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
8,313 2,720
Rocky Marciano is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Italy, United States of America

2
6,140 3,391
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

3
13,027 7,871
Fedor Emelianenko is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

4
6,270 4,394
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

5
4,134 2,057
Joe Louis is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

6
3,468 1,082
Jack Dempsey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

7
3,467 1,734
Sugar Ray Robinson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

8
5,297 2,885
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Hong Kong, United States of America

9
3,692 1,572
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
JamesHunt added Italy, United States of America

10
3,680 1,026
Joe Frazier is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

11
3,385 2,890
Anderson Silva is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

12
2,682 2,139
Georges St-Pierre is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

13
2,868 1,009
George Foreman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

14
2,592 1,181
Marvelous Marvin Hagler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
SeanPatrickKennedyHill added United States of America

15
2,769 1,714
Dan Henderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

16
2,601 1,694
Wanderlei Silva is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

17
1,568 1,030
Royce Gracie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Hammerman47 added Brazil

18
2,536 1,174
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Philippines

19
2,157 1,435
Chuck Liddell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

20
2,298 1,572
Randy Couture is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

21
2,132 1,403
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
ejlinehan added United States of America

22
2,105 1,406
Evander Holyfield is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

23
1,979 1,278
Roberto Duran is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

24
1,933 1,220
Mark Hunt is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
New Zealand

25
1,908 1,000
Arturo Gatti is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
kassaq added Canada, Italy

26
1,762 1,162
Cain Velasquez is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

27
1,713 1,291
Micky Ward is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
Ireland, United States of America

28
1,689 1,336
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

29
1,997 1,339
Bas Rutten is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added Netherlands, United States of America

30
1,364 1,046
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
MatthewKurňava added United States of America

31
457 479
Jon Jones is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
JamesNicholsIII added United States of America

32
1,326 704
Archie Moore is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

33
1,184 687
Gene Tunney is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

34
1,586 1,379
B.J. Penn is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

35
1,049 843
Alexander Karelin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

36
1,304 912
George Chuvalo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
lac la biche added Canada

37
1,289 746
Julio César Chávez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
g_money_stud added Mexico

38
1,259 664
Kazushi Sakuraba is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added

39
1,298 1,020
Junior dos Santos is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

40
1,344 1,102
Roy Nelson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

41
759 491
Roy Jones Jr. is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

42
1,343 1,279
Mirko Filipović is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
bcmoney added Croatia

43
153 240
Chris Leben is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

44
1,240 703
Thomas Hearns is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

45
1,080 1,053
Vitali Klitschko is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History

46
754 590
Carmen Basilio is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

47
958 1,023
Matt Hughes is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

48
434 274
Sonny Liston is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

49
895 801
Frankie Edgar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America

50
354 610
Brock Lesnar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Toughest Professional Fighters in History
United States of America