13 Best Brazilian UFC Fighters of All Time (2023)

Have you recently noticed how there are many Brazilian fighters in the UFC and are wondering about the best Brazilian UFC fighters of all time?

Brazilian UFC fighters have excelled in the promotion from its very first event, through to its 607th event and counting; and this is a list of Brazilian UFC fighters who’ve been the most elite.

What Determines Which Brazilian UFC Fighters Make the List?

Although subjective, Brazilian UFC fighters make the list based on:

  • UFC titles won and title defenses
  • MMA record
  • Other records set
  • Competition faced
  • Fighting ability, entertainment, influence in the UFC, (subjective)

Best Brazilian UFC Fighters

Some of the fighters in this list didn’t have the best UFC careers and were hugely successful with other MMA promotions, but they had adequate time in the UFC and make the list of best Brazilian UFC fighters, all things considered.

Here’s the list in alphabetical order:

Amanda Nunes (23-5-0)

Amanda Nunes, or Lioness, is considered the best female UFC and MMA fighter ever, because of her domination in the UFC since 2012 where she’s set multiple UFC records in the women’s divisions. 

She is the first and only female UFC fighter and one of only four to become a two-division champion (double champ) after she became the UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion. Not only this, but she’s the only UFC double champ to continually defend both belts.

Nunes did this by going on a 12-fight UFC win streak, where she accumulated 7 successful title defenses and 9 title fight wins. Amanda is supremely dominant, well-rounded, and comfortable anywhere a fight goes; in 21 wins she has 13 wins by knockout, 4 submissions, and 4 decisions.

She’s a black belt in Bjj and a brown belt in judo, and she has a versatility of tools, often controlling the distance of her fights with heavy leg strikes. She dominates all of her fights with her striking, and she keeps it this way with her impressive strength and ability to snuff takedown attempts.

Her main weapon is her boxing as she has heavier hands than anyone she fights, combined with great footwork, head movement, and relentless accuracy; her overhand rights are usually her match-winner.

She has been successful against the best female UFC fighters ever, such as Holly Holm, Raquel Pennington, Ronda Rousey, Cyborg, and Valentina Shevchenko twice; making her undoubtedly one of the best female and Brazilian UFC fighters ever.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 5’8” | Reach: 69”
  • One of only four UFC fighters to become a two-division champion
  • 7 successful title defenses across two divisions
  • Longest combined UFC title reign of 3229 days
  • Most wins for a female UFC fighter (16)
  • Most title fight wins for a female UFC fighter (10)

Anderson Silva (34-11-0)

Not only is Anderson Silva one of the best Brazilian UFC fighters of all time, but he’s also one of the best UFC fighters ever. His records like the longest title reign of 2147 days and longest UFC win streak of 16, set him apart from many.

The Spider, as he was known, was a counter-striker with great timing and striking accuracy, range control, and versatility of strikes. Silva had unparalleled head and foot movement due to his speed and quirkiness; making him unpredictable and hard to hit. He was a complete martial artist and has black belts in Taekwondo, Judo, and Bjj.

When fighting he had an air of invincibility and supreme confidence. During his 16-fight win streak, he made some opponents look like amateurs; at times completely dropping his hands and using head movement as his only defense. 

His only slight weakness was his wrestling, evidenced in his fight against Chael Sonnen. Ironically, he won the fight via submission in the fifth despite being taken down continuously and beaten up – Chael was an elite wrestler though and it was unusual for Silva to be taken down because he was so evasive. 

His first loss in the UFC was at 38 years old; a testament to how great a fighter he was during his prime.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 6’1.5” | Reach: 77.5”
  • Most title fight finishes (9)
  • Longest UFC win streak (16)
  • Longest title reign (2457 days)
  • Second most UFC title defenses (10)
  • Third most UFC KO/TKO wins (11)

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (34-10-1-1NC)

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, or Minotauro, is a UFC Hall of Famer, former Pride heavyweight champion, and UFC interim heavyweight champion. He had an extremely long MMA career with a total of 46 fights, and he fought in the UFC for 8 years between 2007-2015; making him a legend of the sport.

