Home UFC POLL: Who Is The Best Submission Fighter Ever In Mixed Martial Arts?

POLL: Who Is The Best Submission Fighter Ever In Mixed Martial Arts?


Jiu-Jitsu is often accredited as the base of all MMA, with the legendary Gracie family utilizing there style to win early UFC events, and the roots of the art going back many centuries. The sport of MMA has evolved so much since the dark ages, meaning modern fighters can no longer be as one dimensional as they were at say UFC 1.

A pure grappler like Royce was back in the 90’s, or at least a dominant one, is hard to come by these days. Fighters like Frank Mir and Fabricio Werdum have had great success in the submissions game in MMA, but they have so much more advanced striking than Royce had in his prime. The legendary Renzo Gracie once admitted that he couldn’t punch his way out of a paper bag, which would just not fly at the top level today.

With the evolution in the ways of fighting, and in particular grappling, it leads me to wonder if the submission fighters of old would have held any weight against the well rounded athletes in MMA today. I’ve selected ten of the best submission fighters in MMA, including some old legends and modern beasts, take your vote or have a say below. Who do you think is the best grappler to grace MMA?

  • James Toney. Man, that arm triangle defense !

  • I personally think Joe Lauzon is pretty damn good at submissions.
    Royce Gracie or Frank Mir – both pretty good.

    • No Big Nog?!?! He's won 19 submission victories to Royce's 12!

      • I think something from big nog was broken recently, oh yeah his arm. Frank Mir is better if you ask me. And big nog was submitted by werdum too. Sorry but Big Nog, as much as I like him as a fighter, isn't the best 🙂

        • Big Nog was at one point the best fighter in the world. To think otherwise is ridiculous man. You are talking about a fight in which Nog should of hung the gloves up years before.

          You should actually go and watch his pre-UFC fights apparently.

          • In his prime I still think Fedor would've submitted him. I'm not saying he wasn't the best fighter, or one of the best fighter in the world at one point, all I'm saying is that he's not the best grappler. That's it. In his prime Fedor was better than him (even submissions only IMO), and now that he is past his prime, even more people are better than him.

      • Shinya Aoki 35 wins 23 submissions.

    • I can't think of a more stunning record than 8 straight submissions all by armbar when the best four opponents knew it was going to end that way and still couldn't prevent it. Rhonda Rousey.

      • And all those opponents weren't nearly as skilled as other divisions Michael. even at 135 she would never out grapple guys like Faber and Barao. In fact I doubt she could out submit any man in the UFC if it was all on the line. Aoki is probably the best strictly submission expert ever to compete in MMA others may have more credentials but his abilities were always going for the sub where as many of the BJJ guys simply defend and hold positions more than actively go for subs.

        • Falcon, of course you are correct. Greatest submission match for me was Saku vs Carlos Newton. I love that match.

          • Forgot about that, have to go watch that one again. Cheers.

    • Dude… Get of that crack.. Royce Gracie is sub-par. I am being real folks. With all due respect to Royce, he submitted people in the UFC when fighters did not know what Jiu-Jitsu was! If you look at what he did with World class Jiu-Jitsu fighters, he is wack! He has NEVER won a World Championship in Brazil let alone got Submitted in 5 minutes by a Word Class fighter… yes, Wallid Ismael! I love the Gracie Family.. Rickson, Roger, Renzo, Kron, Rolls (RIP), but Royce is HOLLYWOOD. Look him up on You Tube.. He rolls with people that don't know SQUAT! Why can't he roll with the likes of Marcelo Garcia, Pablo Popovich, Damian Maia, Fabricio Werdum… Etc. Etc… In my opinion… Fabricio is the best submission fighter in the UFC followed by Damian Maia… I am a hardcore BJ Penn fan, but those two are the real deal…

  • I have no Idea how to answer this question do we go with my most credentials on BJJ, or do we go with someone like Mir who probably has the most variety of subs pulled off in a fight.

    • I was kind of getting at fighters who started with Jits experience or titles, but i realize that some pure mma fighters have incredible grappling too.

  • Frank Mir. The man pulls out a submission even in a drunk state.

  • Rickson Gracie needs to be on that list! Best guy on the mat for me.

    • Wouldn't fight Sakuraba though.

    • Yeah i agree with hunterB on this one, he lost his spot to saku when he conceded defeat by not wanting any part of him

    • Plus he had an 11-0 record over a bunch of tomato cans

  • Royce has a pretty bad ass opening record of 11 straight submissions but Im pretty sure even he says Rickson was the best.

    • Yeah Royce came out as a beast.. but it's hard to ignore the fact that his opponents didn't know any Jitz… I'm more impressed with the more current Jitz masters, cause they sub high level BJJ guys in MMA fights. That's far more impressive if you ask me.

  • Sakuraba… end of story.

    • Rickson wouldn't even fight Sakuraba. WHY? Because his entire family refused to let him risk losing and destroying their legacy.

      • No man, its cause his son died. He was signed to fight him before that.

        • Damn dude, thats terrible. In discussion matter, I have just looked all over the net for a statement from any org. that has proof of a signed contract. There is no such proof, The only thing i can find is statements made by his family saying he "would" of fought Sakuraba.

          If my son had died, and there was someone destroying my family members left and right. It would of lit a fire under me and I would of gone out there and defended my families honor. JUST SAYING. That is no excuse to not fight him, as fucked up as its sounding.

    • Sakuraba or Aoki

  • In terms of overall jiujitsu skills, it's hard to argue against Jacare and Werdum here. Frank Mir is behind them in terms of mat technicality, but in terms of MMA he can pull off a brutal submission like no one else.

    Sakuraba, BJ Penn and Shinya Aoki are also amazing grapplers in MMA. It's hard to pick just one.

  • Royce due to historical significance but I voted Mir due to the sheer damage carried out. Vicious submissions.


  • Fedor was also a very good submission fighter… Not only did he actually submit people, he would beat people into submission as well. To me that is a complete "submission" fighter.

  • Good point. Fedor is up there too. His Sambo shut down even the best BJJ heavyweights, and that was when "Big Nog" was at his absolute peak.

  • We are talking "Ever" here and no Rickson on the list? 😛

    • I just saw your post Garson after I posted below. I think half the guys now days, dont even know his fights.

  • Marcin Held! hahahahahahaahaha

    • I really like Held, even though he may never become one. He has the heart of a champion.

  • I think we'd have to give it to Ronda Rousey. Eight straight submissions in a row (professionally), seven of which came in the first round, must be an MMA record. On paper, I think she takes it.

    • Hard to argue with that.

    • Thats female paper though and the talent pool in the female paper pool is less than a tenth of the mens.

      • You think Barao could not handle her in a grappling match? Aoki would make her cry for her uncle within a minute.

  • "In his time," Rickson Gracie. I've never seen him lose and never he won by anything but a submission.
    He was the most feared submission artist "in his time"

  • Jacare Jacare Jacare !

  • Roger followed by Jacare and Demian…those other guys would not last long in a pure grappling match with those 3.

  • Btw Michael on crack today for saying Ronda….