Are you wondering what the best MMA movies of all time are?
In this article, we’ll list the 15 best MMA movies of all time and some information about each.
- Best MMA Movies of All Time
- 1. Warrior (2011)
- 2. Never Back Down (2008)
- 3. Bloodsport (1988)
- 4. Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (2006)
- 5. Undisputed III: Redemption (2010)
- 6. Here Comes The Boom (2012)
- 7. Blood and Bone (2009)
- 8. Never Back Down II: The Beatdown (2011)
- 9. Boyka: Undisputed (2016)
- 10. Lionheart (1990)
- 11. The Philly Kid (2012)
- 12. The Hammer (2010)
- 13. Fighting (2009)
- 14. No Rules (2005)
- 15. Redbelt (2008)
Best MMA Movies of All Time
This list features only movies which have an MMA focus, meaning movies featuring MMA-style sporting competitions, whether legal or illegal (street fighting).
This list doesn’t include documentaries, which for MMA fans are the better watch.
Without further ado, here are the 15 best MMA movies of all time ranked starting with the best.
1. Warrior (2011)
>IMDB Rating: 8.2
Warrior’s story is based around the largest-ever MMA Grand Prix Tournament (Sparta), organized by billionaire fight promoter J.J. Riley, with a $5 million purse up for grabs.
Entering Sparta are two brothers in desperate need of money. Brendan Conlon is a former professional fighter turned physics teacher who has 90 days to save his house from foreclosure.
And his brother, Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy), is a former State Championship Collegiate Wrestler and six-time junior Olympic title winner who’s become an emotionless fighter with a thirst for violence.
Brendan gains entry into the top 16 middleweight tournament by winning plenty of regional tournaments and his coach having the connections, while Tommy easily knocks out the number 1 middleweight contender in the gym.
What ensues is plenty of high-quality MMA fighting, with the likes of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson fighting in the tournament, as well as Koba, considered the pound-for-pound fighter in the world who’s making his debut on US soil.
There are plenty of subplots throughout, such as the brothers’ hostility towards their dad for being a drunkard many years prior, and how Tommy’s simultaneously a war hero and villain.
Also great is how Tom Hardy doesn’t hide his steroid use for the movie, with his trap muscles absolutely bulging, and how the movie makes you unsure of which brother to support.
Overall, Warrior is by far the best MMA movie of all time, and 90% of every MMA fan you ask will agree.
2. Never Back Down (2008)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: None
>IMDB Rating: 6.5
Never Back Down is a motivational and inspirational movie responsible for a tonne of people starting MMA. It’s an MMA classic that has a very similar plot to the 1984 Karate Kid movie.
It’s based on a confused teenager who’s manipulated into MMA fighting by his narcissistic classmate who’s a skilled MMA fighter and trash-talker who knows how to push people’s buttons.
Shown up in front of the whole school and his crush, Jake Tyler makes it his mission to become an exceptional MMA fighter and dedicates himself to training under the masterful guidance of Jean Roqua.
It’s the last straw for Jake when his best friend is lured and badly beaten. Now seeking revenge, he joins The Beatdown, an MMA tournament where he has the chance to face his enemy.
Overall, Never Back Down represents the divide in using mixed martial arts for good or bad, and the movie features motivational training scenes, fantastic coaching, great rock music, and epic MMA fight scenes from start to finish.
3. Bloodsport (1988)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bolo Yeung
>IMDB Rating: 6.8
Martial arts actor Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in this original MMA epic released in 1988.
Bloodsport follows martial artist Frank Dux into a 3-day life-and-death MMA ‘Kumite’ tournament in Hong Kong – a once-every-five-year tradition beginning hundreds of years ago.
Unknowingly, Bloodsport represents early UFC tournaments where there were very few rules and no weight classes, and the aim was to find which martial art style was best.
The tournament features many different martial arts, including judo, capoeira, kung fu, Muay Thai, karate, tai chi, and boxing, as well as some unrealistic yet entertaining training methods.
Bloodsport also has brilliantly choreographed action, amazing martial art clothing, and of course, a juiced-up Van Damme shredded to the bone.
Overall, with epic fight sequences, motivational training scenes, interesting characters, a gripping story, great violence, and comedy throughout, Bloodsport is one of the best MMA movies of all time despite being 35 years old.
4. Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (2006)
>Famous Martial Artists Present:
>IMDB Rating: 7
After an organized crime group plants drugs in George Chamber’s (Michael Jai White) room, he’s sent to a maximum security prison in Russia where he must fight to earn his freedom.
The prison is owned and run by a Russian mobster called Gaga, who owns the police and runs fighting inside the prison which people gamble on.
