20 Best Muslim UFC Fighters in History – Ranked 2024

In recent years, all supporters of mixed martial arts could testify to the dominance of Muslim fighters in this fast-growing sport. It is because the pillars of their religion fit perfectly with the formulas for success in combat sports. They are marked by their mental strength, incredible physical fitness, and fighting style that consists of complete dominance over the opponent.

Although dangerous and deadly in the cage, their qualities outside the battlefield are humility, kindness, respect, and loyalty, and they are definitely some of the best people you will meet. The infestation and success of dangerous Muslim fighters can best be seen in the prestigious world organization, the UFC.

Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0)

Khabib Abdulmanapovich Nurmagomedov is one of the leading faces of UFC and certainly one of the most important ambassadors of Muslim fighters in martial arts. “The Eagle” was born in 1988 in the Dagestani village of Sildi, Russia.

Like all Dagestanis, he started wrestling at a young age, and his first coach was his father, the legendary Abdulmanap. Khabib fought his first professional fight in 2008. In the next three years, he registered 12 victories with as many as 11 finishes.

His exceptionally successful winning streak caught the attention of the UFC, for which he signed a contract and debuted in 2012. Nurmagomedov’s journey has been epic, and he managed to record 29 wins from 29 fights and is a former UFC lightweight champion.

Of the victories worth mentioning are those against McGregor, Poirer, Gaethje, and Al Iaquinta. Khabib retired undefeated after a 12-year career. He will be remembered for his dominant wrestling style, incredible control of opponents, and relentlessness. Undoubtedly, he is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, and on June 30, 2022, he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Learn more about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s fighting style.

Islam Makachev (24-1)

Islam Ramazanovich Makachev was born in 1991 in Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia. At a very young age, he began training in combat sambo with Khabib and his father. In 2016, he won the world championship in Sambo and made his MMA debut in 2010 at Tsumada FC 4. He fought in the organizations ProFC, Siberian Fighting Championship, and Lion’s Fights, where he excelled. After five straight wins under the 

M-1 organization Islam got the opportunity of a lifetime in the UFC. He won his UFC debut with Rear Naked Choke but lost the next fight by an unfortunate knockout. After the defeat, Makachev returned as a much better fighter and achieved 12 consecutive victories.

In 2022, he defeated unpredictable submission artist Charles Oliveira by submission in the second round for the vacant lightweight title. Among the memorable wins, it is significant to mention names such as Gleison Tibau, Dan Hooker, Bobby Green, Drew Dober, Arman Tsarukyan, and the five-round war against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, which was, until then, the biggest test and the toughest fight for the Dagestan fighter. Makachev is the current and active champion who, judging by his success so far, has a great career ahead of him and a team of the right people around him. Learn more about Islam Makhachev’s fighting style.

Shavkat Rakhmonov (18-0)

Born on October 23, 1994, in Shurchi, Uzbekistan, Shavkat Rakhmonov is a Kazakhstani mixed martial artist making waves in the UFC welterweight division. Acquiring Kazakhstani citizenship in 2014, he relocated to Karagandy with his family, hailing from the Alshyn tribe’s Shexty clan.

Rakhmonov’s journey into professional MMA began in 2014, marked by an impressive debut in M-1 Challenge 52. As an amateur, he secured world and Asian championships in the WMMAA. Notable successes in M-1 and the Kazakh MMA Federation led to him clinching the KZMMAF welterweight title with a decisive technical knockout.

His ascendancy continued with a victory against Danila Prikaza, earning him the M-1 welterweight championship. Regional dominance was sustained with a successful defense against Thiago Varejão in M-1 Challenge 102.

Rakhmonov entered the UFC as the first Kazakhstani signee, with his debut against Bartosz Fabiński canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Undeterred, he secured notable wins over Alex Oliveira, Michel Prazeres, and Carlston Harris, earning “Performance of the Night” bonuses.

The pinnacle of his UFC career includes a guillotine choke victory against Neil Magny and a rear-naked choke triumph over Geoff Neal in January 2023, earning him the “Fight of the Night” bonus. Rakhmonov’s journey underscores his remarkable rise from the mountains of Kyrgyzstan to a prominent position in the competitive UFC welterweight division. Learn more about Shavkat Rakhmonov’s fighting style.

Amir Albazi (17-1)

Amir Albazi, born on October 27, 1993, in Baghdad, is an accomplished Iraqi mixed martial artist competing in the UFC Flyweight division, currently ranked #2 as of December 5, 2023. His childhood was marked by a dramatic escape from Baghdad to Syria, followed by settling in Sweden, where he faced challenges, including involvement in a street gang. Inspired by an old UFC fight, Albazi shifted to mixed martial arts, eventually moving to London and earning a sports science degree from the University of Roehampton in 2013.

