30 greatest UFC fighters of all time [UPDATED]

Celebrating 30 years of the UFC, ranking the 30 greatest UFC fighters of all time.
UFC belt
UFC belt / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages
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13. Matt Hughes

When you look at Matt Hughes’ resume with the UFC, it’s important to note he already had 32 pro fights before joining the organization in 2001. Hughes would go 18-7 with four performance bonuses and put together two separate six-fight win streaks.

Hughes will most likely be remembered for the slam knockout against Carlos Newton to win the welterweight title in his debut. Hughes went on to defend the title five times against Hayato Sakurai, Carlos Newton, Gil Castillo, Sean Sherk, and Frank Trigg. Hughes lost the title to BJ Penn but then went on another six-fight win streak which included winning back the vacant title against Georges St-Pierre, defending it twice, which he would hold the then-record of seven title defenses, and facing MMA legend Royce Gracie in his return to the UFC.

Hughes lost the belt to Georges St-Pierre and the subsequent rematch for the interim belt a year later. Hughes went 3-3 to finish out his UFC career, including wins against Matt Serra, Renzo Gracie, and Ricardo Almeida, his last fight being against Josh Koscheck at UFC 135.

Hughes was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010, going 9-3 in title fights with seven title defenses and being a two-time welterweight champion for the organization. In 2017, Hughes was hospitalized with a serious head injury after a train struck his car, but a year later returned to be ringside at an event in St. Louis.