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Who Are The 10 Most Well-Rounded MMA Fighters In History

The most well rounded MMA fighter in the sport.

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Under its umbrella, the sport of mixed martial arts is awash with all manner of styles and disciplines meshed together. So a question that can sometimes be asked is, who exactly are the most well-rounded MMA fighters in the sport?

There are a number of well-known MMA fighters both current and from bygone years in the sport who are considered the most well-rounded. They include Nick Diaz, Georges St Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Carlos Condit, Fedor Emelianenko and others.

And while some on this list may not have been champions. It does not take away from their undeniable talent which was evident for all to see. As with most sports, there are eras. And unluckily for some outstanding fighters, they just so happened to end up in an era with one of the best in history.

So while their championship collection may be somewhat sparse. Their performances inside the cage or octagon have done the speaking for them. Between Fight of the Night bonuses and title shots. These ladies and gentlemen are the very best the MMA world has to offer.

Strikeforce Champion Nick Diaz

Nickolas Robert Diaz, AKA Nick Diaz is the former WEC and Strikeforce welterweight champion of the world. Nick is just one of those guys in the sport who has amassed a hardcore following like a few others.

Having fought across most of the major MMA promotions around the world. His style and persona have endeared him to many, while at the same time being shunned by others.

Nick is an unusual cat, not just in terms of the sport itself but in his outlook on life and his personality. Something which has been confirmed by those who have known him from an early age.

But with his time in the sport, having fought some of the very best fighters in the world. And his attitude to how he is treated vs some other big stars has set him apart from most.

His fights against Georges St Pierre, Paul Daley and even his weird fight against Anderson Silva. Have in retrospect made him one of the sports icons. Never far from the lips of an MMA fan, another day without Nick in the picture is a sad day.

Welterweight King Georges St Pierre

When the question of who is the best fighter in MMA history comes up. There is one name that time and time again rears its head. And that, of course, is George St Pierre.

St Pierre was the UFC two-division champion at both welterweight and middleweight. Having fought the very best of his era and dominated for over a decade at the very top! GSP is without a doubt one of the very best to ever compete in the sport of mixed martial arts.

UFC welterweight king Georges St-Pierre standing outside the UFC octagon.
Georges St-Pierre entering the UFC octagon.

With his high-level boxing under the tutelage of famed trainer Freddie Roach. Coupled with the elite-level grappling that almost got him a place on the Canadian Olympic wrestling squad. And the all-around MMA skills he learned from coach Firas Zahabi.

Meant that GPS was without a doubt one of the most well-rounded fighters to ever have completed. And having faced and defeated the very best of his era. His position in the pound-for-pound rankings is without a doubt guaranteed.

Lightweight Frankie Edgar

If there is one guy who is the face of title shots in the UFC, it has to be a lightweight fighter, Frankie Edgar. The former division champion Frankie is the guy who beat the guy, by putting an end to the reign of B.J. Penn.

Always there or thereabouts, Frankie was known as one of the best wrestlers in the sport. But always improving his boxing under the tutelage of renowned striking coach Mark Henry. Edgar would go on to be one of the most well-known and beloved fighters in the sport.

A top-ten fighter for almost a decade, he has competed against pretty much all the best fighters during his era. And while he has fallen short a number of times. Few can contest his ranking as one of the best lightweights the sport has seen.

Middleweight Legend Anderson Silva

The former undisputed UFC middleweight champion of the world Anderson Silva. Is regarded by many as the greatest fighter to have ever lived. And while this may be contested by others. There’s little doubting his standing in the world of mixed martial arts

The Brazilian pound-for-pound exemplified greatness when he competed inside the UFC octagon. And with the combination of skills he brought to the cage, proved too much for all except one fighter during his reign.

The reigning UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva crouching inside the UFC octagon.
Middleweight champion Anderson Silva in the UFC.

A student of dance, Silva would later go on to add Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, boxing and even some Capoeira to his repository. Completing one of the most well-rounded sets of skills we have ever seen inside the octagon.

Going 15 straight wins, Silva holds the second-place record for the most title wins at 10, just one behind flyweight king Demetrious Johnson. And putting aside the infractions which took place later in his career. He will forever be remembered as one of the sports icons.

WEC Champion Carlos Condit

The Natural Born Killer, Carlos Condit was the former WEC and UFC Interim welterweight champion. Condit trained out of JacksonWink gym in Albuquerque New Mexico. Brought a slick combination of striking and submission grappling whenever he competed inside the cage.

With his classic Muay Thai knees, kicks and punches and an equally good submission game whenever things went to the ground. Carlos was regarded as one of the toughest fighters in the sport at 170 lbs.

And while he may not have reached the top of the UFC mountain. He was one of the few fighters to put a prime George St Pierre on his backside. And some might say even came close to getting the win.

