Most of the UFC fighters were Caucasian Americans at the beginning, as the sport blossomed in the USA.
Recently, however, there’s been a pure dominance of incredible African American fighters in UFC.
Seven out of twelve UFC titles are held by black fighters, destroying the stigma that MMA is a caucasian-USA-dominated sport. It would be eight hadn’t Jon Jones vacated his title in 2020.
However, they aren’t the only amazing black UFC fighters surging through the sport over the years.
Here’s a list of the 15 best black UFC fighters of all time.
The list isn’t ranked in any way, and the criteria used were their success and popularity in the sport.
Not only is Jon Jones one of the best black UFC fighters of all time, but he is arguably the best MMA fighter in history generally.
There would be no doubt about it if his career weren’t tainted by failed drug tests, cocaine consumption, and hit-and-run incidents.
However, when you take away all the controversy, nobody can take away the brilliance Bones showed inside the octagon.
He has a career record of 26 wins and only one loss, which would’ve been a TKO win if the referee hadn’t disqualified Jones for illegal 12-6 elbows.
Jones was in full mount over Matt Hamill when he administered the strikes, which should’ve been a one-point penalty.
However, Hamill couldn’t continue due to a dislocated shoulder, which made the referee Steve Mazagatti disqualify Jones from the competition, even though it should’ve been a no-contest by the rules.
Apart from that, his record is spotless, and he would still have the UFC light-heavyweight belt hadn’t he vacated it in 2020.
Everybody arguing that Jones isn’t the best of all time uses his outside-of-the-cage controversies to back up their claims, but even with all the failed tests and legal problems, he has to be at least in your top three greatest MMA fighters in history.
One of the first-ever UFC global icons was Anderson Spider Silva. The entire MMA world can thank the brilliant Brazilian for the huge popularity that MMA enjoys today.
Silva was a middleweight champion for years and years, making him one of the longest-reigning UFC champs in history.
His trip to UFC gold was as short as they come. He became a champion in his second UFC fight, where he brutally demolished Rich Franklin via TKO in the first round.
After that, he defended his belt a staggering ten times in a row, making him the longest-reigning UFC champ at the moment.
Later, Demetrious Johnson broke his record with eleven, and Jon Jones also has eleven, but with breaks between title reigns.
Many believe that Silva should’ve retired in 2014 after a gruesome leg break against Chris Weidman.
Still, the legendary Spider continued to fight past his prime and went 1-7-1 in his last nine fights, tainting his legacy as the greatest MMA fighter in history.
The only reason why Demetrious Mighty Mouse Johnson isn’t considered the best MMA fighter of all time by many is the fact that he fought in the flyweight division.
Still, he defended his UFC belt a staggering eleven times in a row, and that record will probably stay as it is for a while.
Johnson came to the UFC fighting in bantamweight. He won his first two battles before losing the title fight to Dominick Cruz, shortly after which he participated in a 4-man flyweight tournament, where he became the first UFC flyweight champion in the world.
He held the title for six years and eleven fights before losing a questionable split decision to Henry Cejudo.
After that, he was traded to ONE Championship for Ben Askren, making it the first inter-promotional trade in MMA history.
He’s still active but suffered his first knockout loss in 35 matches in a title fight against Adriano Moraes. His overall record now is 30-4-1.
Love him or hate him, Daniel Cormier is one of the best MMA fighters in history. He is an incredible athlete who began his career as a wrestler and transitioned to MMA at age 30.
Even though it’s considered a late start for an MMA career, DC stunned everybody with his spectacular career.
His overall MMA record today is 22-3-1, but only two fighters managed to beat him inside the octagon, and those two are considered to be the best of all time.
First, Jon Jones beat him to take the UFC light heavyweight title, which the promotion later vacated because of Jones’ legal troubles.
Cormier took the vacated belt in his next fight, choking out Anthony Johnson.
He then held the title until Jones came back and beat him again, only this time Bones knocked him out.
However, the fight was overturned to a no-contest because Jones tested positive for steroids. The UFC gave the title back to DC after that.
