The 10 Most Dangerous Fighters in MMA History

10. Wanderlei Silva “The Axe Murderer”

Wanderlei Silva Best MMA Fighter Versabilitywanderlei silva best ufc fighter versability

Wins: 35 (25 KO, 3 Tapout, 7 Decision)  Losses: 12  Draws: 1  No Contest: 1
Championships: Pride, IVC
Class: Middleweight
Styles: Muay Thai, Judu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Country: Brazil
Notable Wins: Quinton Jackson (x2), Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson
Best Fight: Pride 13 vs Sakuraba

Wanderlei Silva never really caught fire in his later UFC career, but during his prime in Pride, he was an unstoppable force, driving opponents to the ground with deadly Muay Thai knees and takedowns. Silva is responsible for stopping the momentum of some of MMA’s most legendary fighters, including Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Kazushi Sakuraba, who he defeated to obtain the Pride Middleweight Championship belt.

9. BJ Penn “The Prodigy”

BJ-Penn-best MMA Fighter in HistoryBJ Penn Best UFC Fighter Versability

Wins: 16 (7 KO, 6 Tapout, 3 Decision)  Losses: 10  Draws: 2 
Championships: UFC Lightweight/Welterweight
Class: Featherweight/ Welterweight/ Lightweight/       Middleweight
Styles: Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Country: United States
Notable Wins: Matt Hughes (x2), Renzo Gracie, Diego Sanchez
Best Fight: UFC 46 vs Hughes

BJ Penn is one of the most technically sound fighters to ever grace the UFC octagon. He’s so at ease with the sport that his training montages often showed him surfing, jogging on the beach, and enjoying his native Hawaiian landscape while his opponents trained in Crossfit and Gold gyms around the world. BJ Penn has only bled once, and is best known for dethroning corn-fed farmboy Matt Hughes for the Welterweight championship.

8. Chuck Liddell “The Iceman”

Chuck Liddell Best UFC FighterChuck Liddell Best MMA Fighter

Wins: 21 (13 KO, 1 Tapout, 7 Decision)  Losses: 8  Draws: 1  
Championships: UFC, IFC, WKA, 
Class: Light Heavyweight
Styles: Kenpo Karate, Koei-Kan Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Kickboxing
Country: United States
Notable Wins: Wanderlei Silva, Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort
Best Fight: UFC 79 vs Silva

Called The Iceman for a reason, nobody throws a meaner punch than Chuck Liddell. This light heavyweight superstar has fought his entire life and dominated the UFC with his striking, wrestling, and ground-and-pound tactics. Though fights with Ortiz and Couture were the biggest draws of their day, it was his win over Wanderlei Silva that remains the dream match-up of MMA fans in the Americas.

7. Jon Jones “Bones”

Jon Jones Best MMA Fighter VersabilityJon Bones Jones Best MMA Fighter

Wins: 21 (9 KO, 6 Tapout, 6 Decision)  Losses: 1 
Championships: UFC Light Heavyweight
Class: Light Heavyweight
Styles: Gaidojutsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Country: United States
Notable Wins: Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Mauricio Rua
Best Fight: UFC 140 vs Machida

Few fighters have taken the MMA world by storm like Jon “Bones” Jones. After battling his way through the Light Heavyweight ranks of the UFC, he’s quickly becoming one of the most legendary champions on record. This is despite his current record as youngest UFC champion and longest Light Heavyweight championship defense. Whether on the ground, in the air, or while seated, Jones will get in your head and annihilate you.

6. Randy Couture “The Natural”

Randy Couture Best Cage Fighter Versability

Randy Couture Best MMA Fighter Versability

Wins: 19 (7 KO, 4 Tapout, 8 Decision)  Losses: 11
Championships: UFC Heavyweight (x3), Light Heavyweight (x2), Wrestling
Class: Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight
Styles: Wrestling, Greco-Roman Wrestling, Boxing
Country: United States
Notable Wins: Vitor Belfort, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz
Best Fight: UFC 43 vs Liddell

Sporting an iron jaw bred in the woods of Oregon, Randy Couture is a legendary wrestler who was introduced to MMA by UFC OG (or early adopter, anyway) Don Frye. A throwback to the days of Captain America and Hulk Hogan, Couture’s sparkling Hollywood personality overshadows the brutal precision of his takedown defense, ground game, and punching power. The Natural is one of the UFC Hall of Fame’s most deserving members.

5. Royce Gracie

Royce Gracie Best MMA Fighter VersabilityRoyce Gracie Best UFC Fighter Versability

Wins: 14 (0 KO, 12 Tapout, 2 Decision)  Losses: 2  Draws: 3 
Championships: UFC
Class: Catchweight, Welterweight
Styles:  Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Country: Brazil
Notable Wins: Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Kazushi Sakuraba, 
Best Fight: K-1 Dynamite! vs Akebono Taro

The reason MMA is as popular as it is today, Royce Gracie is a master of his family’s Brazilian-based Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Royce won three of the first four UFC tournaments before headlining the events in grudge matches. It wasn’t until Sakuraba in PRIDE that Gracie finally met defeat, but he avenged that loss after taking down sumo Yokozuna Akebono Taro and being robbed in a fight against UFC’s at-the-time golden boy, Matt Hughes. Still Gracie’s style of Jiu-Jitsu lives on in a variety of fighters, and is still taught to U.S. Army soldiers in Basic Combat Training to this day.

