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Top 15 MMA Fighters Of All Time

For years, the sport of mixed martial arts was blackballed from television and was even called “human cockfighting” by United States Senator John McCain. This was a terrible time to be a fan of the sport and to be a fighter. This was in a time where there were no rules in the sport, which led to some vicious fights that featured legal blows to the genitals, eye gouging, and just about anything else you could imagine. When Dana White was able to convince Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta to get into business with him and purchase the Ultimate Fighting Championship, everything changed.

By instituting rules and working with the local athletic commissions, the UFC was at the helm of the rise of MMA in the United States and around the world. While the UFC is the biggest and most known fight organization in the world today, that wasn’t always the case. There were promotions like K-1, PRIDE and Strikeforce, that allowed new stars to be born. Many of the fighters from these organizations would go on to fight in the UFC where some of them excelled and others struggled.

The fighters that were able to excel in the UFC after successful stints elsewhere got a leg up on the competition because of their experience level. In the sport, there have been so many talented and quality fighters that have had their time as the top guy. Some of these fighters have had a brief stint at the top of their division, but not all have been called the pound for pound best fighters in the world. In the annals of MMA history, who are the 15 greatest fighters of all time?

15 Kazushi Sakuraba

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14 B.J. Penn

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13 Frank Shamrock

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12 Chuck Liddell

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11 Jon Jones

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10 Dan Henderson

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9 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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8 Bas Rutten

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7 Randy Couture

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6 Wanderlei Silva

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5 Matt Hughes

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4 Royce Gracie

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3 Georges St-Pierre

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2 Fedor Emelianenko

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1 Anderson Silva

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When Anderson Silva entered the Octagon for the first time, he was the underdog against Chris Leben. Forty-nine seconds into the fight, Silva had become the No. 1 contender for the UFC Middleweight title. As most say, the rest is history. Silva’s career in the UFC has been filled with many highs (comeback win against Chael Sonnen, beating Rich Franklin to win the title, submitting Dan Henderson) and lows (miserable performances against Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, and Demian Maia). In spite of it all, Silva was the man in the division from October 2006 until July 2013 and overall had a 17-fight winning streak going before Chris Weidman pulled of the upset. He then broke his leg in a horrific way in his rematch against Weidman, but will fight again.

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Top 15 MMA Fighters Of All Time