They pick Chambers because they feel he can be a worthy opponent to the current champion in the prison, Uri Boyka.
Chambers is a former heavyweight champion boxer, who must round out his skills to defeat Boyka.
The result? Excellent MMA fighting throughout featuring flashy taekwondo kicks, capoeira, kickboxing, Muay Thai, boxing, judo, karate, slams, takedowns, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and ground-and-pound.
The only rules are no biting, no eye gouging, and no hair pulling – everything else is legal.
With sinister characters, brilliantly choreographed MMA, an epic showdown, and an old man in a wheelchair putting someone to sleep via a rear-naked choke, Undisputed II is easily one of the best MMA movies.
5. Undisputed III: Redemption (2010)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: Scott Adkins, Lateef Crowder, Marko Zaror
>IMDB Rating: 7.3
After losing to George Chambers in Undisputed II, Uri Boyka is now a prison janitor who gets another chance at early release by competing in an international prison tournament held in Georgia.
The prisoners entering the tournament are made to do daily hard labor, except a Colombian trained in wing chun who the tournament is rigged in favor of. He’s given proper training facilities and daily steroid injections.
Starting as foes, once they work out their managers and the odds are heavily stacked against them, Boyka and another tournament fighter, Turbo, form a partnership.
They turn the hard labor into MMA training and even fight together against a dozen prison guards.
In terms of fighting, Undisputed III likely has the best MMA of all the movies on this list. Every technique is easy to see and it features boxing, kickboxing, karate, taekwondo, capoeira, wing chun, judo, combat sambo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Overall, insane fight choreography, funny moments throughout, great intensity and passion shown by the fighters, and the sinister nature of the managers and prison setting make Undisputed III one of the best MMA movies.
6. Here Comes The Boom (2012)
>IMDB Rating: 6.4
Here Comes The Boom is a unique mix of comedy and MMA, with laugh-out-loud moments throughout.
After budget cuts at the school where he teaches biology, Mr. Voss volunteers to raise the $48,000 needed to save the music teacher’s job.
Without a clue on how to raise the money, one of his students (Bas Rutten) asks Mr. Voss for extra tutoring, where he’s exposed to the UFC, and how it’s possible to earn thousands of dollars from fighting.
In return for extra English tutoring, former professional Bas Rutten trains Mr. Voss. Voss’ only experience is in college wrestling, so his main focus is learning how to strike in the gym and gaining experience through the amateur circuit.
He starts by kicking a mattress and eventually moves on to sharktank sparring, which is fighting a different fighter for each round without any resting.
When he’s injured, he can’t afford to go to the hospital because it costs more than he’s making from fights.
Other great moments include the time it rains on the cage at an amateur event, his teammates eating cheesecake when he’s cutting weight, and when he beats the undefeated and undisputed Chael Sonnen by Kimura submission, who claims he was just fooling around and didn’t tap.
Without expecting too much, Here Comes The Boom was a pleasant surprise. Bas Rutten is brilliant throughout and if you like MMA and comedy, you’ll enjoy Here Comes The Boom!
7. Blood and Bone (2009)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: Michael Jae White (Main Actor), Bob Sapp, Kimbo Slice, Maurice Smith, and Gina Carano
>IMDB Rating: 6.7
From start to finish, this is as action-packed as it gets. It’s about Bone, a lonely fighter who finds a room for rent and needs money urgently.
With his skills, he looks for street fights to earn money. Bone links up with a fight promoter and introducer named Pinball, who has all the connections and is heavily involved in the business of gambling on fights.
Bone fights 2 vs 1, 3 vs 1, and performs lots of Bjj: arm bars, wrist locks, triangles, americanas, and rear-naked chokes.
He also uses capoeira sweeps, karate style: push kicks, spinning wheel kicks, spinning back kicks, roundhouse kicks, calf kicks, and taekwondo style kicks of kicking 4 people in one technique.
He also fights with Muay Thai elbows, boxing-like jabs, footwork, and bodywork, and out of fights he meditates with tai chi movement and breathing practice.
Bob Sapp, aka the Hammerman, is an absolute nutcase who at one point is injected with Anadrol (Oxymetholone) in his shoulder while drinking from a Tapout whisky bottle.
Unfortunately, while Blood and Bone is great for how it’s action-packed and has funny moments throughout, the final fight is less believable because Michael Jai White is huge and would fight at light heavyweight, while his rival looks like a lightweight.
However, it gets a lot more interesting when the evil promoter pulls out a katana. Overall, Blood and Bone is a solid MMA movie.
