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Legendary Submission Artists in UFC History

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Last Updated on March 21, 2024

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been home to some of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history. Among these, a select group of athletes have made their mark as submission artists, displaying extraordinary skills and techniques that have left fans and opponents in awe.

Here, we pay tribute to some of the legendary submission artists in UFC history.

1. Royce Gracie

Hailing from Brazil, Royce Gracie is a UFC Hall of Famer and one of the sport's pioneers. He mastered the art of ground game with his signature move, the rear naked choke, often leading him to victory.

His prowess shone brightly when he won the very first UFC tournament, UFC 1. Among his many achievements, the most noteworthy is being one of only two fighters to clinch victory in three UFC tournaments.

This legendary status has made him a significant and lasting figure not just in the sport but the whole of combat sports itself. 

2. Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira, a Brazilian mixed martial artist, holds the record for the most submission victories in UFC history. His grappling skills are unmatched, with an ability to submit opponents from a variety of positions.

Oliveira's versatility is evident in his wide array of submission wins, which include guillotines, rear-naked chokes, and anaconda chokes. This range of techniques underlines his adaptability and makes him a formidable force in the lightweight division. 

With a professional record of 31 wins, 8 losses, and 1 no-contest, Oliveira's mastery of submissions continues to dominate in online sports betting circles, where his matches are always eagerly anticipated.

3. Frank Mir

An American mixed martial artist, Frank Mir is known for being one of the best submission artists in the heavyweight division of the UFC. His prowess lies in his bone-crushing submissions, with the kimura lock being a notable part of his combat arsenal.

Mir's exceptional skills led him to clinch the UFC Heavyweight Championship twice, a testament to his dominance in the ring. However, his legacy extends beyond these victories. He holds an impressive record for the most finishes and submissions in the history of the UFC heavyweight division. 

This accomplishment underscores his mastery as a submission artist and his influential role in shaping the sport.

4. Demian Maia

Demian Maia is a master of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Brazil. He has earned recognition for his outstanding grappling prowess in the UFC. His signature submission move, the rear naked choke, is a testament to his technical mastery.

Maia's skills have led him to hold the record for the second-highest submission victories in UFC history, a significant achievement attesting to his dominance. 

His most memorable fight is his bout against Chael Sonnen at UFC 95, where he triumphed with a remarkable triangle choke just two minutes into the first round, showcasing his exceptional skill and strategic acumen.

5. Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey is an American mixed martial artist and judoka who revolutionized the role of women in the UFC.  Known for her signature move, the armbar, she instilled fear in her opponents. Rousey's milestones are significant; she was the first woman to sign with the UFC and became the inaugural UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion.

Her dominance was further displayed as she successfully defended her title six times, with almost all of these defenses culminating in a first-round armbar submission. Her trailblazing journey in the UFC has significantly elevated the status of women in the sport.

6. Nate Diaz

Known for his boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, Nate Diaz is one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC. His signature submission move is the guillotine choke. Diaz's key achievements include winning 

The Ultimate Fighter 5 and his iconic victory against Conor McGregor at UFC 196, where he won via rear-naked choke, solidifying his status as an elite submission artist.

7. Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva, a Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC Middleweight Champion, is hailed as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. Known for his striking ability, Silva's prowess also extends to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

His record includes an iconic Triangle Armbar submission victory over Chael Sonnen at UFC 117, an unforgettable moment that solidified his reputation as a formidable submission artist. With a professional record of 34 wins, 11 losses, and 1 no contest, Silva's legacy continues to influence the world of MMA.

8. Babalu Sobral

Renato "Babalu" Sobral, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, is known for his aggressive submission style. Throughout his UFC career, Sobral has secured multiple submission victories, including an impressive Anaconda choke win over David Heath at UFC 74. 

His tenacity and ability to seize submission opportunities have earned him a place among the UFC's best submission artists.

9. Korean Zombie

Chan Sung Jung, better known as the "Korean Zombie," is another fighter renowned for his submission prowess. His ability to execute intricate submissions under intense pressure is nothing short of impressive.

In UFC Fight Night 24, he became the first fighter in UFC history to win via a Twister submission, defeating Leonard Garcia. This victory not only showcased his innovative grappling techniques but also solidified his reputation as a formidable submission artist. 

With a professional record of 17 wins and 6 losses, the "Korean Zombie" continues to make his mark in the featherweight division.

10. Gilbert Burns

Gilbert Burns, a world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, has successfully translated his grappling skills to the Octagon. His armbar victory over Alex Oliveira and his triangle choke win against Lukasz Sajewski are testaments to his exceptional submission ability. 

Burns' ground game is considered one of the most dangerous in the welterweight division.

Final Thoughts

All of the iconic MMA athletes we have mentioned here have revolutionized the sport with their distinct submission styles, illustrating how these techniques can be both a defensive strategy and an offensive weapon. 

They've set records, won championships, and, notably, empowered many aspirants in the UFC. Their legacies will leave an indelible mark, inspiring upcoming fighters to hone their submission skills.

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