The Best Martial Artists in History People In Sports

The Best Martial Artists in History

65k votes 10k voters 397k views 169 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!
List Photo: user uploaded image
  • 32 ReRanks
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  1. 51
    + 141
    - 244


    age 39

    ;
  2. 52
    + 122
    - 166


    ;
  3. 53
    + 126
    - 239
    Frank Mir is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History


    Frank Mir age 36

  4. 54
    + 96
    - 194


    age 40

    ;
  5. 55
    + 122
    - 216

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    age 45

    ;
  6. 56
    + 10
    - 28

    often listed & added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    age 34

    ;
  7. 57
    + 135
    - 131
    Don the Dragon Wilson is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History


    Don the Dragon Wilson

  8. 58
    + 134
    - 75

    ranked low on reranks & added by Richard777
    age 79

    ;
  9. 59
    + 141
    - 83

    added by Richard777
    age 59

    ;
  10. 60
    + 131
    - 129
    Ed Parker is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History


    Ed Parker Died at 59 (1931-1990)

  11. 61
    + 89
    - 203

    often listed
    age 37

    ;
  12. 62
    + 60
    - 177
    Mark Coleman is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History


    Mark Coleman age 51

  13. 63
    + 77
    - 36
    No image

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

  14. 64
    + 74
    - 160
    Dan Severn is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History


    Dan Severn age 57

  15. 65
    + 23
    - 14

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Died at 39 (1103-1142)

    ;
  16. 66
    + 84
    - 198

    often listed
    age 32

    ;
  17. 67
    + 68
    - 161

    often listed
    age 32

    ;
  18. 68
    + 64
    - 197

    often listed
    age 49

    ;
  19. 69
    + 18
    - 16
    Zhang Sanfeng is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Zhang Sanfeng

  20. 70
    + 17
    - 15
    Chen Shixing is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Chen Shixing

  21. 71
    + 19
    - 15
    Wang Lang is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Wang Lang

  22. 72
    + 25
    - 17
    Joe Louis is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Joe Louis Died at 67 (1914-1981)

  23. 73
    + 23
    - 18
    Gordon Liu is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Gordon Liu

  24. 74
    + 32
    - 36
    Sugar Ray Leonard is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History


    Sugar Ray Leonard age 59

  25. 75
    + 19
    - 16
    Ti Lung is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Ti Lung

  26. 76
    + 30
    - 10
    Wong Fei Hung is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    Wong Fei Hung

  27. 77
    + 14
    - 28
    Jack Wong Man is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History


    Jack Wong Man

  28. 78
    + 25
    - 41
    Oscar de la Hoya is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History


    Oscar de la Hoya age 42

  29. 79
    + 9
    - 16
    Holly Holm is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by Switchdoctor
    Holly Holm age 34

  30. 80
    + 47
    - 163
    Alistair Overeem is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    often listed
    Alistair Overeem age 35

  31. 81
    + 8
    - 22

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    age 42

    ;
  32. 82
    + 15
    - 29
    No image


    Kazushi Sakabara

  33. 83
    + 11
    - 23

    added by CapoAssKickerMikey95
    age 62

    ;
  34. 84
    + 22
    - 10
    Sun Lutang(Xing Yi quan & ... is listed (or ranked) 84 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)

  35. 85
    + 11
    - 33


    age 41

    ;
  36. 86
    + 21
    - 11
    Chen Xiaowang (chen Taichi)(陈小... is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

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

  37. 87
    + 21
    - 12
    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
    + 21
    - 12
    Wang Ziping(Tan Tui, Cha quan,... is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

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

  39. 89
    + 18
    - 8
    Chen Wangting(Chen Tai Chi)(陈王... is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

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

  40. 90
    + 20
    - 11
    Dong Haichuan(Ba Gua zhang)(董海... is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

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

  41. 91
    + 21
    - 13
    Pan Xiaojie(xing Yi Quan)(潘小杰) is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

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

  42. 92
    + 10
    - 35


    age 48

    ;
  43. 93
    + 20
    - 12
    Yue Fei(岳飞) is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Yue Fei(岳飞)

  44. 94
    + 19
    - 11
    Zhao Wenzhuo(赵文卓) is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Zhao Wenzhuo(赵文卓)

  45. 95
    + 19
    - 11
    Liang Yiquan(shaolin)(梁以全) is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

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

  46. 96
    + 17
    - 98

    often listed & ranked high on reranks

    ;
  47. 97
    + 18
    - 12
    Shi Dejian(shaolin)(释德建) is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

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

  48. 98
    + 15
    - 9
    Wu Zhong(Ba Ji Quan)(吴钟) is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Wu Zhong(Ba Ji Quan)(吴钟)

  49. 99
    + 15
    - 9
    Guo Yunshen(Xing Yi Quan)(郭云深) is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

    added by xiaoli-song
    Guo Yunshen(Xing Yi Quan)(郭云深)

  50. 100
    + 15
    - 9
    Shi Yanlu(Shao Lin)(释延鲁) is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

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

170 +

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