It sounds odd, but not nearly enough time is devoted to talking about the UFC greats. Everything seems rooted in the here and now, with an heavier emphasis on future fights, while everything that’s already happened falls by the wayside, except for brief mentions when discussing someone’s resume.
There’s no clear-cut explanation for this phenomenon. Part of it is definitely because the UFC is still in its infancy relative to other sports leagues. It didn’t start until 1993, and it has only really become ultra-popular since the turn of the millennium. Another potential reason is the scarcity of matchups. Fighters are scheduling bouts every other week, so even the longest-tenured UFC participants have a finite sample size under their belts.
And finally, let’s not neglect the financial aspect: Everyone cares about the upcoming fight most because that’s the one they can order on pay-per-view and place wagers on. Only a handful of sports in North America are more popular when it comes to that, and it’s become an incredibly lucrative industry. Why, sports betting in California alone is projected to be worth $2.5 billion per year. And that’s just one state. People love to wager on sports that don’t take place every day. That’s why, like college football and the NFL, the UFC takes center stage when it comes to looking at upcoming events rather than past ones. It also helps that virtually every new fight is either a title fight or a bout that will determine who gets the next shot at a title matchup.
Make no mistake, though, the UFC has officially been around long enough that it’s put together a colorful history. Plenty of those who have set foot in the octagon are worthy of being considered among the sport’s all-time greats. And while there’s no one way to identify them, it makes sense to start with the fighters who have racked up the most victories in UFC history.
Donald Cerrone (23 victories)
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Let’s just say the 37-year-old Donald Cerrone, who was formerly a professional kickboxer, has been around the UFC for quite some time. And he has the resume to prove it.
Not only does he hold the all-time record for victories, but he has also fought in more bouts (35) and owns more finishes (16) than anyone else. And guess what? He’s not done yet. His last fight came in September 2020, and he very much plans to keep going.