Picking out the ten best fighters to emerge from countless numbers all-around the earth who fought for the duration of the past 10 years is no easy approach. If it was baseball, you could quickly glimpse at data to establish who led in household runs or WAR. If it was basketball, we may well look at scoring averages, and if it was soccer, we’d begin at Tom Brady and go from there.
In MMA, the sample measurements are tiny, even if a decade seems like an eternity when it is occurring. For case in point, the most energetic fighter to make the checklist competed 26 occasions. In baseball that is hardly a thirty day period of games.
Nevertheless, this collective team proved the developing blocks of the past 10 a long time, finishing with a put together history of 168-fifteen-1 with a few no-contests — a .914 successful proportion. All but a person held an undisputed main championship, and some did so for record lengths of time. There were being two-division champions and world wide box business office superstars.
Though some exclusions could feel perplexing, it is really worth remembering the alternatives are centered upon the very last ten years—no extra, no less—and that simple thing to consider on your own suggests they ended up between the decade’s most dominant.
Without the need of additional adieu, listed here is the record:
Honorable Mentions:Amanda Nunes (fifteen-3),Max Holloway (21-5), Tyron Woodley (fifteen-four-one), Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-3), Jose Aldo (twelve-4), Valentina Shevchenko (eleven-3), Patricio Freire (18-four), Ronda Rousey (12-two), Douglas Lima (eighteen-three), Gegard Mousasi (eighteen-5-1).
Decade Report: seventeen-one
In April 2020, if all goes ideal — no confident detail offered the snakebitten historical past of the rivalry — Tony Ferguson will lastly have a chance to win the UFC undisputed light-weight championship when he faces off with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
A victory would cap off Ferguson’s unbelievable run, in the course of which he was a single of the winningest fighters of the 10 years. Ferguson’s seventeen-1 mark during that stretch is notably outstanding supplied that he compiled most of it even though battling within just the UFC light-weight division, traditionally 1 of the most aggressive divisions in blended martial arts (16 of his 18 fights throughout that time took location in the Octagon).
Identified for an unorthodox and higher-paced combating fashion, Ferguson has a well-balanced activity, as evidenced by his 7 knockouts and six submissions all through this time stretch. Beyond the sheer quantities, Ferguson is perhaps the most interesting fighter to make this list. Virtually as a rule, motion fighters do not maintain very long stretches of good results thanks to their willingness to shuck defensive fundamentals in search of offensive openings. Ferguson bucks that trend inspite of normally competing at a around-frantic tempo. His success stems from his artful, imaginative putting match coupled with fantastic wrestling and an endless fuel tank, traits that normally enhance every other to put on out the level of competition.
During his operate, Ferguson has stopped stars like Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza and Anthony Pettis, and he’s outworked Rafael dos Anjos and Josh Thomson. His twelve consecutive Octagon wins are tied for the longest light-weight successful streak at any time. The other record-holder? Nurmagomedov, which gives another purpose why these two decadelong greats should at last satisfy.
10 years Report: 13-one, 1 NC
There have been handful of additional dominant and scary forces in MMA than Cris Cyborg, a ferocious striker who ran roughshod by way of opposition for nearly the entirety of the decade.
For the duration of that ten-12 months extend, she won championships in Strikeforce, Invicta and the UFC, turning into 1 of the unusual fighters to pull off belts in 3 major corporations.
Cyborg was so feared that promoters from time to time struggled to obtain her opposition, but when they did, most probable the battle would be one particular-sided and speedy. In her thirteen victories through the 10 years, eleven of them arrived by complete, and 6 took a lot less than a person round.
Cyborg lastly designed it to the UFC in 2016 immediately after enterprise president Dana White lastly relented on giving her a spot in the advertising. She tried a check lower to bantamweight that didn’t choose, and at some point, the UFC established a featherweight division, mainly so she could showcase her competencies. Cyborg did not disappoint, halting Tonya Evinger to capture the belt before successfully defending from Holly Holm and Yana Kunitskaya.
While Cyborg was upset by the fantastic Amanda Nunes at UFC 232, she nevertheless completed the decade with the greatest profitable share of any women’s MMA important winner.
10 years File: 15-two
When the decade commenced, Henry Cejudo was unsure about wherever his athletic long run would lead. Now an Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medalist, he had debated whether or not to chase a next gold or to transfer on to new pursuits. For a time, he moved higher than an previous health club in Phoenix and immersed himself in boxing, partly simply because he liked the activity and partly for the reason that he felt it was the only athletic pursuit in which he could make a residing. But right after attempting and failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, Cejudo threw a curveball, declaring he would shift into MMA.
That fateful conclusion furnished close to-fast dividends, as Cejudo began his vocation by ripping off 10 straight wins, propelling him into the world’s top-10 inside of much less than 4 decades of skilled practical experience. From the beginning, Cejudo proved himself to be able in all realms of battling. But it was a lopsided TKO loss to Demetrious Johnson that appeared to force him to elevate his recreation.
