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Top UFC Fighters of 2021

Wed 13 October 2021 | 20:29

As the 2021 fight calendar is approaching to its end, what better than to shed more light on those who have not entered the octagon unless the crowd were left speechless. So let's dive into Top UFC fighters of 2021.

While UFC is one of the most famous and dominant MMA promotions across the world, whoever is honored to fight under its banner is assumed to be among the greatest fighters.

But undoubtedly a chunk of them have been a true shining light in 2021 as it seems that they have managed to not only overcome the giants that already reined the supreme but also overcome the existing limitations of the Pandemic.

Yet a few were not rising stars, as they already had grabbed top spots in UFC Rankings, and what they do was just to continue making their spectacular feats.

So far you might get the hint that the criteria we considered to choose these

Top UFC fighters 2021

is their being among the high rates of UFC rankings and having a prosperous year full of triumphs and achievements.

That is to say, there comes a selection among even the UFC current champions in such a way that all warriors enlisted here are those who have anchored at least one victory to their name in 2021.

In case you expected to see all of those champions here, don't worry at all, we have already covered them up in the list of the

UFC Current Champions: Who is the most dominant belt holder?

But keep in mind that there are also some other UFC fighters as the likes of Terrance McKinney, Movsar Evloev, and Islam Makhachev who has performed so much strikingly, earning more than one triumph earlier this year, but because they are not among the top-ranked UFC fighters, they are not included in our list.

Top UFC Fighters of 2021

Here is the list of Top UFC fighters of 2021.

Robert Whittaker

The New Zealand-born Australian MMA warrior was honoured to be the UFC Middleweight Champion. Following that Georges St-Pierre vacated the UFC Middleweight Championship in 2017, as Whittaker had won the interim middleweight championship, he was promoted to undisputed champion.

With a career record of 25 wins and 5 losses, as of 19 January 2021, he has grabbed the #1 spot in the UFC middleweight rankings while, as of July 19, 2021, he is the twelfth fighter in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings and that is the initial ground for including him among the Top UFC fighters 2021.

As the first Australian UFC champion, he is honoured to win 5 Fight of the Night and 3 Performance of the Night awards, toppling one of the most intimidating fighters the UFC has ever had in Yoel Romero not once but twice.

Since he returned to UFC back in 2019 in Abu Dhabi last summer, he has come back to his best. His triumphs over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier were a presentiment of how he would perform in 2021, reminding everyone of his incredible capabilities.

The real nub of the matter is that until now he has anchored his name to one victory in 2021 which saw him earn the Fight of the Night award for it.

To be specific, while he was set to cope with Paulo Costa on 17 April 2021 at UFC on ESPN 22, Costa withdrew from the fight due to illness and as a result, Whittaker confronted Kelvin Gastelum and succeeded to earn mastery via unanimous decision, cementing his place among top UFC fighters of 2021.

Max Holloway

As the first American to win the UFC Featherweight Championship, he earned the title by beating José Aldo in 2017 as he went on to defend the title three times.

With a career record of 22 wins and 6 losses, he is the #1 fighter in featherweight division of

UFC rankings

and has earned the #9 spot in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings as of March 29, 2021, so as to be included in our list of top UFC fighters of 2021 with his mere astonishing fight in the year.

The four-time winner of the Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night awards, coped with Calvin Kattar on January 16, 2021, establishing dominance in all 5 rounds and gaining triumphs by unanimous decision so as to compensate for his two previous fights in the most decent way.

Precisely as saying, he has become the holder of the

Best UFC Records of All Time

as he set the UFC single-fight records for total strikes landed (+447) and attempted (+746), significant strikes landed  (+445) and attempted (+744), strike differential (+312), distance strikes landed (+439), significant head strikes landed (+274) and significant body strikes landed (+117).

Charles Oliveira

The Brazilian warrior is currently the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion, while he holds a number of UFC records, as the like of the most submission wins in the promotion's history at 14, and for most finishes at 17.

While he has 31 wins and 8 losses in his MMA career, he grabbed the tenth spot in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings. While he won 3 Submission of the Night and 3 Fight of the Night awards, he is also the record holder of the Most Performance of the Night awards in UFC history (11).

After that Khabib Nurmagomedov's became retired, he encountered the former three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship in which he managed to grab his only victory in 2021.

