10 Brazilian Fighters Who Dominated The UFC
When it comes to the countries that have influenced and participated in the UFC the most, Brazil is right behind the USA. Any modern fighter needs to have some understanding of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu if they want to survive grappling and lock in some submissions of their own. As such, there’s no shortage of Brazilian talent in the UFC.
Today we’re looking at the most notable and dominant Brazilian fighters that have taken to the Octagon since Royce Gracie first introduced the world to Brazilian martial arts. If you have a favorite fighter from Brazil that’s active right now, consider checking out their UFC betting odds for their next fight.
1. Royce Gracie
Since we’ve already mentioned him, let’s start with Royce Gracie. He was instrumental to the success of the early UFC, mainstreaming Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and its grappling moves for decades to come. Gracie took home the prize at UFC 1 after forcing each opponent into submission. From here, future generations would incorporate BJJ, grappling, and submissions into their arsenal. He wasn’t a very prolific fighter but Gracie’s shadow is cast over everything the UFC is today.
2. Anderson Silva
While Gracie was influential, it’s Anderson Silva who is often considered one of the greatest UFC fighters ever, and he’s a Brazilian. Everybody knows who Anderson Silva is, becoming the most successful middleweight champ in his time and forging records that still haven’t been broken today.
3. Wanderlei Silva
Then there’s the other Silva, who has fought more bouts than most MMA fighters. Wanderlei Silva had racked up over 50 bouts before his retirement, though he shares his legacy with Pride Fighting Championship and the UFC. Nevertheless, he’s another fierce Brazilian who was known for his unbeaten knockout record at Pride.
4. Jose Aldo
While Anderson Silva dominated the middleweight championship, Jose Aldo is one of the most accomplished featherweight fighters out there. Unfortunately, one of his biggest career moments was his loss to Conor McGregor, but Aldo has a great record. Over half of his wins are by knockout and, when McGregor put him down, he had been on an 18-fight winning streak!
5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Alongside Royce Gracie, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira sits comfortably in the pioneer wing of the UFC Hall of Fame. Like Wanderlei, he fought over 50 fights across his career, though he only ever managed to score an interim heavyweight title. A lot of his MMA legacy came before the UFC, though he did make some impressive wins against Tim Sylvia, Randy Couture, Mirko Cro Cop, and Brendan Schaub before retirement.
6. Lyoto Machida
As a former UFC light heavyweight champ, Lyoto Machida is another Brazilian fighter whose name is well-known in fighting circles. He entered the MMA world with a 16-fight winning streak, half of those being in the UFC where he beat big names like Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans. He has also beaten the likes of Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and Vitor Belfort. Having mentioned Belfort…
7. Vitor Belfort
In the early days of the UFC, fighters like Royce Gracie and Marco Ruas won several open weight tournaments. That all changed at UFC 12, where the combatants were split into heavyweight and lightweight weight classes. Vitor Belfort was the heavyweight winner – and that was him starting. Since then, he fought in Pride before the UFC, fighting across multiple weight classes. You’ll only find the best players in Belfort’s loss column, like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Lyoto Machida.
8. Junior Dos Santos
Nowadays, you may know Junior dos Santos for his professional wrestling career with AEW. He was only released from the UFC last year after a terrific career where he reached the heights of UFC heavyweight champion. At his best, he fought 10 whole fights without taking a single loss. His most notable losses were against fierce competition like Alistair Overeem, Stipe Miocic, and modern heavyweight bests like Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane.
9. Renan Barao
While his career burned out with a losing streak, as often happens with some of the best, Renan Barao is another Brazilian UFC fighter that has been there from (almost) the beginning. Across a career spanning decades, he made 34 wins against 9 losses, most of which came in that career-ending losing streak. On his way to UFC bantamweight champion, he was unstoppable.
10. Fabricio Werdum
Lastly, we have another former UFC heavyweight champion that came from Brazil – Fabricio Werdum. Like many here, he started in Pride and transitioned into the UFC. He entered and exited the UFC several times as a typical Brazilian fighter who mastered grappling. With 24 wins and 9 losses, he beat Nogueira and heavy-hitters like Overeem, Fedor Emelianenko, Cain Velasquez, and Alexander Gustafsson, most often by submission.
Those are the 10 foremost Brazilian fighters who have put in appearances in the UFC so far. While the influence of people like Royce Gracie or Anderson Silva will never fade, there’s no doubt that there are young Brazilian fighters training right now for their shot at becoming the next big South American fighter.