Since the UFC first emerged in 1993, many highly-talented athletes have stepped into the octagon, but who are the greatest to have ever competed?
It’s a source of endless debate and if you asked 10 people you’d probably get a different list from each.
That’s due to the make-up of the sport with fans often having a preference for certain styles.
Whether you’re a striking fan, a jiu-jitsu advocate or an admirer of wrestling, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Amanda Nunes – 21-5
Nunes is widely regarded as the greatest woman of all time (GWOAT) and you’ll find few who will be able to make a logical argument against that tag.
The Brazilian’s career started with a loss in 2008 but she quickly bounced back to enjoy a six-fight winning streak.
Her UFC debut came in 2013 when Nunes earned a TKO win over Sheila Gaff just 2 minutes and eight seconds into round one.
The Lioness won the UFC Women’s Bantamweight belt courtesy of a submission victory over Miesha Tate in 2016, before becoming a two-weight champion after claiming the Featherweight strap two years later.
She made five successful defences of her Bantamweight belt before losing to Julianna Pena last time out, while she remains in control of the Featherweight gold after defeating challengers Felicia Spencer and Megan Anderson.
Demetrious Johnson – 30-4-1
Johnson joined the UFC in 2011 with a 12-1 record and after winning his first two fights with the company he earned a shot at the Bantamweight title.
Mighty Mouse suffered a unanimous decision loss to Dominck Cruz, but glory wasn’t too far down the line.
The American won the Flyweight belt at UFC 152 in 2012 and he went on to break the record for the most successful defences, retaining his championship status on 11 occasions.
He lost the belt to Henry Cejudo six years after becoming the champion and left the UFC to compete in the ONE Championship before retiring in 2021.
Khabib Nurmagomedov – 29-0
Khabib reinvented the game when he joined the UFC in 2012 with a 16-0 record, He moved to 25-0 by utilising his dominant wrestling skills and was subsequently handed the chance to compete for the vacant Lightweight title.
After beating Al Iaquinta for the belt at UFC 223, Khabib defeated Conor McGregor and went on to defend against Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.
Following the death of his father and trainer, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khabib announced his retirement with a perfect record after his bout with Gaethje.
He has been tipped to return to the octagon on many occasions but he’s quickly transitioned into a top trainer and launched Eagle FC, suggesting he has no intention of competing again.
Jon Jones – 26-1, 1 NC
Jones won the Light Heavyweight belt aged just 23 and he made seven successful defences before being stripped of the strap for breaching the UFC’s Athlete Code of Conduct policy.
A controversial three-year period followed for the extremely talented American, which saw him win the Light Heavyweight title twice in successive fights, however, he had to relinquish the belt on both occasions after testing positive for a banned substance.
He returned to cleanly reclaim the gold in 2018 and made three further defences, culminating in a victory over Dominick Reyes in 2020.
‘Bones’ hasn’t been seen since, as he battles with demons outside of the sport, but he’s confirmed a desire to return to the UFC to take a run at the Heavyweight division.
Anderson Silva – 34-11, 1 NC
Silva boasted one of the most unique fighting styles and he set numerous records for offensive striking in the UFC.
Few could cope with his awkward rangy attacks and his ability to dodge shots coming back in the other direction.
‘The Spider’ would taunt his rivals with his hands down by his side before launching into devastating action.
He defended the Middleweight title on 10 occasions and holds the record for the longest title reign in UFC history – 2,457 days.
The Brazilian, now aged 46, left the UFC in November 2020 and returned to boxing with victories over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Tito Ortiz last year.