Albazi’s MMA journey kicked off with a victory over Pavlo Kulish in World Ultimate Full Contact 15. He extended his win streak to 10 in Bellator, with notable wins over Jamie Powell and Iurie Bejenari. While suffering his first loss to Jose “Shorty” Torres in Brave CF, he rebounded by defeating Ryan Curtis in BRAVE CF 29.

Making his UFC debut on short notice against Malcolm Gordon in July 2020, Albazi secured a submission victory. His UFC career faced several rescheduled bouts, including a win against Zhalgas Zhumagulov and a rear-naked choke victory over Francisco Figueiredo at UFC 278.

Scheduled to face Brandon Moreno on February 24, 2024, at UFC Fight Night 237, Amir Albazi continues to make his mark in the highly competitive UFC Flyweight division, showcasing his skills and determination. Learn more about Amir Albazi’s fighting style.

Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1)

Magomed Alibulatovich Ankalaev was born in 1992 in the well-known Makhachkala, Dagestan, and competes in the light-heavyweight category. He started his training in Dagestan in Greco-Roman style wrestling and combat sambo.

In addition to his professional career, Magomed had a successful amateur career, which he decorated with multiple gold medals at Russian and World MMA competitions. Ankalaev’s path to UFC was paved with victories in numerous organizations such as Oplot Challenge, Akhmat Fight Show, and WFCA, where he became Light Heavyweight Champion.

Although he started his UFC career in 2018 with a submission loss to Paul Craig, he corrected his mistakes. He won nine consecutive victories against first-class light heavyweight fighters. Ankalaev chose to take the more resistant route to the title and fought Nikita Krylov, Ion Cutelaba, Thiago Santos, Volkan Oezdemir, and Anthony Smith.

At the end of 2022, the light-heavyweight title almost got conquered when, after a tense fight with Jan Blachowicz, the judges made a controversial decision and declared the fight a draw. Although, the winner of the title should have been Ankalaev. Magomed is still a young, active, and promising fighter who will surely come back even better after this disappointment.

Rafael Fiziev (12-2)

Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev was born in 1993 in Korday, Kazakhstan, and fights in the lightweight category. At 11, he became a victim of peer violence, so he started practicing Muay Thai. At the same time, he started taking classes in combat sambo, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling and then completely switched to MMA.

Due to religious discrimination, he decided not to represent Kyrgyzstan, so he decided to represent Azerbaijan as his father’s country. He currently lives in Thailand, where he is a trainer at the famous Muay Thai Tiger Gym. Rafael has an enviable amateur and professional muay thai score, which makes him very experienced and high-quality in the stand-up game.

He made his MMA debut in 2015 for W.I.N. Fighting Championships and also fought in Road FC, Boroda FC, and Titan FC. In 2019, Fiziev made his UFC debut, which he lost. Still, in the next three years, he managed to record six victories against tough fighters until his defeat in 2023 against power puncher Justin Gaethje.

Rafael has defeated many elite lightweight fighters, including Marc Diakiese, Renato Moicano, Bobby Green, and Rafael Dos Anjos. Rafel is still blooming young and active and has time to reach the title. 

Khamzat Chimaev (12-0) 

Khamzat Khizarovich Chimaev is known to everyone as the current superstar, a dominant and fearless figure of the UFC. “The Borz” comes from Sweden’s All-Star Gym. He is of Chechen origin and was born in 1994 in Gvardeyskoye.

He has a wrestling background and is considered one of Sweden’s best freestyle wrestlers. He started MMA at 23 and made his professional debut in 2018 for the IRFA organization when he defeated Gard Sagen by ground and pound in the second round.

After four victories in the BRAVE FC organization, Chimaev comes to the UFC, where he continues to write history with six consecutive victories. Khamzat proves that he is a master of submissions but also knockouts and that he can finish the fight in a short time.

He is known for his style, where at the beginning of the fight, he fearlessly goes for takedowns and overcomes his opponents with his strength and technique. He fought many battles against more experienced opponents, and Khamzat is undefeated with 12 wins.

The important victories are the three-round war against Gilbert Burns, a quick knockout against Gerald Meerschaert, and swift submissions at the very beginning of the fight against Holland, Lee, and Phillips. Learn more about Khamzat Chimaevs fighting style.

Kamaru Usman (20-3)

Kamarudeen Usman was born in 1987 in Auchi, Edo State of Nigeria. He grew up in a modest family and moved to Texas with his parents when he was eight. Usman started his martial arts journey with a successful wrestling career in high school.