8. Never Back Down II: The Beatdown (2011)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: Michael Jae White, Todd Duffee, Dustin Poirier, Lyoto Machida, John McCarthy, and Eddie Bravo
>IMDB Rating: 5.7
Max Cooperman (from the first movie) is now the promoter of The Beatdown and gets skilled college students to sign up for the upcoming 16-man tournament where they have the chance to win $10,000.
Each fighter’s early in their MMA development, although Mike Stokes is a State Wrestling champion and Zack Gomes an AAU All-City boxing champion.
Justin Epstein is a nerd turned fighter after he was jumped by three guys and inspired to learn how to defend himself, and Tim Newhouse played by professional fighter Todd Duffee is a mountain and already skilled fighter.
The four main fighters need help developing their skills before The Beatdown tournament and seek the coaching of Case Walker (Michael Jai White).
Walker’s a former collegiate wrestler, kyokushin black belt, and former fighter who trained extensively in Bjj with the Machado family.
After the police shut down Walker’s training spot (if you can call it that), the four clear out Tim Newhouse‘s (Todd Duffee) warehouse and turn it into their dojo for training – naming it Case Walker’s Combat Club.
Inside, there are very inspiring and motivating training scenes, including Walker’s light sparring with Lyoto Machida.
It’s also where The Beatdown’s held, which sees a whole range of Bjj submission attempts, capoeira kicks, boxing, lots of flashy taekwondo/karate kicks, knees, takedowns, slams, and a lot of scrambling on the ground – it’s a complete variety of MMA styles.
Michael Jai White is hilarious throughout, especially when he calls Max Cooperman a Dana White wannabe, and overall the movie is a motivational and enjoyable watch.
9. Boyka: Undisputed (2016)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: Scott Adkins,
>IMDB Rating: 6.9
Boyka: Undisputed is the fourth movie in the franchise. Now a free man in Ukraine, his manager gets him a fight interview with entry into a top European fight tournament in Budapest, Hungary, on the line.
After one of his opponents later dies in hospital, Boyka puts his tournament dreams on hold and crosses back to Russia where he’s an escaped convict, to seek forgiveness from the fallen fighter’s wife.
Boyka soon finds out the man’s wife is in debt to a Russian mob boss, so he agrees to compete in 3 fights for the mobster in return for the wife’s freedom and debt clearance.
What entails is brilliant fight sequences from start to finish, full of gore, blood, rage, and bone-cracking entertainment. It’s also the first Undisputed movie where street fighting takes place.
Some of the fights include Boyka turning into the Terminator at the end of the movie, a 1 vs 2, and against a Bane wannabe.
With plenty of angry outbursts in a thick Russian accent, Scott Adkins is top-notch throughout, and Boyka: Undisputed is one of the best MMA movies of all time.
10. Lionheart (1990)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: Jean-Claude Van Damme
>IMDB Rating: 6.2
Not quite Bloodsport, Lionheart is essentially the comedy version and probably the funniest movie on this list.
After arriving in New York, an ex-French soldier who deserted his Legion needs to make money for himself and his deceased brother’s family.
Navigating his way around town, Lyon comes across street-fighting under a bridge, surrounded by masses of crazy gamblers. As soon as he sees the winner handed cash, without hesitation Lyon steps forward to fight.
After impressing, Lyon teams up with the street fighting promoter, Joshua, who has the connections to get him into a premium underground fight club, run and attended by the rich and famous.
Lionheart doesn’t have the most realistic fight scenes, but they’re flashy and brilliantly entertaining nonetheless. They make you feel like you’ve gone in a time machine to the 1980s – they’re classic Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Filled with over-the-top action in different locations, great comedy, plenty of gambling, high emotions, and Lyon’s determination to provide for his brother’s family, Lionheart is easily one of the best MMA movies.
11. The Philly Kid (2012)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: Michael Jai White
>IMDB Rating: 5.6
Dillon ‘Philly Kid’ McGwire is an All-American and NCAA wrestling champion who’s sent to prison for 10 years after wrestling an attacker to the ground in self-defense and accidentally killing him.
Upon his return and in desperate need of money, Dillon’s friend gets him a job at the local convenience store.
After his good friend’s kidnaped by a drug dealer known as Ace Reed, Dillon agrees to fight in 3 MMA bouts at Reed’s local MMA promotion, which he must win to save his friend’s life and pay his $20,000 debt.
Despite being an amazing wrestler, Dillon needs to improve his striking and Bjj skills in order to compete. He joins LA Jim Inc Management for coaching and training, as the coach knows how to bring the animal out of him.
