Top 10 Best Wrestlers in UFC of All-Time

Grappling and wrestling have become an important aspect of MMA as remotely comparable sports have evolved. Despite jiu-jitsu athletes ruling the UFC in the beginning, the tendency changed as fighters experimented with other traditional forms. Inside the octagon, wrestling and grappling are undoubtedly among the most mediocre fighting tactics to witness. They are, nevertheless, very effective at getting the opposition to tap out. For MMA competitors, wrestling may be the greatest martial art background. Six of the seven UFC male champs have wrestled in the past.

Wrestlers are so effective that they make up the majority of today’s best UFC fighters. We look at the finest MMA wrestlers on this list.

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

I think I just started our ranking with the best wrestler in the history of MMA. Few, if any, competitors can navigate the shark-infested seas of the UFC and remain undefeated. Even fewer make the trip to the UFC championship without losing a fight. In reality, only a few people have done it, and Khabib Nurmagomed is one of them. Within the Octagon, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov is an unstoppable force. 

If you watch any of Khabib’s fights, you’ll see that he has a distinct wrestling style that no one else has. Khabib uses a suffocating grip to pin his opponent against the cage before dragging the fight to the ground. The Eagle then uses a unique entanglement mechanism in which he hooks your limbs together and knocks on your head with his elbows and fists. It’s a terrible situation. From the inside of the cage, he fought 29 times. There have been 29 attempts, all of which have failed. Khabib has never lost in his professional career. 

He has only lost one round in his UFC career. He is the reigning UFC lightweight world champion, having successfully defended his belt three times. It’s unclear whether Khabib will return to the Octagon one more time to fulfil his father’s goal for a perfect 30-0. Nurmagomedov is the greatest ever ground and pound wrestler. It’ll only be a matter of time till his opponents are on his back and Khabib is on top of them. Nobody has sorted out how to uncover the secret of Khabib’s wrestling up to this point. Khabib is also the all-time leader of most knockdowns in single combat. This Russian wrestler is a ghoulish opponent in combats that are close-quartered, mastering Sambo and pankration.

Khabib’s has primary goal in the cage is to force his competitor to the cage until compelling them to submit. This one-of-a-kind style is still unmatched. Khabib is unbeaten with a 22-0 record, boasting several of the greatest takedowns in MMA history.

The legacy of ‘The Eagle’ was already etched in stone at that moment, but he’s since added to it with huge victories over Dustin Poirier and, most recently, Gaethje. He is without a doubt the greatest Lightweight in UFC history, and the fact that he retired at 29-0 never losing his belt makes him the first-greatest fighter in the organization.

Also read: Top 10 Bloodiest UFC Fights of All Time

2. Daniel Cormier

Wrestler Daniel “DC” Cormier has competed at the Olympic and NCAA Division I levels. He is now one of, if not the best, heavyweight wrestlers in the history of the sport. Only three times in his illustrious career did he come up short of a victory? Jon Jones, his fiercest opponent, provided two of them (technically one. Stipe Miocic, the current UFC heavyweight champion, has two.

Cormier is recognized for his short physique (just 5 ft 11 in) and his ability to reach great heights (only 72 and a half in). Considering his diminutive stature, he is among the best fighters of all time when it comes to controlling the tempo of the fight and applying pressure to his rivals. Daniel is really in the opponent’s head, leaving them no room to breathe, thanks to his exceptional cardio for a weight class. Daniel Cormier is set to retire after a career that has only seen him lose two times. His wrestling background is one of the key reasons for his success in the UFC. In the octagon, Cormier’s favorite technique was always grappling. It’s also why he’s such a fearsome opponent.

It was impossible to put Cormier in a lock because of his domination inside the ring. He is a highly proficient wrestler who can use his attacking ability to launch an attack at rivals equally as well. After his series match with Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier announced his retirement. He lost the match due to a judge’s ruling, and he was unable to reclaim the heavyweight title. However, DC retired as one of the all-time greats.

3. Jon Jones 

Jon Jones is largely considered to be the best mixed martial artist of all time. It’s difficult to ignore his greatness, regardless of how you feel about his out-of-the-cage difficulties. Many people overlook Jones’s status as a Junior College National Champion. Jones has performed many incredible exploits within the Octagon, yet wrestling is maybe his strongest skill. Jones’ most memorable victory was over professional wrestler Daniel Cormier, who he defeated using a combination of his skills in addition to getting DC down many times. “Bones” Jones is perhaps the greatest fighter to ever compete in the Octagon. He holds the record for being the youngest person to ever win the UFC title belt (at the age of just 23 years old). 

Jones is undefeated for his whole career (actually, he has one loss, against Matt Hamill, when he was excluded for 12-6 elbows in the fight where Jon was going to dominate completely). Jon, a young boy from Albuquerque, cleaned out the entire UFC Light Heavyweight division in his first reign as champion. He beat the top fighters and champs of the time, including Quinton Jackson, Shogun, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustaffson, and Daniel Cormier, in the process. He managed to defend the belt seven times. Jones, on the other hand, began to have issues in 2015. 