Shortly after, DC climbed to the heavyweight category and beat the champion Stipe Miocic to become only the second UFC double champion in history.
Miocic beat him twice in a row after that, which resulted in Cormier’s final retirement.
There’s no doubt that Amanda Nunes is the best women MMA fighter of all time.
She’s the UFC’s double champion for years now, successfully defending both her featherweight and bantamweight titles, going from one division to another.
That alone is a spectacular accomplishment, but even more spectacular is her resume.
The Lioness has beaten every other UFC women champion in history apart from Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
She demolished even the strongest, most dominant fighters like Cris Cyborg with ease.
After her loss to Cat Zingano in 2014, Nunes won twelve fights in a row, not showing any signs of slowing down, easily interchanging weight classes all the time.
The closest anybody got to beating her was Valentina Shevchenko, but Nunes beat her twice as well. Once with a unanimous and once with a split decision.
She took the bantamweight belt from Miesha Tate, defended it against the great Ronda Rousey, destroyed Cris Cyborg to take the featherweight division, then defended it against Holly Holm.
That completed her sweep of every other UFC featherweight and bantamweight champion in history.
If you want to know who the most dominant UFC champion currently is, look no further than the welterweight champ Kamaru Usman.
The Nigerian Nightmare is virtually unbeatable, as no one has even come close to beating him since he joined the UFC (apart from maybe Colby Covington, but he ended up getting knocked out in the final round.
And he fought some incredible fighters along the way, such as Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, and Gilbert Burns.
He decimated Burns and Jorge Masvidal with brutal knockouts in his last two fights, proving that he is more than just a wrestler. And his wrestling – quite possibly the best in the game, and it’s not even close.
He’s currently on an 18-fight winning streak (13-0 in the UFC). And, seeing how he swept the entire division, it’s hard to see anybody standing in his way any time soon.
One of the fastest rises to glory inside the octagon belongs to the UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya.
The former kickboxer came into the promotion and took the middleweight division by storm, outclassing every one of his opponents with his unmatched striking abilities.
He started his MMA career going 20-0 before losing his first fight against Jan Blachowicz in his last outing on UFC 259.
However, it was his light heavyweight debut, as he tried to become the next UFC double champion.
He failed at the task but remained the middleweight champion, winning performance of the night in virtually his every matchup.
He destroyed the very best fighters in the division, including Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Yoel Romero, Robert Whittaker, and Paulo Costa.
It’ll be interesting to see if there’s anybody left in the middleweight class that can pose a real threat to The Last Stylebender.
The fact that Francis Ngannou went from not even practicing MMA in 2012 to being the UFC heavyweight champion in 2021 is an incredible accomplishment.
But, what makes him already one of the best fighters of all time is how he completely shatters his opponents.
Joe Rogan called him “the scariest fighter” he’s ever seen, and I couldn’t agree more.
He came into the UFC in 2015 and finished each of his first six fights, the last of which was against the legendary Alistar Overeem.
It was one of the most vicious knockouts in UFC history, getting Ngannou the first title shot. He wasn’t ready for it, though, as Stipe Miocic decimated him for five rounds.
After one more loss to Derrick Lewis in a very ugly fight, Ngannou came back stronger than ever and showed how much he has grown as a fighter.
He knocked out Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik to get another shot at Miocic. He knocked him out, too, becoming the UFC heavyweight champ.
If Miocic doesn’t come back, it’s hard to see anybody threatening Ngannou’s reign any time soon.
He was always a physical beast, but his drastically improved technique, both striking and grappling, makes him so scary.
Rashad Evans is yet another fighter that should’ve hung up the gloves way sooner than he did, just like Anderson Silva.
He lost his last five career fights, plummeting his record to 19-8 and removing him from any conversation about the greatest UFC fighters of all time.
But, apart from that final bad stretch, Evans was a force to be reckoned with.
He beat a lot of spectacular fighters, including several UFC champions. His most notable wins came against Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Quinton Jackson, and Tito Ortiz, but he also defeated the likes of Phil Davis, Michal Bisping, Dan Henderson, and Chael Sonnen.
