Few fighters will ever have the same mystique that Fedor carried throughout his career. ‘The Last Emperor’ is widely regarded as the greatest fighter never to have fought for the UFC. That was his choice because he was arguably too big to be shackled by a single organization. But it created a legend.
He went unbeaten for a ten year period and was also PRIDE’s most recognizable champion. The Russian fighter is widely believed to have the best ground-and-pound in the history of the sport. Many publications continuously awarded him fighter of the year honors ahead of UFC fighters. The man is a phenomenon.
The Brown Bomber held the heavyweight title for an incredible eleven years or 140 months, defending his strap a record-breaking 25 times. Throughout the 30s and 40s, he also gained mainstream popularity, becoming the first African-American athlete to break down racial barriers and win the love of a nation.
His punching power is regarded as one of the most devastating and powerful in history. There’s a reason that so few people were able to stand in front of him. Louis is known for his rivalry with Max Schmeling, as well as the likes of James J. Braddock, Billy Conn, and Jersey Joe Walcott. These were some of the best fighters of his generation.
Arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time, we are lucky to have a living legend active right now. Jon Jones has a self-destructive personality and it seems like the only man who can beat him is himself. The UFC light-heavyweight champion has only lost once in his professional career, and that was a disqualification. Otherwise, none of his 26 opponents has properly tested him.
The youngest UFC champion in history, ‘Bones’ possesses a unique, lanky physique that makes it so difficult to get close enough to hit him. A master of distance and the dark arts, he’s won the UFC light-heavyweight championship four times, and surely a move up to heavyweight is on his radar. The man is a phenomenon.
On another day, we might have put Sugar Ray Robinson on top of this list. He is one of the main reasons why the pound-for-pound rankings exist. Robinson won a remarkable 85 amateur bouts before turning professional. He went 40 pro fights without defeat until he lost to Jake LaMotta.
Robinson became a welterweight champion after avenging his defeat to LaMotta. Then he won the middleweight title – a belt he would win five times. He fought during a golden era of boxing, beating the likes of Jake LaMotta and Randy Turpin. Raging Bull showed how ferocious he could be.
Without a doubt the most famous boxer in history, there’s a good reason why Muhammad Ali is on top of this list. His sporting achievements and cultural impact make him the greatest combats sports athlete ever. The former heavyweight champion of the world fought with flamboyance and speed. Cassius Clay influenced every boxer that came after him.
He first won the heavyweight title against Sonny Liston. But it’s his legendary trilogy with Joe Frazier and his fight with George Foreman in the Congo that proved his brilliance. Ali remains the only boxer ever to hold the lineal championship three times. Fighters across all disciplines adore Ali. The man’s influence went beyond boxing. Few fighters had such a strong impact.