Nonetheless, Carlos is highly respected as one of the very best the sport has known. And his collection of well-rounded skills inside the cage has stood for him throughout his long and successful career. It’s just a pity he never got a second bite of the welterweight cherry.

UFC Light Heavyweight Kingpin Jon Jones

To look at Jon Jones, his physique does not scream super athlete. Tall and lanky with legs as thick as some fighter’s arms. Jones is still in the mix to be considered the GOAT of MMA.

Winning the UFC light heavyweight title when he was just 23 years old, making him the youngest champion in UFC history. Inside the octagon he dominated all of his opponents, having only one loss and one no-contest on his record.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones during a fight.
Dominant light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

Coming to the sport with a base in wrestling, Jones quickly learned mixed martial arts. Bringing his own athleticism and flair to what he did inside the cage. Something which set him apart from many of his opponents.

Leading him to 8 consecutive title defences, which is one behind Georges St Pierre. And also in the mix to be considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.

MMA God Fedor Emelianenko

The Last Emperor, Fedor Emelianenko is perhaps the single most famous MMA fighter to have never competed in the UFC. Fedor ruled PRIDE Fighting Championships as their heavyweight champion.

Going unbeaten from 2003 through to 2006, he was seen at the time as the most well-rounded heavyweight on the planet. And while not competing in the UFC was regarded by many of its champions as the very best in the world.

Fedor Emelianenko – The Baddest Man On The Planet Documentary

With world-level Russian Sambo, combined with his fast hands and slick submissions. Emelianenko had all the tools he needed to maintain his position at the top of the sport. Thoroughly dominating all challengers for his heavyweight championship.

And while little was known about the man himself, his performances inside the ring spoke for themselves. With pundits and ex-opponents alike all in agreement that he was indeed the baddest man on the planet.

Double Champion B.J. Penn

The former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion, B.J. Penn is not your stereotypical fighter. Coming from a relatively wealthy family, his upbringing in Hilo, Hawaii would see him being involved in plenty of street fights.

And it was this desire to fight which would drive him forward to take up the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in which he excelled. Within just three years, he had achieved his black belt, making him the fastest-known active fighter to do so. Then just a few weeks later going on to win gold in the 2000 world champions in Rio, the first American to do so.

A year later he would be fighting in the UFC and 3 years later would capture the UFC welterweight title from undisputed champion Matt Hughes.

Known for his wizardry on the ground, BJ also possessed some of the best boxing in the sport. Two skills served the double champion well in an illustrious career. Which places him amongst the sport’s greatest pound-for-pound fighters.

Featherweight Jose Aldo Junior

There was a time when the Brazilian phenom Jose Aldo Junior was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. With one of the longest streaks in MMA history from 2004 – 2014, winning 25 of his 26 fights.

The former WEC champion became the inaugural UFC bantamweight champion in 2011. Going on to defend his title a total of 7 times, he was seen by many as unbeatable.

Jose Aldo as he weighs in for his championship defence in the UFC.
Jose Aldo Junior weighing in before a fight.

With his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and an outstanding standup game based firmly in Muay Thai. Jose’s reign at the very top of the sport meant that many elite fighters like Urijah Faber could never get their hands on UFC gold.

And while his career somewhat faded, it’s hard to believe that he still competes at the very highest levels in the sport. A true Brazilian icon and without a doubt one of the very best to have ever stepped into the cage.

Flyweight King Demetrious Johnson

While not the most high-profile fighter in terms of pay-per-view sales. There is an argument that the small man Demetrious Johnson, is in fact, the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time.

When we discuss pure skills, game planning and execution inside the octagon. Few can manage to compete with the former flyweight king. Holding the record for most title defences in UFC history. The 125 lb fighter easily handled all challengers to his crown.

With outstanding speed, skill and creativity, Johnson dominated in his division winning the inaugural title in 2012. Going on to defend his championship a record-breaking 11 times. And in the process knocking off former record holder Anderson Silva by one.

An all-around nice guy, but a badass inside the cage. DJ will go down as a P4P great, with perhaps the most complete set of skills of all fighters in the sport.

In Conclusion

So I hope you enjoyed this run through my top 10 list of the most well-rounded fighters in MMA history. And look, I’m sure there will be those who have a different opinion and that is good.

As if we went purely on records alone, the list would no doubt look very different. But well-rounded versus simply the best can be two quite different things.

As we know, there have been plenty of champions who excelled in one particular area. Where they were so good at that one thing, it was enough to get them all the way to the top of the mountain.

But when it comes to well-rounded fighters, we are looking for people who could do it all by chaining everything together in a mixed martial arts environment. And while they may not have become a champion themselves.

Their outstanding performances inside the cage were enough to get them accolades and acknowledgement from fans as one of the best to ever do it.