He was stripped of his championship after a series of scandals and illegal substance use, and he took a bit of time away from the Cage. He had been dealing with issues for decades, and when he returned in 2019, he swiftly reclaimed the UFC Light Heavyweight title, and in around a year, he began to clear the category once more. He had three title defences in his second run. Jon Jones has a virtually perfect record, having only lost once in his career due to a disqualification.

Although being implicated and eventually charged with using Performance Enhancing Drugs in the arena, his accomplishments remain impressive. Jones is the only fighter who has ever beaten Damier Cormier during a fight, aside from Stipe Miocic.

People continue to deny Jones’ status as the best of all time, even though no one in the UFC has a resume anything close to Jones’ (because of his actions outside of the Octagon). Jones stated that he will step up and fight in the UFC Heavyweight division shortly to clear that uncertainty as well.

Also read: Why Do UFC Fighters Have Weird Ears?

4. Georges St-Pierre

“Rush” Georges St-Pierre is a mixed martial artist from Canada. In and around the Cage, he is a true living legend. GSP is included both when discussing fan-favourite fighters and when discussing the finest to ever do it. Georges is widely recognized as one of the greatest MMA ground and pound fighters ever. GSP, a UFC legend, was a force to be reckoned with inside the octagon. “Rush” was an innovative wrestler in the UFC, having taken down every big fighter at the time, including Johny Hendricks, who was also the only guy to defeat him inside the ring.

GSP has retired from MMA due to injuries incurred in the fight with Hendricks. His plans to resume the sport are unknown at the moment. GSP is only the UFC’s fourth multi-divisional champion. He held the UFC Welterweight title for almost 2000 days and made nine title defences. He came out of retirement in 2017 to capture the UFC Middleweight Championship (against Michael Bisping). However, he was quickly relegated to the background. 

Georges is recognized for having a high IQ when it comes to fighting. He always determines where the fight will take place, thanks to his exceptional wrestling ability. In his case, it’s frequently on the ground. GSP sets the all-time UFC lead with most takedowns. He wrestles his competitors to the dirt, acquires a good position, but then just beats them up until he succeeds. Georges also has a 74 per cent knockdown efficiency, which is incredible.

GSP, a UFC legend, was a dominant player within the octagon. St. Pierre was able to dominate fighters that no one else had been able to win at the same level. He beat each top Welterweight there was to beat from 2004 to 2013, and he accomplished so with class and dignity. The race to be the UFC’s greatest-ever fighter is fierce, but no one can top St. Pierre.

GSP retired from MMA indefinitely due to injuries incurred in the fight with Hendricks. His plans to return to the sport are unknown at the moment.

5. Dominick Cruz

Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz is a legend in the UFC’s Bantamweight division. His brilliant career, however, has been marred by severe injuries. He kept fighting for the UFC Bantamweight title until 2011 after injuries forced him to pause his career. Cruz returned in 2016 to battle TJ Dillashaw, the reigning champion. Dominick reclaimed his championship via a close decision in what was widely regarded as the greatest comeback in MMA history. He lost his title to Cody Garbrandt after the year and retired from the sport for another four years owing to injury. In 2021, he returned to the Octagon and lost a title battle to Henry Cejudo.

Dominick is regarded for his tremendous wrestling skills, combat IQ, and cardio. Since he has a solid wrestling background, the 3.17 average takedowns per 15 minutes come as no surprise. Cruz is known for his unconventional mobility, strong wrestling base, fast striking, and ability to strike from angles in a way that no other UFC fighter does. In March 2010, he won the WEC bantamweight title, then in December of the same year, he won the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Championship.

Also read: What is Reach in UFC & How Is It Measured?

6. Colby Covington

NCAA Division I wrestler Colby “Chaos” Covington. Probably the most despised fighter in the UFC. During his first 9 UFC fights, he was slated to be released by the organization. They claimed that his bland personality and wrestling technique was not a good fit for the position. Colby soon recognized he needed to make a change. He is a previous Interim UFC Welterweight Champion and presently competes in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is currently ranked #1 in the UFC welterweight rankings as of June 2021.

He branded the entire country of Brazil “a bunch of filthy pigs” and “Brazil, you s–k” after his battle against Demian Maia in So Paulo, Brazil, where he completely overwhelmed Maia. After the post-fight interview went viral, everyone began to despise Covington. That meant one thing for the UFC: money. Colby was given a new deal, and Covington’s ascent to fame began. He soon managed to make the entire world despise him, insulting everybody in the meantime.

However, aside from his marketing technique, Colby is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC’s history. His heart and hypertension levels are at an all-time high. Colby averages 4.91 knockdowns per fifteen min, with a knockdown accuracy of 51%. The level of pressure and discipline he exerts on his rivals is remarkable. Colby has dominated most of his challengers, earning him a shot at the title against Usman. Even though he was defeated by TKO in the fifth round, the fight was a bloodbath. 

Covington set the UFC record for most strikes thrown in a single fight with an astonishing 541 strikes in his fight against Robbie Lawler.

7. Henry Cejudo

In freestyle wrestling, Henry won an Olympic gold medal. After going 6-0 on the regional circuit, he was signed by the UFC one year later.