His upcoming time out, Cejudo faced the normally dangerous Joseph Benavidez, and even though he lost in a controversial split-conclusion, it was very clear his putting had sharpened and his struggle IQ had spiked. Soon after knocking off consecutive contenders, Cejudo rematched with Johnson and pulled off a spectacular upset by outworking the winner to end his prolonged reign. A several months afterwards, Cejudo defended the belt by knocking out bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw in just 32 seconds. Then, to cap off his ten years, he manufactured record by capturing a next belt by knocking out the explosive Marlon Moraes.
With the late surge of excellence, Cejudo cemented his spot as just one of the decade’s finest.
Ten years File: 19-3
Stipe Miocic’s hit checklist reads like a Who’s Who of heavyweight terrors. Daniel Cormier, Francis Ngannou, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski, Mark Hunt. The record goes on.
That resume is its individual argument for inclusion on the record, but Miocic’s bona fides go on. Amongst his most notable accomplishments is holding the history of most consecutive UFC heavyweight title defenses with 3. While champions in other divisions have far exceeded that whole, the heavyweight division has generally been fraught with peril provided the substantial sizing of the adult men and the small sizing of the gloves they are wearing. Provided the electrical power likely back and forth, it is often the first great punch that lands that potential customers to a finish. Nonetheless Miocic has been remarkably strong and constant, using a combination of electric power hanging and intense wrestling to neutralize foes.
Miocic’s action is stellar for a heavyweight. In fact, his 361 strikes landed from Hunt in their 2015 bout stays the report for most landed in a match. Also truly worth lauding is his means to triumph over adversity. When his first title reign finished by knockout at the hands of Cormier, Miocic demanded a rematch and returned the favor, recapturing the championship when taking out a fellow all-timer in the approach.
10 years File: 7-
In spite of the reality that Georges St-Pierre has the the very least fights of any individual on the list, his inclusion as one particular of the major fighters of the 10 years was amazingly simple.
Even nevertheless his overall body of perform was little, it was substantial in aiding to define the decade. For case in point, in the course of that time, in every single just one of his fights, a UFC championship was at stake. In each solitary 1 of his fights, he competed in the principal occasion. No just one else can say that. Not Conor McGregor, not Jon Jones. St-Pierre might have confronted extra pressure than anyone else in MMA throughout this time, and however, he received them all.
He overcame a head kick knockdown to Carlos Condit and won. He withstood Johny Hendricks’ crushing electrical power and however just scarcely, he won. He took 4 a long time off, returned to struggle at middleweight against champ Michael Bisping and received.
Though St-Pierre confronted criticism in the latter portion of his vocation for a additional conservative type than his early, dynamic “Rush” period, he identified a way to minimize danger when maximizing his odds of victory, and that sort of cage generalship was a brilliance all its individual.
A two-division champion and a generational talent, St-Pierre stands not just as one particular of the decade’s top rated ten, but as 1 of the ideal at any time to do it.
five. Conor McGregor
Ten years History: eighteen-three
With just just one struggle in the final a few years—and a loss at that—along with troubling the latest exterior-the-cage problems which include many arrests and two sexual assault investigations, revisionist historians have tried to recast McGregor as an overrated flash in the pan. When his habits has without doubt solid a pall around anything he’s constructed, any criticisms of his athletic achievements are misguided. For two-thirds of the 10 years, McGregor was one particular of the most interesting, energetic and thriving fighters in the sport.
His increase to the top rated of the UFC was just one of the fantastic storylines in the MMA historical past. At the time an aimless recipient of social welfare in his native Ireland, McGregor rededicated himself to his expert plans just prior to the start off of the decade to good influence. As he rampaged by means of the London-based mostly Cage Warriors promotion, whispers about the charismatic Irishman started to flow into in wider circles, and by the time he produced his UFC debut in April 2013, there was a whole-on outbreak of McGregor-mania. Almost from the commencing, he told any person who’d listen that he was certain for the prime, generally correctly predicting the outcomes of his matches and earning himself the nickname “Mystic Mac.”
In July 2015, McGregor earned his to start with serious likelihood to silence skeptics who questioned how he would fare towards a durable wrestler when he took a limited-see interim UFC featherweight championship pairing in opposition to Chad Mendes. Turns out, quite effectively, as he knocked Mendes out inside of of two rounds. That established up a unification bout with lineal champ Jose Aldo. The anticipation for the combat, constructed up by an global push tour, arrived at a craze, and in some way, McGregor surpassed anyone’s wildest exceptions when he knocked out Aldo in just thirteen seconds, stunningly ending the Brazilian’s 9-12 months acquire streak. McGregor went on to start off a crackling rivalry with Nate Diaz, and while he went 2-two in his last four bouts to conclusion the ten years, he also completed it as the most important box office environment star in MMA historical past.
4. Demetrious Johnson
10 years Record: 22-3-1
Even right before Zuffa resolved to create a flyweight division in the UFC, Demetrious Johnson experienced now proven himself as a power to be reckoned with. But it was when he was last but not least equipped to go to his accurate pounds class that he could really illustrate his brilliance.
