With so much American talent in the UFC, here we are looking at the best European fighters who have made a name for themselves in the Octagon.
As we know, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is based in America. It probably couldn’t exist anywhere else, at least not without the bright lights and big egos that have propelled UFC to the mainstream in recent years. While there are smaller promotions across the world, there’s a reason the biggest and best fights are always at Las Vegas or New York City.
That’s why people from every continent have joined the UFC. Even since its start, UFC has been defined by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other South American and Asian fighting styles. Today we’re looking at Europe, specifically the European fighters who have made their mark on the industry. Some of them are still active today, so check them out when you’re next looking at an MMA sportsbook.
1. Conor McGregor
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. A big reason that UFC has exploded in popularity in recent years was because of Conor McGregor and the hype that he brought to the Octagon. Whether it was his face-off with Nate Diaz, his boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr., or his bitter rivalry with Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor was the biggest name in UFC for nearly four years straight.
McGregor is from Crumlin, a suburb of Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. More recently, he is recovering from a broken tibia sustained at UFC 264, in a fight against Dustin Poirier. His current win/loss record is 22-6-0.
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
One of McGregor’s most dramatic and shocking losses came at the hands of Khabib Nurmagomedov. While Russia straddles both Europe and Asia, Khabib is from Dagestan. This is a small republic next to the Caspian Sea and by some accounts, it’s the most dangerous place in Europe.
Khabib retired in 2020 undefeated, with a win/loss record of 29-0-0. Now he owns and runs the Eagle Fighting Championship, his own Russian-based MMA franchise.
3. Jan Blachowicz
Hailing from Cieszyn, Poland, Jan Blachowicz is currently near the top of the official UFC light heavyweight rankings. For the past year, he was the reigning light heavyweight champion but recently lost the title to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267. At any rate, he’s still a contender in the division who is representing Poland in professional MMA fighting.
As for his performance as a fighter, his career win/loss record is at 28 wins and 9 losses, though his career isn’t over yet. He is scheduled to take on Austrian fighter Aleksandar Rakic in 2022.
4. Michael Bisping
While he retired in 2017, Michael Bisping is a UFC legend who now enjoys a career as a sports analyst. Bisping was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, but on a British military base as a British citizen. Whichever one you consider to be his origins, he’s a European fighter who also has Polish and Irish heritage.
Having fought in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, Bisping’s full MMA record reads as 30 wins and 9 losses. He was entered into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2019 for his contribution to the industry when it was finding its feet.
5. Alexander Gustafsson
While he’s on a losing streak right now, Alexander Gustafsson is often considered one of the best MMA fighters to have never won a UFC championship. It seems he can win pretty much any fight… as long as there isn’t a belt involved.
If the name didn’t already give it away, Gustafsson is from Scandinavia, specifically Arboga, Sweden. Gustafsson is still in the game today, though he has attempted to retire in the past. It would be nice to see him win a belt before he faces a full retirement from the UFC. His win/loss record is at 18 wins and 7 losses, 4 of them being title bouts.