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
7,985 2,670
Rocky Marciano is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Italy, United States of America

2
6,045 3,097
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

3
12,979 7,573
Fedor Emelianenko is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

4
6,191 4,094
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

5
3,963 1,888
Joe Louis is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

6
3,361 1,505
Sugar Ray Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

7
3,170 1,061
Jack Dempsey is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

8
5,105 2,721
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Hong Kong, United States of America

9
3,354 2,661
Anderson Silva is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

10
3,487 1,496
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
JamesHunt added Italy, United States of America

11
3,493 916
Joe Frazier is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

12
2,643 1,927
Georges St-Pierre is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

13
2,738 938
George Foreman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

14
2,555 1,045
Marvelous Marvin Hagler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
SeanPatrickKennedyHill added United States of America

15
2,750 1,573
Dan Henderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

16
2,591 1,556
Wanderlei Silva is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

17
1,553 916
Royce Gracie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Hammerman47 added Brazil

18
2,142 1,330
Chuck Liddell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

19
2,496 1,073
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Philippines

20
2,277 1,473
Randy Couture is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

21
2,106 1,272
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
ejlinehan added United States of America

22
2,073 1,302
Evander Holyfield is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

23
1,923 1,123
Mark Hunt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
New Zealand

24
1,952 1,189
Roberto Duran is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

25
1,886 913
Arturo Gatti is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
kassaq added Canada, Italy

26
1,749 1,080
Cain Velasquez is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

27
1,696 1,208
Micky Ward is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Ireland, United States of America

28
1,350 921
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 1,252
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

30
442 376
Jon Jones is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
JamesNicholsIII added United States of America

31
1,943 1,284
Bas Rutten is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added United States of America, Netherlands

32
1,582 1,281
B.J. Penn is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

33
1,044 748
Alexander Karelin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

34
1,251 673
Archie Moore is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

35
1,083 682
Gene Tunney is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

36
1,263 860
George Chuvalo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
lac la biche added Canada

37
1,279 717
Julio César Chávez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
g_money_stud added Mexico

38
1,258 652
Kazushi Sakuraba is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added

39
1,294 1,007
Junior dos Santos is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

40
1,344 1,088
Roy Nelson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

41
748 478
Roy Jones Jr. is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

42
150 226
Chris Leben is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

43
1,339 1,269
Mirko Filipović is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added Yugoslavia, Croatia

44
1,074 1,035
Vitali Klitschko is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

45
1,229 691
Thomas Hearns is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

46
421 249
Sonny Liston is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

47
732 584
Carmen Basilio is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

48
950 1,010
Matt Hughes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

49
892 788
Frankie Edgar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

50
349 588
Brock Lesnar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America