Tuesday, April 23

10 Best Boxers In UFC History, Ranked

Highlights

  • Elite boxers shine in UFC, from amateurs to world champions.
  • MMA stars like Jake Paul draw talented fighters into boxing.
  • Top UFC fighters showcase diverse, knockout boxing skills.



Every bout in mixed martial arts starts with contestants standing. Within the UFC, proficiency in boxing stands out as a crucial skill possessed by numerous champions. Among the elite boxers who have showcased their talents in the octagon, there exists a diverse range, from those lacking any professional experience, to those with amateur backgrounds, to former world boxing champions.

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The substantial pay gap between UFC fighters and their counterparts in boxing has prompted many of the top MMA talents to contemplate transitioning to the boxing realm in pursuit of a more lucrative payday. Jake Paul has achieved success enticing seasoned MMA stars into the boxing arena, such as Nate Diaz, Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren. It is anticipated that fans will witness an increasing number of athletes making this transition during the peak of their careers. With that in mind, here are the best boxers to have passed through the UFC — some of whom will be boxing again soon.



10 Max Holloway Is Among the Most Elite Boxers In The UFC

‘Blessed’ Cracks Skulls Without Having Any Professional Boxing Experience

Max Holloway punches Arnold Allen

Date of Birth

Dec. 4, 1991

Age

32

Place of Birth

Hawaii

Year of MMA Debut

2010

Overall MMA Record

25-7

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

48%

Max Holloway has never boxed professionally. But he is one of the best strikers in the UFC. Fans remember him most for confidently turning away from his opponent, Calvin Kattar, in 2021, asserting to the broadcast team ringside that he was the best boxer around. ‘Blessed’ battered Kattar brutally and left fans, commentators and his opponent stunned.


It’s no surprise, though. Holloway is one of the UFC’s best featherweight champions. He may not have the belt anymore, but he put on exceptional displays of offensive boxing. Mind you, his defensive boxing needs work, but he knows how to vary head and body shots. As a result, Holloway claimed victims such as Yair Rodríguez, Frankie Edgar, and Arnold Allen along the way. He also slept the ‘Korean Zombie’ and TKO’d José Aldo twice due to punches. Even in losses versus Alexander Volkanovski, Holloway has shown his slim hands are precise, quick and powerful.

9 Dustin Poirier Has Great Boxing Fundamentals

‘El Diamante’ Is a Defensive & Offensive Boxing Genius

Dustin Poirier punches Benoit Saint Denis


Date of Birth

Jan. 19, 1989

Age

35

Place of Birth

USA

Year of MMA Debut

2009

Overall MMA Record

30-8 (1 NC)

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

51%

Despite lacking any formal boxing background, Poirier impressively aces the eye test with his outstanding skills. His prowess in boxing has garnered widespread acclaim, evident in notable triumphs over elite strikers like Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, Dan Hooker, Bobby Green, and the ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor.


Louisiana’s ‘Diamond’ is particularly recognized for his dynamic shifting punching style, adept use of the shoulder roll, and his ability to exploit the high guard. Once he pulls the shorts up, expect heavy hands, as seen with his win over Benoit Saint-Denis at UFC 299. It pays off he is training with Mike Brown and American Top Team in Florida — a stable that put out other boxing-driven MMA fighters like Jorge Masvidal.

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8 Alex Pereira Is A Proficient Knockout Artist

‘Poatan’ Finishes Most Of His Fights By Knockout

Date of Birth

Jul. 7, 1987

Age

36

Place of Birth

Brazil

Year of MMA Debut

2015

Overall MMA Record

9-2

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

62%


Throughout his illustrious kickboxing tenure at Glory, Pereira gained a reputation for his startling boxing abilities. He beat Israel Adesanya twice there, including one vicious KO in 2017. He had one professional boxing bout that same year, securing a TKO finish over Marcelo de Souza Cruz.

