Anderson Silva and the Most Successful UFC Fighters
The UFC is universally recognized as the preeminent mixed martial arts promotion on the planet. Therefore, UFC bouts usually see the best competing against the best. Of these top level fighters, who has seen the most success?
It is impossible to objectively evaluate which fighters have had more success based on past competition. Such a process allows for too much subjectivity when comparing the value of different wins.
To avoid such subjectivity, the rankings in this article are based on each fighter's record over .500 (wins minus losses). This process is more effective than simply comparing winning percentages because it factors in longevity.
Also, since any fighter with a better winning percentage but fewer wins above .500 than another fighter would have to win more than half of his fights to catch up, this list assumes that it is impossible to assume such success. For example, if fighter A is 11-3 (eight games over) and fighter B is 7-0 (seven games over), although B has a much better winning percentage, B would have to 4-3 in his next seven fights to match A; it is impossible to assume such success (see Brandon Vera).
For tiebreakers, overall winning percentage will be considered (7-0 > 9-2).
UFC Record: 10-3
Notable Victories: Nate Marquardt, Mark Muñoz, Evan Tanner
Notable Losses: Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen, Rich Franklin
UFC Record: 9-2
Notable Victories: Charles Oliveira, Mac Danzig, Matt Wiman
Notable Losses: Ben Henderson, Gray Maynard
UFC Record: 9-2
Notable Victories: Randy Couture, Mauricio Rua, Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz
Notable Losses: Quinton Jackson, Mauricio Rua
15. Frankie Edgar
UFC Record: 8-1-1
Notable Victories: BJ Penn (twice), Sean Sherk
Notable Losses: Gray Maynard
Coming in at No. 15 on the list is current UFC lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar. Coming off of a draw in a rematch against the lone fighter to defeat him, The Answer will take on Gray Maynard in a trilogy fight for the title at UFC 136.
When Edgar defeated BJ Penn for the strap at UFC 112, it was viewed as one of the greatest upsets of all time. After he successfully defended the belt in a rematch four months later, the champ officially put everyone on notice.
Today, Frankie Edgar is recognized as the best lightweight on the planet and one of the best underdog stories in UFC history.
T13. Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez
UFC Record (both): 7-0
Notable Victories (Velasquez): Brock Lesnar, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Cheick Kongo
Notable Victories (dos Santos): Shane Carwin, Mirko Cro Cop, Fabricio Werdum
Notable Losses (both): none
On November 12, Cain Velasquez will defend the UFC Heavyweight Title for the first time against Junior dos Santos on UFC on FOX 1. The winner of that fight will walk out champion and will remain undefeated.
Since their respective UFC debuts at UFC 83 and UFC 90, Velasquez and dos Santos have both dominated every opponent they have faced. Velasquez, a wrestler, and dos Santos, a boxer, both represent the new breed of heavyweight. They are extremely athletic, extremely calculated and most importantly, extremely well-rounded. Both fighters seem to improve in every successive bout.
Interestingly, while Velasquez is the champion and dos Santos is the challenger, it seems that the younger Brazilian may have a far superior resume. Although he defeated Brock Lesnar for the belt at UFC 121, Cain's biggest win may have come against dos Santos' mentor, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. By comparison, in his seven UFC bouts, dos Santos has handily defeated a bevy of stars. From his debut against Fabricio Werdum, to Mirko Cro Cop, to Shane Carwin, six of Junior's seven UFC victories have come against one time top-ten heavyweights.
Putting the subjectivity aside, Velasquez and dos Santos are two of the most successful fighters in UFC history and, until November 12, will remain tied as the second most successful UFC heavyweights.
T10. Josh Koscheck
UFC Record: 13-5
Notable Victories: Paul Daley, Frank Trigg, Diego Sanchez
Notable Losses: Georges St-Pierre (twice), Thiago Alves
Josh Koscheck is quite possibly the single most polarizing fighter in UFC history (apologies to Tito Ortiz, Brock Lesnar and Tank Abbott). Love him or hate him, Kos really just doesn't care.
Since his time as a cast member on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter, the AKA product has amassed an impressive 13-5 record. Despite his tendency to falter on the big stage and his relative lack of evolution, it is impossible to deny that Josh Koscheck is one of the most successful fighters in UFC history.
