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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2. Anderson Silva

Anderson “The Spider” Silva will go down as one of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history, if not the best, and at 47 years old the Brazilian is still fighting today. Silva holds numerous records, including the most wins in middleweight title fights with 11, the most consecutive title defenses at middleweight with 10, and a record 16 consecutive wins during the longest title reign in UFC history at 2,457 days. Silva would end his MMA career with a 17-7 record and 14 performance bonuses.

Silva joined the UFC in 2006 with 21 fights under his belt and wouldn’t lose a fight until seven years later. After beating champion Rich Franklin in his second UFC fight, Silva won 14 straight, defending his belt 10 times. While taking some fights in different weight classes and some opponents missing weight, Silva beat Chris Leben, Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson, Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, former champion Forrest Griffin, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen (twice), Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami, and Stephan Bonner.

The first Chael Sonnen fight is one of the most memorable fights ever, Sonnen was on his way to becoming champion when Silva threw up a triangle from the bottom with less than two minutes left to retain his title. Silva would go 1-7 from there on out, losing his title to Chris Weidman and then suffering a gruesome injury in the rematch. Silva won a fan’s dream fight returning from that injury against Nick Diaz, but the win was overturned after he failed a drug test. Silva never backed down from competition and fought anyone the UFC had offered, including the new and old blood like Michael Bisping, Daniel Cormier, Derek Brunson, future champion Israel Adesanya, and title challenger Jared Cannonier.

Silva’s last fight was in 2020 against Uriah Hall, and it’s only a matter of time before he is inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Silva would venture back into boxing in 2021, facing one of the Paul brothers, Logan, last year.