23 Greatest UFC Fighters of All Time (2023)

Are you wondering who the greatest UFC fighters of all time are?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the UFC’s biggest fighters and their weigh-ins, bantamweights, and flyweights

The greatest UFC Fighters of all time

Not only is this a list of the biggest UFC fighters, but it also includes the biggest weight differences in UFC fights

Many of the fighters on this list will remain UFC heavyweights forever, as prior to UFC 31 (01/05/2001), heavyweights could weigh in at any weight they wanted

From UFC 31 onwards, the weight classes were changed again and the heavyweight division now had a maximum weight of 265 lbs

The biggest fighter weight they’ve ever weighed in an MMA fight

The biggest fighting weight they’ve ever been after regaining the water weight

If this wasn’t included, all the fighters who fought after UFC 31 would weigh as low as 266 lbs (1202 kg)

1 Emmanuel Yarbrough – 616 lbs (2794 kg) – Heavyweight

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Before the fight, Emmanuel weighed 616 lbs (2794 kg), making him the heaviest UFC fighter of all time

His opponent, Keith Hackney, weighed 200 lbs (91 kg), making this the largest weight difference in UFC history, a total of 416 lbs (1887 kg)

Early in the fight, he was able to use his weight advantage to good effect, throwing Keith out of the cage through the door one minute into the round

2 Teila Tuli – 415 lbs (1882 kg) – Heavy Weight

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Being one of the greatest UFC fighters ever in the first UFC fight (12/11/1993), and getting his teeth knocked out in this fight by Gerard Gordeau’s 1st round kick

Teila was a sumo-wrestler, and in UFC 1 he weighed 415 lbs (1882 kg) at a height of 6’2″, while Gerard was only 216 lbs (98 kg) at 6’5″

Not only was Thomas Ramirez one of the UFC’s biggest fighters of all time, weighing 410 lbs (186 kg) and standing 6’1″, but he was also involved in the UFC’s fastest fight at the time

Both men were 6’1” and the difference in weight was 204 lbs, with Don Fyre weighing 206 lbs (934 kg)

4 John Matua – 400 lbs (1814 kg) – Heavyweight

During his 2 UFC fights, John weighed 400 lbs, while his first opponent, David Abbott, weighed 280 lbs (127 kg)

Although 120 lbs is a big difference in MMA and John goes down as one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time, he is best remembered for his brutal knockout by David Abbott – he was left as stiff as a table on the canvas with his arms and legs in the air

5 Koji Kitao – 390 lbs (1769 kg) – Weight Loss

In his first and only UFC event (UFC 9), 6’7” Japanese sumo-wrestler Koji Kitao weighed 390 lbs (1769 kg)

His opponent, Mark Hall, weighed 189 lbs (857 kg), meaning the weight difference was 201 lbs

Despite the huge weight difference, Hall broke Koji’s nose with a right hook early in round 1, and after Koji took Hall down, John McCarthy dramatically stopped the fight to check on Koji’s bleeding nose

6 Tim Sylvia – 371 lbs (1683 kg) – Heavy weight

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Tim Sylvia was one of the UFC’s greatest fighters who could use his height, reach, and weight, becoming a two-time UFC heavyweight champion

He fought in the UFC 13 times between UFC 39 and UFC 81, when his maximum weight was 266 lbs (1206 kg)

To make 265 lbs, Tim used to cut from 300 lbs in the months leading up to his fight

After becoming the undisputed UFC champion, he surrendered his title after testing positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid used by fighters to help them cut body fat and maintain muscle

Cutting this much weight meant that Tim replaced about 20/25 lbs of water weight, so when he got back into the octagon he was 285/290 lbs after putting it back on

7 Scott Ferrozzo – 350 lbs (1587 kg) – Heavyweight

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Although he was very heavy in this fight, it wasn’t until his fight with David Abbott that Scott found his weight at a behemoth 350 lbs (1587 kg)

This weight has served him well in most of his UFC fights, but when he fought lightweight Vitor Belfort at UFC 12, he lost by TKO in 43 seconds

8 Paul Varelans – 340 lbs (1542 kg) – Heavyweight

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The 105 lbs weight difference was no advantage for Paul, as Kimo knocked him out in the first round

8 Mark Hunt – 340 lbs (1542 kg) – Round Weight

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Mark Hunt is another UFC fighter with a top weight of 266 lbs (1206 kg), but who cuts a lot of weight and rehydrates to at least 285 lbs to fight

This was his weight at the start of training camp for his fight with Antonio Bigfoot Silva

9 Sean McCorkle – 334 lbs (1515 kg) – Weigh-in Weight

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Sean McCorkle, or ‘Big Sexy’, was another tower in the UFC, standing 6’7″ tall and weighing 334 lbs (1515 kg) in his last super heavyweight fight before retirement

Since Sean fought in the UFC three times between 2010-2012, his maximum weight was 265 lbs

However, before his first fight with Mark Hunt, Sean had to get down to 320 lbs in just 12 weeks

So it’s possible that his actual weight for the fight with Mark was around 285/290 lbs, as he would have gained 20/25 lbs in water weight before the fight

Kevin Rosier – 325 lbs (1474 kg) – Heavy weight

Kevin Rosier fought at UFC 1 weighing 80 lbs more than he claimed to be

Art Davie in his book, “Is This Legal”, stated that Kevin Rosier actually entered UFC 1 weighing 325 lbs – huge for a 6’4″ fighter