He has black belts in Bjj and judo, and his most dangerous weapon was his submission game, where he amassed 21 wins out of 34 by submission. He was incredibly durable and had a great chin, only having 3 losses by knockout in 46 fights as a heavyweight.

On top of this, his body strength and takedown ability were another key to his success in the octagon, where he would control his opponents and eventually submit them.

Being critical of Minotauro, his striking wasn’t the most technical and he didn’t have knockout power in his hands – only 3 of his wins were by knockout, which is very low for a heavyweight.

The elite-level competition he faced during his career is undeniable, which is something you’d expect with a career so long. In the UFC his best wins came against Randy Couture and Tim Sylvia, while in Pride he beat Fabricio Werdum, Dan Henderson, and Mirko Filipovic.

Despite him being an MMA legend, he wasn’t the greatest in the UFC, finishing his 8 years in the UFC with a 5-6 record. This is because he arrived in the UFC quite late, not necessarily past his prime, but he was already hugely successful so he fought top competition immediately, and lost to the likes of Cain Valesquez, Frank Mir, and Fabricio Werdum – all former UFC heavyweight champions.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 6’3” | Reach: 77”
  • UFC Hall of Fame Inductee (pioneer wing)
  • Interim heavyweight champion
  • Former Pride heavyweight champion (2001-2003) with 5 title defenses

Charles Oliveira (34-9-0-1NC)

Charles Oliveira, or do Bronx, is a UFC legend and has been fighting with the promotion for 12 years and is still extremely active; where he continues to set multiple records.

Some of his records like the most UFC finishes (19) and most UFC submissions (16) show how deadly and entertaining do Bronx is as a fighter. He’s a Bjj black belt and his submissions attacks are unparalleled; almost always winning fights by submission after having a fighter hurt.

Not only is his Bjj a weapon, but his striking is some of the tightest, sharp, and most technical in the UFC. His accuracy is extremely high, and his versatility of strikes thrown always catches his opponents off guard; he especially likes to throw front kicks to the midsection and also throws in takedowns regularly.

Oliveira is currently on an 11-fight UFC win streak and is a former UFC lightweight champion, very likely to regain the title because of how dominant he is. 

Unfortunately, he lost the lightweight title after becoming the first undisputed champion to miss weight for a title fight and get stripped of the belt (UFC 274).

He hasn’t faced the level of competition as some of the other great Brazilian UFC fighters here, but he’s beaten top fighters Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, Beneil Dariush, and Michael Chandler – all recent fights in his UFC career.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 5’10” | Reach: 74”
  • Former UFC lightweight champion
  • Most UFC finishes (19)
  • Most UFC submission wins (16)
  • Most post-fight bonuses in UFC history (18)
  • 2 title wins and 1 successful title defense

Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1-1NC)

Fabricio Werdum, or Vai Cavalo, is a former UFC heavyweight champion with a total of 35 MMA fights spanning a career of 20 years, with nearly 9 years in the UFC from 2012 to 2021.

Fabricio is a very skillful UFC fighter, acquiring black belts in Bjj, judo, and muay thai, making him very exciting to watch. Also, he has a high fight IQ which helps him navigate fights, avoid mistakes, and stay two steps ahead of his opponent at all times.

The most dangerous part of his game is his Bjj submission prowess, but he’s a very well-rounded fighter, with his wins coming by 6 knockouts, 12 submissions, and 6 decisions (18 finishes out of 24 wins); he knows how to win any way necessary.

His striking abilities improved a lot during his career, eventually becoming more fluid and creative. This was helped massively by his grappling dominance and the fact none of his opponents wanted to go to the ground with him – meaning he could throw combinations and powerful expressive strikes, which many fighters can’t do when they’re focused on takedown defense.

The competition he faced was extraordinary and he has one of the most impressive win columns, beating Alistair Overeem, Antonio Silva, Cain Valesquez, Alexander Gustaffson, and ending Fedor Emelianenko’s 28 fight win streak (Pride) by triangle choke.

