12 Best British UFC Fighters Of All Time (2023)

Are you wondering who the best British UFC fighters of all time are?

It’s important to note that British means only fighters from England, Scotland, and Wales. Fighters from Ireland and Northern Ireland are not British and are therefore not on this list. 

UFC fighters from Northern Ireland would be included if the list was about the best UK UFC fighters, but Ireland is outside of both the UK and Britain and has been since 1922.

What Determines Which British UFC Fighters Make the List?

British 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)
  • Future potential

British UFC Fighters

Here’s the list of the best British UFC fighters of all time, in alphabetical order.

Arnold ‘Almighty’ Allen (19-3)

Height: 5’8” | Reach: 70” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Featherweight

Arnold Allen was born in Suffolk, England, and began training in MMA as a teenager, which is different from most athletes who begin with one combat sport. This is the reason why Allen is so well-rounded, as he’s been practicing all aspects of martial arts since an early age.

After turning professional in 2012 at the age of 18, Allen scored a 9-1 record fighting for promotions such as Cage Warriors and UCMMA in Britain. He then joined the UFC in 2015 and has remained undefeated ever since.

Allen’s best attributes are:

  • Amazing scrambles on the ground in grappling transitions
  • Elite defensive skills against strikes and 76% takedown defense – slides backward well after striking with fluid footwork and movement – 2nd for active featherweights with the highest significant strike defense of 66.7%
  • Well-rounded with no weaknesses – 6 knockouts, 4 submissions, 8 decisions
  • Intelligent tactician allowing him to take the fight in any direction and win
  • Accurate and technical striking

His best win came against Dan Hooker, taking him out with an absolute blitz of strikes in the first round. He’s also beaten Gilbert Melendez, Sodiq Yusuff, Calvin Kattar, and Makwan Amirhkani.

28-year-old Allen had an incredible 10 UFC win streak in the featherweight division, only bettered by two men, current pound-for-pound king, Alexander Volkanovski, and former featherweight champion, Max Holloway. 

This fact on top of how fast he’s improving tells you how promising a future Arnold Allen has and how he’s already one of the best British UFC fighters of all time.

Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy (25-10-1NC)

Height: 6’0” | Reach: 74” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Welterweight

Dan Hardy is an Englishman from Nottingham who started to train muay thai and boxing aged 19 before transitioning to MMA a year later.

He’s a very eccentric fighter who sported many tattoos and a long red and black mohawk with shaved sides. He’d also always walk out to rock music and wear a snood covering his neck and up to his eyes.

He’s also been known to visit Bruce Lee’s grave before fights for inspiration and has trained with Shaolin monks in China.

He’s also one of the best fighters to watch when credentials are read by Bruce Buffer before a fight, as he gets really hyped and beckons Bruce to put more energy into it – it’s hilarious to see.

Hardy’s best attributes were:

  • One of the best chins and most durable fighters – in 36 fights and 10 losses he only lost once by knockout to Carlos Condit
  • Speedy and technical boxing and muay thai techniques
  • Excellent at taking advantage of small openings in his opponent’s defense
  • Speed in movement and footwork, allowed him to evade strikes and be a great counterpuncher, especially with his left hook

After going 4-0 in the UFC, Hardy squared off against GSP for the title but lost the fight and the following 3. Although he did suffer a 4 loss streak, he was fighting elite fighters one after the other: GSP, Condit, and Anthony Johnson.

Hardy recovered and won his next 2 fights and was expected to fight again in 2013 at UFC on Fox 7, but was pulled after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome; a problem with the electrical system of the heart.

Overall, Hardy was a good technical fighter but most of his losses came from being out grappled, taken down, and controlled on the floor; especially against GSP and Anthony Johnson who controlled him for the whole 15 minutes.

Being one of the best trash talkers in the game – it was only natural for him to join the UFC commentary team while he waited for clearance to fight again.

This clearance eventually came 5 years later in 2018, meaning Hardy likely lost the prime years of his fighting career and is yet to fight again.

Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till (18-5-1)

Height: 6’0” | Reach: 74” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Middleweight / Welterweight

For many years Darren Till was the best British UFC fighter by a long shot, out on his own before other Brits started to perform and rising stars introduced themselves.

Till was born in Liverpool, England, and started training muay thai aged 12. He dropped out of school 2 years later and turned his attention to MMA. From 18 to nearly 22, Till trained and fought in Brazil, going 12-0 before joining the UFC in 2015.

Till’s best attributes are:

  • Fights with real composure, patience, and swagger (hands down)
  • Mixes up strikes with great combinations and amazing speed
  • Great footwork and fight intelligence
  • Knockout power – 10 knockouts in 18 wins
  • Effective thai clinch and use of the knees

At the early age of 25, Till had a title shot against Tyron Woodley, but lost by submission in round 2 and didn’t give a great account of himself in his first MMA loss.

Till’s best wins have been against, Stephen Thompson, Kelvin Gastelum, and Donald Cerrone. He’d have a lot more wins if he could improve on his finishing ability as he’s let opponents come back after knocking them down too often.

With so much success as a welterweight, it was somewhat surprising when Till moved to middleweight, with him saying he’d outgrown welterweight, being 6 feet tall with huge legs and having to endure huge weight cuts.

However, Till has struggled at middleweight, losing his first two fights there so he may consider going back to welterweight where he’s had success. 

Whether Till’s good enough to become a UFC champion is another question, but he’s definitely one of the British UFC fighters considering the weight he had on his shoulders at one point.

Jack ‘Tank’ Shore (17-1)

Height: 5’8” | Reach: 71” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Bantamweight

Welshman Jack Shore has been training since 6 years old and is one of Britain’s greatest UFC prospects. He started with kickboxing and transitioned to MMA at the age of 10, still training with his father in their own gym to this day.

It’s a unique arrangement where he’s one of only a handful of fighters who has their father as their coach while competing in the UFC.

Before making it to the UFC in 2019, Jack amassed a 12-0 amateur record, a gold medal at the 2015 IMMAF European Open, and was the Cage Warriors bantamweight champion.

Shore’s best attributes are:

  • Immense takedowns with an average of 3.66 per fight (6 UFC fights)
  • Great takedown defense (80%) and an ability to post back to his feet very quickly if taken down
  • Bjj black belt with 8 submissions out of 16 wins – rear-naked choke specialist where 7 out of his 8 submissions have come this way.
  • Polished boxing but lacking power
  • Outstanding cardio allows him to maintain continuous intensity

Shore was an undefeated UFC fighter (16-0) with a 5 UFC win-streak before losing to Ricky Simon by arm-triangle choke for his first MMA and UFC loss. Still only 26 years old, Jack Shore will learn from this defeat and enter the top 10 UFC bantamweights in another couple of wins.

Jimi ‘Poster Boy’ Manuwa (17-6)

Height: 6’1” | Reach: 79” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Light Heavyweight

Jimi Manuwa has an incredible story – after starting combat sports at the age of 28 he took his first professional boxing fight just three months later. He quickly transitioned to MMA and took his first professional fight in 2008.

Jimi quickly became the UCMMA light heavyweight champion and defended his title 5 times, which is still the UCMMA light heavyweight record.

Interestingly, during his time as the UCMMA champion, Jimi declined to join the UFC twice because he believed he wasn’t ready for the big time. Jimi eventually joined the UFC in 2012 and won his first three fights, taking his MMA record to 14-0.

This earned him a fight against Alexander Gustafsson who’d just lost his prior fight to Jon Jones. If he won he may have been in line for a title shot but he lost to Gustafsson by knockout in the second round.

After this, he compiled a 3-5 record in his last 8 fights but beat some great fighters overall, including Corey Anderson, Ovince Saint Preux, and former champion, Jan Blachowicz.

He also mostly competed against elite fighters during his UFC career, losing out to Anthony Johnson, Volkan Oezdemir, Aleksander Rakic, and Jan Blachowicz in their rematch.

