Whether you’re an MMA enthusiast or a casual fight fan, there’s a lot more variety in MMA than other combat sports – making it essential to have top-quality commentators explain what’s happening during a fight, and bring events to life.
In no particular order, here’s a list of the 18 best UFC Commentators in the promotion’s short 29-year history:
If this was a list of the 5 best UFC commentators, Joe Rogan would still be here. He’s by far the most famous of all UFC commentators and one of the most known people in the UFC altogether.
Joe has been with the UFC since 1997, starting out as an interviewer and later joining the color commentary team in 2002. This longevity is what stands Joe as one of the great UFC commentators, and is a testament to how much he loves MMA.
His passion for the role even led him to commentate on his first 15 UFC events without pay because the promotion had just changed owners, and they were struggling for cash. Incidentally, it was his enthusiasm for MMA that landed him the job in the first place.
Fast forward to today, Joe Rogan is still identified as the voice of the UFC, despite limiting his commentary to PPV events, and only working nine times in 2021.
Aside from his passion, what makes Joe so good as a commentator is his ability to relate to the viewers, and his skill in talking naturally as opposed to sounding forced and overly professional.
He also carries into his commentary almost 40 years of MMA experience, including black belts in taekwondo, Bjj, and karate.
Formerly an ESPN anchor covering MMA events since 2007, Anik has been a UFC color commentator since 2011 – and once the UFC’s partnership with ESPN started in 2019, Jon was the perfect candidate to help with the transition.
He took over Mike Goldberg’s role as the play-by-play commentator and has excelled in the role; with his ability to call what’s happening during fights and allow the color commentators to add depth.
Anik brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to his work, which makes him one of the best commentators.
He doesn’t bring any biases to his commentary, and you can tell he’s well-researched on the fighters. He’s one of the best commentators in bringing valuable information about fights and fighters to the viewers.
Anik’s success as a commentator comes from his relentless pre-fight preparation. He writes all of the most important information about a fighter on a card and then memorizes the information before a UFC event.
He has about 6,000 fighter cards total, which he saves in what he calls his fighter library.
He’s very reliable, and works most events; as well as co-hosting his own podcast with Kenny Florian, known as the ‘Anik & Florian Podcast’. His current UFC contract expires at the end of 2022, and it’s almost certain he’ll sign another.
John is a British MMA analyst, who has worked for the UFC since 2014, has formerly worked for the BBC, and has presented many live events across MMA, combat sports, rugby, and triathlon. In his commentary, John is always very positive and adds a lot of value.
On top of his commentary work, John has also worked as a writer, producer, reporter, and presenter for the UFC.
His most known work was the UFC’s ‘Inside the Octagon’ show alongside Dan Hardy, which provides technical analysis on upcoming fights and has 101 episodes in total with an average view count of 750k+.
However, since Dan Hardy’s release from the UFC, the show has been discontinued.
Fans agree John Gooden is one of the best commentators, but he is underutilized and has yet to work as a commentator at US events; which is the majority of UFC shows.
This is because he doesn’t have a US visa and it’s more convenient and cheaper for the UFC to use one of their many US commentators – instead, Gooden works the European events.
John isn’t a former fighter but has trained in MMA for many years, and has belts in Bjj, judo, and karate.
Gooden is great as a commentator, but no matter what he does, the UFC keeps working with him because of his versatility and ability to learn new roles and perform in those roles.
Known by most as ‘DC’, he’s one of the best UFC fighters of all time and is one of only four fighters to become a UFC double champ.
He’s also a former Strikeforce champion, a six-time world or Olympic wrestling team member, and a 2022 UFC Hall of Famer (inducted at UFC 274).
Daniel made the transition to full-time commentary in 2020 after his retirement from MMA, although he’s worked part-time as a UFC commentator since 2016.
He’s a big wrestling fan and came close to working as a WWE commentator toward the end of his MMA career, before finally signing with the UFC.
Much like his heavyweight size, he’s a huge personality while commentating, and brings his passion and excitement to the microphone.
He has a great sense of humor and chemistry with the other commentators and balances this well with great MMA knowledge and technical analysis. There’s rarely a dull moment when DC is commentating.
Due to his vast fight experience, DC knows how to break down fights, and is always quick to let viewers know what’s happening during a fight.