Cejudo won his first UFC championship shot in just four fights, defeating Dustin Kimura, Chris Cariaso, Chico Camus, and Jussier Formiga, but it was probably too soon for him to challenge UFC Flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson. Cejudo was defeated by TKO in the first round, which was predictable.

Later in 2016, he reappeared as a much better fighter, exhibiting an exceptional attacking game to go along with his world-class wrestling. Also, following a contentious decision setback to Joseph Benavidez, he went on a tear, beating Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis to get a rematch with Johnson.

In 2018, he defeated Demetrious Johnson for his first UFC gold (flyweight division), ending his 11-year stint as champion (which is the longest title reign in UFC history). The next year, he defended his flyweight title against TJ Dillashaw, one of the best bantamweights of all time, beating him out in 32 sec. Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo, widely known as “Triple C,” is the very first man to win two UFC divisions (flyweight and bantamweight) while simultaneously winning an Olympic medal. 

Henry stepped it up to the UFC Bantamweight category later that same year, where he faced Marlon Moraes for the interim title. He TKO’d Moraes in the third round and became the fourth fighter to hold two UFC championships at the same time. With two UFC championship belts on his shoulders and an Olympic gold medal around his neck, he acquired the moniker “Triple Champion,” or “Triple C.”

The following year, “Triple C” defended his title against Dominick Cruz, one of the best bantamweights of all time. He retired after the victory, becoming one of the best and most awarded mixed martial arts athletes of all history.

Also read: How Much Do UFC Ring Girls Make?

8. Demetrious Johnson

Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson, the UFC Flyweight Champion from 2012 to 2018, was regarded as a pound-for-pound legend throughout his time in the organization. Johnson, who is leading the pack in the ONE FC Company in Singapore, still owns the record for one of the most successful UFC title defences with 11 and finished his UFC journey with a 15-2-1 record.

Johnson made his UFC debut as a bantamweight in 2011, defeating Japanese legend ‘Kid’ Yamamoto and previous WEC winner Miguel Torres until losing a title fight against the considerably larger Dominick Cruz. 

Despite his victories, Johnson was first criticized for being a bland fighter, but he quickly silenced his critics when he began to finish the majority of his competitors. In a rematch, he knocked out Henry Cejudo and Benavidez, and he submitted Kyoji Horiguchi, Ray Borg, and Wilson Reis, the last being the most recent submission in UFC history when Horiguchi was forced to tap with only a second left in the 5 round.

In 2018, Johnson was defeated in a rematch with Cejudo, however, it was a close match that might have changed the result. Following the defeat, ‘Mighty Mouse’ was unexpectedly dealt with ONE FC in exchange for their Welterweight champion Ben Askren, who was then transferred to the UFC. While Johnson rarely truly captivated the attention of new fans and the pay-per-view cards he headlined never really sold well, there’s no denying his ultimate greatness. In addition, the only reason ‘Mighty Mouse’ isn’t higher on our ranking is that even the Flyweight category didn’t have as much quality as other weight classes in the UFC.

9. Anderson Silva

If an article like this had been published in 2010, Anderson Silva would almost certainly have been ranked as the greatest UFC fighter of all time.

Silva had not only held the UFC Middleweight title for nearly eight years when he lost it to Chris Weidman in 2013, but he had also made 10 successful title defences, and had won an astonishing 16 UFC fights in a row.

After a stellar career in Japan and the United Kingdom, the Brazilian made his UFC debut in 2006 and created history by being the first fighter in the UFC to beat the strong Chris Leben. It was enough to earn him an opportunity just at the UFC Middleweight Championship, which he won by defeating champion Rich Franklin well before the end of his first year with the organisation.

Silva then proceeded to run irresponsibly over the whole 185-pound category. Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and Vitor Belfort were all easily dispatched frequently in unusual, imaginative ways, and that was hard to dispute the Brazilian’s status as the greatest fighter on the globe. 

A series of late-career failures wouldn’t typically be significant, but in a debate about overall excellence, those losses, along with two positive drug tests, must be considered. As a result, The Spider is still considered one of the top five greatest fighters in UFC history, but he is no longer the best.

Also read: How Much Is a UFC Belt Worth?

10. Usman Kamaru

The Nigerian Nightmare, Usman Kamaru is the world’s current UFC Welterweight titleholder. Usman won the entire five rounds of his title bout against former champion Tyron Woodley. Kamaru established an unbelievable tempo, and with his incredible wrestling skills, he put Tyron down quite effortlessly.

That is worth noting that, before that bout, Woodley had an incredible down defence (94 percent takedown defence), but Usman was still able to take him down whenever he wanted.

Usman is a Division II fighter in the NCAA. His wrestling skills have helped him attain recent UFC success. In a 15-min match, he scored 3.44 consecutive knockdowns, which is astounding. His knockdown efficiency is terrible, as he only misses half of his tries. When it comes to Usman having a takedown defence, he has a perfect score of 100 percent. No UFC fighter has ever succeeded in taking Usman out.

Against Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, and Gilbert Burns, “The Nigerian Nightmare” successfully defended his championship three times. When everything is said and gone, Usman may go down in history as one of the best athletes of all time.

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