Manuwa’s greatest attributes were:

  • Devastating left hook, described as one of the best in MMA by Joe Rogan
  • Knockout power in all strikes – 15 of 17 wins were by knockout
  • Calm, collected, and very selective with strikes and his footwork, so as not to waste energy – planted feet were what gave him insane power
  • A hugely entertaining fighter with a kill-or-be-killed style – in 23 fights only 2 were decisions
  • Great submission defense – never lost by submission

Overall, he’s one of the best British UFC fighters of all time and his 7 years in the UFC showed this. Some of his knockouts are must-watch, such as against Corey Anderson and Ovince Saint Preux.

He also only saw the third round twice in 23 fights as an MMA professional, both times being against Jan Blachowicz oddly enough.

Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards (22-3-0-1NC)

Height: 6’2” | Reach: 74” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Welterweight

Leon Edwards was born in Jamaica but has lived in Birmingham, England, since the age of 9. In both countries he grew up around drugs and violence, getting involved in gangs at the age of 13 after his father died.

He escaped that lifestyle after his mother made him join an MMA gym aged 17.

In 3 short years, he turned professional and joined Fight UK MMA, securing a 3-1 record (1 outside of Fight UK) before joining BAMMA in 2012. Here, he became the BAMMA welterweight champion in 4 fights and defended his title once.

Edwards joined the UFC in 2014, and in 4 fights he was 2-2 which included a loss to Kamaru Usman.

After biding his time and winning his next 9 fights and having an unfortunate no-contest against Belal Muhammed due to an unintentional eye poke, Edwards got his title shot rematch against Usman.

Along the way, Edwards built an outstanding resume, beating the likes of Vicente Luque, Bryan Barberena, Donald Cerrone, Rafael Dos Anjos, Nate Diaz, and Colby Covington.

Edwards became the only man in the UFC to defeat Usman, who was one fight away from tying Anderson Silva’s longest UFC win streak of 16.

He’s now beaten Kamaru Usman twice, once to become the champion and once to defend his title and cement his name as one of the best UFC welterweights of all time.

Edward’s best attributes are:

  • One of the most elite and technical welterweight strikers in UFC history
  • Elite focus and composure – Edwards takes his time and picks his shots
  • Excellent fight intelligence – always seems one step ahead of his opponent
  • All the above aid his exquisite, powerful, and precise counter-striking

He also has the 2nd fastest knockout in UFC welterweight history with just 8 seconds, only behind Masvidal’s 5-second flying knee of Ben Askren.

Overall, Edwards is an excellent fighter but at times he can be punch-shy during fights because he’s always calculating, patient, and often waiting for openings and counters.

This has led to a lot of decision victories for him, and while this isn’t the most entertaining, it gets him victories and led to him becoming the second English and British UFC champion.

Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping (30-9)

Height: 6’1” | Reach: 75” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Middleweight

It’s up for debate as to whether Michael Bisping is the best British UFC fighter of all time after Leon Edwards knocked out Kamaru Usman to become only the second British UFC champion. But there’s no doubt he’s the most legendary.

Bisping grew up in Lancashire, England, and began training jiu-jitsu at the age of 8. At 18 years old he started kickboxing, boxing, and karate and went on to win 2 kickboxing titles.

It wasn’t until 2004 that Bisping made his professional MMA debut, quickly becoming the Cage Rage light heavyweight champion in just 1 year. In 2006, Bisping joined the UFC and fought there for 11 years.

Bisping had a great UFC career but would always fall at the number 1 contender hurdle. With a UFC record of 18-7, Bisping got the call as a late-notice replacement to fight middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, in a rematch at UFC 199 (one of the best cards of all time).

Bisping knocked out Rockhold in the first round to become the first British UFC champion. He defended his title once but lost in his second title defense to Georges St-Pierre who was returning to the octagon after 4 years away.

