Best Athletes The Toughest Professional Fighters in History  

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List Rules Professional boxers, wrestlers, and MMA fighters

The toughest professional fighters in history include some of the fiercest and bravest boxers, MMA fighters, and even wrestlers who proved their strength and perseverance time and time again. These tough men are the types you'd love to have behind you in a dark alley or a bar fight, as well as the men who entertain us on pay-per-view fights in the ring and the octagon. We can argue all day about the best boxers, MMA fighters and wrestlers, but which professional fighter is the toughest of them all? Who is the toughest man in history? Vote up your favorite and add other tough guys below.

Despite also being known for their silly UFC fighter nicknames, because of the skill required to compete and the level of danger of the sport, a great argument can be made that mixed martial arts fighters are some of the toughest pro fighters around. Anderson Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Dan Henderson and the great Chuck Liddell all lead that pack as some of the toughest MMA fighters and the hardest men in history. 

Others would argue that boxers are the greatest fighters in history. Ukrainian heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko, the great welterweight Micky Ward, top puncher Earnie Shavers and Muhammad Ali are favorites in the boxing world as some of the toughest to enter the ring. Sure, some of the technical best boxers of all time are not on that list but remember, this is about the toughest fighters, not necessarily the best.

Professional wrestlers can be added to the mix despite being more entertainers than athletes. Regardless, they are required to be pretty darn tough to do their jobs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Terry Funk, and Mike Foley are just a sampling of the WWF/WWE wrestlers that you wouldn't want to take on in a fight.

Each of these professional fighters dealt with different challenges and opponents as they competed in their respective sports. All of these pro fighters proved their toughness time and time again. To get knocked down once and get back in that ring takes a whole lot of courage, and these fighters did that over and over throughout their careers. If that isn't a measure of toughness, I'm not sure what is.
list ordered by

1
8,116 2,693
Rocky Marciano is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Italy, United States of America

2
6,095 3,207
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

3
12,998 7,689
Fedor Emelianenko is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

4
6,227 4,213
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

5
4,019 1,954
Joe Louis is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

6
3,402 1,586
Sugar Ray Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

7
3,281 1,069
Jack Dempsey is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

8
5,160 2,792
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Hong Kong, United States of America

9
3,581 1,506
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
JamesHunt added Italy, United States of America

10
3,369 2,745
Anderson Silva is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

11
3,576 937
Joe Frazier is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

12
2,659 2,005
Georges St-Pierre is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

13
2,778 965
George Foreman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

14
2,580 1,078
Marvelous Marvin Hagler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
SeanPatrickKennedyHill added United States of America

15
2,757 1,616
Dan Henderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

16
2,596 1,595
Wanderlei Silva is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

17
1,563 951
Royce Gracie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Hammerman47 added Brazil

18
2,149 1,352
Chuck Liddell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

19
2,510 1,093
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Philippines

20
2,285 1,493
Randy Couture is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

21
2,119 1,301
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
ejlinehan added United States of America

22
2,087 1,323
Evander Holyfield is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

23
1,926 1,143
Mark Hunt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
New Zealand

24
1,898 927
Arturo Gatti is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
kassaq added Canada, Italy

25
1,962 1,204
Roberto Duran is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

26
1,754 1,089
Cain Velasquez is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

27
1,704 1,219
Micky Ward is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Ireland, United States of America

28
1,687 1,263
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

29
1,356 952
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
MatthewKurňava added United States of America

30
451 394
Jon Jones is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
JamesNicholsIII added United States of America

31
1,953 1,295
Bas Rutten is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added Netherlands, United States of America

32
1,584 1,298
B.J. Penn is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

33
1,269 678
Archie Moore is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

34
1,046 764
Alexander Karelin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

35
1,104 682
Gene Tunney is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

36
1,270 875
George Chuvalo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
lac la biche added Canada

37
1,282 719
Julio César Chávez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
g_money_stud added Mexico

38
1,258 653
Kazushi Sakuraba is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added

39
1,295 1,008
Junior dos Santos is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

40
1,344 1,089
Roy Nelson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

41
752 481
Roy Jones Jr. is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

42
151 228
Chris Leben is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

43
1,340 1,270
Mirko Filipović is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added Yugoslavia, Croatia

44
1,234 695
Thomas Hearns is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

45
1,075 1,040
Vitali Klitschko is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

46
424 254
Sonny Liston is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

47
737 585
Carmen Basilio is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

48
952 1,012
Matt Hughes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

49
893 791
Frankie Edgar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

50
351 595
Brock Lesnar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America