Are you wondering who the best Scandinavian UFC fighters of all time are?
In this article, we’ll list the 5 best Scandinavian UFC fighters and look at their background, credentials, skills shown in the UFC, and who they’ve beaten and lost to in their career.
Here are the 5 best Scandinavian UFC fighters, ranked in order starting with the greatest.
1. Alexander Gustafsson – ‘The Mauler’ – 19-8 (Sweden)
Height: 6’5” | Reach: 79” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Alexander Gustafsson started boxing at the age of 10 and went on to win various amateur tournaments at 21 years old.
Before winning these tournaments, he’d dabbled in MMA, submission grappling, and shootfighting, where he developed his wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills.
Looking to continue a career in boxing, Gustafsson transitioned back to MMA after the UFC offered him a contract he couldn’t refuse.
In the last 14 years since 2009, Alexander Gustafsson showed the following skills:
- Rolls with punches to limit damage
- Great fluidity with the footwork and movement of a welterweight fighter (170 lbs)
- Exceptional takedown defense of 83% – one of the highest in UFC light heavyweight history
- Great trip takedowns
- Effective top control because his long body made it difficult for his opponents to get control of his shoulders, meaning he could easily land elbow strikes
- Short and long-range unorthodox uppercuts that connect with amazing accuracy and power because they’re nontelegraphed
- High-level boxing where he finds shots around and through a guard with combinations
Gustafsson beat the likes of Glover Teixeira, Jan Blachowicz, and Mauricio Rua – all UFC champions, as well as top fighters Thiago Silva and Vladimir Matyushenko.
Unfortunately, Alexander Gustafsson goes down as the best UFC fighter to never win a title, after going extremely close to beating the greatest fighter of all time, Jon Jones, and failing in three title attempts. After this, his form significantly dipped and he lost his last 4 fights, for an overall UFC record of 10-8.
However, he cemented his position as the best Scandinavian UFC fighter of all time for his exceptional career and highly entertaining fights.
2. Khamzat Chimaev – ‘Borz’ – 12-0 (Sweden)
Height: 6’2” | Reach: 75” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Welterweight
Khamzat Chimaev is Dagestani by descent but of Swedish nationality after moving to Sweden at the age of 18 with his mother.
Before transitioning to MMA, Chimaev was a three-time Swedish National Champion wrestler, a martial art he’s competed in since the age of 5.
Since joining the UFC, Khamzat has won all 6 fights, where in his first 4 fights he landed 252 strikes while only receiving 2.
In his short UFC career, Khamzat Chimaev has shown the following skills:
- Relentless pressure and insane energy
- Rushes opponents right out of the gate – whether it be immediate takedowns or straight power punches – most of his opponents aren’t ready and can’t deal with it
- Elite wrestling where he gets takedowns at will and has a 100% takedown defense
- Finishing prowess – 5 knockouts and 6 submissions in 12 wins
- Standing 6’2”, Khamzat is very tall and has a lot of size and strength for a welterweight
- Lightning-fast strikes and level changes
- Powerful and nonstop ground-and-pound
Since his first UFC fight in 2020, Khamzat Chimaev has easily dispatched Li Jingliang, Gerald Meershcaert, and Kevin Holland, and won a war against the #2 contender at the time, Gilbert Burns.
Electric, intense, and still undefeated, it’s only a matter of time before Khamzat competes against the top 5 and for the welterweight title to cement his position as one of the best Scandinavian/Nordic UFC fighters of all time.
3. Jack Hermansson – ‘The Joker’ – 23-8 (Norway)
Height: 6’1” | Reach: 77” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Middleweight
Representing the Frontline Academy in Oslo, Norway, Jack Hermansson is a UFC veteran with a 10-6 record in 16 UFC fights. He’s also the former middleweight champion in Warrior Fight Series and Cage Warriors.
Hermansson’s martial arts career started in greco-roman wrestling, before starting Muay Thai and transitioning to MMA in 2008 at the age of 20.