4. Lyoto Machida “The Dragon”Machida Kick Best UFC Fighter Versabliity

Lyoto Machida Ryu Best MMA Fighter Versability

Wins: 22 (9 KO, 2 Tapout, 11 Decision)  Losses: 5  
Championships: UFC
Class: Light Heavyweight/Middleweight
Styles: Shotokan Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sum, Muay Thai, Wrestling
Country: Brazil
Notable Wins: BJ Penn, Rashad Evans, Randy Couture
Best Fight: UFC 98 vs Evans

Few fighters have made the impact Lyoto Machida has. After Royce Gracie came a slew of wrestlers and ground-and-pounders, relying on brute force and a generic MMA style to rack up wins. Suddenly Machida appeared on the undercards, wowing fans with a display of pure karate mixed into his standing game, and a solid ground game on top of it. Machida quickly rose through the ranks, dethroning Ultimate Fighter Rashad Evans for the championship before dropping it to Shogun Rua. Still Machida’s unorthodox style remains a force to be reckoned with in the UFC and throughout the MMA leagues.

3. Anderson Silva “The Spider”

Anderson Silva Best MMA Fighter VersabilityAnderson Silva Best UFC Fighter Versabliity

Wins: 34 (20 KO, 6 Tapout, 8 Decision)  Losses: 6
Championships: Cage Rage, Shooto, UFC, Pride FC, 
Class: Middleweight/Light Heavyweight
Styles: Boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, Taekwondo, Capoeira
Country: Brazil
Notable Wins: Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, 
Best Fight: UFC 148 vs Chael Sonnen

Not only is Anderson Silva the longest reigning champion in UFC history, he’s also a bit of a clown in the ring, likely inspiring Bones Jones’ antics. There’s no denying the skill behind the smiles, though, as Silva took apart everyone in the UFC’s Middleweight division. A broken leg on live TV and rumors of steroid usage during recovery held The Spider back recently, but don’t expect Anderson Silva to be missing from the octagon long.

2. Georges St. Pierre “Rush”

Georges st Pierre Best MMA Fighters VersabilityGSP best MMA Fighter Versabliity

Wins: 25 (8 KO, 5 Tapout, 12 Decision)  Losses: 2 
Championships: UFC (x3)
Class: Welterweight
Styles: Kyokushin Kaikan, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Gaidojutsu, Shidokan
Country: Canada
Notable Wins: BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, Nick Diaz, Karo Parisyan
Best Fight: UFC 65 vs Hughes

GSP is one of the most technical fighters to ever enter the UFC cage. Only suffering two losses (both of which, he avenged) St. Pierre turned out to be the best Canadian export in sports, confidently retiring with a record that shines in the UFC Hall of Fame. Watching GSP dismantle some of the sports best fighters remains a pleasure to this day. One can only hope we’ll see GSP go the Jay-Z route to come out of retirement for another dream bout.

1. Fedor Emelianenko “The Last Emperor”

Fedor Emelianenko Best MMA Fighterfedor_emelianenko_best MMA Fighter Versability

Wins: 34 (10 KO, 16 Tapout, 8 Decision)  Losses: 3  No Contest: 1
Class: Heavyweight
Styles: Sambo, Judo
Country: Russia
Notable Wins: Mark Coleman, Mirko Filipovic, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Best Fight: PRIDE Final Conflict vs Filipovic

You’ll often hear the term “pound-for-pound” to describe the best fighter. This is because some guys are amazing fighters, but they’re competing in 140-lb weight classes. Fedor Emelianenko is a different case. He’s the best fighter in his weight class, which is the heaviest one. This man showed the type of technique, speed, and skill the little guys mentioned above have, but backed by unmatched strength. Though we never got to see him demolish Brock Lesnar, we all know it would’ve gone down, because Fedor Emelianenko is the undisputed king of MMA. Watch out, Putin, cause he’s interested in politics now!

Brian Penny versability whistleblower anonymous white tie orange backgroundBrian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, freelance writer, and troll. Penny has been featured on Huffington Post, Lifehack, The Street, Cannabis Now, and Hardcore Games.


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

4 thoughts on “The 10 Most Dangerous Fighters in MMA History

  • August 19 at 8:14 am

    How was Royce Gracie ribbed against Matt Hughes. Hughes just killed him. It is actually kind of sad to watch because Royce was way past his prime. Had his arm bent backwards and head smashed in.

  • September 22 at 10:19 am

    Raule the slayer has record of 105 wins no loses should be top of list

  • October 27 at 12:43 pm

    Excellent list but you only included men in your list. Georges St. Pierre is my favorite fighter. Also share top fighters list about women.

  • April 11 at 4:25 am

    Love the list. Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture are my old school favorites. Jon Jones is simply one of the most athletic MMA fighters in the sport!


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