The 15 Best Brazilian UFC Fighters of All Time, Ranked

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If you ask the average sports fan what sport Brazil excels at, they might say soccer – and they’d be absolutely correct – but throughout the history of the UFC (and other promotions) Brazil has also consistently had MMA in a chokehold since its inception too. The nation has produced some of the best fighters of all time, and some of the highest-earning. We’re not sure it’s possible for a fight fan to not have a Brazilian fighter or two in their top ten GOAT or favorite fighter lists. So, ranking the best Brazilian UFC fighters of all time would be an incredibly difficult task, right? 

But that’s not stopping us from going for it. Check out our list below and let us know what you think! 

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15. Renan Barão

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  • Record: 34-10-0
  • Best fight: Eddie Wineland at UFC 165
  • Where they're from: Natal, Rio Grande do Norte

Barão isn’t as much of a name as almost anyone on this list and a large part of that reason is a pretty dramatic fall from grace after an unprecedented run. Renan Barão entered the UFC at an almost perfect time, where bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz was forced out because of injury and the division needed some stability. He was working his way through the 135lb division and making it look like easy work for a while and although it’s not something he could sustain for too long, you can’t take that away from him.

14. Glover Teixeira

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  • Record: 33-9-0
  • Best fight: Jan Błachowicz at UFC 267
  • Where they're from: Sobrália, Minas Gerais

Glover Teixeira defied all odds when he became the second oldest fighter to win a UFC title in 2021, at 42 years of age. He’d had a great career up to that point but could never secure UFC gold as the cherry on top, with one failed attempt against Jon Jones until that point. It was a truly great underdog story that easily makes Glover one of the great ones from his nation.

13. Royce Gracie

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  • Record: 15-2-3
  • Best fight: Ken Shamrock at UFC 1
  • Where they're from: Sobrália, Minas Gerais

Royce Gracie will always be considered an MMA legend because he fought on the five very first UFC events ever. For context, this April, UFC are hosting UFC 300. Despite fighting on a total of six UFC events, Royce boasts eleven UFC wins, beating multiple fighters in a night on multiple occasions. The Gracie family is considered royalty in Jiu-Jitsu and that success has certainly carried over to MMA and the UFC. 

12. Junior dos Santos

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  • Record: 21-1-0
  • Best fight: Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos
  • Where they're from: Caçador, Santa Catarina

Just half a decade into his professional MMA career, JDS proved himself to be a staple in heavyweight MMA, putting together a 7-fight win streak to earn a title shot against arguably the most skilled heavyweight of all time, Cain Velasquez. In the biggest test of his career, he put Cain away in just over a minute to win UFC gold. He defended the title once before dropping it to Cain, but continued to pick up wins against elite peers of his like Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis.

11. Lyoto Machida

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  • Record: 26-12-0
  • Best fight: Rashad Evans at UFC 98
  • Where they're from: Salvador, Bahia

Typically, Brazilian fighters don’t tend to have karate styles, but Lyoto Machida is the son of karate master Yoshizo Machida, so he started training in it at the age of 3. Today, he’s at the forefront of fighters who have had the utmost success with the martial art in MMA. The Dragon’s highlights include a front kick KO of multiple-time UFC champion Randy Couture, being the first fighter to win a round over Jon Jones and a UFC title win over Rashad Evans.

10. Maurício Rua

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  • Record: 27-14-1
  • Best fight: Chuck Liddell at UFC 97
  • Where they're from: Curitiba, Parana

If it weren’t for a broken arm he suffered against Mark Coleman, Shogun might have gone completely undefeated in his 4-year PRIDE run, which of course included winning the famous 2005 tournament which featured many of the best light heavyweights in the sport at the time. Rua’s UFC career left a little to be desired, ending with a 11-12-1 run in January of 2023, but he’s without a doubt one of the best Brazilian UFC fighters and has contributed an incomprehensible amount to MMA.

9. Fabrício Werdum

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  • Record: 24-9-1
  • Best fight: Cain Velasquez at UFC 188
  • Where they're from: Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul

Werdum was the man who ended Fedor Emelianenko’s nearly 30-fight win streak by putting an armbar on him in round 1 and for many, this would be the highlight of a career, but Werdum’s is so decorated that it couldn’t possibly be reduced to one win. He also unified the UFC heavyweight title against Cain and boasts big wins over many of his peers.

