Counting down the 7 greatest UFC fighters of all time
The following list documents what I regard as the 7 greatest UFC fighters of all time from the company’s inception in 1993 to the present day.
I have considered the fighters’ UFC records only, not their wider Mixed Martial Arts results, which is why the likes of Wanderlei Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira do not appear on this list as their greatest successes came elsewhere, most notably in Pride Fighting Championships.
#7 Ronda Rousey (UFC record 6-2)
The current WWE superstar took UFC by storm when the company introduced its women’s division in 2012.
In Judo, Rousey won Olympic and World medals before making the jump to MMA and rising to prominence in the Strikeforce promotion before she became the first ever female fighter to be signed to a contract by UFC.
The first ever women’s match under the UFC banner took place on the 23rd February 2013, at UFC 157, in which Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche by submission after impressively escaping a standing neck crank.
Rousey’s next Bantamweight title defense took place at UFC 168 in December 2013 against her long-time rival Miesha Tate. Rousey survived numerous submission attempts by Tate before submitting her with an armbar in the third round.
From there, Rousey decimated her competition in increasingly impressive fashion, crushing Sara McMahon in 66 seconds at UFC 170, Alexis Davis in 16 seconds at UFC 175, Cat Zingano in 14 seconds at UFC 184 and Bethe Correira in 34 seconds at UFC 190. With the exception of Zingano who she submitted by armbar, the other fighters were defeated by devastating knockouts.
Rousey was regarded as unbeatable and after twelve straight MMA victories, it certainly appeared that way. However all good things must come to an end and Rousey was shockingly defeated by former boxer, Holly Holm by knockout. Holm had an answer for Rousey’s offense and displayed superior striking skills. Rousey was distraught by her loss and took a year away from the sport.
Unfortunately for Rousey, her much anticipated comeback on December 30th, 2016 also ended in defeat, versus Amanda Nunes. Rousey’s UFC career was at an end.
Despite the ignominy of her last two fights, Rousey was a pioneer for women in the sport and the first female figurehead for the UFC. She transcended the sport into the mainstream with movie and TV appearances. Rousey’s popular appeal led to her debuting with WWE in January 2018 where she has continued to impress as an athlete.