MMA has been a professional sport for over 30 years now, but who are the all time greats?
MMA is one of the most exciting sports in the world to watch. Once that first bell goes, it’s almost impossible to take your eyes off the Octagon. However, with fights being so infrequent in the world of MMA, it can sometimes be hard to work out who really is the best.
If you want to know the answer, keep reading.
MMA stands for mixed martial arts and is a full contact fighting sport. The sport was first invented in the mid 19th century and was inspired by the sport of BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu).
MMA combines multiple fighting styles, including wrestling, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, boxing, Taekwondo, and Karate. MMA fighters are not limited to one type of fighting style, however, kickboxers do traditionally do best in the sport.
The sport is played inside a caged ring called the Octagon. 3 rounds, each 5 minutes long are played unless one of the fighters submits. In title matches, there are 5 5-minute rounds.
Ronda Rousey was the first female fighter to join the UFC. The UFC is the biggest MMA fighting company in the world. They did not allow women to fight until 2012 and Rousey was the first female fighter they signed.
She was the first winner of the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. She holds the record for the longest female defense of a title. She was also the first woman to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
At the time of her leaving the UFC, her fighting record was 14-2. One of her losses was at the hand of one of the other people on this list.
Jon Jones became the youngest person ever to hold a UFC title at the age of 24 when he won the Light Heavyweight Championship title. He has since held the title twice and has set or broken nearly every record in the Light Heavyweight Division – including most wins, most title defenses, longest win streak, and most submission victories.
Jones’ professional record currently stands at 27-1. His only career loss is not recognized as a loss by many of the higher-up members of the UFC team, including CEO Dana White.
Jones is currently fighting in the Heavyweight Division as he aims to be one of the few people to win titles in multiple weight classes.
McGregor could earn a place on this list just for the recognition that he has brought to the sport and the UFC during his career. McGregor is responsible for and took part in 6 out of 7 of the top pay-per-view events the UFC has held. He has a worldwide following.
Why do so many people like to watch McGregor fight? Well, because he’s one of the best at it. McGregor is currently 22-6 in his UFC career. However, he has broken many records, including being the first man to hold two titles in two different weight classes simultaneously. He was the UFC featherweight and lightweight double-champion. He won titles in both weight classes for Caged Warriors before he joined the UFC.
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Coming in at number 2 on our list is Georges St. Pierre. Pierre was one of the first fighters to win titles in two different divisions – he won in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions.
Pierre retired in 2019 with a record of 28-2. When he retired he was tied for most fight victories and longest winning streak in the UFC.
Pierre originally retired in 2016 but returned to the UFC for four more fights. It was believed to be a multi-million dollar deal for Pierre.
Our choice for all-time greatest MMA fighter is Amanda Nunes. Like Rousey, Amanda Nunes broke records and glass ceilings during her fighting career. Nunes was the first openly gay UFC fighter and is married to another female MMA fighter.
Nunes is the reigning champion of the women’s Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions but is taking time out as her wife has just had a child.
Nune’s nickname is the Lioness because of the passion she fights with. In her first-ever fight, Nunes knocked her opponent out in 14 seconds.
Nunes currently has a 21-4 fighting record, with many of those losses coming early in her career. The fact that Nunes has been able to do 25 fights as a female fighter is a testament to her fighting prowess, as female fighters find it harder to book events.
She has done all of this and she hasn’t even retired yet!
Featured image by Andrius Petrucenia