Are you wondering who the best Muay Thai UFC fighters of all time are?
In this article, we list the 30 best Muay Thai UFC fighters of all time and go through their best techniques and fighting styles.
- Best Muay Thai UFC fighters
- 1. Alistair Overeem
- 2. Anderson Silva
- 3. Brad Riddell
- 4. Carlos Condit
- 5. Ciryl Gane
- 6. Chito Vera
- 7. Charles Jourdain
- 8. Charles Oliveira
- 9. Cris Cyborg
- 10. Darren Till
- 11. Donald Cerrone
- 12. Edson Barboza
- 13. Hakeem Dawodu
- 14. Jan Blachowicz
- 15. Joanna Jędrzejczyk
- 16. Johnny Walker
- 17. Jon Jones
- 18. Jose Aldo
- 19. Khalil Rountree
- 20. Matt Brown
- 21. Mauricio Rua
- 22. Paul Felder
- 23. Petr Yan
- 24. Rafael Dos Anjos
- 25. Rafael Fiziev
- 26. Rose Namajunas
- 27. Thiago Alves
- 28. Thiago Santos
- 29. Valentina Shevchenko
- 30. Wanderlei Silva
Best Muay Thai UFC fighters
Muay Thai is one of the best striking martial arts for MMA because of its use of 8 limbs and how these weapons are so common and vital for success in the UFC.
Without further ado, in alphabetical order, here are the 30 best Muay Thai UFC fighters who’ve honed the skills of Muay Thai and used them to devastating effect in the UFC.
1. Alistair Overeem
Overeem’s career is marked by numerous achievements, including being a former UFC heavyweight champion, Strikeforce heavyweight champion, DREAM heavyweight champion, and K-1 World Grand Prix Champion.
He’s one of the few fighters to hold world titles in both MMA and K-1 kickboxing simultaneously.
His proficiency in Muay Thai is evident in his powerful kicks, knees, and clinch work. Overeem’s striking style is characterized by its versatility and power, making him a dangerous opponent both in striking exchanges and in the clinch.
Throughout his career, Overeem has faced some of the top fighters in the heavyweight division, showcasing his striking prowess and ability to deliver devastating finishes.
2. Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva, a former UFC Middleweight Champion, is renowned for his striking style that blends Muay Thai with other martial arts.
Holding the record for the longest title reign in UFC history, Silva’s career is highlighted by his precision and knockout power.
His striking, influenced by Muay Thai, includes a diverse array of techniques like punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. His ability to mix different strikes is unparalleled.
Silva’s iconic frontkick knockout of Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 exemplifies his mastery of Muay Thai. While not a pure Muay Thai fighter, his creative and unorthodox striking style, honed through Muay Thai training, made him a formidable opponent.
Silva’s ability to effectively use his range and execute unpredictable attacks changed the landscape of MMA, showcasing the effectiveness of Muay Thai in the sport.
3. Brad Riddell
Brad Riddell is a dynamic fighter in the UFC’s lightweight division who brings a rich Muay Thai heritage to the octagon.
His style is distinguished by forceful kicks to the legs, precisely executed knee strikes, and sharp, fluid striking combinations.
Riddell’s approach is characterized by relentless aggression and a pace that often overwhelms his opponents.
Before venturing into MMA, Riddell had a successful stint in kickboxing and Muay Thai, where he demonstrated his prowess against top-tier fighters like Cédric Doumbé and Regian Eersel, and even secured a victory over the renowned Australian kickboxer John Wayne Parr.
His kickboxing record is impressive, with 59 wins in 69 bouts, underscoring his striking capabilities.
He’s also recognized for his resilience and ability to absorb and withstand significant damage, often engaging in intense exchanges with his adversaries.
4. Carlos Condit
Carlos Condit, a former interim UFC Welterweight Champion, is renowned for his striking prowess, heavily influenced by Muay Thai.