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He quickly became one of the UFC’s biggest fighters, usually going around 310 lbs (1406 kg) and requiring a significant weight cut to bring his weight down to 266 lbs

He became one of the first UFC heavyweights to miss weight in his first attempt, weighing in at 2665 lbs, before making the cut in his second attempt 2 hours later

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Prior to his training camp 3 months out from the fight, Lewis has been known to weigh around 300 lbs, before sometimes going as low as 260 lbs, depending on his opponent’s style

All in all, Derrick isn’t shy about bulking up and reaching 300 lbs, and that’s a lot of weight for a man who only stands 6’3”

Although he has never missed weight in the UFC, he has been open about his belief that he will lose weight in a fight with Chris Daukaus, and has often been open about his love of food; especially fried chicken and hamburgers

Tank Abbott – 298 lbs (1351 kg) – Scale Weight

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Tank Abbott is an absolute legend of the UFC and MMA world, and as the name suggests, he was the biggest fighter, weighing in at 298 lbs (1351 kg) for UFC 11 – packed into his 5’11” frame

Gan McGee – 296 lbs (1342 kg) – Weigh-in Weight

Since UFC 28 was before the heavyweight division adopted the 265 lbs limit, Gan McGee weighed in against Josh Barnett at 296 lbs (1342 kg)

Gan McGee vs Josh Barnett is considered the first and only UFC super heavyweight fight because in the subsequent events before UFC 31, there was only one heavyweight fight where both men were under 265 lbs, and McGee was the last fighter to and weight over 265 lbs limit

Semmy Schilt – 291 lbs (132 kg) Weight

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Aptly named ‘Hightower’, Semmy was 6’11” and had a UFC maximum weight of 261 lbs (1184 kg)

Best known for his 4-year MMA career with Pancrase and his kickboxing career in K1, Semmy reached a maximum weight of 291 lbs (132 kg) when competing under Glory Kickboxing, as heavyweights have no upper limit

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His traveling weight is 290 lbs (1315 kg), from which he has been successfully reduced to make a weight limit of 266 lbs

Antonio Silva – 285 lbs (1292kg) – Fight Weight

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He is 6’4” and his UFC maximum weight was 266 lbs (1206 kg)

However, he is known to have to cut weight to make the weight limit and usually weighs around 285 lbs (1292 kg)

Shane Carwin – 285 lbs (1292 kg) – Round Weight

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His peak weight was 265 lbs (1202 kg), but his walking weight was around 285 lbs

Francis Ngannou 285 lbs (1292 kg) Round Weight

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Surprisingly, the UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, is another great UFC fighter

Months before his fight with Cyril Gane, Ngannou’s walking weight was 285 lbs, but his weight was 257 lbs for the fight

He has carried heavier than this before, but in this fight he wanted to drop weight and get closer to Gane who is very silky and fast heavy

285 lbs is a heavy weight for a fighter who only stands 6’4”, but Francis can go over 300 lbs if he wants to, as he is all muscle with very little fat

Stefan Struve – 280 lbs (127 kg) – Fight Weight

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Stefan Struve isn’t known for being the UFC’s biggest boned or most muscular fighter, but what he says in size, he makes up for in height

He weighed in at heavyweight at 266 lbs for non-title fights, his actual weight inside the octagon while fighting was around 280 lbs

With his height, it’s surprising that Stefan didn’t look to add more muscle to his frame and make some big weight cuts – maybe he didn’t want to stay tired

Justin Tafa – 280 lbs (127 kg) – Round Weight

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New Zealand’s Justin Tafa became the first UFC heavyweight to make the jump when he weighed 2675 lbs at UFC Vegas: 45

This is a useless observation as he is only 6′ tall, and while his walking weight is unknown, it is likely to be around 280 lbs (127 kg) – otherwise, he would not have missed weight

Dan Christison – 275 lbs (1247 kg) – Fight Weight

Dan only had 2 fights in the UFC, but he made his name in the history books by being one of the tallest fighters in the UFC, standing 6’8″ and had the longest reach in UFC history, at 85″

As tall as he was, Dan weighed 275 lbs (1247 kg) and only needed to cut 10 lbs to make the heavyweight limit, meaning he once again wrestled around 275 lbs

Roy Nelson 270 lbs (12247 kg) – Round Weight

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Aptly named “The Big World”, Roy Nelson is one of the UFC’s greatest fighters due to his unwillingness to trim his upper body fat, rather than being too tall or too muscular

He never paid attention to that, and he constantly yo-yoed between 240 lbs and 265 lbs throughout his 22 UFC fights

Unfortunately, Roy couldn’t control his diet, and before the fights he weighed 270 lbs (12247 kg), which is his maximum certified travel weight

This has been a list of the 23 greatest UFC fighters of all time, and for fighters who measure great numbers before UFC 31, enough, they are allowed and they think it can be an advantage in the octagon

However, as history has shown us, being a big fighter is not an advantage, especially if you get over 265 lbs – that’s why the 265 lbs heavyweight limit makes sense and why many of these big fighters are knocked out over and over again

It doesn’t make sense for fighters to reach 290 lbs or more after the introduction of the heavyweight limit in 2001

The UFC lasts a year and reaching these unhealthy weights results in the fighter having to make weight cuts that affect performance when fighting

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