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The 10 most popular fighters in UFC history

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless

UFC 217: Bisping v St-Pierre
UFC 217: Bisping v St-Pierre

The UFC has been around for 25 years this month, and over those two-and-a-half decades the world’s biggest MMA promotion has seen some massively popular fighters enter its legendary Octagon. But who are the most popular UFC fighters of all time?

Thoughts instantly turn to the likes of Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones – fighters who’ve drawn millions on pay-per-view – but then again, many fans despised those fighters as much as loved them, and paid money to see them lose rather than to win. And so they don’t make it onto this list.

Instead, the following 10 fighters were practically universally loved by the UFC fanbase – be it for their infectious personalities, wild fighting style, sheer respect, or a mix of all three. These are the 10 most popular fighters in UFC history.

#10: Max Holloway

Max Holloway has risen in popularity over recent years
Max Holloway has risen in popularity over recent years

A fighter who probably hasn’t even reached his prime yet, current UFC Featherweight champion Max Holloway has followed in the footsteps of the legendary BJ Penn by becoming a Hawaiian UFC titleholder. Unlike Penn however – who was often happy to play the villain – Holloway is pretty much universally loved.

‘Blessed’, unsurprisingly for such a young fighter at just 26 years old, comes off like a laid-back dude who simply wants to have fun. And yet inside the cage he brings a brand of violence that even in the world of the UFC is rare. Holloway embodies the old Hawaiian saying “just scrap”. He’s more than willing to take two shots to give a harder one back, and he’s even outright asked his opponent for a shootout in more than one of his UFC fights.

This combination of personality and wild fighting style have combined to make Holloway one of the most beloved UFC fighters of the modern era. If he can make some title defences and really cement his legacy, he might well become even more of an Hawaiian legend than Penn.

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