The sport of mixed martial arts requires athletes be well-versed in various aspects of hand-to-hand combat. While there are no perfect fighters in the UFC, there is plenty of talent. We dissected every division to build the perfect fighter in each UFC weight class.
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Striking -- Demetrious Johnson
At the moment, Demetrious Johnson stands head and shoulders above the rest of the UFC flyweight division. He’s been unmatched in the stand-up so far in his flyweight career.
Power -- Demetrious Johnson
DJ isn’t knocking opponents out every fight, but for a guy that weighs in at just 125 pounds, he surely packs a punch.
Defense/Chin -- Demetrious Johnson
“Mighty Mouse” has never been knocked out in his UFC/WEC career and has never absorbed more than the 60 significant strikes Dominick Cruz landed against him in 2011.
Movement/Footwork -- Demetrious Johnson
Part of Johnson’s dominance stems from his ability to control the Octagon, and his long reign as champion proves he does it better than anyone else in the division.
Ground game -- Henry Cejudo
Cejudo has chosen to show off his striking in his five UFC fights, but in his bout against Chris Cariaso the former Olympian showed just how dominant he can be with his takedowns and ground control.
Personality -- Joseph Benavidez
Joseph Benavidez has never been afraid to be himself and that's always endearing to fans.
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Striking -- TJ Dillashaw
Dillashaw has landed over 100 significant strikes in five of his last five of his last six fight. His volume and accuracy are at another level right now.
Power -- John Lineker
“Hands of Stone” is an accurate nickname for Lineker, who 1.43 knockdowns per 15 minutes. The UFC average is .29.
Defense/Chin -- Dominick Cruz
Cruz, like DJ, has never been KOed in his career and rarely gets hit in his fights.
Movement/Footwork -- Dominick Cruz
Before his title fight with Dillashaw, Cruz had only absorbed 207 significant strikes over his previous seven fights combined, thanks in large part to his movement inside the Octagon.
Ground game -- Bryan Caraway
Caraway is suffocating on the ground, and once he gets he gets his opponent there, he tends to finish the fight.
Personality -- Dominick Cruz
Cruz knows the ins and outs of the fight game and is a sneaky good trash talker.
Striking -- Yair Rodriguez
In a division with Frankie Edgar, Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo, Yair Rodriguez might be the most dynamic striker in the entire division.
Power -- Conor McGregor
When it comes to featherweights, Conor McGregor lines ‘em up and knocks ‘em down.
Chin/Defense -- Jose Aldo
Before the loss to McGregor, Aldo had never been finished in his career and to this day is one of the hardest people to get to the ground. Could also go McGregor and Edgar here.
Movement/Footwork -- Frankie Edgar
Edgar’s incredible footwork helped him beat bigger and stronger fighters for years.
Ground game -- Anthony Pettis
Pettis’ last three wins have come by way of submission, against top-level grapplers Benson Henderson, Gilbert Melendez and Charles Oliveira.
Personality -- Conor McGregor
There’s only one, Conor McGregor.
Striking -- Donald Cerrone
Cerrone has evolved into one of the division’s most versatile strikers.
Power -- Rafael dos Anjos
RDA folded Cerrone with his punches and hobbled Nate Diaz with his powerful kicks
Chin/Defense -- Khabib Nurmagomedov
They say the best defense is a good offense, and Nurmagomedov embodies that adage every time he fights. Nurmagomedov earns takedowns at will, which is why he hasn’t absorbed many blows over his seven UFC fights.
Movement/Footwork -- Michael Johnson
Johnson is similar to Edgar in the way he uses boxing footwork and angles to cut off the Octagon.
Ground game -- Nate Diaz
Diaz has as many UFC/WEC submission as BJJ legend Royce Gracie.
Personality -- Donald Cerrone
“Cowboy” has become immensely popular over the last year or so and a belt could make him a superstar.
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Striking -- Stephen Thompson
Thompson’s dynamic karate-based striking has been nearly unstoppable at welterweight.
Power -- Robbie Lawler
Robbie Lawler hits like a truck. It’s science at this point.
