Sat 11 December 2021 | 5:30

Most athletic fighters in MMA history

There are a plethora of fighters that have come and gone in the sport of MMA who are widely dubbed as the strongest, fittest, and toughest athletes in all professional sports. So without further ado, let's delve into the Most athletic fighters in MMA history.

In order to be a successful MMA fighter, one should display top-notch strength, speed, endurance and technique, but are all the fighters who have competed in this sport so much gifted in all sense of the word?

A group of all-around athletic combatants, have such a well-toned and well-trained body that their path could not be ended anywhere except to the success.

That is to say, in the light of their strict dieting and intense training, with cutting muscles, bulged arms, rock-hard abs, and excessively strong legs, they have been able to take down opponents and win titles even in the ferocious battles.

It means that with their variety of athletic traits, they have become capable to perform particularly mind-blowing athletic techniques during a fight.

Most athletic fighters in MMA history

Here we would feature the Most athletic fighters in MMA history so as to probe into the reasons why they have become the fittest MMA fighters of all time.

Yair Rodriguez

The Mexican professional MMA fighter currently competes in the featherweight category of the UFC. While he joined the UFC in 2014, as of April 26, 2021, he is the #3 fighter in the UFC featherweight rankings.

After that he burst onto the scene with flashy kicks from a Taekwondo style, although he was out-grappled by Frankie Edgar and just recently conceded a fight to Max Holloway, his career record of 13 wins, 3 loss and 1 no contest, might speak volumes about his athletism.

It is notable to suggest that his two opponents mentioned here are giants by their own, in as much as both of them anchored their names to the

list of UFC records

while Max Holloway is enlisted among the

Top UFC Fighters of 2021


But the underlying reasons behind his being considered as one of the most athletic fighters in MMA history lies in his agility, power, high speed, coordination, and flexibility from traditional TKD training.

Moreover, athletic performance is not necessarily concerned with the 40-yard-dash or high jump when athletes are completely fresh in their lungs and their muscles have a lot in their tanks.

On that note, Yair amazingly proved that how he can be quick, agile, flexible, and even creative at the time when he was nearly dead tired and exhausted with his 5-round hard-fought battle against Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.

Cain Velasquez

The Mexican-American professional wrestler and retired MMA fighter is widely recognized for his time competing in the heavyweight category of the UFC, where he succeeded to become a two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.

With the height of 6’1” and weight of 240 pounds, he has the size and strength to take on any rivals to the point that in his entire stellar MMA career, he only conceded three fights, while he became retired from this sport in 2019 after that two of his last three fights were ended up in defeats.

While it is mind-blowing that 12 of 14 number of his triumphs were through knockouts, he tended to knock his opponents to the ground as he often implemented grappling skills to maintain a dominant position so as to continue to strike from above.

His style is often dubbed as "swarming", due to his moving forward steadily, giving his rivals very little room to launch clean strikes, all with exercising powerful and extremely swift punching combinations.

But what has stabilized his place among the

most athletic fighters in MMA history

, is his praiseworthy consistent cardiovascular training.

That is to say in light of his impressive endurance, he went on to furiously smash his opponents with a barrage of strikes especially after they had left little in their tanks so as to grab the nickname of  "Cardio Cain".

Not to mention that as of July 2013, he was ranked Number 1 for the most strikes landed per minute in the UFC, and therefore had made his name be anchored to the list of UFC records.

Demetrious Johnson

While the American MMA fighter currently competes in ONE Championship, he was the inaugural UFC Flyweight Champion.

As one of the most athletic fighters in MMA history, he has the most staggering speed in the matches and perhaps that is why he became the first flyweight champion in the history of the UFC.

In the light of his athleticism, he has delivered the most takedowns in UFC flyweight history and tied for the latest finish in UFC history with a submission victory at 4:59 of the round 5 over Kyoji Horiguchi.

Likewise, as he is the only UFC warrior to record over 10 takedowns in three various fights, he made his name inevitably be added to the list of UFC records.

With an illustrious career record of 30-4-1, he is also the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion, being currently the #1 fighter in the ONE Championship flyweight rankings.

It is no wonder to see that one of the greatest and fastest fighters in MMA, would have great athleticism too, especially if you know that he has his background in wrestling, that has led him to control the placement of the fight's occurrence and discharge a number of effective takedowns in a single match when it is binding.

