10 Toughest MMA Fighters Ever | Easily Explained
Let's get one thing straight, every fighter that steps into the octagon to fight is unquestionably tough.
However like anything else, there's levels to how tough they are.
In this page, we'll go over the toughest MMA fighters, what landed them on the list, and what they've gone through in their careers.
Table of Contents
- Michael Bisping
- Nick Diaz
- Dan Henderson
- Wanderlei Silva
- Rafael Dos Anjos
- Chris Weidman
- Frankie Edgar
- Justin Gaethje
- Dan Hooker
- Anderson Silva
1. Michael Bisping
Perhaps one of the toughest people in the world in general, Bisping has had one of the toughest roads in the sport.
It took him an astounding 26 fights until he was able to win the coveted UFC gold.
There were many bumps in the road for Bisping, perhaps none more serious than when he incurred a serious eye injury after his fight with Vitor Belfort.
His eye became so damaged, that he basically became blind on that eye. Regardless, Bisping continued fighting the top fighters on the way to his title win 3 years later.
If you have a strong stomach, you can watch the video of Bisping pulling out his glass eye on camera. It's truly mind blowing that he was able to continue fighting, much less win a title with one eye.
No. Got the glass eye after I retired cos I was sick of how it looked.. But was pretty much blind in one eye since 2013. https://t.co/pLK7QsVVdK— michael (@bisping) January 26, 2020
Absolutely wild. Bisping showed this to me recently in person and I almost fainted. Legend. https://t.co/AmTG29RsTY— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 3, 2019
2. Nick Diaz
The original bad boy, the Diaz brothers carry a hard-nosed, no nonsense, I'll do what I want approach.
Diaz began fighting in the UFC in 2003, at a mere 20 years old. Diaz wasn't old enough to drink, but he was old enough to fight grown men in an octagon.
Hard to kill for real 🥋⚔️ pic.twitter.com/UIpRlGwDKu— nick diaz (@nickdiaz209) May 11, 2021
Nick Diaz is known for his iron chin, and ultra durable cardio along with his aggressive, pace pushing style, as he ramps up the pace of the fight every round.
He has stood toe to toe with some killers in his career including George St-Pierre, Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit.
3. Dan Henderson
Henderson is notorious for carrying the H-bomb in his right hand, and shutting the lights out of some of the scariest humans on the planet.
Along with that, similarly to Diaz he also possessed a granite chin that seemingly would hold up forever.
Henderson would fight at several different weight classes through his MMA career, which is always an impressive for any fighter to do, knowing how important of a factor weight can be.
Henderson would travel all over the world fighting in several organizations including Pride, Strikeforce and the UFC.
He easily has one of the toughest MMA strength of schedules ever, and you can see why below.
He would go on to fight the best of the best at the time including Fedor Emelianenko, Michael Bisping, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Wanderlei Silva, and the list seems endless.
4. Wanderlei Silva
You don't get a nickname like the 'Axe Murderer' unless you are literally one of the scariest humans on the planet.
Wanderlei was notorious for bringing absolute violence to every fight, regardless of whether he won, lost, or drew. What will always stick in my mind is his stare-down vs Cro Cop, where you could feel the intensity through the camera.
The old timers will remember him specifically for his career in the Pride organization, as he consistently delivered violent knockouts over and over again.
On top of this, he was no stranger to not only moving up/down in weight, but fighting in open weight bouts.
In fact, he fought Mark Hunt at one point, and went to a decision with him. Seeing as Silva had fought at middleweight at times during his UFC run, it's ridiculously impressive.
5. Rafael Dos Anjos
Dos Anjos is a fighter that is perhaps best known for being the 'Legitimate factor' in the UFC.
The UFC consistently would put him up against other surging contenders to see how they fared against RDA.
If they had success, then the fans and UFC brass would know that his opponent was a legit contender. You have to earn a certain level of respect for this to occur.
RDA was a lightweight champion, who moved up to welterweight and still had success there as well. This is very impressive considering that at one point he fought at 145 lbs.
He would face killers such as Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, Robbie Lawler, and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
6. Chris Weidman
If you take a look at the fighters that Weidman has faced back to back, it's insane to think that any sane person would accept this.
Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, Gegard Mousasi.
Those names are the fighters that Weidman fought one after the other. Yeah, pure insanity.
Weidman is known for being game, and down to fight any fighter, in particular any fighter that will get him back to the title.
When his career is all said and done, he will have one of the toughest strength of schedules in history.
7. Frankie Edgar
Frankie Edgar will forever be loved by MMA fanatics for many reasons, but one of them is absolutely for how tough he is.
Despite being a natural 135'er, he won the Lightweight belt in the UFC. Edgar really never began cutting weight until the end of his career.
This meant that he was oversized in almost every fight in his career, and despite all of this he had enormous success.
Even though he was the smaller fighter for most fights, he always brought the fight to his opponent, and almost made it seem like size really does not matter at all.
8. Justin Gaethje
Justin 'The Highlight' Gaethje is an absolutely unique human. While most high level fighters opt to fight safe and take the least damage possible in a fight, Gaethje does the opposite.
Between his brutal leg kicks, and powerful punches, he keeps on pressing forward until he can break his opponents either mentally or physically.
Even when he is hurt, he keeps on marching and he almost fights like a zombie at times.
This had made him ultra popular with the MMA fan base, and if you want to know how tough he is, just go watch one of his fights.
9. Dan Hooker
Hooker is one of those fighters where his MMA record doesn't do him justice.
Although he has incurred 10 losses in his career, he is as game as it gets for a scrap.
Kill or die mentality. pic.twitter.com/OXt9lhYZxy— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) June 25, 2020
He is known for his granite chin, along with his elite level striking. In recent memory, he had a 5 round absolute war with Paul Felder, and then his next fight vs Dustin Poirier, where both men gave it everything they had.
In fact, both fighters were severely hurt at times during this bout and managed to recover.
As tough as he was during the fight, it's these behind the scenes footage that truly showed how tough he was after his war with Poirier. Not many fighters will put themselves through that kind of war, knowing what awaits them after the fight.
10. Anderson Silva
Silva went through a 17-0 streak through a period of 7 years while fighting the best of the best.
To put that into perspective the UFC Heavyweight record for title defenses is a whopping... 3.
Not only would Silva fight the best at that time, he was finishing most of them, along with eating massive strikes at times.
His movement, along with his elite striking made him extremely fun to watch (minus the Maia fight), and the fact that he wasn't backing down at all against the best made it must-watch-TV.