Despite his talents, he’s been criticized as being biased towards his favorite fighters and can find it hard to hide disapproval from his face and voice when commentating, especially when interviewing.
‘The Count’ is a former UFC middleweight champion, Cage Rage champion, Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner (light-heavyweight), and UFC Hall of Famer since 2019.
He made his debut as a UFC commentator in 2018, and since then has cemented his position as one of the best to do it.
During his fight career, he was one of the great original trash talkers, using his post-fight interviews to get himself into big fights and entertain fans – it’s easy to see how Bisping landed his job as a UFC commentator.
What makes him so good as a commentator is his genuineness, wit, and enthusiasm – he always speaks what’s on his mind and isn’t afraid to upset people.
On top of this, he’s always laughing and joking with his co-commentators, which adds to the excitement during UFC events. However, he’s also been criticized for laughing too much and talking about things not related to the fight taking place.
Overall, Mike has a huge passion for the sport and his role as commentator, and outside of the UFC, he hosts his own podcast ‘Believe You Me’, alongside Luis Gomez.
The UFC believes Michael to be one of the best UFC commentators, signing him to a 4-year deal in August 2021 that’ll keep him as a commentator for plenty more events to come.
Dan is another British MMA analyst and commentator, mostly known for his part in the duo package that is ‘inside the octagon’, along with John Gooden.
He’s considered by fans as the main man for fight breakdowns and detailed analysis, as he talks with great confidence and knowledge of the sport.
He’s an ex-UFC fighter who debuted in 2008 and retired in 2013 due to having heart issues.
During his career, Dan had a title shot against one of the greatest UFC fighters, Georges St-Pierre, which he lost by decision, but finished his MMA career with an impressive record of 25-10.
If you’re after information from a UFC commentator, then there isn’t better than Dan Hardy.
What makes him so good as a commentator and analyst is his logical and concise communication, as well as his experience from his fighting career, his coaching of UK fighters, and his many years working within MMA as an analyst and commentator.
However, critics of Dan say he can be biased and lacks the energy and personality to really be among the best UFC commentators, and he’s better suited to an analyst role, which is why the ‘Inside the Octagon‘ show was a perfect match for him.
Unfortunately, Dan Hardy was released by the UFC in 2021 after a public argument with Herb Dean, and a behind-the-scenes confrontation with an unnamed employee.
Paul Felder is another UFC commentator who got the job whilst being a current fighter and announced his retirement from fighting in 2021, as he looks to take on commentary full-time.
He’s one of the least experienced commentators on the list but got his first gig as a commentator for Dana White’s Contender Series. After impressing there, he got his first live UFC event in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since.
Paul holds black belts in taekwondo, and karate, as well as a purple belt in Bjj – and he knows how to use his vast knowledge and experience as a fighter effectively during his commentary.
He usually commentates on UFC Fight Nights but has worked a few PPVs when required. He’s an extremely likable and emotional character and has an ability to relate to fighters, which you hear when he speaks.
His positivity always comes across when he’s working and he has great chemistry with any commentator he works with, as well as an ability to deliver valuable information when necessary.
Dominick Cruz is a 2-time UFC bantamweight champion and was the final WEC bantamweight champion before the promotion merged with the UFC.
Cruz is one of the best at breaking down fighter techniques and processes, and explaining what’s happening throughout a fight, because of his high fighting IQ and experience.
He’s very genuine and says what needs to be said, never sugarcoating anything and regularly critiquing things. He recently upset Cormier by saying he doesn’t do the homework before commentating; while praising Anik for the amount of research he does.
It makes his commentary unique as it brings entertainment, honesty, and some confrontation, which most other commentators shy away from.
Fans either love him or hate him and while he has good commentary overall, he’s another who’s more suited to the analyst role, as his energy is lower and his voice can be monotone, which isn’t ideal for commentating.
He can also be overly critical of fighters and sound condescending at times.
One of the lesser-known and least experienced MMA commentators on the list, Brendan has been a UFC commentator since 2017 when the UFC partnered with ESPN. Prior to this, he was a sports anchor and host since 2010 for KGBT, Fox, and ESPN; covering basketball and football.
Much like Paul Felder, Brendan’s first commentary position was for Dana White’s Contender Series, where he had a positive impression, therefore earning himself a spot in mostly Fight Night events.
What makes him good as a commentator is his broadcasting experience, combined with his inexperience in MMA, which brings out the passion and intrigue in his commentary.