‘Poatan’ hasn’t boxed professionally since, but he has brought those “Hands of Stone” to the UFC. He slept Sean Strickland and Israel Adesanya, winning the UFC middleweight belt along the way. Pereira then went up to become the light heavyweight champ by beating Jiří Procházka via TKO in 2023. He loves to stand and trade, coming in for praise from top heavyweight boxer Zhilei Zhang. Additionally, Pereira left a lasting impression on fans when footage surfaced of his sparring session with Olympian boxer Khalil Coe, showcasing his impressive boxing acumen.


7 Tom Aspinall Is A Heavy-Handed Striker

Aspinall Is An Absolute Sniper

Date of Birth

Apr. 11, 1993

Age

30

Place of Birth

England

Year of MMA Debut

2014

Overall MMA Record

14-3

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

67%


Aspinall relied on his boxing skills when he took on noted knockout artist, Sergei Pavlovich, on short notice at UFC 295. The British heavyweight knocked out his opponent in a little over 60 seconds to win the interim UFC heavyweight championship. Aspinall has a total in-cage average time of 2:10, often getting opponents out of the way early. If he isn’t submitting or grounding and pounding, he is throwing hands and sending people to the shadow realm.

Apart from Pavlovich, he has TKO’d the likes of Marcin Tybura, Serghei Spivac and Alan Baudot with elbows and punches. His hands count for a lot. In his only professional boxing fight, he won by knockout in the first round against Tamas Bajzath in 2017. Aspinall has trained with Tyson Fury, reminding fans he has a very hard-hitting boxing base and partners to elevate him.

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6 Alexander Volkanovski Is A Pocket Rocket

‘Volk’ Knows How to Clinch And Bust Chins

Alexander Volkanovski punches Islam Makhachev


Date of Birth

Sep. 29, 1988

Age

35

Place of Birth

Australia

Year of MMA Debut

2012

Overall MMA Record

26-4

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

57%

Alexander Volkanovski is another former UFC featherweight champ. He is a diverse fighter, known for takedown defense, sprawls, ground and pound, as well as sharp boxing. ‘Volk’ can shell up and dish it out, as Islam Makhachev found out in their first fight. Other fighters like Holloway, ‘Korean Zombie’ and Aldo learned this the hard way, too.


Interestingly, ‘Volk’ won his lone boxing scrap in 2015 against Dillon Bargero, setting the basis for his MMA reign. A year later, the former rugby player would debut in the UFC and show how to handle taller and rangier opponents; a testament to his adept use of distance control and angles. Volkanovski might have lost the belt, but fans are eager to see him rematch Ilia Topuria in what should be another exciting boxing affair.

5 Anderson Silva Is One of The Best Strikers Ever

The ‘Spider’ Has Chinned People In Both Sports

Anderson Silva punches Jake Paul

Date of Birth

Apr. 14, 1975

Age

48

Place of Birth

Brazil

Year of MMA Debut

1997

Overall MMA Record

34-11 (1 NC)

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

62%


At age 46, Silva defeated Julio César Chávez Jr., the son of a boxing legend and a former world champion. The former UFC middleweight champion utilized his boxing skills to parry, slip, and counter effectively there — which MMA fans have seen him do for years.

Silva drubbed the likes of Forrest Griffin and Yushin Okami with his fists in the UFC to reiterate that he was as deadly with his hands as he was with his feet. When he retired, ‘Spider’ knocked out Tito Ortiz in 2021 and lost a unanimous decision boxing fight to Jake Paul a year later. Win or lose, fans won’t mind seeing the veteran in Silva continue boxing as he is a formidable, durable opponent. Hopefully, he can extend his 3-2 record.

4 Stipe Miocic Is A Decorated Amateur Boxer

The Ohio Native Has Slept Some Big Guns


Date of Birth

Aug. 19, 1982

Age

41

Place of Birth

USA

Year of MMA Debut

2010

Overall MMA Record

20-4

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

53%

Stipe Miocic is a firefighter, a gentle giant, and someone many consider the most polite UFC fighter ever. However, he isn’t a gentleman in the cage or boxing ring. Miocic is a former UFC heavyweight champ, boasting TKO wins over Daniel Cormier, Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski and Junior dos Santos.


