The Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Fame is a celebration of all of the great within this amazing sport. From conception onwards, the Hall of Fame records formidable fighters who have achieved amazing feats and shaped the UFC into what it is today.
So who are these amazing people, and which wing are they in?
The Different Wings And What They Mean
There are 4 wings in the Hall of Fame, each one designed to highlight different and amazing people within the UFC industry.
The most commonly known wing is the “Modern Wing”. This area holds all the names of Hall of Fame fighters who made their professional debut on or after November 28, 2000.
This date is significant, as it shows a turning point in UFC history. It’s the beginning of the Unified Rules age. Before this time, there weren’t a lot of rules in the sport, fouling wasn’t really a thing and almost anything was allowed.
The next wing is the “Pioneers Wing”. This area celebrates the founding fighters of the MMA. If a fighter made their professional debut between 1993 to the enforcement of United Rules, they would be a Pioneer, no matter when they received their Hall of Fame status.
The last two wings don’t celebrate fighters specifically. The first is the “Fight Wing”, which remembers the best and most memorable fight in UFC history. The second is the “Contributors Wing”, which thanks and recognizes the amazing people who have helped or shaped the UFC outside of the ring.
Today we will be looking at the top 10 fighters in the UFC Hall of Fame. This means sticking to the Modern and Pioneer wings, and reminding you all why they are so impressive.
- Ken Shamrock – Pioneers Wing Ken Shamrock, along with Royce Gracie, was the first fighter to be added to the UFC Hall of Fame. He was the unbeatable champion of his time, winning the UFC Superfight and defending for 2 years. He was Pancrase Openweight Champion and was named the King of Pancrase.
- Rich Franklin – Pioneers Wing Although Franklin received his Hall of Fame status in 2019, he was the fighting champion of the early days. The math teacher-turned-fighter beat the MMA betting odds and defeated Shamrock in a shocking display of power. Franklin arguably showed the world that UFC wasn’t just a dog fight, it was a sport as technical and respectable as boxing. Franklin helped change the UFC from a messy backstreet fight and helped it become the international sport it is today.
- Ronda Rousey – Modern Wing Rousey was the first woman to enter the UFC Hall of Fame, and hopefully, she won’t be the last! Women have been allowed to fight in the UFC since 2012, and since that date, Rousey has dominated the sport. She was the Bantamweight Champion from 2012 to 2015 defending her title 6 times.
- Royce Gracie – Pioneers Wing Gracie was one of the most influential fighters of all time. He popularized Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which led to a revolution in mixed martial arts. In his match against Olympic gold-medalist Hidehiko Yoshida, a controversy was sparked about the difference between Judo and Jiu-Jitsu.
- Randy Couture – Pioneers Wing By the time Couture bowed out of the UFC, he had a record of 16 title wins. He was and still is to this day, tied for the most title wins in UFC history. His first-place battle is with Stipe Miocic. Miocic is still fighting in the UFC, so Couture’s number one spot might still be taken from him.
- Chuck Liddell – Pioneers Wing Although Franklin is seen as the American Dream fighter, Liddell was the power that everyone came to watch. He could knock out champion after champion until he became the one everyone looked out for.
- Georges St Pierre – Modern Wing St Pierre is the most recent fighter to enter the Modern Wing but joined the Hall of Fame at the same time as Pioneers Wing Kevin Randleman. St Pierre has been a champion in the UFC through two different divisions the welterweight and the middleweight. When he retired, St Pierre was the reigning champion in the welterweight division.
- Bas Rutten – Pioneers Wing Rutten had a record that many others could only dream of. He was the heavyweight champion and the King of Pancrase world champion three years running. By the time he retired, Rutten had a 22 unbeaten streak.
- BJ Penn – Modern Wing Penn has competed in every division with the UFC – the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight! In every division, Penn became an unstoppable force but only in the lightweight and welterweight divisions did Penn become a champion.
- Kazushi Sakuraba – Pioneer Wing Also known as the Gracie Hunter, Sakuraba is most famous for his ability to defeat every Gracie family member who dared to play against him. The 13-time champion could defeat opponents weighing above his weight class.
Every fighter in the Hall of Fame deserves their spot. Each has an amazing story to be remembered, but these 10 stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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