As he has commentated on different sports, he has a knack for learning and relaying new sports as a beginner, which is helpful for the watching viewers who maybe can’t understand or relate to extremely experienced commentators.
Kenny is a former UFC fighter holding a black belt in Bjj and one of only two to compete in 4 UFC weight classes, meaning he’s very experienced and this shows through his commentary.
He started commentating in the UFC in 2008 while he was still an active fighter, filling in for absent commentators.
Florian worked as a co-host for ‘MMA Live’, which was an ESPN show. He then co-hosted ‘UFC Tonight’ with Michael Bisping, where he gave analysis. From 2015 he was a color commentator for Battlebots, meaning his commentary experience and skill have expanded outside of MMA.
Kenny during commentary would draw from his hosting work and fighting experience and deliver information with a calm, laid-back, and professional style.
He rarely spoke too much, preferring to speak only when he needed to. However, this is not to everyone’s taste, and may find this boring and lacking energy.
He believes he was phased out of the UFC because he turned down being an Ultimate Fighter Latin America coach many years ago, and therefore was out of favor with the UFC hierarchy.
Since leaving the UFC, Kenny quickly got work as a color commentator for PFL, alongside Randy Couture – showing he’s highly rated as an MMA commentator.
A veteran of the sport, he was a UFC commentator for 20 years since 1997, making his first appearance at UFC Japan, just 4 years after the UFC’s inception.
He’s commonly known as ‘Goldie’, and for being part of the original commentary duo of himself and Joe Rogan. After his departure from the UFC, he worked as a color commentator for Bellator MMA until his retirement in 2021.
What made Mike so good was his originality and his dedication to the UFC. He’s famous for his sayings during commentary, such as “Here we go”, “It is all over!”, and “Just like that!”.
Mike was very charismatic and was great at hyping up fights and bringing them to life. He had great chemistry with Joe Rogan, and this is likely what kept him as part of the UFC furniture.
He’s been criticized for lacking MMA knowledge in his commentary, but it’s hard to be critical of someone who worked 20 years for the UFC, he must’ve been doing something right.
I think when you’ve worked as long as Mike did, there’s likely to be instances where he said something false or negatively viewed – it’s normal, and shouldn’t undermine his legacy as one of the best UFC commentators.
Jeff Blatnick was a gold medal Olympic wrestler who commentated from UFC 4 through to UFC 32 (Dec 1994 – June 2001), a total of 7 years. He passed away in 2012 so, unfortunately, didn’t see himself inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015.
As many of the early UFC fighters were wrestling dominant, Blatnick’s knowledge and experience as an Olympic wrestler as well as his experience as a judge meant he was perfect as a commentator at the time.
He could explain all the different positions and grappling exchanges very well to the audience.
It also brought viewers and legitimacy to the UFC, the fact they had a former Olympic gold medalist commentating on a completely new sport.
He also served as UFC commissioner who would work with the athletic commissions in order to help establish the Unified Rules of MMA, as well as regulate and legalize the sport around the United States.
Jeff has been credited with coining the term MMA during his commentary, which he started using from around UFC 10 onwards, and while most were calling it no holds barred – Jeff could see this name change would help the sport move forward from its poor image.
He’s been criticized as being a bit clueless about the sport when he first started as he was only experienced in wrestling, and this is reflected in his commentary.
However, he grew into the role and did anything he could to get better at his job and learn more about MMA, and for this reason, he was one of the best UFC commentators.
Pat is a former UFC welterweight champion and is the founder of Miletich Fighting Systems – considered one of the best MMA academies due to its production of 11 MMA champions.
Never actually a full-time UFC commentator, he provided cover for absent commentators and was extremely good whenever he commentated, making it a surprise he was never offered a job.
Pat was ESPN’s color commentator for ‘MMA Live’ and Legacy Fighting Alliance, which were both broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.
The UFC aside, Pat was a full-time color commentator for Strikeforce between 2009-2012 and his commentary was full of valuable information because his knowledge of MMA is so extensive.
On top of his experience as a fighter and trainer, Pat was a very unbiased commentator and was always professional.
He has, however, been criticized as being dry, monotone, and too reserved to be one of the best UFC commentators; which is possibly the way the UFC hierarchy saw it.
