UFC fighters have a strong presence on social media, and some of the organization's most-followed individuals can be found here in our list of the 10 most popular UFC competitors of all time.

Indeed, social-media reach has almost become a de facto UFC fighters’ popularity power rankings. Gaining a lot of online followers is one indication of just how far being a great fighter -- and a little trash talk – goes when it comes to attracting fans.

The 10 popular MMA personalities on the following list have done great things for the UFC, and they’re all excellent fighters, too. Let’s find out who they are.

How popular is the UFC?

UFC matches are the fifth-most popular professional spectator sport in America, according to early reports in 2024. Boxing ranks fourth, but the UFC is right behind it and still rapidly gaining in popularity.

The unpredictability of MMA makes it electrifying to watch, since a head-kick knockout or a rear naked choke could happen at any moment.

It ranks behind America’s “big three” sports of the NFL, NBA, and MLB, but the UFC is likely to become a close fourth in the not-so-distant future. So, who are the most famous UFC fighters of all time?

Who are the most popular UFC fighters right now?

Naturally, the UFC’s champions quickly gain popularity. “Suga” Sean O’Malley has been a budding star for several years now, and he is among the most popular UFC fighters. O’Malley currently holds the UFC bantamweight title, and his first title defense is scheduled for Saturday night at UFC 299.

Ilia Topuria is also at the very top of UFC these days, currently boasting a record of 15-0 after a brutal knockout victory over UFC legend Alex Volkanovski in his last bout. Topuria holds the featherweight belt, and it doesn’t look like he will be giving it up any time soon.

Leon Edwards hasn’t lost a fight since 2015, and he claimed the welterweight belt from Kamaru Usman in stunning fashion. Edwards, who has faced countless setbacks and cancellations during his fighting career, knocked out Usman with a brutal head kick late in the fifth round of a title fight. He gained a ton of fans that night and has since defended his title twice -- first in a rematch against Usman and then with a unanimous-decision win over Colby Covington.

Ranking the Top 10 Most Popular UFC Fighters of All Time

  1. Nate Diaz

Years Active: 2007 to 2022
Weight Class: Welterweight
X (formerly Twitter):
https://twitter.com/NateDiaz209 (2.3M followers)
https://www.instagram.com/natediaz209/ (6.8M followers)
https://www.tiktok.com/@natediazufc.official (44.5K followers)
Awards and Achievements:
Fight of the Night (eight times), Knockout of the Night (once), Submission of the Night (five times), Performance of the Night (twice)

Nate Diaz has always been a bold and outspoken character in the UFC, and there are several reasons why he is among the most popular figures in the organization’s history.

Diaz is as tough as they come -- fighting through beatings on numerous occasions and refusing to ever lay down against an opponent in the Octagon. He would gladly take a fight against anyone on any amount of notice, and he gave UFC fans some of the best brawls we’ve ever seen in the cage.

The former welterweight put on a blistering performance against Conor McGregor when, despite being badly bloodied, he fought back and ultimately submitted his opponent in the second round. Diaz has a tremendous amount of support from fans, and many believe he never got the respect he deserved from president Dana White as one of the biggest influences on UFC growth during the organization’s early days.

  1. Francis Ngannou

Years Active: 2015 to 2022
Weight Class: Heavyweight
X (formerly Twitter):
https://twitter.com/francis_ngannou (1.1M followers)
https://www.instagram.com/francisngannou/ (6.8M followers)
https://www.tiktok.com/@francis_ngannou (1.7M followers)
Awards and Achievements: Heavyweight Champion, Performance of the Night (six times)

Francis Ngannou’s UFC exit stunned the fans, especially considering the fact that he was at the very top of his game when he left.

After claiming the UFC heavyweight belt from Stipe Miocic -- and extending his win streak to five fights – he defended it against Cyril Gane for a sixth straight victory.

MMA fans loved the Cameroonian, whose sheer power and genetics paired with his ability as a fighter led to some of the most entertaining heavyweight fights in UFC history. Ngannou had countless finishes in as an MMA competitor, but he brought an end to his career while in his prime because of a financial dispute with president Dana White and the UFC.

Had he been better marketed by the UFC -- or simply received the credit he deserved for being as talented as he was – Ngannou might have treated his fans to several more heavyweight title defenses. Had he continued to fight – and win -- he might have been the greatest UFC heavyweight ever.

The fact that Ngannou then trained as a boxer and did what he did in the ring against Tyson Fury of all people – putting Fury on the mat and nearly beating him – only added to his popularity. It felt like the whole world was watching that boxing match last October, and Ngannou very nearly pulled off the seemingly unthinkable. In fact, some believe he should have won the fight.

