The best MMA fighters in the world wear their hearts on their sleeves and give everything they have to their craft. Stipe Miocic is a blue-collar heavyweight who extinguished doubters with his relentless work ethic and skill set.
Jose Aldo left an indelible mark on the featherweight division with a career that included victories over big names like Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar.
1. Max Holloway
Max Holloway has been one of the most impressive featherweight champions in UFC history. He is the first fighter to win 14 fights in a row in the division and holds notable wins over fighters such as Clay Collard, Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens, Jose Aldo, and Anthony Pettis.
The Hawaiian is known for his powerful striking and boundless energy inside the cage. He has also developed a good defensive game over the years. He is a switch hitter who fights in both orthodox and southpaw stances.
He is a durable fighter who has not lost a fight via knockout in his career. His durability is even more impressive given that he has faced some of the best strikers in the sport. His upcoming matchup with Yair Rodriguez is expected to be a fun contest. The bout is set to take place in March.
2. Robbie Lawler
Lawler is a powerhouse with a no-quit attitude that has become synonymous with the sport. His knockout abilities have made him one of the most entertaining fighters to watch in MMA and his ferocious style has been a inspiration for young fighters starting out on their careers.
Throughout his career, Lawler has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to the opponents he faces. His fights against Rory MacDonald, Carlos Condit and Matt Brown are some of the most memorable in MMA history.
The welterweight legend has also been known for his impressive grappling skills. He’s a master at open mat scrambling and shows great cage wrestling with his use of the scoop grip. In his fight with Josh Koscheck, for example, he demonstrated a beautiful bit of scrambling where he opened up his guard and shrimped onto his right hip while inserting his butterfly hook, allowing him to lift Koscheck on top of a scoop grip and wrestle him up.
3. Max St-Pierre
Georges St-Pierre is a two-time UFC champion and one of the most dominant fighters in MMA history. The Canadian is known for his unique striking and ground game that has helped him dominate opponents. He is a former Black Belt Magazine MMA Fighter of the Year and was named the 2008 Rogers Sportsnet Canadian Athlete of the Year.
GSP grew up in the small Canadian town of Saint-Isidore and faced many difficulties throughout his youth. He was bullied at school, which led to him taking up Kyokushin karate. He went on to receive a black belt from his trainer.
St-Pierre retired in 2013 but returned for a second chance at the title in 2017. He defeated Michael Bisping with his trademark toughness and brutal ground game. He has also appeared in a number of action films.
4. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov is a Russian mixed martial artist and a two-time Combat Sambo World Champion. He competed in the lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is undefeated with 29 wins.
Khabib is a hard-working fighter who has a huge amount of self-belief. He is known for his amazing submission skills and relentless pursuit of greatness. His demand for a title shot against Conor McGregor highlighted this ambition.
He has a strong connection with his Dagestani heritage and proudly represents his culture. He is often seen wearing traditional Dagestani clothing during his walkouts.
His father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, played an important role in his life. He was a former soldier and a respected coach who helped refrain many youths from becoming violent by channeling their aggressive energies into combat sports. He instilled in his son the values of discipline and hard work. Khabib has a younger sister, Amina, who is also a mixed martial artist.
5. Eddie Alvarez
Known as the ‘Underground King,’ Eddie Alvarez is a two-division champion in the UFC and Bellator MMA. The fighter made his professional debut in 2003 and has been an active competitor ever since. Alvarez has fought in the welterweight and lightweight divisions of both promotions and won world championships in each. He has also competed for the DREAM and Bodog Fight promotions.
During his time in the UFC, he has won fights against top names like Jose Aldo, Charles Oliveira and Anthony Pettis. Moreover, Alvarez has shown next-level ground skills.
Currently, the former UFC and Bellator Lightweight Champion is fighting for ONE Championship. Despite this, he still remains a household name and has the potential to go far in the sport. He has a lot of experience and can beat anyone in the sport.
6. Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya is the hottest star in the UFC and boasts an impressive 23-fight win streak. He is also a world-renowned kicking specialist and completed a seven-year career on the Oceanian and Chinese kickboxing circuits.
Despite his success, the Nigerian-New Zealand fighter is not without his critics. Some fans, particularly those who prefer knockouts, have labeled his risk-averse style boring.
Regardless, his ability to entertain the crowd is undeniable. Adesanya delivered one of the most spectacular walkouts in MMA history before challenging Robert Whittaker for the undisputed middleweight championship. Accompanied by three friends, he did a choreographed dance inspired by the Japanese manga series Naruto. This enhanced his focus, and he went on to dominate Whittaker with a second-round knockout. It was a brilliant performance that earned Adesanya the Fight of the Night bonus.