His aggressive and versatile style, honed through a background in wrestling and Gaidojutsu, incorporates key Muay Thai techniques such as elbows and powerful clinch work.
Condit’s ability to deliver precise and forceful strikes in close quarters, particularly in the clinch, showcases his Muay Thai expertise.
His dynamic striking, marked by a blend of quick boxing combinations and effective use of range, has made him a standout fighter in the UFC’s welterweight division.
5. Ciryl Gane
Ciryl Gane, a slick heavyweight in the UFC, brings a unique blend of speed and precision to his striking, rooted in his Muay Thai background.
Before transitioning to MMA, Gane made a name for himself in Muay Thai, capturing the AFMT heavyweight title and showcasing his knockout capabilities against top-level fighters.
In the UFC, Gane’s Muay Thai skills are evident in his technical striking and effective use of range. He has a light front foot ready for checking leg kicks and he loves to use teep kicks.
He quickly ascended the ranks, capturing the Interim UFC heavyweight championship with notable victories over fighters like Junior dos Santos and Derrick Lewis.
6. Chito Vera
Marlon Chito Vera is a notable bantamweight fighter in the UFC who demonstrates a striking style influenced by Muay Thai.
Vera is known for his toughness and resilience, often engaging in intense, back-and-forth battles. He starts his fights with a measured approach, similar to many Muay Thai fighters, gradually building up intensity after he has read his opponent.
One of his signature techniques is a left head kick from the southpaw stance, which he famously used to knock out Dominick Cruz.
Additionally, Vera employs powerful and accurate front kicks to the body and head, as seen in his knockout victory over Frankie Edgar.
His striking arsenal is diverse, including aggressive elbows in the clinch and a high guard typical of Muay Thai fighters.
Vera’s fighting style is characterized by brilliant forward pressure, where he cuts angles and boxes in opponents, forcing them to expend energy with constant lateral movement.
Finally, his high cardiovascular endurance, combined with an economical fighting style, allows him to maintain a flat-footed stance without overexerting himself.
7. Charles Jourdain
Charles Jourdain, a featherweight fighter in the UFC, showcases a striking style influenced by Muay Thai, characterized by powerful punches and kicks.
His agility and speed enable him to effectively dodge attacks and counterstrike, making him a formidable opponent in the octagon.
Jourdain’s versatility is evident in his ability to switch stances effectively, working well from both orthodox and southpaw positions.
This adaptability enhances his striking, allowing him to deliver lightning-quick high roundhouse kicks and engage in effective dirty boxing.
Utilizing a collar tie, he fires uppercuts and shovel hooks to the body, demonstrating his comfort in both ranged and close-quarter combat.
His cardiovascular endurance complements his economical fighting style, characterized by a flat-footed stance that doesn’t overexert him.
Jourdain’s high guard is a defensive technique used to block attacks and find quick counters, a strategy that aligns with traditional Muay Thai.
In the UFC, Jourdain has utilized his striking skills to secure several victories. He’s known for his brilliant forward pressure, cutting angles, and boxing in opponents until they exhaust themselves with constant lateral movement.
8. Charles Oliveira
Charles Oliveira, a prominent lightweight fighter in the UFC, is widely recognized for his exceptional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, holding the record for the most submissions in UFC history with 16.
However, his striking style also shows significant influence from Muay Thai, which he has integrated effectively into his MMA repertoire.
Oliveira’s approach in the octagon is characterized by nimble footwork and a front push kick, a technique often used in Muay Thai to control distance and push opponents back.
He’s particularly adept in the clinch, where he utilizes exceptional knees and elbows, showcasing the high guard typical of Muay Thai fighters.
Oliveira’s striking has evolved over the years, reflecting his training in Muay Thai. This evolution has made him a more well-rounded fighter, capable of handling opponents both on the ground and in stand-up exchanges.
9. Cris Cyborg
Cris Cyborg is a former UFC women’s featherweight champion, remembered for her aggressive and powerful striking style, deeply influenced by Muay Thai.