Meanwhile, his losses come against the likes of Alistair Overeem, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Junior Dos Santos, Stipe Miocic, and Alexander Volkov – all greats of the UFC and MMA.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 6’4” | Reach: 77”
  • Former UFC heavyweight champion
  • 4-time Bjj world champion

Glover Teixeira (33-9-0)

Glover Teixeira is a former Brazilian national team wrestler, and a veteran of the UFC and MMA, having 40 career fights and a decade in the UFC. He’s the current UFC light heavyweight champion, after becoming the second oldest UFC champion ever, at the age of 42.

Of Glover’s 33 wins, 28 are finishes (18 knockouts and 10 submissions), showing how versatile, well-rounded, and dangerous Teixeira is. Between 2006-2014, he went on a 20-fight win streak (including 5 UFC fights), until he finally lost a 5-round decision to the greatest of all time, Jon Jones.

He holds black belts in Bjj and kajukenbo, has no major weakness, and is a complete martial artist. The other thing making Glover so dangerous is his resilience and determination, evidenced by how he became the oldest first-time UFC champion.

His main weapon is his incredible strength and wrestling, where he’s able to take opponents down, maintain top control, and finish them with ground-and-pound or his sublime Bjj skills. Because of his finishing ability and longevity, he has the most UFC light heavyweight finishes with 13.

Glover’s record is very impressive, and he has notable wins against Ryan Bader, Jan Blachowicz, Rashad Evans, Rampage Jackson, and Jared Cannonier. He’s only lost to truly great fighters throughout his career, such as Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, and Phil Davis.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 6’2” | Reach: 76”
  • Second oldest champion in UFC history (aged 42)
  • Most submissions in the UFC light heavyweight division (7)
  • UFC light heavyweight champion
  • Most finishes in the UFC light heavyweight division (13)
  • Second most wins in the UFC light heavyweight division (16)

Jose Aldo (31-8-0)

Jose Aldo, or Junior, is considered one of the best bantamweights of all time, and his MMA record speaks for itself – spanning a career of 18 years and counting.

Aldo has black belts in Bjj and luta livre, making him an exceptionally decorated submission fighter. Despite this, he only has 1 win by submission out of his 31 wins as he rarely looks for submissions and has always been most comfortable as a striker. 

However, it’s this jiu-jitsu base combined with elite takedown defense which allows Aldo to be so free with his striking and avoid many ground exchanges, so it’s hard to say how effective on the ground he is because he’s rarely tested.

His striking is exceptionally technical and crisp, and he’s known for having some of the most powerful, deadly, and well-timed leg kicks in the UFC. His boxing is his best weapon, and he throws everything with amazing speed, power, and accuracy. 

On top of his dominant striking, Aldo has solid wrestling, grappling, and a great ability to slip strikes, making him an all-around great fighter.

The competition he faced is high, but not comparable in any way to some of the names on this list, as his best wins are against Frankie Edgar x2, the Korean Zombie, and Urijah Faber.

On the other hand, he’s lost against most of his top-tier opponents, such as Conor McGregor, Max Holloway x2, Alexander Volkanovski, and Petr Yan.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 5’7” | Reach: 70”
  • Former WEC featherweight champion
  • First UFC featherweight champion
  • Former UFC bantamweight champion
  • 18 fight MMA win streak (7/18 in the UFC) before losing to Conor McGregor
  • Most successful and continuous featherweight title defenses (7)

Junior Dos Santos (21-10-0)

Junior Dos Santos, or Cigano, is a former UFC heavyweight champion, recognized as one of the best UFC heavyweights. He holds the record for the longest win streak in the UFC’s heavyweight division at 9 consecutive wins, and his style was boxing-heavy.

His MMA career started in 2006, and he’s still fighting in 2022, currently for Eagle FC. He is 5th on the all-time list of most active heavyweights in the UFC’s history with 23 fights, where he fought for 13 years from 2008 to 2021; meaning he’s an extremely durable fighter.

His best weapon was his boxing speed, knockout power, and overhand rights, often sending his opponents either out cold or to the mat, where he also had an essential ability to finish fights with lightning-quick punches once his opponents were hurt – 15 of his 21 wins were by knockout

Some of the most textbook UFC knockouts belong to Cigano, such as his uppercut against Werdum and his spinning heel kick knockout of Mark Hunt. He’s also a black belt in Bjj but only has 1 win by submission as he was very dominant with his boxing.

