Who is the best Mexican MMA fighter of all-time?

Picking Mexico's greatest MMA fighter of all-time.
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Mexico and combat sports are synonymous with each other. Boxing has been defined by legendary Mexican pugilists throughout different eras, and while the same level of success has not yet been replicated in mixed martial arts, Mexico is on the up and reaching the dizzying heights the likes of Brazil and the USA have enjoyed in the sport.

The growth of Mexican talent, and their increase in popularity, has led us to Sept. 16, when the UFC hosts their first ever Noche UFC, a night before Mexico's independence day. The promotion's only Mexican champion, flyweight queen Alexa Grasso, will headline the event, putting her belt on the line in a rematch against Valentina Shevchenko.

Although the event is unfortunately not held in Mexico but rather in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, expect Mexican fans to show up and erupt whenever a Mexican fighter makes their way towards the Octagon. In fact, seven fighters competing are either Mexican or have Mexican heritage throughout the 11 scheduled bouts.

With Noche UFC just about to get underway, it has many fans wondering who exactly should be considered the greatest Mexican MMA fighter to ever step foot in a cage. With a variety of options across multiple weight classes to chose from, it was not an easy task but at the end of the day, there could really only be one answer.

Brandon Moreno is Mexico's greatest fighter of all-time

The UFC has seen its fair share of champions with Mexican roots. Former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez wore a mouthpiece with the Mexican flag on it. Former double champ Henry Cejudo often talks about growing up in a Mexican household. Even the famous Diaz brothers, Nick and Nate, have Mexican heritage running through their veins.

All of these legendary fighters can definitely have a claim at being the greatest Mexican fighter of all-time. Their issue? They never actually fought under the Mexican flag.

They can all claim their heritage and their pride for being Mexican, but when it came down to it, they all represented the United States, with Cejudo going as far as winning Olympic gold for Team USA in 2008.

That's why Brandon Moreno is MMA's greatest fighter hailing from Mexico. The former two-time flyweight champion, who also held the interim belt, became the UFC's first ever Mexican champion at UFC 263. That was the graphic and stat that was shared all around the world. Not when Velasquez did it, not when Cejudo did it, but when Moreno became a champion.

Moreno's now had three separate title reigns and always put on fascinating fights. His title run led to the UFC's first-ever tetralogy, when Moreno faced Deiveson Figueiredo, and he came out of that iconic rivalry with two wins, a draw, and a defeat. More importantly, he still had the flyweight belt around him when all was said and done.

As Figueiredo seemingly dodged the chance of a fourth fight with Moreno, all the man from Tijuana did was risk his chance at undisputed gold by taking on the very dangerous Kai Kara-France. He TKO'd his opponent to become the interim champion, forcing Figueiredo into a fourth fight. Moreno would win by TKO again to claim undisputed glory for a second time.

Although he has now lost the title to Alexandre Pantoja, that fight is considered to be one the greatest flyweight title bouts of all-time. Perhaps the other fight in contention would be his first of four against Figueiredo, which ended in a draw back at UFC 256 and earned plaudits for fight of the year.

You could argue that other Mexican fighters, especially those with Mexican heritage, have achieved much more than what Moreno has in their UFC careers. However, not a single one of them embodies the Mexican fighting spirit the way that Moreno does.

Losing to Pantoja at The Ultimate Fighter in 2016, Moreno somehow found himself in the UFC. Following two consecutive losses, he was cut by the end of 2018. Moreno never gave up, winning the LFA flyweight title before returning to the UFC.

He made sure to never let the opportunity slip away ever again, eventually climbing up the ladder to become a UFC champion. That is why he has to be the greatest Mexican fighter of all-time.

Being a Mexican champion is not about how many belts you win, it's about how you do it. Moreno clawed his way back from nothing to achieve his dream and in doing so, showed the rest of Mexico that you did not have to defect to the USA to reach the top. Moreno has now become a household name and the roar he gets from crowds is unlike any flyweight has ever received.

That in itself is a reason enough to crown him as the greatest Mexican MMA fighter of all-time.

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