In recent years, Twitter has become one of the best places for fans to stay connected to the lives of UFC fighters. Recently, the UFC even recognized the importance of Twitter by announcing that it would hand out bonuses to the fighters who could attract the most followers and create the most creative tweets.
While some of the fighters on this list will come as no surprise, the order in which those fighters fall may bewilder at times. As you will see, mainstream fame and success inside the Octagon does not always guarantee a large following on Twitter.
Here are the 40 most followed UFC fighters on Twitter.
Latest Tweet: "Great morning session!!! now it's time For strength and conditioning with @dannyboydownes @NXLevel_1"
Anthony Pettis' popularity has skyrocketed since landing his Showtime kick against Ben Henderson at the final event in WEC history.
Pettis' unorthodox style provides excitement for the fans, which should ensure the 24-year-old a long and bright future with the UFC.
Latest Tweet: "Anyone got a funny 3am joke?"
Mike Swick was recently forced out of his scheduled UFC 134 bout against Erick Silva. Injuries have kept Swick out of competition since his submission loss to Paulo Thiago in February 2010.
Having also lost his prior fight to Dan Hardy, Swick is without a win in the last two years. A fan favorite, Swick could be fighting for his roster spot in the UFC when he finally returns to the Octagon.
Latest Tweet: "You wanted to see my van down by the river , well here it is. http://yfrog.com/h7uvjbsj"
Clay Guida's energetic personality inside and outside of the Octagon has earned him the admiration of UFC fans everywhere.
After four straight wins, Guida will have a chance to take his popularity to a whole new level if he can earn a shot at the UFC lightweight belt.
Latest Tweet: "Genuine wisdom is usually conspicuous through modesty and silence."
Despite being frequently criticized for the entertainment value of his fights, Jon Fitch has apparently been able to gather a fairly large fan following.
If Fitch can ever capture the UFC belt that has eluded him for his entire career, expect his popularity to grow even more.
Latest Tweet: "Best black ops emblem ever? http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=7873801&id=8146588569"
Joe Lauzon was introduced to UFC fans at UFC 63, where he scored a massive upset victory over Jens Pulver with a first-round knockout.
Lauzon's star power grew even more after he appeared on Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter. If Lauzon can upset Melvin Guillard at UFC 136, the 27-year-old could find himself in title contention.
Latest Tweet: "So that's where I left my car keys and wallet! http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=7803628&id=259140862873"
Before his latest fight with Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard was often labeled as a boring fighter. However, Maynard disposed of the moniker with a Fight of the Year performance at UFC 125.
Although he fell short of dethroning UFC lightweight champion Edgar, Maynard remained undefeated for his career by fighting to a draw. The strong performance also earned Maynard an immediate rematch with Edgar, which will take place at UFC 136 in October 2011.
Latest Tweet: "Autograph session in Lojas Americanas - Barra Shopping http://yfrog.com/kfgtvkttj"
Jose Aldo was already one of the brightest fighters in the sport before joining the UFC. If he can continue his run of success in the UFC, the former WEC featherweight champion could become one of the most popular fighters in MMA history by the time his career comes to an end.
Latest Tweet: "Eating dinner at my folks house, oh a joyous feast just waiting to get smashed."
A former WEC bantamweight champion, Miguel Torres was once considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.
Now, Torres has lost three of his last five fights and is in danger of losing a spot as one of the serious contenders in the division.
Latest Tweet: "Training is going great pulling up to Ralph Gracie's for my 2nd workout of the day. Can't wait for Sept.17th."
In a recent title fight against Georges St-Pierre, Jake Shields suffered his first lost in more than six years. However, Shields remains one of the most talented fighters in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions.
The 32-year-old Shields still has plenty of time to make another run at a title shot before deciding to call it quits. Although his next fight will be a welterweight tilt against Jake Ellenberger, don't be surprised if Shields decides to move to 185 pounds in the near future.
Latest Tweet: "The new fall/spring line of af headwear http://yfrog.com/kld51eqj"
A former UFC champion and participant in several exciting fights over the years, Rich Franklin has grown into one of the most marketable fighters in MMA history.
Fans fell in love with the former Ohio math teacher's story and sponsors quickly took notice. Most notably, Franklin became the face of Xyience earlier in his career.
Latest Tweet: "Gud busy day today and got in a weights session and a jujitsu session. Nice to sit down at the end of the day when it's been productive."
Whether they love him or hate him, people are going to find themselves talking about the Michael Bisping for the rest of his career.
Bisping burst onto the UFC scene by winning Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter. Now, Bisping will be featured as a coach on the reality show for the second time in his career.
Latest Tweet: "@UFC @chrislytlemma is the s--t.."
Nate Diaz, Season 5 winner of The Ultimate Fighter, recently had an unsuccessful run at welterweight. However, Diaz has decided to return to a wide-open lightweight division.
Diaz has become one of the most polarizing characters in the sport. Whether it's positive or negative, every fan has a strong opinion about Diaz.
Latest Tweet: "Does anybody get the mondays. Already worked out & need a nap & it already time 2 do it again. 6 more days of the same but different. Sucks"
Roy Nelson has become extremely popular since winning Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter with a knockout of Brendan Schaub.