In this fight, which resulted in his being included among the UFC champions 2021, although in the first round he was dropped by his opponent, he eventually won the fight via technical knockout early in the second round claiming the UFC Lightweight Championship.

If you have known that this knockout victory, saw him smash the record of the most finishes in UFC history and the Performance of the Night bonus award as well, you would agree with us to add him to the list of

top UFC fighters of 2021

.

Jan Błachowicz

As the first male Polish champion in UFC history and the second Polish champion after Joanna Jędrzejczyk, he earned this Light Heavyweight belt when he overcame Dominick Reyes for the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on September 27, 2020, at UFC 253 so as to earn one of his five Performance of the Night awards as well.

With a career record of 28 victories and 8 defeats, he has grabbed the spot #7 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings, cementing his place in the list of the top UFC fighters 2021 with his only spectacular triumph in the year.

That is to say on March 6, 2021, at UFC 259, he successfully defended his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Israel Adesanya winning the fight via unanimous decision, therefore he is supposed to be among 

UFC champions 2021

as well.

Needless to say, Adesanya is one of the most intimidating warriors the world has ever observed, as he is the current UFC Middleweight Champion who had been unbeaten throughout his MMA career unless Błachowicz became honoured to edge him out in this fight.

Brandon Moreno

Being the first Mexican-born UFC reigning champion, he earned this flyweight belt, when he confronted Deiveson Figueiredo in their second match on June 12, 2021, co-headlining UFC 263.

While this was his only fight in 2021, it was specifically noticeable first because Moreno managed to establish dominance with his striking and grappling exchanges, submitting Figueiredo with a rear-naked choke in the third round.

While this victory resulted in his earning the Performance of the Night award, MMAjunkie.com marked it as 2021 June Submission of the Month as well.

The second reason why it deemed to be an impressive fight, is the fact that this was a rematch, meaning that they had already confronted with each other for the UFC Flyweight Championship on December 12, 2020, at UFC 256.

But after a hard-fought five-round back-and-forth battle, their match was announced to be a majority draw, earning both warriors the Fight of the Night award. So this shows how a herculean task it was for him to become one of UFC champions 2021 and this is what has landed him a spot among the

Top UFC fighters of 2021

.

It is also notable to suggest that with a career record of 19 wins and 5 losses, he is #11 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings as of July 12, 2021, while he was also granted 3 Performance of the Night awards.

Francis Ngannou

As the first Cameroonian-born reigning UFC champion who is competing in the Heavyweight category, he is specifically outstanding for being the hardest recorded puncher not only in UFC history but also in the entire world.

The Predator's brute strength has always grabbed an awful lot of attention in the UFC's heavyweight division in as much as 12 of his 16 victories have been achieved by the way of knockout, which is an exquisite showcase of Ngannou's power.

With only 3 losses in his career record, he is the #5 warrior in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings, earning six Performance of the Night awards as well.

But what has earned him a place among the top UFC fighters 2021 is his grabbing a triumph in his rematch against Miocic to the end of taking the first position in the

UFC Heavyweight rankings 2021

, as the fight took place on 27 March 2021 at UFC 260.

The victory was achieved via knockout in round two again so as to be resulted in his grabbing the Performance of the Night award as well, while it saw Miocic descend to the second spot in the UFC Heavyweight rankings 2021.

Needless to say that this victory earned in 2021 was a terrifically impressive feat, on one hand, because Miocic is one of

The Greatest MMA Fighters of All Time

.

On the other hand, in their first encounter at UFC 220 around three years ago, Miocic exercised some tremendous head movement and wrestling skills to win the fight via unanimous decision, so it was truly a herculean task overcoming such an opponent after conceding one defeat.

Valentina Shevchenko

She is a Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian current UFC Women's Flyweight Champion, who earned the title when she toppled Joanna Jędrzejczyk, who was coming back to the Flyweight division, on December 8, 2018, at UFC 231 for the vacant UFC Women's Flyweight Championship.

With a career record of 22 wins and 3 losses, she is honoured to come out ahead of three former UFC champions - Holly Holm, Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Jéssica Andrade, being ranked as the #2 in UFC women's pound ranking as of November 23, 2020.

It is notable to suggest that all of these fighters are considered to be giants in women rankings, who have put on show a number of jaw-dropping wars; you can read the full account of their outstanding fights on

The Best Women's Fights in UFC History

.