Bisping’s best attributes were:

  • Not the most technical but packed a lot of power – 18 wins out of 30 were by knockout
  • Elite mentality: grit, determination, heart – only lost consecutive fights once which were his last two before retirement – shows how mentally tough he was to always back bounce after defeat
  • Great footwork and speed of boxing combinations
  • Not the biggest middleweight which meant his cardio was excellent compared to his opponents

Amazingly, with an injury to his eye against Belfort in 2013, Bisping continued fighting for the next 4 years with vision in only one eye and managed to become a UFC champion. Never before has this been done, and never again will it be.

Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann (13-6)

Height: 5’4” | Reach: 62” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Flyweight

Molly McCann is from Liverpool, England, and is a Liverpudlian through and through. She grew up training in kickboxing and karate before starting boxing at age 12. She was also a football player for five years from 18 to 23 before transitioning to MMA.

During her amateur years, she worked at Subway where she got the nickname meatball. In 2015 she turned professional and quickly became the Cage Warrior’s flyweight champion and by 2018 she had signed with the UFC.

Molly’s best attributes are:

  • Insane forward pressure and cardio
  • Great powerful boxing – 6 knockouts out of 13 wins
  • Spontaneous spinning back elbows – she’s 1 of 5 fighters to have a spinning back elbow knockout in the UFC
  • Great body shots and a high work rate and output of strikes

Molly brings huge energy during her walkouts and knows how to work the crowd and create a huge buzz that she feeds off.

In nearly 5 years, Molly has amassed a UFC record of 6-3 and has beaten the likes of Ariane Lipski, Hanna Goldy, and Luana Carolina.

With a 3 win-streak, Molly has broken into the top 15 flyweights and is entering the prime of her career at 32 years old – there’s plenty more to come from Meatball Molly.

Nathaniel ‘The Prospect’ Wood (20-6)

Height: 5’6” | Reach: 69” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Featherweight

Nathaniel Wood is an English UFC fighter born in South London who grew up being coached by his father who has multiple black belts.

He started training kickboxing at the age of 10 and Bjj at 16 after dropping out of college; making his professional MMA debut 3 years later at 19 years old.

He fought at UCMMA and Fight Fusion before joining Cage Warriors and becoming the bantamweight champion with 2 title defenses and a 5-0 record. In 2018, he signed with the UFC and started with 3 consecutive submission victories and has amassed a 6-2 UFC record.

Wood’s best attributes are:

  • Extremely well-rounded for a fighter with only 8 UFC fights – no specific weakness
  • Outside leg trips from the clinch
  • Powerful calf kicks – knocked Charles Rosa down multiple times with them and showed great fight IQ in always calling him back to the feet instead of following him to the ground
  • Great striking defense because of his head movement, footwork, high guard, and reading of the fight
  • Speedy and accurate counters and boxing combinations

Wood had 2 years off between 2020 and 2022 because of many canceled fights but kept training hard and now looks better than ever upon his return.

Wood isn’t the biggest featherweight as he’s only 5’6” and not too thick, but he’s full of energy as he doesn’t cut too much weight.

Wood’s best wins have come against Charles Rosa, Andre Fili, and Charles Jourdain – three highly talented and dangerous fighters.

While Wood remains a prospect as per his nickname, he has the potential to go all the way and cement himself as one of the best British UFC fighters of all time.

Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett (21-3)

Height: 5’10”| Reach: 73” | Stance: Orthodox| Weight Class: Lightweight

Liverpool’s Paddy Pimblett is a rising star in the UFC and has easily won his first three fights, all by finish.

Paddy started MMA at 14 years old in 2009 and turned professional in 2012. Before joining the UFC he was the Cage Warriors featherweight champion and successfully defended his title once before moving to the lightweight division. 

He challenged for the lightweight title in Cage Warriors to become the double champ but lost by unanimous decision.