Since joining the UFC in 2016, Jack Hermansson has shown the following skills:
- High unpredictability because of his off-beat timing and rhythm
- Defensive style mixed with explosive jumping knees, jumping push kicks, and Superman punches
- Mixes his placement of strikes to keep opponents guessing
- Non-stop bouncing movement, circling, and neat footwork to evade strikes, stay on the outside, and rarely get pinned against the fence
- High energy and footwork help with his effective feinting and setting up strikes
- Distance control and good counterstriking
- Very high cardiovascular endurance for a middleweight which he uses to tire his opponent before putting on a pace on them
- Excellent greco roman wrestling (useful in the clinch)
- Excellent submissions which see opponents avoid the ground with him
- Suffocating top control with nonstop ground-and-pound
Jack Hermansson has beaten beasts such as Jacare Souza, Kelvin Gastelum, Chris Curtis, and Gerald Meerschaert, while he’s lost to Roman Dolidze, Sean Strickland, Marvin Vettori, and Jared Cannonier – all top 10 UFC middleweights and high-level strikers.
Still only 35 years old and with tonnes of experience, Jack Hermansson can still become a top 5 middleweight and potentially challenge in the future. Jack considers himself both Norwegian and Swedish and is easily one of the best Scandinavian UFC fighters both past and present.
4. Nicolas Dalby – ‘Danish Dynamite’ – 22-4-1-2NC (Denmark)
Height: 5’11” | Reach: 74” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Welterweight
Nicolas Dalby is a Danish Viking who started his martial arts journey in karate and trained it for 5 years before transitioning to MMA. His karate style is very prominent in his fighting, which he successfully used to become the Cage Warriors welterweight champion among 3 other pro-MMA titles.
Nicolas Dalby had a rough first stint in the UFC, where he was released following his third loss in five fights. However, he fought back and rejoined in 2019, and has shown the following skills:
- Rock solid chin and durability – Dalby has never been finished in 29 MMA fights
- Elite cardiovascular endurance where he absorbs everything and outworks his opponent with strike volume and grappling
- Excellent kicks from the outside to keep a distance – especially body and head kicks with the lead leg as he can maintain distance and still connect
- Lead leg kick from the left side to the liver and head kicks without switch stepping because of his wide stance and karate style
- Great clinch work to tire opponents, land knees, and mix up his attack
- Heads off opponents well and keeps them in a box
- An intelligent fighter who’s effective in both orthodox and southpaw stances
Nicolas Dalby has performed much better since rejoining in 2019, going 5-1 with 1 no-contest. This run has seen him beat the likes of Daniel Rodriguez, Warlley Alves, Alex Oliveira, and Muslim Salikhov, while he lost to Tim Means, and way back in 2016, he lost to Zak Cummings and Peter Sobotta.
During fights, it’s noticeable how heavily Dalby breathes, which makes it seem he’s gassing. However, it’s just the way he breathes as it helps him breathe deeply, lower his heart rate, and maintain his cardio throughout. It may also help him win as it can be offputting/distracting for his opponent.
5. Gunnar Nelson – ‘Gunni’ – 19-5-1 (Iceland)
Height: 5’11” | Reach: 72” | Stance: Switch | Weight Class: Welterweight
Well-known for his iconic bald head and perfectly shaped mustache combo, Gunnar Nelson turned pro in 2007 at the age of 19 and has become a UFC legend, having competed in the promotion since 2012.
Gunnar Nelson’s also recognized for his unique blend of karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu style of fighting, where he’s a black belt in goju-ryu karate and a 3rd-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Renzo Gracie.
Before joining the UFC in 2012, Gunnar was successful in various submission grappling tournaments and he’s taken this influence with him.
In Gunnar’s 11 years in the UFC, he’s shown the following skills:
- Excellent ground grappling and Bjj skills have led him to win 13 of his 19 wins via submission – also has the most submission wins in UFC welterweight history with 7
- Especially accurate strikes where he has the highest significant strike accuracy in UFC welterweight history with 60.5% – however, he doesn’t strike too often
- Extreme stoicism and composure during a fight, nothing phases him and this allows him to fight intelligently and avoid mistakes
- Viscious elbows from top control to open the door for submission attempts
- Snapping right cross into excellent body lock/takedowns
- Stinging and accurate body kicks from either leg and stance
- Explosive in-and-out movement (karate style) to evade strikes, close distance, and engage clinches/takedowns
In his UFC career, Gunnar Nelson has beaten Alex Oliveira, Bryan Barberena, and Zak Cummings, while losing to Leon Edwards, Gilbert Burns, Santiago Ponzinibbio, and Demian Maia.
Gunnar’s greatest criticism is his poor striking defense, where he relies too heavily on his in-and-out footwork and doesn’t block well because his hands are always low. He could also develop his striking in terms of increasing his volume, but still only 34 years old, he can still make a rankings charge after winning his last two fights in 2022/23.