The Best Martial Artists in History

70k votes 11k voters 412k views 167 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Only Martial Arts stars, MMA is fine. No boxers nor fictional characters.

The best martial artists in history are some of the most successful, most famous and toughest fighters to ever compete. These tough guys are UFC champions, movie stars and icons in the fighting world. Whether you're a fan of the Chinese greats like Bruce Lee, the MMA front-runners like Chuck Liddell or anywhere in between, it's hard to argue that all of these men are highly skilled in their various disciplines.

Martial arts is one of the widest classifications for combat sports out there. Typically, martial arts describes fighting styles originating in Asia but can describe everything from activities containing strike attacks like tae kwon do, karate, kung fu ad capoeira to grappling activities like judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and even sumo wrestling. It is perhaps the wide range of disciplines that makes mastering martial arts so difficult.

Action movie fans may enjoy seeing stars like Jackie Chan and Jet Li compete on the silver screen but some may not know that before these talented men were Hollywood favorites, they were leaders in the Chinese martial arts world. Bruce Lee is arguably one of the best martial artists ever and helped the sport gain popularity. In part, Lee opened the door for tough guys, such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris, to become some on-screen martial arts legends.

But there's much more to martial arts than what you see in movies. In modern times, the UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the largest mixed martial arts (MMA) company in the world and is home to some of the best MMA fighters to ever compete. UFC Hall of Fame members such as Randy Couture, Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrocks have inspired younger fighters like Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre and Fedor Emelianenko to become some of the toughest professional fighters ever.

Is it fair to compare some of the greatest fighters like Bruce Lee to Anderson Silva without having the two men compete head to head? Maybe not but that's where you come in, folks. Tell us which fighters you think are the best in history by voting for your favorite, adding those not listed and re-ranking this list your way below!
  • 35 ReRanks
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    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 51
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    age 38

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    ranked low on reranks & added by Richard777
    age 59

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    ranked low on reranks & added by Richard777
    age 79

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    age 45

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    Died at 59 (1931-1990)

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  10. 60
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    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    age 34

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  11. 61
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    No image

    ranked low on reranks & added by marcel.hildering
    Miyamoto Musashi

  12. 62
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    age 37

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    age 51

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    age 57

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  15. 65
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    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Died at 39 (1103-1142)

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  16. 66
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    often listed
    age 32

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    often listed
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  18. 68
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    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Died at 67 (1914-1981)

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    age 49

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  20. 70
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    age 59

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  21. 71
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    Chen Shixing is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Chen Shixing

  22. 72
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    Gordon Liu is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Gordon Liu

  23. 73
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    Zhang Sanfeng is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Zhang Sanfeng

  24. 74
    + 20
    - 24
    Wang Lang is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Wang Lang

  25. 75
    + 3
    - 0
    Benny Urquidez is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    new! & added by Tangy Tiger
    Benny Urquidez

  26. 76
    + 21
    - 25
    Ti Lung is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Ti Lung

  27. 77
    + 38
    - 17
    Wong Fei Hung is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Wong Fei Hung

  28. 78
    + 14
    - 25

    added by Switchdoctor
    age 34

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  29. 79
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    about to drop off
    age 42

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  30. 80
    + 13
    - 31

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    age 42

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  31. 81
    + 28
    - 16
    Sun Lutang(Xing Yi quan & ... is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Sun Lutang(Xing Yi quan & Ba gua zhang & Sun Tai Chi)(孙禄堂)

  32. 82
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    age 35

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  33. 83
    + 40
    - 38
    Wesley Snipes is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by Barry Bird
    Wesley Snipes

  34. 84
    + 26
    - 19
    Wang Ziping(Tan Tui, Cha quan,... is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Wang Ziping(Tan Tui, Cha quan,Tai Chi)(王子平)

  35. 85
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    - 32

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    age 62

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  36. 86
    + 23
    - 19
    Dong Haichuan(Ba Gua zhang)(董海... is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Dong Haichuan(Ba Gua zhang)(董海川)

  37. 87
    + 23
    - 20
    Zhang Sanfeng(wu dang)(张三丰) is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Zhang Sanfeng(wu dang)(张三丰)

  38. 88
    + 22
    - 19
    Chen Xiaowang (chen Taichi)(陈小... is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Chen Xiaowang (chen Taichi)(陈小旺)

  39. 89
    + 22
    - 19
    Zhao Wenzhuo(赵文卓) is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Zhao Wenzhuo(赵文卓)

  40. 90
    + 22
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    Yue Fei(岳飞) is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Yue Fei(岳飞)

  41. 91
    + 22
    - 20
    Liang Yiquan(shaolin)(梁以全) is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Liang Yiquan(shaolin)(梁以全)

  42. 92
    + 19
    - 16
    Chen Wangting(Chen Tai Chi)(陈王... is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Chen Wangting(Chen Tai Chi)(陈王廷)

  43. 93
    + 23
    - 22
    Pan Xiaojie(xing Yi Quan)(潘小杰) is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Pan Xiaojie(xing Yi Quan)(潘小杰)

  44. 94
    + 21
    - 20
    Shi Dejian(shaolin)(释德建) is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Shi Dejian(shaolin)(释德建)

  45. 95
    + 16
    - 13
    Huo Diange(Ba Ji Quan)(霍殿阁) is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Huo Diange(Ba Ji Quan)(霍殿阁)

  46. 96
    + 17
    - 15
    Shi Yanlu(Shao Lin)(释延鲁) is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Shi Yanlu(Shao Lin)(释延鲁)

  47. 97
    + 17
    - 106

    often listed & ranked high on reranks

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  48. 98
    + 21
    - 23
    No image

    added by FrankMades
    Conor Mcgregor

  49. 99
    + 14
    - 13
    Shi Yaozu(xin Yi Liu He Quan)(... is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Shi Yaozu(xin Yi Liu He Quan)(石耀祖)

  50. 100
    + 14
    - 13
    Zhang Yunlong(xin Yi Liu He Qu... is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Zhang Yunlong(xin Yi Liu He Quan)(张云龙)

168 +

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