Are you wondering who the best Cuban UFC fighters of all time are?
In this article, we’ll present the best Cuban UFC fighters of all time and go through their records, credentials, skills, backgrounds, and who they beat and lost to.
Best Cuban UFC Fighters
Most of the best Cuban UFC fighters are of American nationality but are Cuban by descent. This is because MMA isn’t legal in Cuba, so many Cuban UFC fighters were born or raised in America.
Ranked starting with the best, here are the 5 best Cuban UFC fighters since the UFC was founded in 1993.
1. Yoel Romero – ‘Solider of God’ (15-6)
Height: 6’0” | Reach: 73” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Middleweight
Nicknamed the Solider of God and born in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, Yoel Romero is by far the best Cuban UFC fighter of all time. He’s one of the best UFC fighters to never win a UFC belt, after losing in his only title challenge against Israel Adesanya.
Before starting MMA, Yoel Romero was an elite wrestler, claiming silver in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Olympics, five World Championship medals, and winning the World Cup three times.
During his UFC run, Yoel Romero’s greatest skills were:
- One of the best chins in UFC history – eats head kicks like Pacman and never lost by knockout in the UFC (lost 5 close decisions)
- Great composure, counterstriking, and boxing (doesn’t throw many kicks)
- Speed with counterpunches
- Great tempo changes where he slows down his movement and strikes to lull opponents, before exploding with powerful strikes or takedowns
- Outstanding wrestling – which he mostly used for takedowns and keeping fights on the feet
- Huge strength and size for a middleweight
- Great vision and defensive framing
During his UFC career, Romero constantly faced elite competition. He beat Ronaldo Souza, Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Luke Rockhold, Derek Brunson, and Tim Kennedy, while he lost decisions to Israel Adesanya, Paulo Costa, Phil Davis, and Robert Whittaker twice – some of which were controversial.
Yoel Romero left the UFC for Bellator and finished with a 9-4 UFC record.
2. Jorge Masvidal – ‘Gamebred’ (35-17)
Height: 5’11” | Reach: 74” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Welterweight
Jorge Masvidal is an American, born in Miami to a Cuban father and Peruvian mother. Masvidal competed for two decades (03-23) in many of the top MMA promotions, including Strikeforce, Bellator, and the UFC before retiring in 2023.
He won the BMF title after beating Nate Diaz at UFC 244, twice challenged for the welterweight UFC title, challenged for the Strikeforce welterweight title, and also scored the fastest knockout in UFC history by knocking out Ben Askren in just 5 seconds with a flying knee at UFC 239.
Before starting his professional MMA career, Masvidal was well-known for being involved in street fights and organized backyard brawls that were made famous by himself and Kimbo Slice.
Jorge Masvidal had 22 UFC fights in total, and showed the following skills throughout:
- Powerful boxing, especially hooks – Masvidal knocked out 16 opponents in 35 wins
- Super quick boxing combinations and the ability to overwhelm opponents with flurries
- Beats up and slows his opponents via body shots
- Tight boxing defense, durability, and a granite chin – only lost twice via knockout in 52 MMA fights
- Huge experience and composure in the octagon
- Strong in the clinch with good knees and elbows
- Powerful roundhouse body kicks
- Great boxing skills from both southpaw and orthodox
Overall, Masvidal is considered one of the best boxers in UFC history, with his best wins coming against Nate Diaz, Donald Cerrone, Michael Chiesa, Tim Means, Darren Till, and K.J. Noons (former boxer).
The best fighters he fought and lost to were Benson Henderson, Stephen Thompson, Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, and Kamaru Usman twice. Masvidal retired from the UFC with a 12-10 record.
3. Ricardo Lamas – ‘The Bully’ (20-8)
Height: 5’8” | Reach: 71” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Featherweight
Ricardo Lamas is an American with a Cuban father and a Mexican mother. When walking to the octagon, he carries a double-sided Mexican and Cuban flag. He’s a former UFC featherweight title challenger (vs Aldo) and fought out of MMA Masters throughout his career.
Lamas’ martial arts journey started with wrestling while at college, where he earned All-American honors at the NCAA Division III Men’s Wrestling Championships (157 lb) and secured over 100 collegiate wrestling victories.
With this background, he made his professional MMA debut in 2008 and competed in WEC for a couple of years before making his UFC debut in 2011.
