biggest ufc fighters

20 Biggest UFC Fighters of All Time

In the storied annals of UFC’s history, the heavyweight division has always been the coliseum of the titans, where formidable warriors clash in pursuit of glory. But even among these giants, there are those who stand out—not just for their skill, but for their sheer, awe-inspiring size. We’re not just talking about heavyweights; we’re talking about the behemoths, the fighters who make the scale tremble as they cut weight just to brush against the 265 lbs heavyweight limit.

Prepare yourself for a journey through the ranks of the 20 most colossal fighters ever to step into the UFC octagon. Determining the “biggest” is no small feat, given the division’s strict adherence to the 265 lbs cap—with only a rare few tipping the scales beyond before the limit’s enforcement.

Our exploration delves beyond mere numbers on a scale. We’ll size up these leviathans by their overall dimensions, from towering heights to their off-season walking weights, painting a picture of the most monumental heavyweights in UFC lore. So, buckle up for a heavyweight history lesson like no other, where we celebrate the giants of the octagon and their larger-than-life presence in the world of mixed martial arts.

20. Roy Nelson Not The Biggest UFC Fighter!

When the topic of the UFC’s “biggest” or “most sizable” fighters comes up, Roy Nelson, with his unmistakable belly, often springs to mind. Yet, prepare for a twist: despite his iconic stature, “Big Country” Nelson doesn’t dominate the leaderboard—in fact, he’s just skimming the edge of the Top 20 in terms of sheer size in MMA history.

Navigating the landscape of UFC’s heavyweight behemoths is no simple task, especially considering the era before the heavyweight limit was capped at 265 lbs. Many fighters naturally tip the scales well above this, undergoing rigorous weight cuts to meet the threshold. However, Nelson dances to a different beat. His belly, as much a part of his persona as his overhand right, wasn’t the result of cutting from a much higher weight; it was, in many ways, his natural fighting form.

Interestingly, Nelson was known to add a few extra pounds pre-fight, enhancing his “extra cuddly” appearance, a strategy that left many fans and commentators baffled. They speculated about the potential benefits of dropping to light heavyweight, where he might gain speed and efficiency. But Nelson, ever the maverick, was content in the heavyweight realm. Standing at a solid 6 feet (183 cm) and weighing in at a true 265 pounds (120 kg) without the need for weight loss, Roy Nelson embraced his size and fought on his own terms, challenging the conventional fighter physique and proving that in the UFC, skill and heart often speak louder than the scale.

19. Shane Carwin

While Shane Carwin was well-known for his giant physique, there were many guys or MMA fighter 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 a casual glance in a UFC bout, Greg Hardy might not immediately strike you as one of the UFC’s leviathans. With a frame that’s more ‘linebacker’ than ‘lumbering giant,’ Hardy could easily be underestimated in the lineup of the promotion’s most colossal fighters. But that would be a mistake.

Standing tall at 6’5” (196 cm) and tipping the scales at a robust 285 lbs (129 kg) in his off-season, Hardy brings a new definition to ‘heavyweight.’ In fact, he’s etched his name in UFC lore as the only fighter to ever flirt with disaster at the heavyweight weigh-in. During the weigh-in for his bout against Maurice Greene, Hardy initially missed the mark, registering at 266.5 lbs—half a pound over the limit. Granted an additional hour to shed the excess, he managed to make weight, narrowly avoiding the dubious distinction of missing weight in a division known for its giants.

This brush with the scales not only cements Hardy’s place among the UFC’s most massive competitors but also highlights the sheer physicality he brings to the octagon. If teetering on the edge of the heavyweight limit doesn’t secure your spot on the list of the promotion’s biggest fighters, then truly, what does? Hardy’s tale is a testament to the fine line UFC heavyweights walk—a balancing act of power, size, and the relentless pursuit of victory.

17. Mark Hunt

Mark Hunt’s inclusion on this list might raise a few eyebrows at first glance at a UFC fight night. Known affectionately as the “Super Samoan,” Hunt’s stature is somewhat diminutive compared to the towering figures that typically populate the UFC heavyweight division. Yet, what he lacks in height, he more than compensates for with sheer mass and an indomitable fighting spirit.

Tipping the scales at a formidable 300 lbs (136 kg) during the peak of his career, Hunt embarked on Herculean weight cuts to meet the 265 lbs heavyweight limit—a testament to his dedication and resilience. The spectacle of Hunt, standing at just 5’10” (178 cm), cutting down to make weight in a division where the average fighter looms at around 6’3” (190 cm), is nothing short of astonishing.

Hunt’s presence in the heavyweight division defies conventional wisdom about the advantages of reach and height, proving that heart, skill, and power can level the playing field for title defenses. His journey is a compelling narrative of overcoming physical limitations to compete at the highest levels of MMA, making him a standout figure in the sport’s history. The Super Samoan’s legacy is a powerful reminder that in the octagon, it’s not the size of the fighter in the fight, but the size of the fight in the fighter.

16. Brock Lesnar

is ufc fake

Brock Lesnar’s tenure in the World Wrestling Federation is remarkable but in the UFC it reads like a chapter from a mythological epic, where titans clash in battles of strength and will. Whether it was the work of nature’s generosity, relentless training, or other enhancements, Lesnar stood as a colossus among giants. Place him alongside formidable adversaries like Alistair Overeem or Shane Carwin, and Lesnar’s sheer mass made these behemoths look almost ordinary in comparison.

While not the tallest in the heavyweight division at 6’3” (191 cm), Lesnar’s physique was nothing short of Herculean. His muscle-packed frame, more akin to a figure from ancient sculptures than a mere mortal, tipped the scales at the heavyweight limit of 265 lbs with a precision that belied his larger-than-life presence. Yet, whispers and speculation suggested that Lesnar’s walking weight hovered between 285 and 290 lbs (around 130 kg), a testament to the extraordinary physicality he brought into the octagon.

Lesnar’s size was not just for show; it was a critical component of his dominating performances, a physical advantage leveraged with skill and strategy. In a sport where every pound can tilt the scales of victory, Lesnar’s imposing figure was a spectacle, making each of his appearances a momentous event. Indeed, Brock Lesnar was not just big; he was monumental, reshaping the very landscape of the UFC heavyweight division with his presence.

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

Emmanuel Yarbrough stands as a titan in UFC history, not just for his size but for the sheer awe he inspired when he stepped into the octagon. Towering at 6’8” (203 cm) and weighing in at a staggering 616 lbs (279 kg) for his sole UFC bout, Yarbrough was a figure of mythic proportions, the likes of which the sport had never—and likely will never—see again.

Facing off against Keith Hackney, who weighed a mere 200 lbs (91 kg), the bout showcased an unprecedented size differential of 416 lbs (188 kg), setting a record for the most significant weight disparity in UFC history. This David versus Goliath matchup captured the imagination of fans worldwide, highlighting the unpredictable and thrilling nature of mixed martial arts.

Despite his imposing figure, Yarbrough’s mobility was limited, a factor that contributed to his defeat in the fight. His size, while awe-inspiring, presented challenges within the confines of competitive sport. Yarbrough’s health later reflected the toll of his extraordinary mass, as he reached a peak weight of 884 lbs (401 kg) before tragically passing away from a massive heart attack in 2015 at the age of 51.

Emmanuel Yarbrough’s legacy in the UFC is a testament to the diverse range of athletes and fighting styles that define the sport. His presence in the octagon remains a monumental moment in UFC history, a reminder of the extraordinary human spirit and the complex interplay between size, strength, and agility in the world of combat sports.

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
Article by

Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
Scroll to Top