Chin/Defense -- Kelvin Gastelum
Gastelum doesn’t get hit very often and has only been knocked down once in his nine-fight UFC career.
Footwork/Movement -- Carlos Condit
Condit is like a gazelle inside the Octagon.
Ground game -- Demian Maia
Arguably the greatest grappler of all time, Maia has submitted the likes of Carlos Condit and Matt Brown since moving to middleweight, as well as absolutely dominating BJJ ace Gunnar Nelson.
Personality -- Tyron Woodley
Woodley is a very likeable guy and has been successfully spreading his wings outside of fighting lately.
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Striking -- Gegard Mousasi
In his win against Vitor Belfort, Mousasi showed he has the best hands in the middleweight division
Power -- Yoel Romero
Romero has only seen the judges twice in his UFC career. He’s ended the other five fights with his heavy hands.
Chin/Defense -- Gegard Mousasi
Mousasi’s head movement is sick and since moving over to the UFC from Strikeforce, he’s only absorbed over 30 significant strikes once. Has stood with the likes of Dan Henderson and Mark Hunt.
Movement/Footwork -- Gegard Mousasi
Noticing a tread here with Mousasi in the middleweight division
Ground game -- Jacare Souza
“Jacare” is often mentioned in the conversation with Demian Maia as best grapplers of all time.
Personality -- Michael Bisping
The brash Brit is one of the best trash talkers of all time and knows how to promote a fight.
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Striking -- Jon Jones
Jones is proficient with punches, kicks, elbows and anything else you can throw at an opponent.
Power -- Anthony Johnson
All but two of Anthony Johnson’s wins have come by way of brutal, devastating knockout.
Chin/Defense -- Daniel Cormier
Withstood the power of Dan Henderson, Anthony Johnson and Roy Nelson.
Movement/Footwork -- Jon Jones
Jon Jones is an athletic freak and it’s clear every time he takes the Octagon
Ground game -- Daniel Cormier
One of the most accomplished wrestlers in the history of the sport
Personality -- Daniel Cormier
If Jones could stay out of trouble, he’d be the winner here. But Cormier isn’t a bad representative of the sport by any means.
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Striking -- Cain Velasquez
Velasquez strikes with the volume and accuracy of a lightweight. Standing and trading with “Cardio” Cain is a tough task
Power -- Mark Hunt
The originator of the walk-off knockout
Chin/Defense -- Roy Nelson
Nelson has a chin of stone and in his 35-fight MMA career, he’s only been knocked out twice -- once by Mark Hunt.
Movement/Footwork -- Junior Dos Santos
Dos Santos is one of two fighters to beat Velasquez and the only fighter to last more than three rounds with the former champ.
Ground game -- Fabricio Werdum
Has submitted Velasquez, Minotauro Nogueira and Fedor Emelianenko
Personality -- Josh Barnett
The former champion has a pro wrestling pedigree and cuts one hell of a promo.
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Striking -- Holly Holm
Holm’s boxing credentials speak for themselves
Power -- Amanda Nunes
No one in the bantamweight division overwhelms their opponents with heavy strikes more than Nunes.
Chin/Defense -- Cat Zingano
Zingano outstruck Nunes and forced volume striker Julianna Pena into a gritty war at UFC 200.
Movement/Footwork -- Valentina Shevchenko
Effectively closed the distance and outworked former pro boxer Holm
Ground game -- Ronda Rousey
Her armbar is almost indefensible.
Personality -- Ronda Rousey
Rousey helped take the game to new heights
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Striking -- Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Joanna Champion is relentless in her attack
Power -- Jessica Andrade
Andrade was a problem as a bantamweight, and as a strawweight, she’s down-right scary.
Chin/Defense -- Jessica Andrade
She’s managed not to get hit often -- even at bantamweight -- and we’ve yet to see a strawweight hurt her in the stand-up.
Movement/Footwork -- Joanna Jedrzejczyk
An effective boxer with the footwork to match.
Ground game -- Carla Esparza
Esparza effectively neutralized the Muay Thai of Juliana Lima and Rose Namajunas with her wrestling.
Personality -- Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Jedrzejczyk has been a great international ambassador for the sport and her intimidation game is top-notch.