It is pertinent to note that with his amazing quick striking and elusive movement, he can mount fast punches and kicks to the head or body of his opponents and then escape their reach in the blink of an eye.

Moreover, while he is recognized for his counterstrike when he is standing within the pocket in upper body clinches, he tends to exercise the Muay Thai plum along with a mixing series of elbows and knees.

Chris Weidman

The American professional MMA fighter currently competes in the middleweight category of UFC.

Since he is considered to be among

The most underrated UFC fighters of all time

, he has a quick rise in this sport as he was much hyped up in his debut and after just four professional fights he could enter the UFC and despite many further triumphs he has not been that much recognized.

With a strong wrestling base, he incorporated some of the best jiu-jitsu in this category, while with the help of coaches and teammates, he has been turned into one of the best all-around fighters, being currently considered as the

Most Athletic MMA Fighter


Following the start of his MMA career in 2008 and joining the UFC in 2011, soon he amazingly racked up an undefeated MMA 9-0 and UFC 5-0 records.

Above all, when in 2013, he rose to prominence by beating Anderson Silva to grab the UFC Middleweight Championship, he actually brought Silva's 16-fight winning streak of UFC and his seven-year reign as the champion to a halt.

He even went on to retain the title for two and a half years, defending it three times until he gave it up to Luke Rockhold.

Be that as it may, he illustrated how an athletic fighter he is in his triumph over the giants like Demian Maia and Mark Munoz.

Being highly intelligent, his fight IQ is unprecedented in this sport as he crafts great game plans and can adjust mid-fight to his rivals so as to cement his spot among the most athletic fighters in MMA history.

Finally, although is not the most charismatic figure in the sport, his athleticism helps him implement his read and react game, better than many fighters in the middleweight category and if injuries had not prohibited him so far, he would use it to get right to the very top.

Yoel Romero

The Cuban professional MMA fighter and former freestyle wrestler currently competes in the Light Heavyweight category of Bellator MMA.

He also fought in the middleweight category of the UFC, as he was a four-time challenger for the UFC Middleweight Championship.

Although he never became a UFC champion, his credentials as an Olympic wrestler and his spectacular feats in UFC have seen him draw a lot of resemblance with the greatest fighters in MMA.

With several wins over a number of former world champions, in the light of his explosiveness and power, he is widely dubbed as one of the

most athletic fighters in MMA history


That is to say, he has such an amount of pure strength that no one can push him around in any of his battles. To such an extent that the Cuban is able to crumble his opponents' body and soul under his grip with the pace and grace of a world-class bullfighter.

Perhaps that is the reason why he is considered to be among

The most intimidating MMA fighters ever

, while despite his being 44 years old, he is still competing in the Bellator MMA.

Anthony Pettis

The American professional MMA fighter currently competes in the Professional Fighters League while he formerly fought in the Welterweight, Lightweight, and Featherweight categories of the UFC, being a former UFC Lightweight Champion.

Moreover, he was honoured to be the final WEC Lightweight Champion before that the promotion was merged with the UFC.

Therefore, with a professional kickboxing background, he is held in the highest esteem in MMA for his smooth and technical fighting style, along with his athletic feats and a wide variety of techniques.

That is why he is assumed to be among the

most athletic fighters in MMA history

while he has even earned his nickname of Showtime for it.

That is to say, because his fighting style is a lot flashier than many other fighters in terms of vividness, athleticism and venture, he has been called Showtime.

With his pure electricity, explosiveness and athletic legs, his kicks have turned out to be landed a lot faster than any other fighters' punches. This athleticism and pace, saw him edge out even some giants like the former lightweight champion, Benson Henderson too.

Anderson Silva

While the former UFC Middleweight Champion holds the record for the longest title reign in UFC history and has grabbed a spot on the list of

Best UFC Records of All Time

, he also is included on the list of the Most Famous MMA fighters.

With a spectacular striking accuracy, knockout power, technically devastating Muay Thai skills as well as an ability to counterstrike terrifically, he is assumed to be a true athletic fighter who is more of a nightmare for his opponents.

As he has expertise in boxing and taekwondo, he is primarily a stand-up fighter and is the holder of a myriad of UFC offensive striking records, being widely dubbed as one of the best strikers in the history of MMA.

