In comparison to all other sports, mixed martial arts is still very young. Despite the centuries of refinement behind the different elements in MMA (boxing, wrestling, etc.) the mixture of these elements is still a relatively new idea.
The sport is constantly evolving and we will continue to see new and better champions. That being said, we have already seen some remarkable athletes in this fledgling sport. These rankings take into account dominance, championships, and how these fighters were viewed in the prime of their careers. Many of these fighters are no longer dominating, but the runs they put together make them all-time greats. Let's take a look at the10 most dominant MMA fighters to date.
Takanori Gomi garnered himself a lot of attention early in his career by starting 14-0 in MMA. However, a step up in competition in back to back fights against Joachim Hansen and BJ Penn resulted in two straight losses.
Gomi rebounded, however, to dominate the Pride Lightweight division. "The Fireball Kid" strung together 6 straight finishes over names like Ralph Gracie, "Crazy Horse" Bennett, and Jens Pulver. Gomi then won the Pride Lightweight Title in a Lightweight Gran Prix. He defeated Hayato Sakurai by TKO and established himself as Pride Champion, only to fall in his next bout. However, Gomi had an one of the 10 most dominant runs in MMA history over the Pride Lightweight division.
There was a time, right after the first season of the Ultimate Fighter, when the UFC experienced an enormous increase to its fan base. During this time, the UFC also experienced some of its most dominant champions.
Rich Franklin held the Middleweight crown during this time and seemed to be unbeatable. In 24 professional fights, Rich Franklin had compiled a 22-1 record with 1 No Contest (NC). His only loss came at the hands of future UFC Champ Lyoto Machida.
Franklin entered the UFC and quickly tore through the Middleweight division defeating Jorge Rivera, Ken Shamrock, and Evan Tanner. Franklin was an incredibly well-rounded fighter with seemingly no weaknesses. That all changed when Rich ran into Anderson Silva. However, for over three years Franklin wreaked havoc on the UFC's 185-pound division.
When people think of the UFC, most automatically think of the name Chuck Liddell. Liddel's reign as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion came during the explosion of popularity the UFC enjoyed following the debut of the Ultimate Fighter reality show. Liddell quickly vaulted himself into untouchable status as he ripped through the UFC's 205 lb division, avenging almost every loss in his career.
Chuck's reign as UFC Champ saw him defeat UFC legends Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz, not once but twice each. It wasn't until the UFC brought in Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, that Liddell finally met his match. Liddell's impressive run was one of the most dominant in MMA history and came at the perfect time for himself and the UFC.
Georges "Rush" St. Pierre is one of the most dominant fighters in MMA today and one of only two fighters on the list still in his prime. The French Canadian has been able to blend speedy, technical strikings with athletic, dominant wrestling to make a seemingly unstoppable fighter. The most impressive thing about St. Pierre is that he has been able to out-wrestle some of the best wrestlers to ever enter the UFC.
St. Pierre dominated Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, and Jon Fitch, all by using his wrestling to gain the advantage over these former collegiate wrestlers. Georges' speed and athleticism have made him a formidable match for any fighter at any weight class. St. Pierre has suffered only two losses in his MMA career, a last second arm-bar loss to Matt Hughes and a surprising TKO loss to Matt Serra. St. Pierre has avenged both losses and proven his dominance against the best Welterweights time and time again.
The California Kid began his career in incredibly dominating fashion. Faber won 21 of his first 22 MMA bouts, his only loss coming at Lightweight to UFC fighter Tyson Griffin. Urijah took the Featherweight division by storm, quickly snagging the WEC title and rattling off one victory after another.
Faber defeated big names like Bibiano Fernandes, current Bantamweight Champ Dominic Cruz, Jeff Curran, and former UFC Lightweight Champ Jens Pulver. Faber's combination of speed, strength, and stamina made him almost impossible to deal with at 145 pounds and a joy to watch. The run finally came to an end against Mike Brown, but Faber will go down as the WEC's most dominant champ.
