFC in terms of promotional video output. If, for whatever reason, you lost air time, there wasn’t much you could do about it.
However, since YouTube was monetized in 2008, it has allowed creators to tell their own stories - and make money doing so. This has not only provided an alternative platform (and income) for UFC fighters, but also created the potential to earn a living after they leave the fight game. On that note, let’s look at five of the best YouTube channels belonging to UFC fighters.
5. Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone
Although Donald Cerrone has recently experienced a rough couple of years inside the octagon, Cowboy still holds the notable records of most wins (23) and most finishes (16) in UFC history. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he has also been very active with his extra-curricular activities.
Cerrone opened his BMF Ranch in 2014, establishing an MMA gym at his property in Edgewood, New Mexico, to lower his training camp costs by hosting his training partners at the estate. The ingenious financial decision was bolstered by the launch of his YouTube channel in 2015.
Viewers were invited into Cowboy’s world, to see the life of a UFC fighter in and out of camp. The BMF Ranch videos also go beyond the world of fighting, as episodes can feature a variety of activities including racing, wake boarding, mountain biking, shooting, scuba diving, wake surfing, or skydiving. Either way, Cerrone promises it’ll be “a damn good time”.
Damn good time or not, it has been enough to earn the support of over 73K subscribers.
4. Sean O’Malley
The youngest entry on this list, at the tender age of 26, ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley has had a meteoric rise in the UFC. A stunning knockout against Alfred Khashakyan during Dana White’s ‘Contender Series’ earned him a UFC contract in 2017. Since then he has five wins and one loss to his name.
O’Malley’s approach to YouTube is perhaps the most tech-savvy for a UFC fighter. Rather than just post a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at his training, he has focused on the phenomenon of live video game streaming to gain a following. With the help of Twitch, fans feel more connected to him because they literally can be - all they have to do is challenge him inside the world of Fortnite! A very clever move on his part, and he also has a regular podcast with his coach Tim Welch thrown in for good measure.
If Sean O’Malley proves to be one of the best bantamweights out there, then he may one day run out of worthy opponents inside the octagon. However, with over 195K subscribers online, he will never be short of a virtual matchup.
3. Max Holloway
The charismatic self-proclaimed “best boxer in the UFC”, Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway has been in some incredible fights since his UFC debut in 2012. The Hawaiian can boast wins over the likes of Jose Aldo, Anthony Pettis, Charles Oliveira, Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega.
A combination of his amazing performances mixed in with his laid-back attitude to life has endeared him to many fight fans worldwide. When he skated past Conor McGregor during a recent interview on Fight Island, he was coolness personified.
In a similar fashion to Sean O’Malley, Holloway has fully embraced the YouTube world. His channel features gaming, but also everyday life, food diaries and, of course, training videos. When at his most entertaining, Holloway is hilarious. The ‘All Maxcess’ videos are a particular highlight. It is easy to understand how he has obtained over 205K subscribers in under two years.
2. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson
Prior to his UFC debut in 2012, Stephen Thompson had amassed an astonishing kickboxing record of 57 wins and no losses. There are no prizes for guessing how he got the name Wonderboy. Under the guidance of none other than Georges St-Pierre, Thompson then made the full transition to MMA and has since beaten Vicente Luque, Robert Whittaker, Rory MacDonald and Jorge Masvidal.
Wonderboy has always remained popular amongst UFC fans over the years, even through a controversial decision in the first Tyron Woodley fight and three losses (one of those to Woodley). He is a very likable character, who has always shown maximum respect for his opponents and the sport of mixed martial arts.
Thompson’s charm shines through on his YouTube channel. The channel started off as a "day in the life" vlog, but quickly evolved into a martial arts lesson series. "Technique Tuesday" has premiered every Tuesday for over a year and is the perfect masterclass for any budding martial artist. This unique approach to sharing his knowledge, plus videos where he reacts to watching himself taking pain in past fights, are reasons why he has nearly 300K subscribers in such a short space of time.
1. Jorge Masvidal
If you had been working your way up the ranks in the UFC for six years but wanted to speed up the process, perhaps knocking out your opponent within five seconds would help. It definitely helped ‘Gamebred’ Jorge Masvidal in 2019 when he KO’d Ben Askren with a flying knee before you could count all of your fingers.
It became - and remains - the fastest knockout in UFC history. Masvidal has since gone on to beat Nate Diaz for the BMF (baddest motherf***er) belt, and even managed five rounds with pound-for-pound king Kamaru Usman, a fight he took at short notice.
The foundation of Gamebred’s fighting style was made on the hard streets of Miami, in amateur backyard competitions, rubbing shoulders with the likes of the late Kimbo Slice (who briefly featured in the UFC himself).
Masvidal’s YouTube channel features old clips from his backyard fighting days, which are thrilling to watch. It feels like fighting in its purest form. However, it is the documentary series "The Diaries of a Street Fighter" that makes his channel stand out from the rest. This is a collaboration with Isaac Kesington (Genghis Con Films), which seamlessly combines both the past and the present realities of Masvidal’s fighting life.
The channel makes Masvidal seem like a real-life Grand Theft Auto character, and it’s very believable that he could be. A staggering 780K subscribers are now on board.