What is absolutely mind-blowing about his striking, is his use of three major strengths of technical precision, the jab, and transitions and movement in these strikes. Even more amazingly, he has switched from southpaw to orthodox, having just a little drop-off in effectiveness.

Although some have indicated that his ground game is not as good as his stand-up, this is not always the case in as much as he managed to submit some prominent grapplers, as the likes of Olympic wrestler Dan Henderson, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt Travis Lutter and Olympic alternate Chael Sonnen.

While these are enough to consider him as a true athletic fighter, his emulation and imitation from other fighters and athletes' techniques would provide further undisputed evidence for his overall athletic abilities.

Jose Aldo

The Brazilian professional MMA fighter currently competes in the bantamweight category of the UFC, being ranked as the #5 fighter in this division's UFC rankings as of 26 July 2021, while he enlisted among the

Best MMA fighters in each weight class ever


While he was the fourth and final WEC Featherweight Champion, he became the first UFC Featherweight Champion following the mergence of the UFC and WEC.

Being the record holder of the most victories and knockouts in UFC and WEC featherweight history; he has mounted a sum of 691 significant strikes in the UFC and the WEC, whereas he was the undisputed UFC champion twice and the interim champion once, being a former three-time UFC featherweight champion overall.

Moreover, Aldo is widely regarded as not only one of the most explosive fighters in the UFC but also the Most Athletic MMA Fighter too while his Muay Thai style of striking, his leg kicks as well as his defensive wrestling is specifically outstanding.

Being a die-hard fan of the soccer club


, he has also put on show an overwhelming talent and athleticism in the cage with his staggering speed, and brutal striking and kicks.

In as much as he holds a black belt in Brazilian native Catch wrestling style Luta livre and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and has also trained Muay Thai with Dutch shoot boxer Andy Souwer, he is deemed as a comprehensive meaning of an "athlete" in the lower divisions of the UFC.

Jon Jones

The American professional MMA fighter currently competes in the light heavyweight category of the UFC, while he is a former two-time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.

Being included on the list of

The Most Famous MMA Fighters Ever

, he is the #6 fighter in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings as of November 2, 2021.

In his glorious MMA career, he has 26 victories and was beaten only in one fight through a controversial disqualification against Matt Hamill.

Not to mention that he became the youngest champion in UFC history with his title triumph over Maurício Rua at just tender age of 23, while he goes down as one of

The Highest Paid UFC Fighters of All Time


With such great honours, you might have the presentiment that there would be no way that Jon Jones can be left off our list of the most athletic fighters in MMA history.

This might be due to the fact that he exercises a wide variety of kicking techniques, most notably front kicks to the body and head, roundhouse kicks to the legs and upper body, and his most famous technique of the "oblique kick" which is a controversial technique intended to raze his opponent's knee that has been popularized by Bones idol Bruce Lee.

It goes without saying, that he has an excellent ability in the clinch, where he is potent to control his rivals' arms, landing elbow and knee strikes.

Likewise, on the ground, he has tremendous positional control in addition to an ability to find openings for punches and elbow strikes too, while his attack is one of the most unorthodox and athletic offensive attacks of all time.

George St-Pierre

The former welterweight and middleweight divisions champion of the UFC has arguably a special place on the

list of the most famous MMA fighters

of all time.

The greatest and most beloved MMA fighter over and over again has proved that he is the holder of the best aspects of a myriad of athletic disciplines, like gymnastics, since he incorporated whatever that was possible for him into his game.

Being included among the

Most influential fighters in MMA history

, with a Karate background he is also assumed to be one of the best wrestlers to ever step into the cage.

As the best-conditioned and most athletic MMA fighter, although he might not be the best pure "fighter" of the MMA, his athleticism is arguably unmatched.

His own eloquent terms in this regard, which were recorded at the UFC 154 press conference in response to a question about his ability to finish, are worth mentioning:

"I don't have the wrestling of a Chael Sonnen, I don't have the accuracy of Anderson Silva but I use my body and the tools that I have to the best of my ability and that is why I win fights”.

As a result, he may very well be the most athletic fighter, especially in the light of his explosive take-downs and his ability to overpower his opponent with strength.


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