The 5 Greatest MMA Heavyweights of All Time

When it comes to combat sports, there’s just something special about heavyweight fighters. Perhaps it’s the titanic impact of boxing greats like Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson, the sheer power on display, or maybe it’s just simply the old adage ‘bigger is better’. 

With over 300 million people around the globe following MMA, it has gained massive popularity among bettors and is a key draw for sportsbooks that offer no deposit sign up bonuses

This near-mythologized legacy of heavyweight fighters extends down to MMA, where many have staked their claim among the greatest-ever juggernauts. Let’s take a look at the five greatest MMA heavyweight champions and the mark they’ve made on the sport. 

5. Francis Ngannou

There’s no doubt that Francis Ngannou has the talent in his powerful fists to reach the #1 spot on the long list of iconic MMA heavyweights but the question remains whether he’ll ever return to finish the job. 

Considered the most ferocious puncher of all time by many, Ngannou ended half of his 14 UFC fights by knockout within two minutes, catapulting his way to the very top of the UFC world when he defeated Stipe Miocic to claim the UFC heavyweight championship.

But, after one successful title defense against Ciryl Gane, Ngannou left for the bright lights of boxing, where he has yet to find the same level of success. 

4. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira

The scrappy Brazilian who could grapple with the best of them Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira dominated the heavyweight class in the early 2000s, with his only losses between October 2000 and September 2006 coming at the hands of the #1 fighter on this list. 

Most well-remembered for his two-year reign as the PRIDE Heavyweight Champion between 2001 and 2003, Nogueira cemented his legacy in 2008, defeating Tim Sylvia to claim the UFC heavyweight championship, becoming one of just three fighters to hold the PRIDE and UFC championships. 

3. Daniel Cormier

A key member of the UFC commentary team these days, we’d be wise to remember just how dangerous Daniel Cormier was in his prime. From the beginning of his pro career up until his back-to-back title losses to #2 on this list, Corimer’s only loss came at the hands of Jon Jones, who many consider the greatest UFC fighter in history regardless of weight class. 

One of the all-time great wrestlers, Cormier held the championship belt in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight weight classes through his illustrious MMA run. 

2. Stipe Miocic 

The man who beat Corimer back-to-back times to claim the UFC Heavyweight Championship, Stipe Miocic is as well-rounded of a heavyweight fighter as you’re ever likely to see. 

With wins over Cormier, Ngannou, and Junior Dos Santos on his resume, Miocic has beaten all of his elite contemporaries at least once and still has gas left in the tank. The 41-year-old from Ohio is set to fight Jon Jones later this year for a chance to reclaim the heavyweight belt, and truly cement his legacy as the UFC’s greatest at this weight class.

1. Fedor Emelianenko 

He might never have fought in the UFC, but ask anyone who was around back then and Fedor Emelianenko is the undisputed GOAT MMA Heavyweight

Born deep in the Soviet Union, the Last Emperor had the heavyweight fighting world in a stranglehold throughout the 2000s, going unbeaten in 28 straight flights from 2000 to 2010, including wins over Nogueira and the first-ever UFC Heavyweight champ Mark Coleman.

In fact, Emelianenko defeated seven former UFC champions throughout his career, a number that none of his contemporaries get even remotely close to matching.