MMA: The 15 Best Submission Artists Ever

G DAnalyst IIINovember 4, 2011

MMA: The 15 Best Submission Artists Ever

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    Over the past several years, mixed martial arts has evolved into the world's fastest growing sport, catapulting themselves into a league of their own.

    A main reason for mixed martial arts' success is credited to the submission game, which has been around since the sport was first established.

    And, while MMA is finally reaching it's full potential, it's only fair to remember those submission artists who helped the sport become what it is today.

    However, while many of the world's greatest submission specialists are no longer fighting, there remains some of the best submission artists in MMA today.

    So, the following slides display the 15 greatest submission artists in MMA history.

    Let's take a look.

Shinya Aoki

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    Since entering the sport of mixed martial arts in November 2003, Shinya Aoki has been considered one of the best submission artists ever to have stepped foot inside the octagon.

    A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Aoki has submitted an amazing 19 of his opponents in just 35 career fights.

    And, what makes Aoki more dangerous than most fighters is his capability to submit his opponent with nearly every submission known to man.

Demian Maia

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    Demian Maia started fighting in 2001 and is currently a mixed martial artist in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

    Maia, a third-degree black belt in BJJ, is arguably the best submission artist in the UFC today.

    Of Maia's 15 career wins, eight of them have been a result of submission as the world-class talent has submitted Chael Sonnen, Nate Quarry and Jason MacDonald.

Josh Barnett

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    Josh Barnett entered the sport of mixed martial arts in January 1997 and is still fighting today.

    Not only is Barnett still fighting, but he's still winning as he's currently won eight consecutive bouts, with five by way of submission.

    Of Barnett's 31 career victories, he's submitted his opponent on 19 different occasions, including victories over Gilbert Yvel, and Jeff Monson.

Anderson Silva

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    While many mixed martial arts fans may view Anderson Silva as a knockout artist, he's also a world-class submission specialist.

    And, despite only having six career victories via submission, Silva has used those skills in some of the biggest fights of his life.

    At UFC 117, Silva had been dominated four and a half rounds before pulling off arguably the greatest Triangle Armbar the world's ever seen.

Renzo Gracie

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    Renzo Gracie, one of the greatest submission artists ever to have walked the earth, retired after losing to Matt Hughes at UFC 112 in 2010.

    Of Gracie's 13 career octagon victories, eight of them were decided by way of submission.

    Not only is Gracie one of the greatest of all time, but now he teaches some of mixed martial arts' best fighters.

Fabricio Werdum

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    While Fabricio Werdum is one of the more well-rounded fighters in mixed martial arts today, his strength lies in his submission skills.

    Werdum proved to the world how exceptional his skills were when he submitted Fedor Emelianenko in the very first round, handing him his first loss in nearly 10 years.

    Werdum's submission victories don't stop there, as he also submitted Alexander Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem and five other fighters.

BJ Penn

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    BJ Penn is also one of the world's most well-rounded mixed martial artists, as his knockout and submission victories are nearly identical.

    Over the course of his career, "The Prodigy" has submitted some of MMA's best fighters in Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver and Takanori Gomi.

    Despite announcing his retirement following his loss at UFC 137, fans have reason to believe it won't be the last time they see the world-class submission artist.

Rickson Gracie

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    Despite no longer competing in mixed martial arts today, Rickson Gracie is one of the greatest submission artists of all time.

    Gracie is also one of the few fighters to have never lost in his career, posting a perfect 11-0 record.

    And, as expected, all 11 of Gracie's wins have come by way of submission, including seven by Rear Naked Choke.

Matt Hughes

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    Not only is Matt Hughes arguably the greatest welterweight of all time, but he is possibly one of the best submission artists ever to have entered the octagon.

    While Hughes’ career may be quickly coming to an end, his impact on mixed martial arts will forever be remembered due to his exceptional submission skills.

    Hughes was declared victorious on 20 different occasions via submission, as he’s defeated Georges St-Pierre,  Frank Trigg and Ricardo Almeida.

Royler Gracie

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    While Royler Gracie wasn’t nearly as good as his brothers, he was still leaps and bounds above the majority of submission artists in the world.

    And, despite only winning five fights in his career, Gracie was victorious via submission on four occasions.

    Gracie, a sixth-degree black belt in BJJ, used the Rear Naked Choke as his weapon of choice.

Kazushi Sakuraba

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    While Kazushi Sakuraba may be on the worst stretch of his mixed martial arts career having lost four consecutive fights, he still remains one of the best submission artists of all time.

    In fact, Sakuraba’s biggest victory came by submission when he placed another all-time great, Renzo Gracie in a Kimura.

    Sakuraba also defeated Royler Gracie via Kimura in November 1999.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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    When Antonio Nogueira leaves the octagon victorious, it’s usually via submission, as he’s submitted an eye-opening 20 opponents over the course of his career.

    Nogueira, who’s been fighting for over 10 years in mixed martial arts, has already established himself as one of the best submission artists ever to have stepped foot on earth.

    In fact, Nogueira might have the most impressive resume of submission victories, as he’s defeated Mark Coleman, Bob Sapp, Mirko Cro Cop, Tim Sylvia and Dan Henderson.

Fedor Emelianenko

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    Fedor Emelianenko may very well be the most popular fighter in the world as he established a dominance by not having lost over the course of nearly 10 years.

    And, despite having fallen from his throne as of late, Emelianenko remains one of the best submission artists in MMA history.

    Throughout his long career, Emelianenko has submitted 16 opponents including Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman and Tim Sylvia.

Ronaldo Souza

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    Ronaldo Souza entered mixed martial arts in September 2003 and is currently employed by Strikeforce.

    A black belt in BJJ and Judo, Souza is a member of the Black House Gym and continues to establish himself as one of the greatest submission artists of all time.

    Of Souza’s 14 career victories, 11 of them have been decided by submission including arguably the most impressive against Robbie Lawler.

Royce Gracie

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    Royce Gracie may very well be the greatest submission artist in the history of the universe.

    Gracie began his career at UFC 1 where he recorded the first win of his career by submitting Art Jimmerson at 2:18 in the very first round.

    The world-class Brazilian continued his winning ways as he went on to win the first 11 fights of his career by submitting every single one of his opponents in the first round.

    Gracie’s submission skills have earned him a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.