Best Athletes The Toughest Professional Fighters in History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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
7,896 2,652
Rocky Marciano is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Italy, United States of America

2
6,014 3,021
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

3
12,953 7,493
Fedor Emelianenko is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

4
6,159 4,021
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

5
3,911 1,858
Joe Louis is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

6
3,324 1,459
Sugar Ray Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

7
3,097 1,056
Jack Dempsey is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

8
5,034 2,702
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Hong Kong, United States of America

9
3,345 2,605
Anderson Silva is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

10
3,424 1,490
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
JamesHunt added Italy, United States of America

11
3,429 911
Joe Frazier is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

12
2,632 1,871
Georges St-Pierre is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

13
2,721 925
George Foreman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

14
2,540 1,033
Marvelous Marvin Hagler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
SeanPatrickKennedyHill added United States of America

15
2,746 1,562
Dan Henderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

16
2,586 1,544
Wanderlei Silva is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

17
1,550 908
Royce Gracie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Hammerman47 added Brazil

18
2,133 1,325
Chuck Liddell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

19
2,490 1,060
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Philippines

20
2,274 1,468
Randy Couture is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

21
2,094 1,252
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
ejlinehan added United States of America

22
2,062 1,294
Evander Holyfield is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

23
1,915 1,114
Mark Hunt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
New Zealand

24
1,880 902
Arturo Gatti is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
kassaq added Canada, Italy

25
1,942 1,183
Roberto Duran is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

26
1,745 1,073
Cain Velasquez is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

27
1,690 1,200
Micky Ward is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Ireland, United States of America

28
1,342 901
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
MatthewKurňava added United States of America

29
1,685 1,247
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

30
434 373
Jon Jones is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
JamesNicholsIII added United States of America

31
1,939 1,280
Bas Rutten is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added United States of America, Netherlands

32
1,577 1,277
B.J. Penn is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

33
1,042 741
Alexander Karelin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

34
1,239 671
Archie Moore is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

35
1,070 680
Gene Tunney is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

36
1,253 857
George Chuvalo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
lac la biche added Canada

37
1,270 716
Julio César Chávez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
g_money_stud added Mexico

38
1,256 650
Kazushi Sakuraba is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added

39
1,294 1,004
Junior dos Santos is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

40
1,342 1,086
Roy Nelson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

41
742 475
Roy Jones Jr. is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

42
150 222
Chris Leben is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

43
1,335 1,266
Mirko Filipović is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added Yugoslavia, Croatia

44
1,071 1,029
Vitali Klitschko is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

45
1,223 686
Thomas Hearns is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

46
411 245
Sonny Liston is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

47
947 1,002
Matt Hughes is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

48
725 582
Carmen Basilio is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

49
891 786
Frankie Edgar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

50
345 583
Brock Lesnar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America