Matt Hughes' dominant run in MMA saw him win 19 out of 20 fights, only losing to BJ Penn (a loss he later avenged). Hughes' UFC run began with a very impressive KO by slam on Carlos Newton. He then went on to defend the belt 5 straight times before losing to Penn by Rear Naked Choke. The loss did not phase Hughes, he got back on another winning streak of 6 fights over some of the best competition in the world.
During this streak he beat future champion Georges St. Pierre, fellow UFC legend Royce Gracie, and avenged his earlier loss by defeating BJ Penn. Hughes' run came to a decisive end when he lost twice to Georges St. Pierre. Like Liddell, Hughes' run came during the rise in popularity following the Ultimate Fighter, which helps elevate his dominant status.
The former Pride Middleweight Champion had one of the most impressive runs ever in MMA, and not just at the 205-pound weight class. Wanderlei recovered from his UFC loss to Tito Ortiz by going 16-0-1 and 1 NC over his next 18 fights, most of which came as the Pride Middleweight Champion. Silva compiled 14 KO or TKO victories during this epic run.
He beat MMA legends like Kazushi Sakuraba (three times), Dan Henderson, and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (twice). Wanderlei not only impressed with his wins, he impressed with the way he won. Silva lived up to his nickname, "The Axe Murderer," by simply destroying his opponents with an unmatched ferocity. Wanderlei's intensity and mean stare made him one the scariest fighters in all of MMA. Wanderlei has fallen on hard times recently, including a loss to Chuck Liddell. One cannot help but wonder, what might have happened if Liddell and Silva had met in their primes?
The original UFC Champion paved the way for the sport we know now and did so in incredibly dominant fashion. Royce used his superior technique and unfamiliar grappling knowledge to completely dismantle his opponents in the first four Ultimate Fighting Championship tournaments.
Royce won five of his first seven matches in the UFC in less than two minutes.
He walked through all of his opposition during the first UFC tournament, winning easily with three submissions and just under five minutes of total in ring time. The second UFC tournament—four submissions and just over nine minutes of in ring time. It wasn't until Royce fought Kimo Leopoldo did he find his first real competition. Royce won the match, but had to bow out of the tournament due to fatigue. Otherwise he would have undoubtedly won all four of the first UFC's. Royce quickly built a reputation and seemed completely unstoppable until five years later he lost to Kazushi Sakuraba. Royce Gracie will forever be known as the first dominant UFC Champ.
Anderson "The Spider" Silver holds the UFC record for most consecutive wins (12), and most consecutive UFC title defenses (7). In Silva's 12 UFC fights, he has only gone to decision twice. The Spider has put together seven KO wins and three submission wins inside the octagon.
His most recent fights have left many fans wondering just how dominant he truly is, but it is impossible to deny that Anderson Silva was viewed as completely untouchable less than a year ago. The scariest thing about Anderson is that he can get it done anywhere. His striking is definitely his strong suit, but he is deadly on the ground as well with his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Anderson's reign is still going and if he continues to be as dominant as he is capable, we could see him possibly move up to #1 on this list.
Fedor has had a recent fall from grace, losing by triangle in the 1st round to Fabricio Werdum. However, no fighter in MMA history has had the kind of aura around him like Fedor Emelianenko did during his decade-long reign. Fedor is easily the most unassuming fighter on this list, an average sized 6 foot, 229 pounds. Fedor has always been small for the Heavyweight division, but that has only added to the mystique around him.
Fedor has only suffered two losses in his 34 fight MMA career, his last fight against Werdum and a TKO doctor stoppage due to a cut in his fifth professional fight.
Fedor has won almost all of his fights in decisive fashion, winning 16 by submission and 8 by knockout. During his reign as Pride Heavyweight Champion he seemed completely untouchable and dominated everyone he faced. The real magnitude of how big Fedor was is best illustrated by the reactions of fans when he was beaten by Fabricio Werdum. Jaws dropped, and viewers wore looks of disbelief This man was considered completely untouchable and had the most dominating reign of any MMA fighter in history.