Ricardo Lamas showed his best fighting skills to be:
- Crisp movement and striking techniques
- Well-rounded to the point of having no specific weakness
- Tough, resilient, and offensive – Lamas always tried to get the finish in every round he fights
- Excellent submission defense – high-level wrestling and Bjj black belt saw him never submitted
- Great knees to the body and elbows up top
- Very fluid with his wrestling to submission transitions and mixing his striking and wrestling together
Ricardo Lamas’ best wins came against Charlie Oliveira (submitted), Dennis Bermudez, James Krause, Eric Koch, Cub Swanson, and Bill Algeo, while his losses were to champions or title challengers. This includes Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Max Holloway, Josh Emmett, and Calvin Kattar.
All things considered, Ricardo Lamas was a great UFC featherweight and is easily one of the best Cuban UFC fighters of all time, finishing with an 11-6 UFC record. Post-retirement, Lamas is now a coach and has opened a franchised UFC gym in Naperville, Illinois.
4. Hector Lombard – ‘Lightning’ (34-10-1-3NC)
Height: 5’9” | Reach: 71” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Middleweight
Born in Matanzas, Cuba, Hector Lombard is another Cuban UFC fighter who’s known as a freak athlete. He has muscles on top of muscles and competed as a judoka at the 2000 Olympics, where he’s also a fourth-dan black belt. Alongside this, he’s a 2nd-degree black belt in Bjj and a long-time kickboxer.
Hector entered the UFC in 2012 with huge MMA experience, winning 31, drawing 1, and losing 2 fights. He’d competed in top MMA promotions Bellator and PRIDE, and it took him so long to join the UFC because he couldn’t get clearance to fight in America for many years.
For most of his MMA career, Hector fought as a middleweight but he also had a short stint as a welterweight in the UFC. He trained with American Top Team for many years and showed the following skills in the octagon.
- Lightning-fast speed with boxing combinations
- Knockout power in both hands – 22 knockouts in 34 wins
- Powerful and accurate lead right hook
- Explosiveness in closing the distance with strikes
- Heavy top control on the ground
- Perfect technique, strength, and explosiveness with judo trips and throws
- Great takedown defense – 77% in over 10+ UFC fights
Lombard managed great wins against Jake Shields, Rousimar Palhares, and Nate Marquardt. As good a fighter and as special an athlete as he was, Hector Lombard lost to fighters who were just better, such as Dan Henderson, Anthony Smith, Neil Magny, and Thales Leites.
However, it could be said he was fighting past his prime, as he was 37 years old when he started losing these fights in the UFC. In 2022, he signed with Eagle FC and is still competing at 45 years old, which is amazing longevity and shows why he’s one of the best Cuban UFC fighters.
5. Julian Marquez – ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis’ (9-4)
Height: 6’2” | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Middleweight
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Julian Marquez is an American of Cuban descent (Cuban father). He entered the UFC in 2017 via Dana White’s Contender Series by scoring an incredible head-kick knockout.
His martial arts journey started after troublemaking in school, when Marquez’s father made him start wrestling; which he practiced until switching to MMA at 20 years old. Shortly after, he also started Brazilian jiu-jitsu where he’s currently a purple belt (2023) under James Krause.
He formerly trained at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas, and has been with Factory X since 2022.
Julian Marquez’s best skills in his short UFC career have been:
- Great step-in elbows and elbows on the ground
- Offense in the Muay Thai clinch with knees and elbows
- Fast transition to a strong standing guillotine
- Great durability – he’s taken a lot of damage and managed to come back and win several times, and in his losses, opponents have to throw everything
- Great submissions and finishing prowess – 6 knockouts and 3 submissions (100% finish rate)
- Scrambles and defends submissions well
So far, Julian Marquez is 3-3 in the UFC and many of his fights have been brilliant to watch. He’s beaten Phil Hawes, Darren Stewart, Maki Pitolo, and Sam Alvey, all skilled MMA fighters, while he’s lost to Alessio Di Chirico, Gregory Rodrigues, and Marc-Andre Barriault.
Overall, Julian’s nickname was given to him by his father and is very fitting. He’s a wild and entertaining fighter with a lot of power and potential, but he needs to work on his striking defense to become a top-ten middleweight in the future.