He won the title against Forrest Griffin, but instantly lost it against Lyoto Machida in his next fight. He climbed the ranks and attacked the belt once again, but was stopped by Jon Jones.
The legendary Dutch fighter Alistair Overeem is not only known as one of the best MMA fighters of all time, but as one of the best martial artists in general, as he was quite dominant in kickboxing as well.
He never got the UFC championship belt, but he was always around the top.
He was one of the first big MMA stars, making his mark in PRIDE, Strikeforce, and DREAM, the latter two which he was a champion in.
Overeem fought for the UFC heavyweight title too, but he was stopped via knockout by Stipe Miocic.
Be that as it may, he is still one of the biggest names in the MMA world, and will go down in history as such.
His overall record of 47-19 doesn’t really show how amazing he was (and is) as a fighter, even with all the controversy surrounding some failed drug tests, etc.
Jose Aldo might have hit a rough patch late in his career, as many other fighters do, but he is still considered one of the best – if not the best featherweight fighter of all time.
The legendary Brazilian was the WEC featherweight champion when the promotion merged with UFC, and he was promoted to UFC champ.
He defended his belt for years, racking up seven consecutive title defenses (nine if you include the WEC days).
After he lost it in 13 seconds via knockout against Conor McGregor, he came back and regained it by beating another legend in Frankie Edgar. However, the start of his fall was with two consecutive losses against Max Holloway.
He moved to bantamweight recently and fought for the vacated belt, but Petr Yan destroyed him in a fight that should’ve been stopped a lot sooner than it has.
Still, Aldo will go down as one of the best ever when he finally decides to call it quits.
Yet another incredible fighter on this list, Tyron Woodley, is the former UFC welterweight champion.
He successfully and consecutively defended his title against great opponents for a long time, prompting many to compare him to Georges St-Pierre, the best welterweight fighter of all time and one of the best in UFC history.
However, his downfall started when he lost his humility and started taunting opponents. The guy who took his belt was another fighter on this list, Kamaru Usman.
After that, Woodley lost three more fights in a row, and it’s questionable if he’ll ever fight in the promotion again.
Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that he was one of the most dominant champs in UFC history.
He defeated the likes of Kelvin Gastelum, Robbie Lawler, Demian Maia, Stephen Thompson, and others.
When thinking about the greatest punchers in MMA history, Anthony Rumble Johnson comes at the top of the list. The guy was simply a beast, but his path in MMA was one of the weirdest.
He started at welterweight, but as he saw how deadly his power is, he continued bulking up until he found his gold spot – the light heavyweight division.
He did the most damage there, as he fought for the title two times but fell short to Daniel Cormier on both occasions.
Still, his firepower will go down in history as quite possibly the most ferocious knockout artist ever, knocking out the likes of Antonio Nogueira, Alexander Gustafsson, Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader, and Glover Teixeira.
Yet another spectacular puncher on this list is Quinton Rampage Jackson. Nowadays, he’s probably better known for his acting career, but Rampage is also one of the greatest African American MMA fighters of all time.
Jackson won the UFC light heavyweight belt by knocking out the legendary Iceman Chuck Liddell at UFC 71.
He defended his belt one more time before he lost it to Forrest Griffin. Stacking up a couple more nice wins granted him a shot at Jon Jones and the title, but he lost via rear-naked choke.
His greatest wins came against Kevin Randleman, Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, Lyoto Machida, and Matt Hamill.
The last spot was a toss-up for me between Yoel Romero and Kevin Randleman. I opted for Romero in the end even though he never won the UFC title, simply because he was such a beast that fighters in the middleweight division were genuinely scared to enter the Octagon against him.
He has a wrestling background and knows how to properly cut weight, making him the most buff middleweight fighter ever.
Seeing his physical appearance makes it incredible that he fought at middleweight for so long. That’s also why he failed to make weight several times in his career (two times in title fights).
He fought for the title four times, lost three of those bouts, and missed weight in two (once in a win, making him ineligible for the title).
The last guy to beat him was Israel Adesanya, making Romero transfer to Bellator, where he still waits for his debut.
His best wins were against Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Jacare Souza, Lyoto Machida, and Tim Kennedy.