12 Youngest UFC Fighters of All Time (17-20 Years Old!)

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

In this article, we’ll look at the youngest UFC fighters of all time, including the age at which they turned professional, the age at which they made their UFC debut, and whether they were successful after making their debuts so young.

Youngest UFC Fighters Of All Time

Here’s a table of the youngest UFC fighters of all time, in order of the age they were when they had their first UFC fight (not when they signed a contract).

FighterAge When JoinedAge at First FightBorn
Raul Rosas Jr.17 Years, 11 Months (6,557 Days)18 Years, 2 Months (6,637 Days)October 8, 2004
Dan Lauzon18 Years, 6 Months (6,772 Days)18 Years, 6 Months (6,772 Days)March 30, 1988
Sage Northcutt19 Years, 5 Months (7,119 Days)19 Years, 7 Months (7,155 Days)March 1, 1996
Vitor Belfort19 Years, 10 Months (7,252 Days)19 Years, 10 Months (7,252 Days)April 1, 1977
Jake Matthews19 Years, 10 Months (7,253 Days)19 Years, 10 Months (7,253 Days)August 19, 1994
Song Yadong19 Years, 11 Months (7,298 Days)19 Years, 11 Months (7,298 Days)December 2, 1997
Robbie Lawler20 Years, 1 Month (7,356 Days)20 Years, 1 Month (7,356 Days)March 20, 1982
Nick Diaz20 Years, 1 Month (7,360 Days)20 Years, 1 Month (7,360 Days)August 2, 1983
Max Holloway20 Years, 2 Months (7,367 Days)20 Years, 2 Months (7,367 Days)December 4, 1991
Michael McDonald19 Years, 9 Months (7,226 Days)20 Years, 2 Months (7,375 Days)January 15, 1991
Chase Hooper18 Years, 9 Months (6,847 Days)20 Years, 3 Months (7,397 Days)September 13, 1999
Iasmin Lucindo20 Years, 7 Months (7,522  Days)20 Years, 7 Months (7,522  Days)January 8, 2002

Note: If the ‘age when joined’ and ‘age at first fight’ is the same, it means either the information for when they signed a UFC contract is unavailable or they fought on short notice, therefore making the dates the same as they would’ve signed a contract sometimes a week or two before the fight.

1. Raul ‘El Nino Problema’ Rosas Jr

Just 2 weeks and 3 days before his 18th birthday, Raul Rosas Jr earned himself a UFC contract after winning his fight on DWCS.

He was 15 years old when he made his amateur MMA debut, and within 2 years he turned professional at the age of 17.

To become an MMA professional in the United States a fighter must be at least 18 years old. For this reason, Raul had to apply for a special license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. They approved the license after footage of Raul fighting was sent to them.

While he’s the youngest UFC fighter to join the roster and the first fighter to join aged 17, when he makes his UFC debut he’ll also be the youngest UFC fighter to have fought, taking the record from Dan Lauzon.

2. Dan ‘The Upgrade’ Lauzon – 18 Years, 6 Months (6,772 Days)

Dan Lauzon is the younger brother of the more well-known fighter, Joe Lauzon. Dan made his UFC debut at 18 years old when he agreed to fight Spencer Fisher on short notice at UFC 64 in 2006.

He lost the fight via TKO in round 1 and didn’t earn a UFC contract until 2010 after putting together an 8-fight win streak in WCF and other smaller promotions.

Coming back in 2010 didn’t go any better for Dan. He lost two consecutive fights and was again released by the UFC, never to return and retiring from MMA in 2015.

3. Sage ‘Super’ Northcutt – 19 Years, 7 Months (7,155 Days)

Sage Northcutt was featured in the debut episode of ‘Dana White Looking For A Fight’, a show that looks for future talent similar to DCWS and TUF.

After a victory at Legacy Fighting Championship 44 in August 2015 he was signed by the UFC. 2 months later he made his UFC debut against Francisco Trevino, winning the fight via TKO in round 1 to become the youngest UFC fighter to win a fight in the UFC.