  1. Charles Oliveira

Years Active: 2010 to present
Weight Class: Lightweight
X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/CharlesDoBronxs (564.4K followers)
https://www.instagram.com/charlesdobronxs/ (7.2M followers)
https://www.tiktok.com/@charlesdobronxsoficial (378.7K followers)
Awards and Achievements:
Lightweight Champion, Fight of the Night (three times), Submission of the Night (three times), Performance of the Night (13 times)

Charles Oliveira’s story is one of the coolest of any UFC fighter. He has been around for a very long time, but he had to fight his way through tremendous adversity to reach the very top.  Because his story is so raw and so real, the UFC fan base has been drawn to him, and he is now among the most popular MMA fighters in the world.

Once upon a time Oliveira, Max Holloway, and Dustin Poirier were three of the brightest young stars in the organization, but as the other two reached their potential, Oliveira fell behind. Now, in his prime after 13 years under contract with the UFC, Oliviera is a champion and a legend of the sport.

He has remained incredibly humble and personable throughout the years. Always respectful during fight weeks, he shakes the hands of his opponents and their corners both before and after bouts, and he genuinely cares about his opponents once the fight is over.

  1. Khamzat Chimaev

Years Active: 2020 to present
Weight class: Middleweight
X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/kchimaev (648.8K followers)
https://www.instagram.com/khamzat_chimaev/  (7.9M followers)
https://www.tiktok.com/@_khamzatchimaev_ (run by an agency) (295.4K followers)
Awards and Achievements: Fight of the Night (once), Performance of the Night (four times)

Khamzat Chimaev is such a character, and he very quickly made his mark on the UFC with a bold attitude and a constant claim that he would “smash everybody.”

Chimaev wants to fight all the time, and several quick finishes in his early fights with the UFC propelled him to become very popular with the fans. Not only that, but Chimaev is a skilled fighter. It's tough to find a weakness in his game, and nobody has managed to beat him yet.

Middleweight star Chimaev’s record is now 12-0, and he is on his way to a title challenge -- something that many believe he is destined for as one of the most complete fighters to come through the ranks in recent years.

Chimaev’s playful personality, mixed with his killer instinct in the Octagon, has made him a tremendously popular figure -- one that should be around for a long time to come.

  1. Islam Makhachev

Years Active: 2015 to present
Weight Class: Lightweight
X (formerly Twitter):
https://twitter.com/MAKHACHEVMMA (530.2K followers)
https://www.instagram.com/islam_makhachev/ (8.2M followers)
Awards and Achievements:
Lightweight Champion, Fight of the Night (twice), Performance of the Night (twice)

Islam Makhachev was the up-and-comer who took on that role thanks to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who had been hyping Makhachev as the “next in line” for quite some time. As it turns out, Nurmagomedov was completely right about Makhachev’s potential, as he is now considered one of the toughest fighters to step into the Octagon.

Makhachev hasn’t lost a fight since his second UFC bout in 2015. He has taken down many great fighters, including Charles Oliveira. He also has two wins against Alex Volkanovski.

Makhachev’s great popularity comes from strong support in Russia, as well as his close connection with Nurmagomedov, who has coached and worked with Makhachev for a long time.

The current lightweight champion doesn’t have the bold personality of many of the other fighters on this list, but he does his talking in the Octagon.

  1. Jon “Bones” Jones

Years Active: 2008 to present
Weight Class: Heavyweight
X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/jonnybones (2.9M followers)
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jonnybones/ (8.3M followers)
Awards and Achievements
: Light Heavyweight Champion, Heavyweight Champion, Fight of the Night (four times), Knockout of the Night (once), Submission of the Night (twice), Performance of the Night (twice)

Jon “Bones” Jones is 27-1 as a professional MMA fighter, and he’s never actually lost a match outright. He was putting a beatdown on Matt Hamill early in his career before losing via disqualification for elbows driven straight down into Hamill’s face.

Stunned by the disqualification, Jones was humbled, and he has not lost a single fight since then. He has dominated the UFC for 15 years, beating a list of all-time greats that includes Daniel Cormier, Glover Teixeira, and most recently, Cyril Gane.

Gane and Jones fought for the vacant heavyweight belt following Francis Ngannou’s departure from the UFC. Jones had already claimed the light heavyweight title, which he vacated rather than lost. He then secured the heavyweight title by choking out Gane with a guillotine following a three-year absence from the Octagon.

Jones’ win over Gane cemented his status as the greatest MMA fighter of all time, as he was able to go up a weight class and dominate an opponent for a vacant belt. His performances have helped him become one of the most-followed UFC fighters online, and TV ratings are always going to be high when Jones is in an event.

  1. Israel Adesanya

Years Active: 2018 to present)
Weight Class: Middleweight
X (formerly Twitter):
https://twitter.com/stylebender (1.8M followers)
https://www.instagram.com/stylebender/ (8.6M followers)
https://www.tiktok.com/@freestylebender  (1M followers)
Awards and Achievements:
Middleweight Champion, Fight of the Night (twice),  Performance of the Night (six times)

Not many fighters have dominated the UFC middleweight division like Izzy Adesanya, and “The Last Stylebender” quickly became one of the most popular figures in the sport due to his unique style and stunning knockouts.

