Last Updated on February 22, 2024
Mexico is known for many things, including pristine beaches, rich culture, mouthwatering food, and vibrant history. In sports, association football, boxing, and baseball are some of the most popular. Mixed martial art is not yet as prevalent as the others.
Despite the lack of popularity of MMA in the country, Mexico has produced some of the best fighters in the sport, including those I will list in this short guide.
The Best Mexican UFC Fighters You Should Know
1. Nick Diaz
With 26 wins, including 13 by knockout, eight by submission, and five by decision, Nick Diaz is one of the most popular Mexican fighters. He has 11 losses throughout his career. Currently, he is competing in the middleweight division.
In 2015, Nick Diaz was placed under a five-year suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission for failed drug tests. He was also fined $165,000.
He returned to the UFC Octagon in September 2021 through a fight with Robbie Lawler. In the third round, Diaz was knocked down. While he was given the chance by the referee to get back on his feet, he quit the match.
While UFC is a mix of various fighting styles, Diaz has gained popularity for Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He is a black belter and has trained under Cesar Gracie.
2. Dominick Cruz
While he was born and raised in the United States, Dominick Cruz has Mexican descent, making him another UFC fighter who deserves a spot on this list.
Known for his wrestling prowess, he has a total of seven wins by knockout and one win by submission. Meanwhile, he had four losses.
A former bantamweight champion in the Octagon, many UFC fans will remember Dominick Cruz because of his loss to Marlon Vera in UFC San Diego. He lost after a shocking head kick, which ended the fourth round of the fight at the 2:17-mark.
Cruz is one of the MMA fighters who remains relevant even outside the ring. He is also a commentator and has been praised by many fans because of his thorough commentaries, providing the audience with valuable insights on various fighting styles.
3. Tito Ortiz
Like many of the MMA fighters on this list, Tito Ortiz was born and raised in the United States. Despite such, he is proud of his Mexican heritage. He carries a half-American and half-Mexican flag when he is in the Octagon.
Also known as the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, Ortiz had 21 wins and 12 losses. He belongs to the light heavyweight class and is known for his wrestling style. Tito Ortiz is not just an industry pioneer in UFC but also one of the most prominent figures in Bellator MMA.
As for his life behind the Octagon, Tito Ortiz has also briefly ventured into acting. He was also a member of the Huntington Beach Council from 2020 to 2021 and became the Mayor Pro Tempore.
4. Brandon Moreno
The Assassin Baby or Brandon Moreno is perhaps the most popular on this list. He will forever be cherished by Hispanics for being the first 100% Mexican UFC champion.
Moreno became a UFC champion after a bout with Deiveson Figueiredo. It was a five-round match that concluded with a draw. In the second fight, Moreno claimed victory through submission.
Throughout his career, this flyweight fighter has accumulated a total of 20 wins and six losses. Meanwhile, he had two draws. Out of his 20 victories, three were knockouts, 11 were by submission, and eight were first-round finishes.
He has also been a part of several teams throughout his UFC career, such as Entram Gym, Bang Muay Thai, Team Elevation, and Glory MMA & Fitness.
5. Carlos Condit
Regarded as The Natural Born Killer, Carlos Condit puts justice to his moniker. He had 32 wins, including 15 wins by knockout, 13 by submission, and four by decision. He has already retired, but his memory of being an amazing fighter will always remain.
When the odds are against him, Carlos Condit proves that he is someone who should not be taken lightly. This is where he shows his Mexican heart, even if he is playing under the flag of the United States.
Before the merger of UFC and WEC, Condit was already with the WEC, where he was the welterweight champion.
One of his most memorable fights was his title unification bout with Georges St-Pierre. Even if Condit shows what Mexican might is all about, it was sadly not enough to dethrone GSP.
6. Anthony Pettis
A UFC Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis is one of the pioneers in the sport. He has 25 wins and 14 losses.
Anthony Pettis has received several accolades in the past, cementing his reputation as one of the best in mixed martial arts. Some of his MMA recognitions include No. 18 Fighter of the Year (2012), No. 3 Fighter of the Year (2013), No. 20 Greatest Striker of all Time, and No. 56 Greatest Fighter of all Time.
In August 2022, Pettis announced he had broken bones in both of his hands, leaving him with no choice but to have surgery. The injuries were after his fight with Stevie Rey, where Pettis broke his right thumb and left hand.
7. Cain Velasquez
When it comes to representing Mexicans in MMA history, Cain Velasquez is one name that should never be missed.