Pimblett’s best attributes are:

  • Killer instincts once he has an opponent hurt – finished 15 of 20 wins, 6 knockouts, and 9 submissions (Bjj black belt)
  • Deadly rear-naked choke (6 out 9 submissions)
  • Great chin and durability – never knocked out in his MMA career despite fighting with a high chin and low hands
  • Fast pace and blitzing combinations

The other thing Paddy does so well is getting the crowd hyped for the fight and on his side. He then uses the crowd energy to get energized to fight but can completely switch once he gets in the octagon – looking focused and intense.

After a fight, it’s known that Paddy likes to eat a lot and often blows up to over 200 lbs.

Hopefully, the huge weight cuts he’ll have to do before fights don’t affect his fighting performance as he has the charisma, focus, and talent to go all the way and become one of the all-time great British UFC fighters.

Paul ‘Bearjew’ Craig (17-6-1)

Height: 6’3” | Reach: 76”| Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Light Heavyweight

Scotland’s Paul Craig turned professional in 2013, quickly racking 8 consecutive victories and becoming the BAMMA light heavyweight champion.

He then joined the UFC in 2016 and has scored an 8-5-1 record. Not the greatest record, but Paul Craig is always improving and this is most evident in his grappling and striking. He’s also fought more or less top 15 opponents in nearly every fight.

Craig’s best attributes are:

  • One of the best Bjj practitioners in the UFC – 13 out of 16 wins by submission and 2nd for the most submission wins in UFC light heavyweight history (6)
  • Killer instinct – 16/16 finishes and only ever had 1 fight go to a decision in 22 fights
  • Intensity and focus

Paul Craig has a very impressive win list against Mauricio Rua, Jamahal Hill, Kennedy Nzechukwu, and Magomed Ankalaev. A lot of his finishes are exceptional – he broke Jamahal Hill’s arm and against Ankalaev he executed a last-second triangle choke in a fight he was losing.

On the ground and especially on his back, Paul Craig is an expert. However, while his striking has improved a lot since he’s been in the UFC, if his opponents can avoid going to the ground with him they have a huge advantage in the stand-up and most often win.

Tom Aspinall (14-3) 

Height: 6’5” | Reach: 78” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Heavyweight

In November 2023, Tom Aspinall became the interim light heavyweight UFC champion and only the third UFC champion from the UK.

Tom Aspinall is from Manchester, England, and started training in boxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu at the age of 7 under the tutelage of his father.

Tom became a professional at the age of 21 in 2014 and fought under BAMMA and Cage Warriors before joining the UFC in 2020.

Aspinall’s best attributes are:

  • Fastest striking speed in the UFC heavyweight division
  • Slick footwork and movement – he moves like a middleweight fighter
  • Killer instinct – 100% finish rate – 9 knockouts, 3 submissions
  • Offensive and defensive takedowns because of his mobility and balance – 100% TD defense and an average of 4 takedowns every 15 minutes
  • Tremendous jiu-jitsu meaning opponents want no business on the ground with him – his father is a jiu-jitsu coach so he’s very experienced there
  • Elite composure and humbleness allow him to think clearly and fight intelligently

2 of Aspinall’s 3 losses were extremely unlucky, one was a disqualification by downward elbows and the other was a torn MCL suffered in the first round after throwing a heavy leg strike. Barring these two, he lost once by heel hook when he was less experienced.

Despite this, he’s beaten names such as Andrei Arlovski, Sergey Spivak, Alexander Volkov, and Sergei Pavlovich.

Once he returns from injury, we’ll see Aspinall kick on and continue to develop as he gains more experience. He has all the tools and skills to become a UFC heavyweight champion in the future and is already one of the best British UFC fighters of all time.

Honorable Mentions

  • Joanne ‘JoJo’ Calderwood (15-8) – The second-best British UFC female fighter
  • Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett (25-14) – Spent 5 years in the UFC and amassed a 5-9 record
  • Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley (43-18-2) 2-1 in the UFC – released by the UFC for cheap shotting Josh Koscheck, which is a shame because he had massive potential to become a great
  • Ross ‘The Real Deal’ Pearson (20-17-1NC) – Ross is a UFC legend who had 27 fights in the UFC, with a record of 12-14-1NC

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