Throughout UFC’s history, some big heavyweights were competing in the octagon.
And then, there were some BIG heavyweights competing in the octagon. I’m talking about guys that had to weight cut to get to the 265 lbs heavyweight limit.
Here’s a list of the 20 biggest UFC fighters of all time. It’s hard to determine who’s the biggest, as all fighters adhere to the 265 lbs limit (only a few came over the limit before it was introduced).
Therefore, we’ll look at their overall size, height, and walking weight to see who were the biggest heavyweights ever in the UFC.
20. Roy Nelson
When you hear “biggest” or “fattest” guys in UFC history, most people instantly think of Roy Nelson and his big belly. Well, what if I told you that Big Country barely cracks the Top 20 in that department?
It’s hard to judge these things, as there were only a handful of UFC events before the 265 lbs the promotion introduced the heavyweight limit. Many fighters walk around a lot heavier than that and then cut to 265, but Big Country isn’t one of them, even though his big belly is world-famous.
In fact, he sometimes gained a few pounds to look extra chubby before his fights. Some people wondered why he never made the cut to light heavyweight, believing he’d be more efficient, but big Roy never cared for that idea. He’s roughly 6 feet (183 cm) and a real 265-pounder (120 kg) without having to lose weight for his bouts.
19. Shane Carwin
While Shane Carwin was well-known for his giant physique, there were many guys even bigger than him. Standing at 6’4’’ (188 cm), Carwin weighed in at 265 lbs most of his career. However, his walking weight was much bigger at around 280 lbs (127 kg).
That’s bigger than most heavyweights in the UFC, but later in his career, Carwin dropped that weight even further, weighing in at around 255 lbs (115kg). There’s no doubt he was one of the biggest UFC fighters ever, especially around the time when he duked it out against Brock Lesnar.
18. Greg Hardy
At first glance, you wouldn’t put Greg Hardy here among the UFC’s biggest fighters ever. He’s moderately tall and looks chubby, but not one of the biggest ever, right? Wrong.
Being 6’5’’ (196 cm) and walking around at about 285 lbs (129 kg), Hardy is the only guy ever to (almost) miss weight – at heavyweight. He initially missed weight coming at 266.5 lbs for his fight against Maurice Greene but slipped past after getting an additional hour to lose the weight.
If being the only guy ever to (almost) miss heavyweight in the UFC doesn’t get you on this list, I don’t know what does.
17. Mark Hunt
It’s crazy that Mark Hunt is on this list, considering that he’s shorter than most UFC heavyweights. However, the legendary Super Samoan had to cut tons of weight to make the 265 lbs limit for most of his fights.
He walked around at 300 lbs (136 kg) for most of his career and then dropping to 265 to make weight. What’s even more jaw-dropping is the fact that the dude is only 5’10’’ (178 cm), and the UFC heavyweight average is around 6’3’’ (190 cm).
16. Brock Lesnar
Be it nature, training, steroids, or everything combined; Brock Lesnar was one huge fellow while competing in the UFC. You put him next to other big guys such as Alistair Overeem or Shane Carwin, and Lesnar dwarfed them. He wasn’t the tallest fighter around the division at 6’3’’ (191 cm), but he was super buff.
He regularly weighed in at 265, but it is believed his normal walking weight is between 285 and 290 lbs (roughly 130 kg). Yeah, the guy was big.
15. Derrick Lewis
Derrick Lewis was the kind of dude that came to weigh-ins with a bucket of fried chicken (before he drastically lost weight and got into the best shape of his life). However, that doesn’t change how colossal he was during his biggest days.
He stands at 6’3’’ (191 cm), just like Lesnar, but weighed even more at his normal weight, walking at around 300 lbs (136 kg). He had to go through drastic weight cuts and even worried he might not make weight a couple of times. In the end, he always made the 265 lbs limit and now regularly weighs in the 255-265 range.
14. Antonio Bigfoot Silva
You don’t get the nickname Bigfoot without being a giant. Antonio Silva was a 6’4’’ (193 cm) giant known for being one of the few fighters to endure brutal weight cuts to make the heavyweight limit.
While he never failed to make weight, he frequently came to the weigh-ins on fight morning at 280-285 lbs, meaning he rehydrated at least 20 lbs (9 kg) after the cut. That means Bigfoot probably walks around 290-300 lbs (roughly 134 kg), making him well-deserving of his nickname.
13. Dan Christison
Dan Christison wasn’t a big deal in the UFC, going 1-1 in his 2-fight stint with the promotion. Still, he was one of the heavyweight giants and one of the tallest UFC fighters ever.
Nicknamed Big Dan, the guy was 6’8’ (203 cm)’ and normally weighed around 270 lbs (122 kg) when he was with the UFC. He won both Fight and Performance of the Night bonuses for his first UFC gig against Brad Imes, only to get unanimously beaten by Frank Mir and never compete in the UFC again. Later in his career, he even competed in super heavyweight.
12. Sean McCorkle
Sean McCorkle was pretty decent in his best days, but those days weren’t in the UFC. The 6’7’’ (201 cm) giant went 1-2 in his UFC career, but some folks will always remember his UFC debut where he submitted Mark Hunt.
After his UFC release, he competed in super heavyweight and even pro-wrestling after his MMA days. He was a big man in the UFC, but he got to 335 lbs (152 kg) in his last career fight after he left the promotion.
11. Paul Varelans
One of the guys on this list that competed before the 265 lbs limit was inducted was Paul Varelans. He was nicknamed The Polar Bear because he was truly a huge guy. At 6’8’’ (203 cm), Varelans fought in the UFC at around 310-320 lbs range (140-145 kg).