Training extensively in Thailand, she honed her skills in the art of eight limbs, utilizing punches, kicks, knees, and elbows with devastating effects.
Known for her knockout power, Cyborg’s Muay Thai techniques, especially her leg kicks and clinch work, have made her a formidable force in women’s MMA.
10. Darren Till
Darren Till, an English MMA fighter, began his combat journey in Muay Thai at age 12, eventually becoming the European K1 champion.
This background has profoundly influenced his striking style in MMA, marked by efficiency and versatility.
Known for his composure and unique swagger, Till effectively mixes up strikes with speed and precision, a skill rooted in his Muay Thai training.
In the UFC, Till’s proficiency in Muay Thai is evident in his clinch work, where he utilizes powerful knees and elbows.
His ability to switch stances and deliver high kicks with both legs showcases his adaptability as a striker.
11. Donald Cerrone
Donald Cerrone is one of the most active fighters in UFC history. His fighting style is a blend of Muay Thai and boxing, making him a versatile and dangerous striker in the octagon.
Cerrone’s use of a diverse array of kicks and knees, coupled with his boxing prowess, has earned him multiple Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night honors in the UFC.
One of Cerrone’s standout Muay Thai techniques is his switch-kick, a move that showcases his deep understanding and application of traditional Muay Thai.
His stance, though slightly modified for better takedown defense, bears a resemblance to the classic Thai boxing posture. This stance facilitates the use of switch kicks and elbows, both quintessential elements of Muay Thai.
He’s also known for his powerful leg and head kicks, which are among the most brutal and memorable in MMA history, often leading to spectacular finishes.
12. Edson Barboza
Edson Barboza, a standout in the UFC’s lightweight and featherweight divisions, is renowned for his exceptional Muay Thai skills.
His signature technique includes devastating leg kicks and a famed spinning wheel kick knockout, marking him as one of UFC’s most dynamic strikers.
Holding a black prajied in Muay Thai, Barboza is celebrated for his powerful kicking ability. His fighting style is aggressive, often utilizing switch kicks and finishing opponents with leg kicks, showcasing his pure Muay Thai technique.
Barboza began practicing Muay Thai at age 8 and quickly transitioned to competition, amassing a professional Muay Thai record of 25-3, with most wins by knockout.
This foundation in Muay Thai has been evident in his UFC career, where he maintains an aggressive stance and continually seeks opportunities for impactful strikes like low kicks, elbows, and knees.
13. Hakeem Dawodu
Hakeem Dawodu was introduced to Muay Thai at the age of 16 as a means to channel his aggression. This decision proved pivotal, as Dawodu amassed a remarkable 42-5 amateur record and an undefeated 9-0 professional record.
His dedication and skill in the sport led him to various titles, including a gold medal at the 2010 IFMA World Championships.
Since joining the UFC in 2017, Dawodu has been a standout in the featherweight division, showcasing exceptional Muay Thai skills.
His technique is marked by excellent fundamentals, efficient movement, and a high level of energy conservation.
Dawodu’s proficiency in the Muay Thai clinch, particularly his use of knees and elbows, sets him apart in the octagon.
He brings a combination of aggression and power to his strikes, evidenced by his 7 knockouts and 6 decision victories in 13 wins.
14. Jan Blachowicz
Jan Blachowicz is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and is renowned for his “Legendary Polish Power”, a term that aptly describes his exceptional knockout potential.
His striking style, influenced by his background as an amateur Muay Thai champion, is unique and challenging for opponents to prepare against.
Blachowicz’s arsenal includes power punches, a formidable left body kick, and a devastating low kick which he used to great effect against Magomed Ankalaev in their title fight.
Like most Muay Thai fighters, Blachowicz remains calm and collected in the octagon, a trait that allows him to execute his game plan effectively and adapt to different situations in a fight.