Although it might be holding him back from reaching his full athletic potential, Nelson's gimmick of being overweight has helped him to capture the interest of a large fanbase.
Latest Tweet: "Feels like I have been at this casino in Iowa for a month. Had a good time at the event. But excited to get home and see @Daisybader"
After winning Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter and going undefeated in his first 12 professional fights, Ryan Bader looked to be on his way to the top of the light heavyweight division.
Then, Bader ran into the wrecking machine that is Jon Jones. After being submitted by Jones, Bader was given a fight with Tito Ortiz that he was expected to win fairly easily.
However, Bader was knocked down and submitted by Ortiz in the first round. If Bader doesn't bounce back in his next fight, he may drop off of this list very quickly.
Latest Tweet: "Congrats to @JohnCholish for signing with the UFC. Well deserved great dude great fighter. Big thangz!!"
Aside from a loss and draw in two fights against Gray Maynard, Frankie Edgar's record would be spotless. At UFC 136, Edgar will have the chance to even the score with Maynard, which would certainly add to his quickly growing fanbase.
Latest Tweet: "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHAGXlIyprQ"
As long as Chael Sonnen continues to be Chael Sonnen, he will find himself rising to the top of this list by the end of his career.
A UFC title would obviously help Sonnen's popularity, but it is the mouth of the self-proclaimed "People's Champion" that has taken his career to new heights.
Latest Tweet: "This week is the week of UFC RIO I can't wait to see it happening It's going to be great for our country."
Undefeated in seven UFC bouts, Junior dos Santos is one of the fastest-rising stars in the sport. If dos Santos can dethrone UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 139 in November 2011, expect his number of Twitter followers to skyrocket.
Latest Tweet: "Jiu-Jitsu ja foi por hoje. Logo mais treino de Muay-Thay. BJJ done for today. Soon I ll be doing Thay Boxing training."
A former top contender in the middleweight division, Demian Maia is one of the most popular Brazilian fighters in MMA.
After showing improved striking in a loss to Mark Munoz, Maia could be making the adjustments necessary to make another run at the belt.
Latest Tweet: "Just got to The Home Depot in Colman, Ca. Come out and say whats up Be here till 2pm http://yfrog.com/0cg0dz"
With his dominant victory over Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez became UFC heavyweight champion and gained a boatload of new fans.
If Velaseuz can successfully defend his belt against Junior dos Santos at UFC 139, he could be on his way to a long reign as champion.
Latest Tweet: "If I get to 100k followers before my next fight (Oct. 8th #ufc136) I'm inviting a winner to a UFC fight."
Having been with the UFC for more than six years, Kenny Florian is one of the most recognizable faces in the UFC.
As a part-time analyst for ESPN, Florian does an excellent job of marketing himself. Taking the UFC featherweight belt from Jose Aldo at UFC 136 would be the ultimate form of marketing, though.
In slightly more than two months, Frank Mir will have been a member of the UFC for a decade. In that time, Mir has held two UFC belts and taken part in some of the biggest fights in the organization's history.
Latest Tweet: "Shared my limo with a rapper named NAS. He seemed put out I did not know who he is."
With first-round finishes in his first 12 professional fights, Shane Carwin quickly rose to the top of the heavyweight division.
However, Carwin's popularity is in danger of crashing back down to earth after losing two straight fights. In Carwin's defense, those losses came against two of the best heavyweights in the world, Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos.
Latest Tweet: "Drunk people in Vegas... It's like watching monkey's in people clothes."
Dan Hardy's brash personality allowed him to rise to fame after only four fights in the UFC. However, Hardy's stock has fallen equally as fast as it rose.
Four straight losses have Hardy in a perilous position. The UFC has surprisingly decided to retain the British fighter, but a fifth consecutive loss would certainly result in his release.
Latest Tweet: "Bellator HW Champ Cole Konrad defends his belt tomorrow. SUPPORT the Polar Bear, buy his DeathClutch Walkout Tee today! http://ow.ly/67V5t"
Surprisingly, the UFC's biggest draw is nowhere near the top of this list for having the most followers on Twitter. However, this is most likely due to the fact that Lesnar has probably never actually used this Twitter account. The account is mostly used to promote DeathClutch, Lesnar's clothing line.
Latest Tweet: "My view from where I am living 4 my next training camp.Going to be a fun one. http://yfrog.com/gz1gqmpj"
After his appearance as an instigator on The Ultimate Fighter, Josh Koscheck quickly became one of the most hated fighters in the UFC.
Another showing on The Ultimate Fighter, this time as a coach opposite Georges St-Pierre, helped take Koscheck's popularity to another level.
Latest Tweet: "Gone, but now I'm back. I just rest. We train?"
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida is another Brazilian fighter who has become wildly popular in the South American country.
With a knockout of Randy Couture in his last fight, Machida has become recognized as a light heavyweight contender once again.
