best athletes The Best Martial Artists in History  

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List Rules 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!
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181 291
Vitor Belfort is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Vitor Belfort age 40

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52
141 191
Andi Hug is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

53
177 94
Dan Inosanto is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Richard777 added Dan Inosanto age 79

54
148 280
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

55
185 110
Frank Dux is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Richard777 added Frank Dux age 59

56
120 51
Miyamoto Musashi is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
marcel.hildering added Miyamoto Musashi

57
162 149
Ed Parker is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Ed Parker Died at 59 (1931-1990)

58
129 243
Dan Henderson is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Dan Henderson age 47

59
132 274
Frank Mir is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Frank Mir age 38

60
17 58
Frankie Edgar is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Frankie Edgar age 36

61
105 228
Tito Ortiz is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Tito Ortiz age 42

62
67 60
Sugar Ray Leonard is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

63
52 38
Joe Louis is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Joe Louis Died at 67 (1914-1981)

64
38 30
Yue Fei is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Yue Fei Died at 39 (1103-1142)

65
65 203
Mark Coleman is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Mark Coleman age 53

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85 185
Dan Severn is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Dan Severn age 59

67
44 37
Gordon Liu is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Gordon Liu

68
98 226
Quinton Jackson is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

69
58 24
Wong Fei Hung is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Wong Fei Hung

70
88 224
Benson Henderson is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

71
74 184
Shinya Aoki is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Shinya Aoki age 32

72
28 30
Chen Shixing is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Chen Shixing

73
67 219
Pat Miletich is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Pat Miletich age 51

74
24 31
Zhang Sanfeng is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Zhang Sanfeng

75
26 31
Wang Lang is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Wang Lang

76
12 13
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Tangy Tiger added Benny Urquidez

77
27 33
Ti Lung is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Ti Lung

78
68 56
Wesley Snipes is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Barry Bird added Wesley Snipes

79
41 24
Sun Lutang(Xing Yi quan & ... is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Sun Lutang(Xing Yi quan & Ba gua zhang & Sun Tai Chi)(孙禄堂)

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55 188
Alistair Overeem is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

81
33 20
Wu Jing(吴京) is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Wu Jing(吴京)

82
38 27
Wang Ziping(Tan Tui, Cha quan,... is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Wang Ziping(Tan Tui, Cha quan,Tai Chi)(王子平)

83
37 67
Oscar de la Hoya is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

84
40 35
Conor Mcgregor is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
FrankMades added Conor Mcgregor

85
7 19
Joe Rogan is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Joe Rogan August 11, 1967 (49)

86
32 26
Yue Fei(岳飞) is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Yue Fei(岳飞)

87
26 24
Zhao Wenzhuo(赵文卓) is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Zhao Wenzhuo(赵文卓)

88
24 22
Huo Yuanjia is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
bugs-bunny added Huo Yuanjia

89
26 25
Liang Yiquan(shaolin)(梁以全) is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Liang Yiquan(shaolin)(梁以全)

90
28 29
Pan Xiaojie(xing Yi Quan)(潘小杰) is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Pan Xiaojie(xing Yi Quan)(潘小杰)

91
19 115
herb perez is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History

92
20 18
Huo Diange(Ba Ji Quan)(霍殿阁) is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Huo Diange(Ba Ji Quan)(霍殿阁)

93
25 26
Dong Haichuan(Ba Gua zhang)(董海... is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Dong Haichuan(Ba Gua zhang)(董海川)

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94
21 20
Shi Yanlu(Shao Lin)(释延鲁) is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Shi Yanlu(Shao Lin)(释延鲁)

95
83 290
Kimbo Slice is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Kimbo Slice age 43

96
22 22
Jon Jones is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
Shrini97 added Jon Jones age 30

97
20 19
Wu Zhong(Ba Ji Quan)(吴钟) is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Wu Zhong(Ba Ji Quan)(吴钟)

98
25 27
Zhang Sanfeng(wu dang)(张三丰) is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Zhang Sanfeng(wu dang)(张三丰)

99
19 18
Yi Long(shao Lin)(武僧一龙) is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Yi Long(shao Lin)(武僧一龙)

100
19 18
Guo Yunshen(Xing Yi Quan)(郭云深) is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Best Martial Artists in History
xiaoli-song added Guo Yunshen(Xing Yi Quan)(郭云深)