15. Joanna Jędrzejczyk
Joanna Jędrzejczyk, a former UFC strawweight champion, is highly regarded for her Muay Thai expertise, which significantly influences her striking style in the octagon.
Her journey in martial arts began with Muay Thai as a teenager, leading to an impressive amateur record and multiple world titles in the sport.
In the UFC, Jędrzejczyk’s Muay Thai skills are evident in her high-volume striking and ability to overwhelm opponents with flurries of combinations.
She employs a range of techniques, including leg kicks and jabs, followed by aggressive attacks. Her precision and power, honed through years of Muay Thai training, have been key to her dominance in many UFC fights.
Jędrzejczyk’s fighting style is characterized by her use of range and pin-point accuracy, especially in her lethal front kick (teep).
She’s known for her clinch game, utilizing elbows, knees, and a high-tempo pressure attack, all hallmarks of Muay Thai. Her ability to mix punches with powerful and precise kicks makes her a formidable striker.
16. Johnny Walker
Johnny Walker, competing in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division, stands out for his unorthodox and dynamic fighting style, deeply rooted in Muay Thai.
His training in Thailand has significantly influenced his approach, particularly evident in his use of powerful knees and elbows.
In the octagon, Walker’s agility and creativity, combined with his Muay Thai skills, make him a unique and dangerous opponent.
Walker’s striking is characterized by its unpredictability and flair, including impressive moves like the spinning back fist, which he famously used to knock out Misha Cirkunov.
His tall frame and long reach enhance his ability to execute a variety of Muay Thai strikes effectively, making him a threat in stand-up exchanges.
17. Jon Jones
Jon Jones is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and the current UFC heavyweight champion. He’s renowned for his innovative and unpredictable fighting style, heavily influenced by Muay Thai.
Known for his signature spinning elbow, oblique kicks, and effective use of all “eight limbs” of Muay Thai – arms, legs, elbows, and knees – Jones leverages his long reach to dominate opponents at various ranges.
His striking techniques, from jabs and kicks to maintain distance to powerful elbows in close combat, showcase his adaptability and mastery of Muay Thai within MMA.
Jones’ ability to execute both straight and spinning attacks, combined with his physical attributes and fighting intelligence, has established him as one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time.
18. Jose Aldo
Jose Aldo is a former UFC featherweight champion and is widely recognized as one of the division’s greatest fighters.
His Muay Thai background is a cornerstone of his fighting style, characterized by devastating leg kicks and a light front foot, reminiscent of traditional Muay Thai stances.
Aldo’s signature move, the brutal low kick, is a direct product of his Muay Thai training and has played a pivotal role in many of his victories by limiting his opponents’ movement and causing significant discomfort.
Aldo’s journey in martial arts began in his native Brazil, where he initially trained in capoeira before transitioning to Brazilian jiu-jitsu and eventually Muay Thai.
His proficiency in Muay Thai was evident early in his career, as he amassed five Muay Thai world titles before transitioning to MMA.
In the UFC, his stance, movement, and striking techniques all reflect the discipline’s principles, making him not only a successful MMA fighter but also a true representative of Muay Thai in the Octagon.
19. Khalil Rountree
Khalil Rountree’s move to Thailand in 2019 to focus on Muay Thai significantly transformed his approach in the UFC light heavyweight division.
Immersing himself in the birthplace of Muay Thai, Rountree absorbed the nuances and techniques that define this striking art.
One of the most notable enhancements in Rountree’s style is his leg techniques. His oblique and leg kicks have become sharper and more powerful.
These techniques aren’t just offensive tools but also serve a defensive purpose, keeping opponents at a distance and disrupting their rhythm.
Rountree’s ability to stay light on his front leg, a hallmark of seasoned Muay Thai fighters, allows him to swiftly check incoming leg kicks, showcasing his adaptability and tactical acumen.
Moreover, Rountree’s overall movement and stance have evolved, and he exhibits improved footwork and agility. His ability to maneuver around the octagon, maintaining control and readiness to launch attacks, reflects his deepened understanding of Muay Thai principles.