For over 6 years, Johnson was a single of the most dominant and innovative fighters in the earth. Throughout that time, he received thirteen straight fights in the UFC, tied for the 2nd-longest in organizational historical past. In that stretch, Johnson beat every single contender that rose to meet up with him, such as Joseph Benavidez (twice), John Dodson (2 times), Kyoji Horiguchi and Henry Cejudo. While he was frequently criticized for an incapacity to draw massive audiences, Johnson was an imaginative expertise who innovated each in the health club and in the midst of motion. His most unforgettable case in point would be his October 2017 finish in opposition to Ray Borg, for the duration of which he by some means transitioned a suplex into a flying armbar to get the tapout. To increase to the drama of the instant, that stoppage marked his eleventh consecutive thriving UFC title defense, breaking the record held by the legendary Anderson Silva.
Even however Johnson misplaced the title in his future match to Cejudo, it came by the slimmest of margins in a split-conclusion, and immediately after that, he moved to 1 Championship, finishing out the 10 years with a few consecutive victories.
3. Daniel Cormier
Ten years Document: 21-2, 1 NC
Preceded by his achievements as an intercontinental newbie wrestling star and U.S. Olympian, Cormier arrived on the key MMA scene with major hopes and significant tension to accomplish. Suffice it to say, he surpassed all expectations.
Standing just 5-foot-eleven, the undersized Cormier competed as a heavyweight for most of the ten years, heading fourteen-one towards guys who just about always outsized him, these as Josh Barnett, Frank Mir, and Derrick Lewis.
His go to light-weight-heavyweight was similarly as fruitful, with victories in excess of Dan Henderson, Anthony Johnson, Anderson Silva and Alexander Gustafsson.
In 2015, he captured the UFC light-weight-heavyweight championship, halting Johnson with a submission. He went on to protect the belt twice right before dropping it to Jon Jones in a bout that was afterwards overruled to a no contest adhering to Jones’ good drug check. Soon after becoming reinstated as the champ, Cormier defended it again, this time versus Volkan Oezedemir. That established up Cormier to move up to heavyweight in a large-stakes champion vs. winner matchup against Stipe Miocic. Cormier scored a to start with-spherical knockout, starting to be only the next gentleman in UFC historical past to simultaneously hold two championships.
With two UFC belts to go with a Strikeforce Grand Prix victory and plenty of wins around key names, Cormier’s resume is sterling and unassailable.
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
10 years Document: 21-
Armed with a dominant and punishing grappling recreation, Nurmagomedov entered the UFC in 2012 and quickly proved that his items would translate on the worldwide stage. Although his rise to the UFC light-weight championship took 6 decades, it was stuffed with one commanding win after yet another. Whether his opponent was a grizzled veteran like Rafael dos Anjos, a impressive striker like Edson Barboza or a hybrid like Michael Johnson, Nurmagomedov manhandled the competition, at just one level successful 31 straight rounds in the UFC, a streak that ranks next all-time guiding St-Pierre’s 33.
Nurmagomedov captured the vacant title in April 2018, environment up a mega-combat with McGregor. If there was any problem Nurmagomedov would buckle beneath the strain of the athletics world highlight, it was promptly allayed by his rapidly commence, as he practically finished McGregor in the second spherical right before sooner or later submitting him in the fourth.
The fight did gangbusters business enterprise, breaking an MMA record with two.4 million pay-for every-watch purchases, solidifying Nurmagomedov as a attract. In September, he stopped Dustin Poirier to keep his belt. In the system, he set up a really anticipated match with Ferguson, and certain he would conclusion the decade the similar way he started out it: undefeated.
one. Jon Jones
Decade Record: 16-, 1 NC
By the time the decade began, most of the struggle earth experienced already taken discover of Jones’ outstanding likely. He was tall and rangy, dynamic and fearless. He spoke about future and location out to realize greatness. Ten several years later on, we can confidently say that Jones is a generational expertise, acquiring reigned as the leading gentle heavyweight in the environment for most of the ten years.
Jones has been so fantastic, so dominant, that all through this total time, couple adult males have ever risen by the division to be found as any legitimate threat to him. The initially, Alexander Gustafsson, arrived by way of surprise. Gustafsson took an unfocused Jones to the restrict again at UFC 165, only to see Jones roar back in the ultimate minutes of the combat to keep his belt (Jones also gained the rematch, this time by dominant TKO). The next is his just one genuine rival for the duration of this time: Cormier. Nonetheless even that feud was relatively lopsided. Jones clearly outpointed Cormier in their first battle, and in the rematch, knocked out Cormier in the 3rd round.
That return bout’s outcome was eventually overturned to a no contest owing to a Jones’ optimistic drug examination, fueling criticism linked to Jones’ outdoors-the-cage challenges. He has 2 times tested positive for efficiency-maximizing medicines and has been arrested 2 times.
Nonetheless, if we’re going on achievements, Jones’ athletic achievements are gorgeous. He spent the complete ten years in the world’s top struggle promotion and hardly ever misplaced. He the moment defeated five consecutive former UFC champions (Mauricio Rua, Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort). From the starting of the ten years to the conclusion, he was simply just unmatched as the best fighter MMA experienced to offer.