Despite going 6 and 2 in the UFC, he was released because Dana White felt he needed to make improvements. He then signed with One Championship and was brutally knocked out in the first round of his 2019 fight, suffering 8 facial fractures. He hasn’t competed since but hasn’t retired.

4. Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort – 19 Years, 10 Months (7,252 Days)

Vitor Belfort became one of the youngest UFC fighters of all time and one of the best acquisitions ever made by the UFC. He had three separate runs in the UFC, with his third being the longest and lasting from 2009 until the end of his MMA career in 2018.

He made his professional MMA debut at 19 years old and 4 months later he was competing at UFC 12. He beat both his opponents to win the UFC heavyweight tournament and become the youngest UFC fighter to win a fight in the UFC. 

He held this record from 1997 to 2015 until Sage Northcutt secured a win on his debut to take the record.

Nevertheless, Vitor became a UFC legend, known for his explosive power and aggressiveness in the octagon, where 18 of his 26 wins were by knockout.

5. Jake ‘The Celtic Kid’ Matthews – 19 Years, 10 Months (7,253 Days)

Jake Matthews made his professional MMA debut at 18 years old, compiling a 7-0 record before the UFC took notice.

Jake appeared on TUF Nations: Canada vs Australia, but lost his opening fight and was eliminated from the tournament. He won one more fight at Shamrock Events in April 2014 and then made his UFC debut 2 months later in June.

Jake has been a UFC staple ever since, amassing an 11-5 record, and now looking better than ever in 2022 after 8 years of UFC experience.

6. Song ‘Kung Fu Kid’ Yadong – 19 Years, 11 Months (7,298 Days)

Song Yadong is another fighter for which it’s no surprise that they made it to the UFC at such a young age. Especially since Song made his MMA debut in May 2013 at the age of 16.

Song Yadong’s first UFC fight was on short notice against Bharat Khandare in November 2017. From there, he’s amassed a UFC record of 8-2-1, only losing to Corey Sandhagen and Kyler Phillips.

He quickly became one of the best Asian UFC fighters ever, especially fighters from China, and broke into the top 10 of the UFC bantamweight division. 

Where success after joining the UFC at a young age is usually a coin flip, Song Yadong is one of the successful recruits with the potential to become a UFC legend and future undisputed champion.

7. Robbie ‘Ruthless’ Lawler – 20 Years, 1 Month (7,356 Days)

As soon as Robbie Lawler graduated high school at 16 years old he was training full-time in combat sports. He was mentored by former UFC champion, Pat Miletich, at his training school known as Miletich Fighting Systems.

Robbie made his MMA debut soon after turning 19 years old, winning his first 4 fights before entering the UFC. In his first 7 fights, he went 4-3 and was released by the UFC after all of his losses came in his last 4 fights.

He then became the EliteXC middleweight champion and competed in Strikeforce from 2009 to 2012. Zuffa then acquired Strikeforce in 2013 and Robbie Lawler was back in the UFC.

He’s since become the UFC welterweight champion and is still competing in the UFC in 2022. Robbie Lawler is a fan favorite and easily one of the best young UFC fighters of all time because of his longevity and success.

8. Nick Diaz – 20 Years, 1 Month (7,360 Days)

Nick Diaz made his MMA debut just a few weeks after his 18th birthday, fighting the next couple of years to a 7-2 record and becoming the IFC and WEC welterweight champion before the UFC gave him a chance in 2003.

Nick fought there until he was released in 2006 after three consecutive losses. Shortly after, he became the Strikeforce welterweight champion and the first Strikeforce fighter to successfully defend a title three consecutive times. With Zuffa’s acquisition of Strikeforce in 2013, Nick was back in the UFC.

The closest Nick came to becoming a UFC champion was in his interim title fight against Carlos Condit, but he lost the fight via unanimous decision. 

Nick was also notoriously suspended from MMA for 5 years following his third cannabis-related offense in 2015, after testing positive on a drug test. 

The sentence was reduced to 18 months but Diaz never made his return to the UFC until 2021. He was living like a retired fighter and was suspended in 2018 for a year, due to not telling USADA about his whereabouts when he was supposed to be getting drug tested.

9. Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway – 20 Years, 2 Months (7,367 Days)

Max Holloway made his MMA debut at 18 years and 9 months old, winning his first 4 professional fights to earn the lightweight belt in his local Hawaiian promotion, X-1 Heroes.

Holloway was the youngest fighter on the UFC roster when he debuted as an injury replacement against Dustin Poirier at UFC 143. He lost the fight via submission in round 1 but has gone on to become one of the all-time great UFC featherweights, alongside Alexander Volkanovski.

He secured a 13-fight win streak and the featherweight title, including three successful title defenses and a whole host of UFC records. Some of these records are near unbreakable, such as the most significant strikes in a fight (445) and in UFC history (2975).

Still only 30 years, you’d think Max Holloway was a lot older because of how much he’s achieved since his UFC debut. Without a doubt, he’s one of the most successful UFC fighters after debuting so young.

10. Michael ‘Mayday’ McDonald – 20 Years, 2 Months (7,375 Days)

Incredibly, Michael McDonald made his amateur debut at 14 and his professional MMA debut at 16 years old in 2007. He had been training kickboxing since the age of 10 and has two older brothers who were also MMA fighters, so it wasn’t a surprise that he’d fight so young.

After a 10-1 start as a professional, Michael joined the WEC in 2010, a promotion purchased by Zuffa (UFC parent company) in 2006. Zuffa then merged the WEC and UFC on October 28, 2010, meaning Michael McDonald became one of the youngest UFC fighters of all time to join the roster, aged 19.

5 months later at the age of 20, Michael McDonald made his UFC debut and fought there until 2016, before joining Bellator until the end of his career in 2018.

11. Chase ‘The Dream’ Hooper – 20 Years, 3 Months (7,397 Days)

Chase Hooper made his professional MMA debut three weeks after his 18th birthday, going on to win his first 5 fights.

He then received a UFC development contract after his win on series 14 of DWCS.

He said about the contract, “ ‘So, from my understanding, I kind of keep fighting locally, they kind of help to build me up, make me a bigger name everywhere, and get me more recognized. And when they feel I’m ready, they’ll take me to the UFC.’ “

Despite getting the contract at 18 years old, it wasn’t until a year and a half later when he was 20 that Chase made his UFC debut in 2019. At the time of writing, he has a UFC record of 3-2 but has shown a lot of potential so far, especially with his jiu-jitsu prowess and his ability to scramble.

12. Iasmin ‘Yasmin’ Lucindo – 20 Years, 7 Months (7,522  Days)

It’s no surprise that Iasmin Lucindo became one of the youngest UFC fighters of all time because her why is so strong.

She started training martial arts at a young age for self-defense against the domestic violence she and her mother were suffering. She enjoyed MMA so much and had a special talent for it, leading her to turn professional at the age of 14 (in Brazil).

6 years later at the age of 20, she made her UFC debut at UFC on ESPN 41, unfortunately losing a dubious decision to another upcoming talent. But with an MMA record of 13-5 at just 20 years old, she’s likely to be another successful young UFC recruit.

To Conclude

Overall, the majority of the youngest UFC fighters of all time have been successful, but with plenty of hiccups along the way. 

Even some of the most successful on the list such as Robbie Lawler, Nick Diaz, and Vitor Belfort were released or left the UFC at some point in their career to get more experience in less competitive promotions, before coming back and having good careers in the UFC.

The exceptions to this are Max Holloway, Jake Matthews, Song Yadong, and Michael McDonald, who all fought from their UFC debut for an extended period of time without leaving; so can be considered successful young recruits. Especially Max Holloway, who’s considered a great by many.

Others such as Dan Lauzon and Sage Northcutt weren’t so successful, and only time will tell if Raul Rosas Jr, Chase Hooper, and Iasmin Lucindo will have successful careers after making their UFC debut so young.

Many of the fighters on the list still have the opportunity to become one of the youngest UFC champions of all time, with Raul Rosas Jr making it clear he wants to become the champion by 20 years old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *