Of the thousands of professional MMA fighters who have stepped into the UFC Octagon over the years, very few achieved any kind of longevity. Of course it’s the UFC and not the fighters who wield most of the power in the contracts, and the promotion isn’t hesitant to release those who don’t perform up to the management’s expectations. So it’s very impressive when a fighter sticks around for a decade or more, or reaches significant milestones like 5, 10, 20, or 25 bouts.
In this article we will focus on one of those milestones: 20 fights in the UFC. To date, only 73 fighters have lasted long enough to rack up 20 bouts with the promotion. Of course many have gone above and beyond – you can track their progress here: Fighters with Most Bouts in UFC. Or if you’re bored with MMA, you can play the best online roulette games instead.
Let’s take a closer look at ten names near the top of the list who are still actively competing in UFC:
Donald Cerrone – 36 bouts (23-10, 1 NC)
Not only is ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone the most active fighter in the UFC history, he is also the most winningest. Due to his propensity to fight often and take on all comers, it only took him less than 10 years to achieve these accomplishments. Nowadays, Cerrone is at the tail end of his career, as evidenced by his abysmal performance against Conor McGregor. Yet Cerrone soldiers on, and is slated to take on Diego Sanchez – another veteran on our list. The end may be near for the Cowboy but he could pick up another few fights to top off his record before heading out to the pasture.
Jim Miller – 36 (21-14-0, 1 NC)
Tied with Cerrone for most UFC bouts, Jim Miller has been a UFC mainstay for more than a dozen years. He’s never had a title shot, despite at one point winning seven in a row. However he can always be counted on for an exciting fight. Even as Miller was battling Lyme’s disease, he was still fighting other pro’s in the Octagon. Miller was supposed to face Bobby Green in a recent event; however Green had to drop out of the fight at the last minute due to medical issues, denying Miller the sole spot at the top of this list. Jim still fights on, taking on unheralded Joe Solecki in April. It will be interesting to see whether Miller or Cerrone (or someone else?) will ultimately end up with the record.
Andrei Arlovski – 34 (19-14-0, 1 NC)
Outside of Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos, Arlovski is the only fighter with 20+ UFC bouts who has spent his entire career as a heavyweight. Between his UFC debut and his most recent bout, Andrei’s UFC career spans nearly twenty years! While his longevity is nothing but impressive, the writing may be on the wall for Arlovski: his colleagues Overeem and JDS have both received their walking papers, and coming off a loss this veteran could be not far behind.
Jeremy Stephens -33 (15-17-0, 1 NC)
It’s hard to believe that at only 34, Jeremy Stephens has had 33 fights in the UFC. With 13 years in the Octagon under his belt, Stephens may be showing some signs of slowing down: he is 0-4 with 1 NC in his last 5 fights. Stephens has bounced between lightweight and featherweight divisions through his UFC career, and after an unproductive stint at 145 lbs., he is slated to go back up in weight and take on Drakkar Klose.
Demian Maia – 32 (22-10-0)
One of the most gentlemanly fighters in the history of the sport, Demian Maia does not enjoy hurting his opponents. Instead he would rather make them tap out, which as one of the best BJJ practitioners in MMA, he is quite adept at. Maia has fought at middleweight for the first part of his career, dropping down to 170 lbs. after an unsuccessful title shot against then champion Anderson Silva. Later he has also vied for the welterweight gold, and again came up short against Tyrone Woodley. Despite failing to capture a title belt, Maia made his name as one of the most dangerous submission artists in the game. He was stopped by strikes in the first round in his most recent fight against Gilbert Burns, and has contemplated retirement for some time – so don’t expect Demian to climb much further on this list.
Diego Sanchez – 32 (19-13-0)
The winner of the very first season of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ reality TV series, Diego was once a very promising prospect coming into the UFC with a spotless record. While Sanchez failed to live up to the fan’s expectations as a future champ, he stuck around in the UFC for over 15 years, mostly alternating wins and losses. Today Diego doesn’t look much like ‘The Nightmare’ of old, and his upcoming fight with Donald Cerrone may likely be his last. Nonetheless, Sanchez will be remembered fondly – as much as for his quirky personality and antics as for his performances inside the Octagon.
Rafael dos Anjos -30 (19-11-0)
Competing in the lightweight and welterweight divisions through his career, Rafael dos Anjos – affectionately known to MMA fans as ‘RDA’ – has won and defended the UFC lightweight title back in 20015. He didn’t last long at the top of the mountain, however Rafael soldiered on and is always a formidable foe for anyone between 155 and 170 lbs. Most recently, dos Anjos defeated Paul Felder by split decision in a lightweight bout. He currently doesn’t have a fight lined up, but is still going strong, so don’t be surprised to see him move a few spots up the list before he calls it a career.
Clay Guida – 30 (16-14)
Clay Guida has for a long time been known as a gatekeeper for the lightweight (and occasionally featherweight) division. Clay is known as much for his mop of wild hair (now sadly thinning) and his loud burps between the rounds, as he is for his in-ring prowess; however he is no slouch in the Octagon either, as his record may surmise. Guida has faced the who-is-who of the lighter weight classes, and while he hasn’t always walked away with his hand raised, his opponents would always know that they’ve been in a fight.
Frankie Edgar -28 (18-9-1)
One of the most decorated fighters on this list, Frankie Edgar successfully defended his lightweight title three times in 2010-2011. He has also had countless other title shots at lightweight and featherweight, and has even fought as light as bantamweight. He also holds the record for the most time spent in the UFC Octagon – an astonishing 7 hours, 41 minutes, and 21 seconds. Most recently, Edgar is coming off a brutal KO loss courtesy of a flying knee from Cory Sandhagen, and it may be high time for this legend to hang up the gloves for good.
Charles Oliveira – 27 (18-8-0)
Perhaps the most promising prospect on the list, Charles Oliveira is only 31 years old and seems to be just hitting his peak. He needs another 10 fights to beat the current record; a feat that is definitely within the realm of possibility. At the moment, ‘Do Bronx’ is riding an eight-win streak, finishing seven of those opponents and culminating with a lopsided decision victory over the recent title contender Tony Fergusson. With champion Khabib Nurmagomedov calling it a day on his career, Oliveira may very well be the next lightweight champion.
Finally, here’s the complete list of all fighters with 20+ UFC bouts under their belt:
|Fighter||Bouts||Wins||Losses||Draws||No Contests||UFC Debut||Most Recent UFC Fight|
|Rafael dos Anjos||30||19||11||0||0||11/15/2008||11/14/2020|
|Junior dos Santos||23||15||8||0||0||10/25/2008||12/12/2020|
|Ovince St. Preux||23||13||10||0||0||4/27/2013||12/5/2020|
|Georges St. Pierre||22||20||2||0||0||1/31/2004||11/4/2017|