Adesanya really put himself on the map when he won by unanimous decision over Kelvin Gastelum in a fight that ranks among the very best battles in middleweight history. From there, he went on to go 17-0 and then fight interim champion Robert Whittaker, during the time when Whittaker held the champion’s belt.

Adesanya proceeded to destroy Whittaker with an incredible knockout, marking one of the highlights of his career. He always has crazy levels of energy and is one of the greatest athletes in the sport.

Fans love how unpredictable he can be, and his wide range of knockouts and finishes have made him one of the most tantalizing men to watch in the UFC.
3. Ronda Rousey Years Active: 2012 to 2016
Weight Class:
X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/rondarousey (3.3M followers)
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rondarousey/ (17.5M followers)
Awards and Achievements:
Bantamweight Champion, Fight of the Night (twice), Performance of the Night (five times)

Ronda Rousey was one of the faces of the UFC as the organization was gaining popularity in the 2010s. She came over from Strike Force and quickly became the most popular female fighter under contract -- somebody who sold out arenas single-handedly during her career.

Rousey took part in the UFC’s first ever female fight at UFC 157 -- headlining the card with a bout against Liz Carmouche. She proceeded to defeat Carmouche with her signature arm bar, making history as the first female fighter to win in the UFC.

Rousey is considered a major trailblazer for women’s mixed martial arts, and went on to win several more fights to stretch her record to 12-0. She became the first bantamweight champion in the women's division, and she defended her title six times before finally being beaten by Holly Holm.

Ronda Rousey remains a very popular figure in the sports world, and she spent several years in the WWE after leaving the UFC.
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Years Active: 2012 to 2020
Weight Class: Lightweight
X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/TeamKhabib  (2.2M followers)
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/khabib_nurmagomedov/ (36.5M followers)
TikTok: n/a
Awards and Achievements: Lightweight Champion, Performance of the Night (three times)

Winning 29 straight fights and then retiring in your prime doesn't happen very often, but achieving such a feat can solidify a fighter’s status as an icon in the sport of MMA.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the most battle-tested champions in UFC history, and some consider him to be the greatest UFC fighter of all time. He led from the front as one of several great fighters out of Dagestan, and he was never beaten in the Octagon.

He came into the UFC with a 17-0 record and then proceeded to quickly climb the rankings before fighting for the vacant lightweight title belt in 2018. He won by decision, and then beat three all-time great lightweight fighters to defend that title.

Over the last few years, the UFC’s middleweight division has boasted one of the most talented pools of fighters, and three of the very best all tried and failed to beat Nurmagomedov in his prime.

He knocked off Conor McGregor with a rear naked choke, did the same thing to Dustin Poirier, and then choked out Justin Gaethje in what would be his final UFC fight.

After beating Gaethje, he announced his retirement – having promised his mother that Gaethje would be his last fight following the death of Nurmagomedov’s father at age 57. Since then, Nurmagomedov has remained close to MMA, working with fighters such as Islam Makhachev.

  1. Conor McGregor

Years Active: 2013 to present
Weight Class:
X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/TheNotoriousMMA (10.4M followers)
https://www.instagram.com/thenotoriousmma/ (47.2M followers)
Awards and Achievements:
Featherweight Champion, Lightweight Champion, Fight of the Night (twice), Knockout of the Night (once), Performance of the Night (seven times)

Conor McGregor is a marketing genius, having grown his own brand to perfection as one of the boldest personalities in the history of the UFC.

“The Notorious” McGregor built himself an astounding audience amid clapbacks and trash talk -- selling more tickets for UFC fights than any other fighter in the organization during his prime.

McGregor helped make the UFC what it is today. He was its poster boy, and his fights were the most highly anticipated by a landslide.

Of course, McGregor wasn’t all smack talk, he was also an unbelievable showman in the Octagon during his prime. He knocked out Jose Aldo in breathtaking fashion in just 13 seconds, destroyed Eddie Alvarez, and beat up Dustin Poirier the first time he faced him. He is without a doubt one of the most iconic UFC fighters in the sport's history.

McGregor was the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold belts in two weight classes, and in 2021 he was ranked as the world’s highest-paid athlete, reportedly earning around $180 million.

While the UFC continues to expand, and its fighters become popular with a broader audience, no one has yet reached the status of Conor McGregor. He is among the most followed athletes in the world, and has over 10 million more Instagram followers than any other fighter on this list.
Parameters of Rankings

These fighters have been ranked based on their popularity on social media -- taking into account their followers on the three main platforms, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram and TikTok.
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