20. Matt Brown
Brown’s journey in martial arts began with a focus on Bjj but he quickly developed a passion for Muay Thai.
His striking in the octagon is characterized by a combination of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, showcasing his proficiency in Muay Thai techniques.
Known for his great clinch work, sweeps, and particularly his use of elbows, Brown’s style is both explosive and effective.
Throughout his UFC career, Brown has demonstrated his striking skills with precision and power, earning him a reputation as a formidable striker.
Brown’s ability to blend Muay Thai techniques with other martial arts has made him a unique and unpredictable fighter in the welterweight division.
21. Mauricio Rua
Mauricio Rua is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and is known for his aggressive and powerful striking style, heavily influenced by Muay Thai.
Rua began his Muay Thai training at the age of 15 and his fighting style in MMA reflects his Muay Thai background, utilizing a combination of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows.
Rua’s proficiency in Muay Thai is evident in his heavy-pressure striking, marked by explosiveness and effectiveness.
A former member of the Chute Boxe Academy, known for training Vale Tudo fighters in Muay Thai, Rua’s style is both dynamic and devastating.
His ability to blend Muay Thai techniques with other martial arts has made him a unique and unpredictable fighter.
22. Paul Felder
Paul Felder, a former UFC lightweight and now an ESPN analyst/commentator, has a diverse martial arts background that started with karate, taekwondo, and Muay Thai.
In the UFC, Felder’s fighting style was marked by his aggressive Muay Thai techniques, including powerful leg kicks and vicious elbows.
His ability to effectively use elbows, especially from the clinch, made him a formidable opponent. Felder’s Muay Thai technique wasn’t only about power but also creativity, as he never seemed to throw the same combination twice.
Felder’s striking skills were particularly impressive in the clinch, where he was known for his effective use of knees and elbows.
He was also known for his excellent footwork and fight intelligence, which he used to cut distance effectively and maintain control in the octagon.
Throughout his career, Felder demonstrated relentless aggression and a high level of cardiovascular endurance, which he used to maintain a high pace against his opponents.
His defensive high guard, a trait often seen in Muay Thai fighters, was effective in blocking attacks and finding quick counters.
23. Petr Yan
Known for his precise and powerful boxing skills, complemented by effective Muay Thai techniques, Yan is a former UFC bantamweight champion.
In the UFC, Yan’s fighting style showcases a balanced mix of boxing and Muay Thai, employing sharp jabs, crosses, potent leg kicks, and knees. His ability to seamlessly blend these disciplines makes him a versatile and dangerous striker.
Yan’s technical prowess in boxing is enhanced by his proficiency in Muay Thai techniques, particularly in controlling distance and executing powerful leg kicks.
Petr Yan’s fighting style is characterized by his adaptability, precision, and the effective integration of Muay Thai techniques into his overall striking strategy.
24. Rafael Dos Anjos
Rafael Dos Anjos, a former UFC lightweight champion, is renowned for his Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. His striking style, marked by powerful kicks and precise punches, reflects his Muay Thai training.
Dos Anjos has a professional MMA record of 32-14, with several victories credited to his effective leg kicks and accurate striking.
Transitioning from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to Muay Thai, Dos Anjos developed an aggressive striking style, evident in his notable 66-second TKO victory against Donald Cerrone.
In the UFC, he’s known for his high-volume striking and physical strength, often utilizing a Muay Thai stance to control fights.
His refined boxing skills, developed under trainer Jason Parillo, complement his Muay Thai techniques, making him a formidable opponent in the octagon.
25. Rafael Fiziev
Rafael Fiziev is a UFC lightweight who brings a wealth of Muay Thai expertise to the table. His journey into Muay Thai began at the age of eleven, initially as a means to defend against bullies.
In the octagon, Fiziev’s Muay Thai skills shine through his impressive speed and accuracy. His striking, marked by both precision and power, is a direct reflection of his extensive Muay Thai training.