His record represents inconsistency, and he only managed 1 title defense, but he faced incredible competition and managed to win against UFC legends and MMA greats such as Stipe Miocic, Frank Mir, Cain Valesquez, Mirko Filipovic, and Fabricio Werdum.

On the other hand, his losses came against Curtis Blaydes, Francis Ngannou, Stipe Miocic, and Cain Velasquez twice. Despite these losses to great fighters, for what he achieved, he’s easily one of the best Brazilian UFC fighters of all time.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 6’4” | Reach: 77”
  • Former UFC heavyweight champion
  • Longest win streak in UFC heavyweight history (9)
  • Tied second most UFC heavyweight knockouts (10) 

Lyoto Machida (26-12-0)

Known as The Dragon, he had a 38-fight-long career over 19 years, where he spent 11 years of that time in the UFC. Machida is a third-degree black belt in shotokan karate and a black belt in Bjj and is well known for bowing to his beaten opponents in the octagon as a sign of respect and humility.

His karate style was very influential in the UFC and the sport of MMA, as it had not been as effective before at the top level of the sport. It made him hugely popular, and he managed to go on a 16-fight MMA win streak before losing to Mauricio Rua.

One of his greatest weapons was his kicking and the ability to change up the placement of them, often hidden through effective feints. He has many knockouts as a result of kicks, and many of his knockouts from punches were set up by perfectly executed kicks.

Because of his kicking dominant karate style, he was able to keep his shoulders back, and could therefore easily avoid strikes with his footwork and hit-and-run style of fighting.

Over his UFC tenure, the light heavyweight division was extremely competitive and it was full of many UFC greats. Despite this, he managed to accumulate an extensive win list against Dan Henderson, Ryan Bader, Randy Couture, Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, Vitor Belfort, and many others.

Being critical, Lyoto only had one title defense in his UFC career, and his obvious weakness was a lack of true knockout power with his punches, evidenced by his 13 decision victories out of 26 wins. Also, once he started to lose it was clear people could study his style and work out how to beat him.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 6’1” | Reach: 74”
  • Former UFC light heavyweight champion
  • 16-fight MMA win streak (8/16 UFC)

Mauricio Rua (27-13-1)

Mauricio Rua, most commonly referred to as Shogun, is a former UFC light heavyweight champion, and former Pride Grand Prix middleweight champion. Shogun has been competing in MMA for 20 years and 15 of those years have been in the UFC.

He holds a black belt in Bjj and is a highly skilled muay thai practitioner; in the clinch, he would throw lethal knees which were a dangerous weapon of his. Shogun has very accurate and powerful boxing and throws lots of combinations, which is why he’s tied fourth for the most knockdowns landed in UFC history (14).

Also, Rua is a fighter with special killer instincts, and once he has an opponent hurt, he tends to not let them off the hook – he chases people down or finishes them with lightning-quick ground-and-pound, which is why he has 21/27 wins by knockout.

He fought the best possible opponents during his career and claimed wins over Alistair Overeem x2, Rogerio Nogueira x3, Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, and Rampage Jackson.

Overall, Shogun performed much better in Pride because he was great at finishing fights with stomps and soccer kicks, which were banned in the UFC. 

In the UFC, he never defended his title and his best win streak was 3 as he was very inconsistent; losing to the likes of Lyoto Machida, Jon Jones, Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, and Ovince Saint Preux twice.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 6’1” | Reach: 76”
  • Former UFC light heavyweight champion
  • Former Pride Grand Prix middleweight champion
  • Tied first for most fight-night bonuses in UFC light heavyweight division (8)

Royce Gracie (15-2-3)

A true legend of the sport, Royce Gracie fought in the first UFC event and went on to win 11 fights in a row and three UFC tournaments, before drawing to Ken Shamrock in the UFC’s first ‘Superfight’ (UFC 5) and moving to fight in Pride.

Royce Gracie brought the capabilities and talents of Bjj to the mainstream, showcasing it in the UFC’s openweight tournaments as a 176 lb fighter against much bigger opponents sometimes weighing up to 260 lbs.

He’s a 7th-degree red/black coral belt under Rickson Gracie, and his ground skills were too much for his opponents – with 12 of his 15 wins coming by submission.