While she is the first woman to defend UFC Women's Flyweight Championship, she amazingly defended her title six times, which two of them took place in 2021, being among those

top UFC fighters of 2021

who just continued making their spectacular feats in the current year.

She confronted Jéssica Andrade on April 24, 2021, at UFC 261 and managed to establish dominance finishing Andrade in the second round via elbows from crucifix position so as to make her fifth title defence.

She also went on to fight against Lauren Murphy on September 25, 2021, at UFC 266 as she prevailed in the match via technical knockout in the fourth round, earning her sixth title.

Kamaru Usman

As the first Nigerian-born UFC champion, he is currently the reigning UFC Welterweight Champion who has made four successful title defences in his career so far, and as a result he has earned the first spot in the

UFC Welterweight rankings 2021

, being included in our list of 

Best MMA fighters in each weight class ever.

With a career record of 19 wins and 1 loss, he is amazingly the #1 fighter in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings as of September 27, 2021, while he gained two victories in 2021, being among the top UFC fighters 2021, who repeated their incredible feats in this year as well.

In his third title defence against BJJ World Champion Gilbert Burns that occurred on February 13, 2021, at UFC 258, he gained mastery via technical knockout in the third round, so as to smash the record of the former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre for the largest win-streak in the division with thirteen.

Therefore, it is no wonder to see the victory bring him the Performance of the Night award, being marked as 2021 February Fight of the Month as well.

Likewise in his rematch against Jorge Masvidal in the UFC Welterweight Championship on April 24, 2021, at UFC 261 in Florida, he knocked out his opponent in the second round to become the first one to do so in the UFC, cementing his first position in UFC Welterweight rankings 2021.

Hence with this victory, he made his fourth title defence, achieving his fourth Performance of the Night bonus award as the fight was dubbed as 2021 April Knockout of the Month.

Dustin Poirier

While he is an American MMA fighter and philanthropist, he is honoured to be a former Interim UFC Lightweight Champion.

With a career record of 28 wins and 6 losses, he succeeded to be the #1 warrior in the UFC lightweight rankings,  as of June 13, 2021, and #6 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings.

While amazingly he achieved seven Fight of the Night and one Submission of the Night awards, he also amassed four Performance of the Night awards in his career.

He is included in our list of the top UFC fighters 2021 since he put on show two spectacular fights this year against the same giant fighter who had defeated him back in 2014 and he is nobody just Conor McGregor whose name is anchored to a raft of the

Best UFC Events of All Time

.

To be specific, in his rematch against McGregor at UFC 257 on January 24, 2021, he managed to win the bout via technical knockout in the second round, being honoured to be the first person to beat McGregor via knockout, which saw him earn the Performance of the Night award and the fight was deemed to be 2021 January Fight of the Month as well.

Moreover in their trilogy on July 10, 2021, at UFC 264, once more time he won the fight in round one via technical knockout following that the ringside doctor brought the fight to a halt in the face of his opponent sustaining a broken tibia, rendering him unable to go on.

Ciryl Gane

The French MMA fighter is the current Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion, so he is landed in the second position on UFC Heavyweight rankings 2021, in spite of the fact that he began his UFC career just 3 years ago. What is more fascinating is that he has not conceded any fight so far with a career record of 10 wins and 0 losses.

Although you might think that two of his three victories in 2021 were Fight Nights, his being classified as the #14 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings as of August 9, 2021, has convinced us to add him among top UFC fighters 2021.

After all, when he is set to cope with Francis Ngannou who is the most brute force in history, for the UFC Heavyweight Championship on January 22, 2022, at UFC 270, you might get the hint that he is already among the top-ranked UFC fighters despite having few experiences.

In his first fight that took place in 2021, he confronted Jairzinho Rozenstruik on February 27, at UFC Fight Night 186 as he prevailed in the match via unanimous decision.

Likewise, he fought against Alexander Volkov on June 26, 2021, at UFC Fight Night 190 and grabbed triumph via unanimous decision.

Lastly, in his bout against Derrick Lewis which occurred on August 7, 2021, at UFC 265 for the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship, he fascinating succeeded to win the one-sided fight via technical knockout in the third round, so as to earn the Performance of the Night award.

 

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