He also has KOs over Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Phil De Fries. Simply put, Miocic has explosive hands. It stems back to before the UFC. He won the regional Golden Gloves championship in amateur boxing and reached the national quarter-finals, losing on points to future WBA interim heavyweight titleholder, Bryant Jennings. Impressively, he achieved this with only eight months of training. Miocic preferred the diversity of MMA over boxing and ended up becoming a two-time UFC champ with 15 knockouts.

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3 Francis Ngannou Almost Defeated Tyson Fury

‘The Predator’ Got Ranked As A WBC Top 10 Heavyweight In 2023

Date of Birth

Sep. 5, 1986

Age

37

Place of Birth

Cameroon

Year of MMA Debut

2013

Overall MMA Record

17-3

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

41%


Francis Ngannou made his boxing debut against reigning WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. It was a dream come true for him and he over-delivered. The former UFC heavyweight champ knocked down Fury and took him into deep waters in all 10 rounds. Fury narrowly won by split decision; however, many felt Ngannou deserved the victory.

It didn’t surprise many who saw Ngannou send Overeem, Miocic, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Cain Velasquez, dos Santos, Arlovski and Curtis Blaydes to the shadow realm in his UFC tenure. This left fans hoping Ngannou would do well boxing against Anthony Joshua. Unfortunately, Ngannou got brutally slept in the first round, but as Joshua himself said, Ngannou still has boxing tread on the wheels.

2 Israel Adesanya’s Boxing Is Criminally Underrated

‘Stylebender’ Has An Underrated 5-1 Record As A Pro Boxer


Date of Birth

Jul. 22, 1989

Age

34

Place of Birth

Nigeria

Year of MMA Debut

2012

Overall MMA Record

24-3

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

48%

Few may know this, but Israel Adesanya wasn’t just a kickboxing legend with Glory. He boxed in 2014 and 2015, racking up a 5-1 record. He lost his first fight in a controversial match against the two-time Australian champion Daniel Ammann. Despite this setback, Adesanya rebounded, securing four victories in the remainder of his boxing career and earning the prestigious title of two-time Super 8 Boxing Tournament winner in New Zealand.


He even had one KO against Asher Derbyshire. It explains why he got so slick at counterpunching in MMA, and why he could stand, bang and sleep someone like ‘Poatan.’ His unique defensive style involves using his feet and hips adeptly to evade punches, often keeping his hands down to enhance his strategic movement. Hopefully, fans see more when the UFC books Adesanya against Dricus du Plessis, as that feels like the ideal stage and opponent to box and regain the middleweight crown. Styles make fights, after all, and DDP loves pressuring and brawling.

1 Holly Holm Remains One Of The Greatest Boxers Of All Time

Holm Is A Masterful Crossover Athlete

Holly Holm punches an opponent


Date of Birth

Oct. 7, 1981

Age

42

Place of Birth

USA

Year of MMA Debut

2011

Overall MMA Record

15-6 (1 NC)

Striking Accuracy (per UFC)

41%

Before Katie Taylor, Holm ruled the light-welterweight and welterweight divisions in boxing. She was a multiple-time world champion in boxing, defending her titles 18 times in three weight classes. Holm was also a two-time Ring magazine fighter of the year.

It may shock many who know her for that kick that slept Ronda Rousey. Or for those who think she is just good at grappling and submissions. Holm is well-rounded. Near the end of her boxing career, Holm avenged her loss to knockout artist Anne Sophie Mathis and defeated Diana Prazak and Mary McGee in her last two bouts. Holm has a 33-2-3 boxing record, confirming she is one of the greatest crossover athletes ever after joining the UFC two years later in 2015.


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