A former MMA promoter who owned the company, ‘HOOKnSHOOT’ (95-2017), Jeff ultimately pioneered women’s MMA and had them fighting way before Strikeforce’s first female MMA fight in 2006.
They also had many of MMA’s early stars fight for them before they made it to the bigger promotions, such as Frank Mir, and Antonio Nogueira.
Jeff used to commentate for his own promotion before making it to the UFC. He had the perfect commentary for his underground, grassroots MMA fighting because his voice was croaky and his passion leaked through the microphone.
He was a promoter and commentator who knew how to entertain and get people interested in a fight. He was probably too used to his underground commentary style to really go full-time for the UFC, which requires a more professional style.
Towards the of his promotion, the UFC purchased HOOKnSHOOT’s fight library, which is now available on UFC Fight Pass.
Brian is a former UFC fighter, WEC light heavyweight champion, and US marine, eventually finding himself in the UFC’s commentary booth shortly after retiring as a fighter, in 2013. He was one of the most popular commentators for 4 years until he left in 2017 to focus on other work, and fans were upset to see him leave.
As a commentator, Brian was informative and entertaining, and you could tell he was well-researched when calling fights. As a former fighter, he also brought this experience with him to the booth, and his knowledge meant he would give very detailed explanations.
Commentary comes naturally to him, and his performances saw him work commentary positions for boxing and college football in between UFC work.
He would often recall little pieces of information during commentary, that he’d heard from fighters or coaches in the run-up to fights.
On the other hand, Brian is another commentator who’s been accused of being too square, official, and by the book – likely because of his service in the Marine Corps. As well as this, he could be biased and tended to focus too much on one fighter during a fight.
Another commentator on the list who only worked when required, Randy is a former six-time UFC champion across two divisions, US Sergeant, and UFC Hall of Famer.
He covered as a UFC color commentator between 2005-2007 until he left his role as a commentator and fighter in 2007 due to disputes with the UFC. Later he would go on to commentate for PFL in 2018.
He was great as a commentator as he had an insane amount of experience as a fighter and coach, and at the time, he was the person in the commentator booth with the most fight experience by far. This meant he could express and dissect fights when commentating.
He was also very well-spoken, but he’s criticized as speaking too softly, unable to be heard above even the quieter crowds.
The first female on the list, Laura made history when she became the first female UFC commentator in the Zuffa era.
She made her debut commentating for Dana White’s Contender Series and got the chance as a commentator due to excelling in her role as interviewer and presenter.
Laura has an amateur MMA record of 4-1 and has been covering MMA since 2013 with other large promotions such as Invicta FC and LFA, so she’s passionate about the sport and has the ability to analyze fights and relay information to viewers.
Laura puts a noticeable amount of time and effort into research before her commentary work and her technical analysis and chemistry with the other commentators added a new layer that UFC commentary has been missing.
She’s also extremely positive and charismatic, bringing a lot of energy and personality to her commentary performances, after previously saying she wanted to be the voice of a really educated and excited fan.
As the Contender Series was her first gig, she was at times tentative and lacking confidence, but grew into the role as the night progressed.
Laura Sanko has since made her UFC PPV commentary debut alongside Daniel Cormier and Jon Anik at UFC 293 on September 10, 2023.
Jimmy worked as a UFC commentator for 1 year from 2018 to 2019 and didn’t have his contract renewed, as the UFC told him they were only going with ex-UFC fighters.
Many were critical of the UFC in their decision because Jimmy was a great commentator, and there are still non-UFC fighters doing commentary.
He was great in his year with the UFC, as he had a decade of experience in TV, commentary, and martial arts.
Jimmy was the co-host of Fight Quest and Premier Boxing Champions, the host of Ninja Warrior (2010-2011), and has commentated for M1, Invicta, as well as Bellator for 7 years (2010-2017).
Not only this but he is a blackbelt in Bjj and has a professional MMA record of 5-1, which he retired with after getting his first hosting role with Fight Quest.
All of the above experience and knowledge made him great as a commentator, and he’s very accurate and concise in his analysis.
Showing his value and the UFC’s loss, Jimmy now works as a commentator for WWE. Despite this, he was criticized for being a copycat and too similar to Joe Rogan while he was in the UFC, which could’ve been a factor in his departure.
As good as he was, some agree he lacked chemistry with the other UFC commentators and was a little dry and unexciting.