The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the worldâ€™s largest martial arts promotion company and is responsible for the explosion in popularity of the sport of mixed martial arts. You can see UFC programs in 150 countries worldwide in over 20 channels. It is one of the most grueling sports on the planet with extraordinarily well-conditioned warriors competing against one another using skills derived from a host of martial arts, such as Taekwondo, Muay Thai and karate. Below, we briefly feature five of the best UFC fighters ever to step into the octagon.
For many, the Brazilian bruiser is among the top fighters in UFC history. Nicknamed â€˜The Spiderâ€™, Silva is the longest reigning champion ever with 16 straight wins and 10 successive title defenses. He is the Middleweight champion and has not suffered defeat since a disqualification loss to Yushin Okami in 2006.
He is a Muay Thai specialist and known for his striking power, though he has defeated several notable grapplers on the ground, including Travis Lutter and Chael Sonnen.
Velasquez is not noted for grappling and has never won via submission. Instead, he is known for power striking with exceptional kicking ability. 9 of his 11 wins have come via knockout.
Hailing from Quebec, Canada, St-Pierre has been the UFC Welterweight champion since 2008 and has 10 straight wins to his name. He holds black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Shidokan, Gaidojutsu and Kyokushin Kaikan.
St-Pierre has fantastic all-round ability with the power to knock out opponents, grappling skills to gain submission wins and stamina to win decision victories.
Jay Dee Penn, otherwise known as B.J. Penn, is a Hawaiian native and has fought in four different weight divisions, winning the UFC Lightweight and Welterweight titles, only the second man to win UFC titles in two weight divisions along with Randy Couture.
Penn excels in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling and is considered by many to be among the greatest ever UFC fighters. Dana White, president of the organization, says Penn helped popularize the sport.
Griffin is from Columbus, Ohio and is a former UFC Light-Heavyweight champion, a title he won by defeating Quinton â€˜Rampageâ€™ Jackson. His fights against Stephan Bonnar have been acclaimed as a major reason for his UFC success.
While his star has recently dimmed, Griffin proved he is not finished yet with a 2012 win over Tito Ortiz.