The Most Prolific Submission Artists in UFC History
With three submissions in a row, Royce Gracie became the first UFC tournament champion.
Since then, submissions have played a huge role in UFC history. From Frank Mir becoming heavyweight champion by breaking Tim Sylvia's arm to Jon Jones defending his light heavyweight title with submissions on three separate occasions, Gracie was the first of many grappling artists to step into the Octagon.
Recording multiple submission wins on single fight cards, though, Gracie set a high-water mark for career submission victories. Has anybody been able to match him?
Here are the seven most prolific submission fighters in UFC history.
7. 5-Way Tie
Fighters Tied: Ken Shamrock, Chris Lytle, Demian Maia, Rousimar Palhares, Jim Miller
Submission Wins: 6
Currently, only two active UFC fighters are sitting at six submission wins.
Ken Shamrock is now retired and has not competed in MMA since November 2010. Also retired, Chris Lytle appears to be more interested in taking a boxing match than returning to the Octagon.
Additionally, Rousimar Palhares will need to change a lot of minds in order to be re-signed by the UFC, as he was released following repeated incidents of holding submissions too long.
Still plugging away, Demian Maia and Jim Miller have an outside shot at threatening the UFC submission record before calling it quits. At 36 and 30 years old, respectively, Maia and Miller will need to get on a roll in a hurry to do so.
4. 3-Way Tie
Fighters Tied: Kenny Florian, Joe Lauzon, Cole Miller
Submission Wins: 7
He's already been retired for almost three years, but Kenny Florian is still among the most prolific submission artists in UFC history. Clay Guida, Takanori Gomi, Joe Stevenson and others were all stopped by Florian, who had a very solid career despite failing to capture a UFC championship.
Still active UFC fighters, Joe Lauzon and Cole Miller might still be within striking distance of the submission record.
Lauzon has submitted Melvin Guillard, Jeremy Stephens, Jamie Varner and others. Miller, meanwhile, has picked up his submission wins more quietly, with Ross Pearson probably being the most notable opponent he's forced to tap.
2. 2-Way Tie
Fighters Tied: Frank Mir and Nate Diaz
Submission Wins: 8
For well over a decade, Frank Mir has been one of the most talented submission artists on the UFC roster.
The former interim champion got his UFC career started with an armbar against Roberto Traven that scored him a Submission of the Night award. Mir later grabbed the heavyweight title by submitting Tim Sylvia, and he also forced the likes of Brock Lesnar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to tap.
In almost half as much time with the world's top MMA promotion, Nate Diaz has become one of the most decorated submission fighters in UFC history. Among the fighters Diaz has submitted are Jim Miller and Melvin Guillard.
At 29 years old, Diaz appears to have a much better chance of breaking the UFC submission record than Mir, who is 34 years old. However, he'll have to get his issues with the UFC brass worked out and return to the Octagon soon.
1. Royce Gracie
Submission Wins: 11
Royce Gracie has not competed inside the Octagon since a May 2006 loss to Matt Hughes, and that was his only UFC appearance since fighting to a draw with Ken Shamrock in April 1995.
Nonetheless, Gracie still holds the record for most UFC submission wins nearly 20 years since he last forced an opponent to tap inside the Octagon. That final UFC submission victory came against Dan Severn at UFC 4, where Gracie won his third UFC tournament.
The Brazilian won his first 11 MMA bouts via submission. In addition to Severn, Gracie also finished Ken Shamrock, Kimo Leopoldo and several others.