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Top 15 Submission Artists in MMA

Before Royce Gracie won the first UFC event, most people outside of Brazil had very little knowledge of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and of submission fighting in general. Of course we still had Judo and submission wrestling, but the ground games of these martial arts were not nearly as evolved as that of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. After Royce Gracie's spectacular performance, people around the world picked up the art of Jiu-Jitsu. Now, there are hundreds of Jiu-Jitsu black belts of every continent, and every single MMA fighter has to train in the art in order to stay relevant in the competition.

In an MMA bout, a submission occurs when a fighter is trapped and is unable to escape from a choke hold or is at risk of being hurt from a joint lock, be it at the arm, shoulder, knee, or foot level. Fighters have the choice to tap out, forcing their opponent to let go of the submission. If they chose not to do so, they run the risk of going to sleep from a choke hold, or getting seriously hurt and being forced out of competition for several months. A great submission game can also be used simply to keep control of your opponent on the ground, pinning him down and assuming the dominant position, which often results in dominating decision victories.

Although UFC president Dana White prefers striking bloodbaths over a clean submission, many fighters rely heavily on their ground game to secure their victories. Some even go as far as pulling guard in MMA bouts, something that most fighters would never even consider. All fighters train Jiu-Jitsu in order to compete, but some clearly more than others. Here is a list of the best submission artist not only in the UFC, but in all of the sport of MMA:

15 Frank Mir

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

14 Joe Lauzon

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

13 Jake Shields

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

12 Fedor Emilianenko

via mmanouvelles.com

11 Ryan Hall

via sherdog.com

10 B.J. Penn

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

9 Nick Diaz

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

8 Roger Gracie

via graciemag.com

7 Demian Maia

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

6 The Nogueira Brothers

via bjpenn.com

5 Rousimar Palhares

via isportsweb.com

4 Ronda Rousey

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

3 Ronaldo Souza

via sherdog.com

2 Fabricio Werdum

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

1 Shinya Aoki

via fightingwords.com

Though he is not the most humble or respectful man in the world, Aoki's Jiu-Jitsu is unmatched. This fighter has 25 submissions to his record, including twisters, neck cranks, gogoplatas, flying triangles, and standing arm bars. His game is extremely hard to predict and counter, and Shinya is ALWAYS attacking, no matter where he is. Aoki's six losses have come either by KO or by decision: this should give you an idea for a game plan if you ever, for some reason, decide to fight this Japanese submission artist.

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Top 15 Submission Artists in MMA