Fiziev’s ability to deliver lightning-fast roundhouse kicks has become a signature aspect of his fighting style, contributing to multiple knockout victories in the UFC.
Fiziev’s agility and speed are central to his fighting approach, enabling him to adeptly evade attacks and counterstrike effectively.
He excels as a counterstriker, always on the lookout for opportunities to land precise and powerful strikes. His kicks, in particular, stand out as a dominant element in his striking repertoire.
26. Rose Namajunas
Rose Namajunas, a former UFC flyweight champion, is celebrated for her dynamic and versatile fighting style, heavily influenced by Muay Thai.
Beginning her martial arts journey with taekwondo at age five, she later expanded her skills to include karate, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and Muay Thai.
In the UFC, Namajunas’ striking is marked by fluidity, precision, and a diverse range of attacks. Her proficiency in Muay Thai shines through in her use of swift kicks, knees, and elbows, making her a formidable opponent in the strawweight division.
Her adaptability and technical prowess are evident in her ability to blend Muay Thai techniques with other martial arts, showcasing her well-rounded fighting capabilities.
Namajunas’ career is highlighted by her advanced technical striking and footwork, utilizing various angles and creative adjustments in her fights.
She effectively pressures opponents with jabs and high kicks, employing Muay Thai techniques like axe kicks and roundhouse kicks.
27. Thiago Alves
Thiago Alves is known for his powerful and aggressive striking style, heavily influenced by Muay Thai.
Alves began training in Muay Thai at the age of 15, which laid the foundation for his striking abilities.
His style in the octagon is characterized by a combination of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, showcasing his proficiency in Muay Thai techniques.
Known for his devastating leg kicks, Alves’ striking is both explosive and effective, making him a dangerous opponent in stand-up exchanges.
His ability to time his strikes with precision has led to numerous knockouts and TKOs.
28. Thiago Santos
Thiago Santos, a Brazilian mixed martial artist, showcases a striking style in the UFC that incorporates key elements of Muay Thai.
Despite a primary background in capoeira and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, his use of powerful kicks and knees in the octagon is indicative of Muay Thai influence.
Santos is particularly effective in the clinch, where he utilizes his Muay Thai skills to deliver forceful strikes.
His ability to switch stances and execute high kicks with both legs further demonstrates his adaptability and proficiency in striking, traits often seen in seasoned Muay Thai practitioners.
29. Valentina Shevchenko
Valentina Shevchenko is the former UFC women’s flyweight champion and is renowned for her exceptional Muay Thai skills.
Originating from Kyrgyzstan, Shevchenko began her combat sports journey with Muay Thai, amassing numerous world titles in the IFMA and World Combat Games.
Shevchenko’s style is a blend of brutal low-kicks, clinch striking, and relentless aggression, making her one of the most feared strikers in women’s MMA.
In the UFC, her technique, quick hands, precision, and impeccable timing stand out. Shevchenko is adept at controlling distance, using her kicks to manage space before launching into precise punches.
Her spinning backkick is a testament to her Muay Thai background and has led to impressive finishes.
Defensively, she adopts a high guard as seen in Muay Thai, and she makes smaller and more deliberate steps to keep herself ready to strike or defend at all times.
30. Wanderlei Silva
A former PRIDE Middleweight Champion and the 2003 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament Champion, Silva’s career in MMA is marked by his relentless pressure and devastating striking, deeply rooted in Muay Thai.
Silva’s aggressive style, honed in the Chute Boxe Academy since the age of 13, is characterized by powerful hooks, knee strikes, and an indomitable spirit.
His tenure in the UFC and PRIDE saw him engage in some of the most memorable and ferocious battles, often overwhelming his opponents with a barrage of strikes.
Silva’s use of Muay Thai techniques, particularly in the clinch, made him one of the most feared fighters in the light heavyweight division.