8. Wanderlei Silva

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  • Record: 35-14-1
  • Best fight: Quinton Jackson at PRIDE 28
  • Where they're from: Curitiba, Parana

Admittedly, most of Wanderlei Silva’s best work was done in the early 2000s in PRIDE, but considering he did have a dozen fights in the UFC, it would be criminal to not mention him among great UFC Brazilian fighters. His run in PRIDE is one of the most impressive runs in the sport and made him a feared fighter to stand across from, finishing greats of his era viciously. 

7. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira

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  • Record: 34-10-1
  • Best fight: Mark Coleman at PRIDE 16
  • Where they're from: Vitoria da Conquista, Bahia

Big Nog, like Wanderlei Silva, is an example of a fighter who did most of his top tier work in PRIDE, but had a substantial enough UFC run that he deserves a spot on this list. From 2000 to 2004, Minotauro beat legends like Cro Cop, Mark Coleman, Dan Henderson, Bob Sapp and more. Nogueira was the kind of fighter who went through wars and put his body on the line more than most fighters care to and he might have paid the price later in his career, but he immortalized himself for it. 

6. Rafael dos Anjos

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  • Record: 32-15-0
  • Best fight: Anthony Pettis at UFC 185
  • Where they're from: Niterói, Rio de Janeiro

You only have to scroll RDA’s resumé in the past decade to know he’s gone through the ringer and has had one of the hardest paths in MMA imaginable. To name a few of the fighters he’s shared the octagon with Tony Ferguson, Khabib, Kamaru Usman, Leon Edwards and Eddie Alvarez, all of whom have held gold in the organisation. He’s unfortunately come up short in many of those big moments, but it doesn’t take away from his longevity in the space and many of his other notable wins at both 155lbs and 170lbs.

5. Vitor Belfort

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  • Record: 26-14-0
  • Best fight: Wanderlei Silva at UFC Brazil
  • Where they're from: Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

While he was just in his early twenties, Vitor Belfort was one of the scariest fighters in the sport. It may be true that he never reached his full potential – or at least the heights that many saw in him – but even still, he holds a place as a legend, with a UFC championship to his name and good wins in two different weight classes. 

4. Charles Oliveira

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  • Record: 34-9-0
  • Best fight: Michael Chandler at UFC 262
  • Where they're from: Guaruja, Sao Paulo

If ever there were a fighter symbolic of perseverance and not letting losses define you, it’s Charles Oliveira. For much of his featherweight career, he traded wins and losses and most wouldn’t have expected him to land a spot on a list like this, but with his 2017 return to lightweight, do Bronx began a campaign that would surprise seemingly everyone but himself, putting away fighters like Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler and Beneil Dariush.

3. Amanda Nunes

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  • Record: 23-5-0
  • Best fight: Ronda Rousey at UFC 207
  • Where they're from: Pojuca, Bahia

The Lioness was dominant in a way that’s hard to even explain to someone unfamiliar with the sport. Other than her, there have only been four other women’s bantamweight champions in the UFC; Ronda Rousey, who Nunes knocked out in 48 seconds, Holly Holm, who Nunes finished with a head kick in the first round, Miesha Tate, who Nunes tapped in the first round and Julianna Peña, who Nunes beat over five rounds in her penultimate fight. She was truly the Queen of Queens throughout her title reign and that’s to say nothing of her title wins up at 145lbs too. Nunes is, without a slither of doubt, the greatest and most accomplished women’s fighter of all time.

2. José Aldo

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  • Record: 31-8-0
  • Best fight: Chad Mendes at UFC 179
  • Where they're from: Manaus, Amazonas

José Aldo was so dominant that he was the only featherweight champion in the UFC for half a decade. Before the UFC had acquired the WEC, he had a couple of title fight wins to his name there too. He’d always teased moving up to lightweight throughout his featherweight tenure but instead, when the time came to move weights, he astonished everyone by cutting an additional 10lbs and going to bantamweight. There, he picked up wins against genuine young, up and coming contenders at a late stage of his career, further solidifying his spot as one of the GOATs.

1. Anderson Silva

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  • Record: 34-11-0
  • Best fight: Forrest Griffin at UFC 101
  • Where they're from: Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo

Anderson Silva is the reason that many of the most hardcore fans of MMA even exist today. The Spider holds a bunch of incredible UFC records, with arguably the most impressive being his 16-fight win streak, which is the longest in the organization’s history. The vast majority of those fights were title fights too, for many of which he made it looks like he was in the matrix and seeing his opponent’s attacks before they even happened. He would consistently outclass contender after contender and do it in a way that can’t even be described. You just had to be there. Anderson is easily the best Brazilian UFC fighter of all time and no worse than a top 3 fighter of all time, period.

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