T10. Rich Franklin
UFC Record: 13-5
Notable Victories: Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Evan Tanner (twice)
Notable Losses: Forrest Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Anderson Silva (twice)
As divided as the sentiments towards Josh Koscheck may be, the opinions of Rich "Ace" Franklin may be equally, and oppositely, uniform. One of the most beloved fighters in the history of the sport has put together quite a workman-like resume.
The former Middleweight champion has alternated wins and losses in the past few years but, from his UFC debut at UFC 40 until his victimization by Anderson Silva at UFC 64, Rich Franklin was clearly one of the most dominant fighters in the world.
T10. Frank Mir
UFC Record: 13-5
Notable Victories: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Brock Lesnar, Tim Sylvia
Notable Losses: Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar, Brandon Vera
Forget about having two sides to a story, the story of Frank Mir's UFC career may have three or four sides.
After taking the MMA world by storm by defeating Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at the ripe age of 25, Mir looked like the future of the sport. Shortly after winning the title, Mir was involved in a horrific motorcycle accident that left his return to the sport in question. When he finally made his return to the Octagon at UFC 57, he seemed to be a mere shadow of what he once was.
Mir would go 2-2 in his first four fights back from injury before welcoming Brock Lesnar to the UFC in February 2008. Even though he was manhandled by Lesnar off the bat, Mir recovered to quickly catch the MMA novice in a heel hook submission in the first round. This win seemed to restart Mir's run as he went on the knock out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the UFC strap.
He proceeded to lose a rematch to Brock Lesnar in devastating fashion. Since that fight, it seems that Mir has become somewhat of a top-tier gatekeeper in the UFC's highest weight class.
In addition to being one of the promotion's most well-rounded heavyweights, Frank Mir is also the most successful heavyweight in UFC history. That is a fact.
T8. Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian
UFC Record (both): 12-4
Notable Victories (Sanchez): Clay Guida, Nick Diaz, Kenny Florian
Notable Victories (Florian): Takanori Gomi, Joe Stevenson, Roger Huerta
Notable Losses (Sanchez): BJ Penn, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck
Notable Losses (Florian): BJ Penn, Sean Sherk, Diego Sanchez
Despite being very different fighters, Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian have actually had quite similar UFC careers.
Both fighters were Middleweight finalists in the first season of The Ultimate Fighter (Sanchez defeated Florian).
Both fighters quickly dropped weight classes upon entering the UFC (Sanchez to Welterweight, Florian to Lightweight).
Both fighters quickly rose up the ranks within their respective division.
Both fighters have proven to dominant middle-tier opponents while struggling against top-tier foes.
Both fighters lost Lightweight title fights to BJ Penn.
Neither fighter is still fighting at Lightweight.
Most importantly, both fighters have amassed a 12-4 record over their mutually impressive UFC careers.
As different as Sanchez and Florian may be inside the Octagon—even more different outside of the cage—it is undeniable that they both have produced similar and equally impressive UFC resumes.
7. Michael Bisping
UFC Record: 11-3
Notable Victories: Yoshihiro Akiyama, Chris Leben, Matt Hamill
Notable Losses: Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans
For a fighter who often expresses his personal opinion that he is under-appreciated, this ranking may provide support. In a potential surprise, Michael Bisping is the seventh most successful fighter in the UFC. If having an 11-3 record in the UFC is not impressive enough, consider that many fans and experts believe that his only two decision losses are likely due to poor judging. For argument's sake, if he had been awarded the victory in those two fights, he would rank as the third most successful fighter in the promotion's history.
Bisping is highly controversial. He is brash and often offensive. Yes, he may be the second biggest trash talker in the sport (Chael Sonnen bests everyone), but the TUF Three Champion has proven time and again, he walks the walk nearly as much as he talks the talk.
6. Gray Maynard
UFC Record: 8-0-1
Notable Victories: Kenny Florian, Jim Miller, Frankie Edgar
Notable Losses: none
This spot may seem shocking to a lot of viewers. No matter how shocking Gray Maynard's placement may be, it is possibly even more surprising that it took eight consecutive UFC victories for him to receive his first title shot. Aside from being the highest lightweight on this list, Maynard is also one of just three undefeated fighters with enough fights to qualify (Velasquez and dos Santos).