He’s the reason why Bjj is so essential and prominent in MMA and the UFC, and why both have seen upward trajectories over the past 30 years.

However, Royce wasn’t the best mixed martial artist and Bjj was his only weapon, making him very one-dimensional. He only fought in the UFC for 2 years, but he beat the best possible fighters at the time, such as Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, and Keith Hackney.

He and his family (Gracie family) are a big reason there are so many great Brazilian UFC fighters. Not only was he a pioneer of Bjj, but he also helped shape the UFC’s new rules. This was because of his UFC 5 superfight with Ken Shamrock, which ended in a draw after 36 minutes of fighting.

This made the UFC realize they needed to introduce rounds and time limits, which the UFC introduced at UFC 8 (1996). This became the first UFC event to have a 10-minute cap on fights, and a 15-minute cap on finals, however, there were still no rounds until 1999. Overall though, Royce Gracie was instrumental to these changes and in the progression toward the Official Rules of MMA in 2000.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 6’1” | Reach: Unknown
  • Three-time UFC tournament winner
  • One of the most influential people in MMA history

Vitor Belfort (26-14-0-1NC)

Vitor Belfort, or The Phenom, is a former UFC light heavyweight champion, Cage Rage light heavyweight champion, and UFC light heavyweight tournament champion, which he won aged 19.

He’s a legend of the UFC and MMA, and his career spanned 22 years from 1996 to 2018, where he spent 14 years in total with the UFC (3 separate runs).

Not only was his career longevity very impressive, but he also fought in three UFC divisions, the middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight divisions; meaning he fought three generations of legendary fighters across multiple divisions.

Vitor was a very skilled fighter and holds belts black belts in Bjj and Judo, and a purple belt in shotokan karate.

He was an explosive and violent finisher, and if it wasn’t for the UFC record books starting in 2000 (UFC 28), he would be tied fourth for the most UFC finishes, with 14; 13 of which were first-round knockouts.

Out of his 26 MMA wins, 21 were finishes, and because of this, he was one of the most popular and entertaining fighters to watch.

Despite his success, he won’t be considered one of the great MMA or UFC fighters, as he was popped for steroids numerous times, never had a successful title defense, and lost four out of his five title fights. 

However, he’s a legend and he fought the best fighters throughout his career, scoring wins over Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson twice.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 6’0” | Reach: 74”
  • Fought in the UFC heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight divisions
  • UFC 12 heavyweight tournament champion
  • Former UFC light heavyweight champion
  • Former Cage Rage light heavyweight champion

Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1)

He’s a former Pride middleweight champion, and he competed in the UFC’s middleweight and light heavyweight divisions over three separate stints, for a total of 8 years.

Wanderlei has one of the best nicknames in the sport of MMA: The Axe Murderer – and his style of fighting represents this perfectly. He’s known for having one of the most intense staredowns before every fight and bringing war and brutality to every fight he’s in.

He’s a muay thai stand and bang fighter and although not one of the most technical strikers, he’s fearless, ruthless, and has knockout power in his strikes; 27 of his 35 wins were by knockout. 

Wanderlei has a black belt in Bjj but his offensive submission skills were rarely seen, having only 1 win by submission. Defensively though, he was perfect and never submitted in his 49 fights.

Overall, Wanderlei was mostly successful in Pride, where at one point he went on an unbeaten streak of 17, consisting of 1 NC, 1 draw, and 15 wins. He also holds Pride records for most wins, title defenses, and knockouts.

When in the UFC, he immediately faced the elite and with varying success. Wanderlei had wins against Michael Bisping and Brian Stann but lost many fights against the likes of Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, and Rich Franklin twice. Despite this, he’s still easily one of the best Brazilian UFC fighters.

Fighter stats:

  • Height: 5’11” | Reach: 74”
  • Former Pride middleweight champion and 2003 Grand Prix tournament champion (the first fighter to do so)
  • 27 out of 35 wins by knockout

To Summarize

This is a comprehensive list of many of the best Brazilian UFC fighters in UFC history, and while subjective, many of the fighters can be classified as the best when judged by the principles outlined at the top of the article.

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