In his 8 UFC fights, he was a solid 4-4, but he was one of the pioneers of the game. Later in his career, he got closer to 340-350 lbs (155-160 kg), so his opponents usually knocked him out before he could ever use his size advantage – he went to the 2nd round only once in his career.
10. Tim Sylvia
If there was ever a guy who knew how to utilize his size in the UFC cage, it’s Tim Sylvia. He was truly one of the giants and one of the few that crowned their career with a UFC title.
Sylvia stood at 6’8’’ (203 cm) as well, and while he never missed weight in the UFC, he did miss it later in his career (in ONE FC). He also fought at super heavyweight a lot, and his biggest was 310 lbs (140 kg).
He wanted to make a comeback in 2015 under Reality Fighting, but they forced him to withdraw from the fight after declaring him “dangerously obese.” The former UFC champ got all the way up to 371 lbs (168 kg).
9. Wesley Sims
As far as I know, Wesley Sims never had too much trouble making heavyweight. He was always in the 255-260 lbs range (115-118 kg), and I believe it was maybe just slightly less from his walking weight. So, why is he so high on this list?
Well, he was a tower, a 6’10’’ (208 cm) tall, the fourth tallest UFC fighter in history (yes, the three taller are also on the list.
8. Gan McGee
Do you want to know why Gan McGee got nicknamed The Giant? Because he was one. Gan was around the same height as Wes Sims; only he weighed a whole lot more. During his UFC tenure, he walked at around 270 lbs (122 kg), but he got a whole lot bigger after that.
For his 2004 fight against Semmy Schilt for Pride FC, McGee came in at 295 lbs (134 kg). He wasn’t a bad fighter, though. He once fought for the UFC title against Tim Sylvia and lost via TKO, but Sylvia tested positive for steroids later on, so it’s a shame that Gan never got a second chance.
7. Semmy Schilt
You probably know Semmy Schilt as one of the best kickboxers to ever fight, but yes, he was in the UFC, too. Even though his PRIDE days were longer, he did have two memorable UFC performances – a great win and a great loss.
One of his most well-known attributes is his colossal statue. He comes in second place when we talk about the UFC’s tallest fighters, but he only weighed around 255-260 lbs (116-118 kg) at the time. In his biggest days (most notably during his kickboxing career, he got to 290 lbs (132 kg).
6. Stefan Struve
If we considered only the 265 lbs limit era, Stefan Struve would be the biggest UFC fighter of all time. He’s the only 7-footer (213 cm) to ever compete in the UFC, making him the tallest skyscraper to ever battle in the octagon.
He wasn’t that heavy, though, being around 280 lbs (127 kg) walking weight. However, he towered over his opponents like nobody else, and he knew how to use it, getting eight post-fight bonuses in his storied career. The only thing he misses is the belt.
5. Jon Matua
The top five spots are reserved for guys that competed before the limit was ever inducted. There weren’t even weight classes, so fighters pretty much came at whatever they liked. Jon Matua was one of the pioneers, and his numbers were staggering.
He stood at 6’2’’ (188 cm) but weighed a staggering 400 lbs (181 kg) – not walking weight, but fighting weight. He fought only once in the UFC, but hardcore fans will know his face well. He was on the receiving end of a brutal knockout against Frank Abbot, which ended up on every UFC classing highlight reel.
4. Koji Kitao
Koji fought in the UFC once, in the UFC 9 event against Mark Hall. He lost the fight after Hall broke his nose with a jab and never competed in the UFC again. For that fight, though, the Japanese sumo-wrestler had 390 lbs (177 kg), compared to his opponent, who was only around 200 lbs (91 kg).
The 6’6.5’’ (200 cm) Kitao later became a pro-wrestler. Unfortunately, he died recently from kidney disease.
3. Thomas Ramirez
This guy might’ve had the shortest MMA career ever, but he was in the UFC. In his only career UFC fight, Thomas Ramirez fought Don Frye at UFC 8 and got knocked out in merely 8 seconds. He never fought in MMA again, but the highlight of him stifling and convulsing on the floor went around the world.
For his 8-second MMA career, Ramirez weighed a whopping 410 lbs (186 kg) while being 6’1’’ (186 cm). Yeah, now you might have a better picture of his physique and why he decided to call it quits that fast.
2. Teila Tuli
If you are a die-hard UFC or MMA fan, then you know who Teila Tuli is, even though he only fought once in his MMA career, just like Ramirez. Tuli fought in the first UFC fight ever, on UFC 1 in 1993.
Originally a sumo-wrestler, a 6’2’’ Taylor Wily (Tuli changed his name later) fought at a whopping 415 lbs (188 kg) against Gerard Gordeau. He used Tuli’s lack of mobility to deliver a brutal head kick that made Teila spit out several teeth.
Tuli came to as much as 450 lbs (204 kg) in his sumo and pro-wrestling career, making him second only to one UFC fighter ever.
1. Emmanuel Yarbrough
By far, the biggest, largest, and heaviest UFC fighter of all time is Emmanuel Yarbrough. When he fought his only UFC fight, the colossal giant weighed in at an unbelievable 616 lbs (279 kg) in a 6’8’’ (203 cm) frame.
His opponent, Keith Hackney, had only 200 lbs (91 kg). To this day (and forever), it’s the biggest size difference in UFC history at 416 lbs (188 kg).
Yarbrough lost the fight as he was barely able to move. He got up to 884 lbs (401 kg) later in life and sadly died of a massive heart attack in 2015 when he was only 51.