During his UFC fights, Cain Velasquez had 14 wins and three losses. He had 12 wins by knockout, two by decision, and two by title defenses.
His Brown Pride tattoo on his chest shows how proud Velasquez is of being Mexican, even if he is fighting for the United States in the cage.
Regarded by many as one of the best heavyweight fighters of his time, Velasquez has suffered from numerous injuries, which affected his career. Despite such, he made a huge name, especially after defeating some of the best UFC fighters, including Mark Hunt and Antonio Big Foot Silva.
8. Henry Cejudo
Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo had 16 wins during his time at the UFC, including six winning streaks, seven knockouts, and seven decisions.
One thing that made Cejudo popular is that he is one of the few fighters with a double UFC championship. This means that he ruled two divisions simultaneously.
More so, he is the only double champion with a UFC gold and Olympic gold medal. He got his gold when he won in the 2008 Games in Beijing for wrestling.
He was also known for beating TJ Dillashaw to conquer the bantamweight title shot.
Some people hate Cejudo and call him the King of Cringe. The latter is a reference to his awkward public displays. Despite such, it does not change the fact that he is amongst the best fighters in MMA history.
9. Nate Diaz
The younger brother of Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, proves that fighting is in the blood. Known for being a striker, he had five wins by knockout, 12 wins by submission, and four wins by decision. Meanwhile, he had 13 losses.
While has no UFC title, it is undeniable that he is one of the greatest in the sport. He fought Connor McGregor thrice, and in both instances, he proved that he got what it takes to be in the cage. In one of these fights (UFC 196), Nate won against McGregor.
The Stockton slap is one of his most prominent strikes. Nate Diaz became popular for slapping his opponent in the face.
10. Tony Ferguson
Also known as El Cucuy, Tony Ferguson is an industry pioneer in both UFC and Bellator. He has 26 wins and seven losses. Of his victories, 13 were by knockout, eight by submission, and nine were first-round finishes.
With a 12-fight winning streak, a lot of UFC fans believe that Ferguson is one of the most unstoppable fighters in the game.
Anthony Pettis, Kevin Lee, Donald Cerrone, and Rafael Dos Anjos were some of the most notable contenders for Ferguson. They were all title contenders that he defeated either with a decision or knockout.
He has suffered several injuries throughout his professional career, which prevented his fights with Khabib Nurmagomedov from materializing. This has made some fans sad as the two were some of the best lightweights in UFC.
11. Gilbert Melendez
He might not be as popular as the others on this list, but Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez is another fighter who takes pride in his Mexican Heritage.
During high school, he was already wrestling, which provided early exposure that helped him in his UFC career. It was only in college when he started training in mixed martial arts.
It was in 2013 when Melendez had his UFC debut. He fought with Benson Henderson. Melendez ended up losing via a split decision.
Throughout his career, he made 22 victories, which include 12 knockouts, six decisions, and six title defenses.
12. Alejandro Perez
Wrapping up our list of Mexican UFC fighters is Alejandro “Turbo” Perez, a part of the featherweight division. He had 23 wins, including ten by knockout, six by submission, and seven by decision. Meanwhile, he lost nine times and had one draw.
He debuted as a professional fighter in 2005 when he was only 16 years old. At that time, he was already competing across Mexico for regional promotions. It was in 2014 when he had his first appearance at the UFC. Through a unanimous decision, Perez won the bantamweight finals.
Knock-Out Point: There are a few wrestlers who also made a name in the UFC. Get to know them here -- Best Wrestlers In UFC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is MMA big in Mexico?
No, MMA isn’t big in Mexico. It is far from enjoying the same reputation as boxing. According to Bleacher Report, one of the reasons why MMA is not widely adopted is because of the lack of exposure to grappling techniques. There are limited schools and resources. Also, Mexico is yet to see more native fighters (not Mexican-American) reach upper UFC ranks.
Are there any Mexican UFC champions?
Yes, there is a Mexican holding a UFC championship. He is Brandon Moreno, the first Mexican-born fighter to have a UFC belt. He defeated Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 263 in 2021. He won in the third round.
While it has a reputation as one of the top fighting countries in the Americas, MMA is not yet a big thing in Mexico. It does not enjoy the same status as it has in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, among other countries. Despite such, it is undeniable that Mexico has some of the best mixed martial artists.
Are there other Mexicans that deserve a mention when talking about the best UFC fighters? Make sure to leave a comment below.