Latest Tweet: "George St-Pierre and Rashad Evans Talk UFC on FOX, Upcomming Fights http://t.co/mcWvnw4"
Rashad Evans began his UFC career by defeating much larger opponent in a heavyweight tournament on Season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Evans popularity continued to grow as he became UFC light heavyweight champion and coached against Quinton Jackson on The Ultimate Fighter.
Latest Tweet: "Whoever invented the Dyson no-blade fan should be found and persecuted for witchcraft."
Jason Miller's popularity can be mainly attributed to his involvement with MTV's Bully Beatdown. By being a host on the show, Miller has become one of the most popular MMA fighters in the world without even fighting in the UFC for an extended period of time.
Now making his return to the UFC, Miller's star power will only increase through his involvement as coach on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Latest Tweet: "Proud 2 judge @ThinkBigSacto's Citizen Architect Design Competition. Submit your ideas 4 the new arena!"
Urijah Faber may not draw as much interest as he once did as the face of the WEC, but he still stands as one of the most well-known fighters in the sport.
If Faber can beat Brian Bowles at UFC 139, he will earn himself another title shot, which will certainly help gain him an even larger following.
Latest Tweet: "Treinaco hj!!! Thanks my team for all of your support.. After fight we r going to Big foot's' fight Then San Diego."
A legend of the sport, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is respected by fans and fellow fighters alike. Although he may be nearing the end of his own career, Nogueira remains a role model for fighters like Anderson Silva and Junior dos Santos.
Latest Tweet: "JUST SCRAP!!!!! UFC 137 BABY!!!"
B.J. Penn is almost cheating here. Penn's website has become one of the most respected MMA news sites out there, so using his website's name in conjunction with his personal Twitter account gives him in edge on this list.
Even without his successful website, though, Penn would still likely be near the top of this list. A former UFC champion in multiple divisions, Penn is one of the most popular fighters in the sport.
Latest Tweet: "Shout out to everyone who works for @xyience except Mike L ;)"
After only three years of fighting, Jon Jones has won a UFC title and become one of the most popular fighters in the sport. If Jones remains healthy and continues to dominate his opposition, you can bet he'll be at the top of this list in a few years.
Latest Tweet: "Guys,check out the debut of my new blog at Espn.com !Still working hard for @ufc 134 , fight is just around the corner! http://espn.go.com/blog/MMA/post/_/id/3826/in-his-own-words-mauricio-shogun-rua"
The man Jon Jones defeated to become UFC light heavyweight champion is also about to get passed by "Bones" on Twitter. Still, Mauricio Rua will go down as one of the best light heavyweights in MMA history, so it is fitting that he sits near the top of this list right now.
Latest Tweet: "Where true gladiators stay in Vegas. http://lockerz.com/s/132137084"
No surprise here. Tito Ortiz is a pioneer for the sport of MMA and a master of marketing himself. With his career on the line, Ortiz recently submitted Ryan Bader to add to his already impressive legacy. Ortiz hasn't presented himself in the best light on Twitter, though, as he has gotten into several arguments with Jenna Jameson through the social media website.
Latest Tweet: "Guys crazy busy here in Brazil ... Rio is anxious for Saturday night!!!"
Vitor Belfort's spot on this list is somewhat surprising. While he is a former UFC champion and recent top contender, I would venture to guess that mainstream American fans have little idea of who Belfort is. Belfort's spot on this list may be a sign of how popular MMA is becoming in Brazil.
Latest Tweet: "Favorite new thing:one of them fancy electric toothbrushes and not because you can use it to tickle your prostate. That wouldn't be sanitary"
Forrest Griffin may be the most beloved fighter in MMA history. Griffin's likeable personality and awesome sense of humor has earned him the admiration of just about every MMA fan. Being a winner of The Ultimate Fighter and former UFC light heavyweight champion doesn't hurt either.
Latest Tweet: "Tomorrow class in @WandFightTeam with me!!!!"
We move from one beloved fighter to another. A legend of the sport, Wanderlei Silva is widely respected for his aggressiveness inside the cage and kindness outside of it. As his career winds down, Silva is starting to build up his quickly growing gym.
Latest Tweet: "Thanks 2 Cory aka @MusclepharmPres 4 da hand 2day,u guys really know what's up over here,I'm impressed with the gym,training & supplements"
Quinton Jackson has been one of the most successful fighters at bridging the gap between MMA and the mainstream. Having starred in movies and appeared as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, Jackson is about as close to a household name as it gets in MMA.
Latest Tweet: "Great Bruce Lee quote: "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times""
Georges St-Pierre is the face of Canadian MMA and one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in the sport. St-Pierre's success has allowed him to sign endorsement deals with Under Armour and Gatorade. There is only one fighter who has developed a greater following than St-Pierre, and that fighter is also the only fighter to accomplish more than St-Pierre has.
Latest Tweet: "Do you think the MMA fighter's life is soft? Look one more chapter of my training there. http://t.co/HnzzP3y"
What do eight consecutive title defenses in the UFC get you? In Anderson Silva's case, sponsorships with Nike, Burger King and almost a half-million followers on Twitter.
Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. Sean has also had his work featured on UFC.com. Help Sean catch up to Anderson Silva by following him on Twitter @SeanSmithMMA.