And while his goal of winning three fights is simple, Dillon gets caught between the demands of the drug dealer and a dirty cop on the opposite side.
The movie shows some very good MMA training and fighting, but the fights should be considered vale tudo as many illegal MMA moves are allowed, such as knees to the spine and fighters punching after the bell has sounded.
Overall, The Philly Kid is an entertaining MMA movie that’s straight to the point and has plenty of action from start to finish.
12. The Hammer (2010)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: Rich Franklin
>IMDB Rating: 6.9
Rejected by his desired prom date, bullied at school as he grows up, dropped by his first University, and even doubted by his mother, The Hammer is about former UFC fighter Matt Hamill’s journey through college wrestling and making it to the UFC.
It’s an inspiring movie about the first deaf wrestler to win an NCAA wrestling championship, despite his mental struggles as a result of his deafness and other problems which continually arise.
After his grandfather gives him a talking to, and through sheer focus, determination, and grit, Hamill’s fortunes start to turn around and it can be a lesson for everyone.
The Hammer is more focused on drama than fighting, but its wrestling scenes are entertaining and intense throughout.
Overall, The Hammer is a great watch for anyone feeling sorry for themselves and not getting to work. Anyone who wants to get into martial arts, get in better shape, or achieve their goals, should watch The Hammer.
13. Fighting (2009)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: Cung Le
>IMDB Rating: 5.6
Set in New York City, Fighting is a drama based on the world of bare-knuckle street fighting and gambling.
It stars Channing Tatum as Shawn MacArthur, who fights against scammers after they won’t give a lady her money back.
The owner of the scamming business, Harvey Boarden, is also an agent from the street fighting business and he’s very impressed by Shawn’s fighting ability.
The agent sees Shawn’s potential and offers him $5,000 to fight, money Shawn can’t resist since he’s dead-broke and homeless.
He also offers him a room to stay in while they work together, and sets up fights since he has connections in New York.
Sean’s fighting style is wrestling since he trained throughout college, which he mixes with boxing. However, he’s more of an unpolished brawler with a lot of tenacity and will.
Former UFC fighter Cung Le is one of Sean’s opponents, who brings a taekwondo and karate striking style.
The fighting also incorporates ground-and-pound and small amounts of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so the film has all elements of MMA and is well worth a watch.
14. No Rules (2005)
>IMDB Rating: 7
After seeing his dad win an MMA Championship as a kid, Kurt Diamond is inspired to repeat the same feat. But on his journey to do so, he’s haunted by visions of his parent’s double murder.
No Rules started the trend of using real fighters in starring roles, which adds to the authenticity of its MMA fighting. But it also has acting legends like Tom Sizemore, Gary Busey, and Pam Anderson adding to the film’s charisma.
The fight scenes are very entertaining, with knuckle-pounding action, lots of judo throws, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu submissions right from the start.
They’re also intense and feature a lot of illegal moves as per the title, No Rules. This includes finger snapping, cage grabbing, throttling, hair pulling, and weapons being snuck into the cage.
Some of the best scenes include a brawl in the ring, a gym and beach training montage, gym fight scenes, and the Bjj transitions and submissions in the final tournament.
Unfortunately, No Rules wasn’t properly released in the United States, making it a long-lost iconic MMA movie with an added layer of mystique. However, it can currently be watched on Youtube in low quality.
Overall, No Rules (2005) was an early and significant movie in the MMA genre, offering a gripping story of a fighter’s journey to overcome personal trauma, avenge his parent’s deaths, and achieve his dreams in the cage.
15. Redbelt (2008)
>Famous Martial Artists Present: John Machado, Randy Couture, Enson Inoue, Frank Trigg, Josh Rafferty, and Mike Goldberg (UFC commentator)
>IMDB Rating: 6.7
Redbelt is a good movie but it’s more of a drama than a typical MMA movie full of action. However, this makes it the best MMA movie in terms of acting and having an interesting plot.
Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor who doesn’t drink, gamble, or fight in martial art prize bouts because he believes it’s weakening. He embodies the martial art spirit through and through.
However, after his wife borrows $30,000 from a loan shark and loses it all on a shady business deal, and he has his three-marble business idea stolen, Mike has little option but to fight in the competition where his idea is being used.
MMA fundamentals of discipline and honor are developed and explored continuously throughout Redbelt, which is one of the movie’s unique aspects compared to the other best MMA movies.
Also excellent are the cinematography, film editing, music, and performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tim Allen.
Overall, Redbelt is a decent MMA movie that has some interesting fight scenes and delves into themes such as the true essence of martial arts, integrity over money, honor, and moral dilemmas.