When the Bully fights Frankie Edgar for the Lightweight Championship at UFC 136, he will be fighting for a number of accolades. He will be fighting for the most prestigious title in the sport, he will be competing to keep his undefeated record in tact and, most importantly, he will be attempting to retain his spot as the sixth most successful fighter in the UFC.
5. Rashad Evans
UFC Record: 11-1-1
Notable Victories: Quinton Jackson, Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell
Notable Losses: Lyoto Machida
Rashad Evans has always been undervalued. On the second season of The Ultimate Fighter, Evans was the last pick...as a Heavyweight. Labeled as a probably sacrificial lamb, he won the tournament. Considered to be a one-dimensional wrestler, he knocked Chuck Liddell out cold. Said to be an undersized Light Heavyweight, he defeated Forrest Griffin for the title.
As impressive as Evans' career has been it still seems that he is under-appreciated. With a 16-1-1 record, it seems that the well-spoken and good-looking fighter would be a promoter's dream. Surprisingly, he seems to be ignored by the UFC's marketing department and, more recently, matchmaking department. For some reason, Dana White does not believe that Evans is marketable enough to put in a title fight. With the resume that he has put together, it is hard to determine what, if anything, Rashad Evans has left to accomplish before he is finally valued as the highly successful fighter that he has become.
4. Matt Hughes
UFC Record: 18-6
Notable Victories: BJ Penn, Georges St-Pierre, Carlos Newton (twice)
Notable Losses: BJ Penn (twice), Thiago Alves, Georges St-Pierre (twice)
The only UFC Hall of Famer still competing in the Octagon is none other than Welterweight great, Matt Hughes.
Hughes' impact on the sport is undeniable. As Joe Rogan correctly stated, when the origins of the sport are discussed fifty years from now, people will most likely refer to the past 20 years as the Chuck Liddell Era. That being said, when the names of the pioneers and greats are listed and discussed, it is hard to believe that Matt Hughes' name would not be within the first five.
Simply put, Matt Hughes has been dominant throughout his career. As the only man to compete in two sets of trilogies inside the Octagon, he is also the only fighter to best both BJ Penn and Georges St-Pierre. While his career is clearly winding down, perception and statistics are clearly in agreement that Matt Hughes is one of the most successful fighters in UFC history.
3. Jon Fitch
UFC Record: 13-1-1
Notable Victories: Thiago Alves (twice), Diego Sanchez
Notable Losses: Georges St-Pierre
Boy does this make Dana White angry. For White, Jon Fitch is just too boring to promote. For Fitch, a win is a win, and he has a lot of them.
The consensus No. 2 Welterweight in the world would seldom be described as dominant. He is the definition of a grinder. No matter the opponent, Fitch always shows up in top shape, ready to fight. He is as tough as they come and, despite his clear inability to finish fights, one of the most well-rounded fighters in the game.
Whether you love Jon Fitch or you think watching him fight is like watching paint dry, you cannot deny Fitch his place as the third most successful fighter in the UFC.
2. Georges St-Pierre
UFC Record: 16-2
Notable Victories: Josh Koscheck (twice), BJ Penn (twice), Matt Hughes (twice)
Notable Losses: Matt Serra, Matt Hughes
Georges St-Pierre represents quite an oddity in the MMA world. While he is a consensus top-two pound-for-pound fighter, he has also shown a recent inability to finish fights, something that he is heavily criticized for. What is most interesting about this issue is that GSP is clearly the UFC's golden boy. The question becomes, how is it that Dana White praises St-Pierre despite his inability to finish fights while simultaneously burying Jon Fitch for the same reason?
That is a bigger argument for a different article and I digress. Whatever your opinion may be on the way in which St-Pierre wins fights, it is clear that controversy is a good thing for him. For a competitor, if people debate your level of competency because of the way that you win, it is clear that you are doing at least one thing right.
The bottom line is, if not for the next fighter on this list, Georges St-Pierre would be considered the most successful fighter in UFC history.
1. Anderson Silva
UFC Record: 14-0
Notable Victories: Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin (twice)
Notable Losses: none
Even if this article was not named after Anderson Silva, would there really have been any surprise here?
Dana White claims that The Spider is the greatest fighter in MMA history. Aside from a few Fedor-fanboys, his sentiment seems to represent the majority opinion.
There is a lot to say about Silva's dominance and success, but truthfully there is no need.
Anderson Silva is the most successful fighter in UFC history, there are no if's, and's, or but's about it.