“The Nigerian Nightmare,” with his wrestling background, turned to MMA, where he performed for the RFA, CFA, VFC, and Legacy FC organizations. There, Kamaru achieved five wins and one loss. In 2015, Kamaru got a chance for the UFC when he entered the 21st Ultimate Fighter, which season he won after three victories.

After nine dominant victories in the prestigious world organization, Kamaru faced the vicious champion Tyron Woodley for the title, whom he outclassed in all segments of the fight. Usman reigned as the dominant welterweight champion, defending his title twice against Jorge Masvidal, twice against Colby Covington, and once against Gilbert Burns.

Although he lost the title to Leon Edwards in 2022, after a dominant five-round fight with an unfortunate head kick in the last minute. In 2023, he lost to the same fighter in a close decision; Usman will be cemented as one of the most dominant champions and welterweight greats of all time. Learn more about Kamaru Usmans fighting style.

Movsar Evloev (18-0)

Movsar Evloev was born in 1994 in Ordzhonikidzevskaya, Ingushetia, Russia. He is of Chechen origin and competes in the featherweight division in the UFC. In addition to his perfect record with 18 wins in 18 matches, Movsar has degrees in law and computer programming and is a USSR Master of Sport for Greco-Roman style wrestling.

The Russian fighter made his professional debut in 2014 for the M-1 organization, in which he became the bantamweight champion after seven consecutive victories. He is a complete fighter who defended his title two times and finished his opponents with knockouts, submissions, and dominations until the judge’s decision.

Because of this, he managed to catch the attention of the UFC, and after ten flawless performances, he made his debut in 2019. He is one of the fighters who spent his career defeating much more experienced opponents.

He recently climbed into the top 10 in the featherweight category rankings. Movsar is coming off a quality win against Dan Ige in 2022 and his last win against Diego Lopes, for which they won the Fight Of the Night award.

Alex Pereira (7-2)

Alexsandro “Poatan” Pereira was born in 1987 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He started martial arts to fight his alcohol addiction because he left school at twelve to work in a tire shop. Alex started his fighting career as a kickboxer. His record is 40 wins and seven losses.

He is best known for his lethal front hook and fierce rivalry with Israel Adesanya. He is a former Glory light-heavyweight and middleweight champion with 5 title defenses. Pereira made his professional MMA debut and lost by submission at Jungle Fight in 2015.

Still, after that, Alex returned to the winning path by knocking out and getting a UFC contract. Poatan won his UFC debut by knockout in 2021. After a decision victory against Bruno Silva, he won the title by knocking out Sean Strickland and Israel Adesanya.

Although Alex lost his title in the rematch, he moved to the light-heavyweight category, where he will face a threatening test against former champion Jan Blachowicz. Pereira embraced Islam in 2015 at the beginning of his MMA journey.

Poatan has a dangerous stand-up game in his arsenal, hard work, and enviable mental strength, and he is a problem for anyone who stands against him in the Octagon. Learn more about Alex Pereira’s fighting style.

Muhammad Belal (23-3)

Belal “Remember the Name” Muhammad was born in 1988 in Chicago, Illinois, and is originally from Palestine, which explains his entrance into the Octagon with the Palestinian flag, of which he is a great speaker and supporter.

He started his martial arts career wrestling in high school. Muhammad competes in the welterweight category, and Belal made his professional debut in 2012 after winning two amateur matches. He fought in organizations such as HFC, Bellator, and Titan FC, where he became the welterweight champion in his ninth professional fight.

In 2016, Muhammad made his UFC debut, in which he suffered his first loss, a decision against Alan Jouban. He has 17 matches in the UFC with a score of 14 wins and three losses, and he could soon get a chance for the title. His last loss came in 2019 against Geoff Neal, after which he survived to tie a nine-fight winning streak.

Belal is a character who never chose his opponents and has fought against welterweight greats such as Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia, Vicente Luque, Sean Brady, and Gilbert Burns. Belal currently trains in AKA, where he is surrounded by the right team and is progressing quickly.

Muhammed Mokaev (10-0)

Muhammad “The Punisher” Mokaev was born in 2000 in Buynaksk, Dagestan, Russia. He is currently fighting from England, where he moved away with his father at the age of twelve after the death of his mother.

Mokaev is a decorated English wrestler and a double ADCC UK winner. Muhammad is one of the youngest Muslim fighters, characterized by his activity, fearlessness, and dangerous wrestling, and he sharpens his stand-up at camps at the Muay Thai Gym.

He started his professional career in 2015, after 23 victories in 23 amateur matches in IMMAF, where he became champion of the bantam and flyweight divisions. Before the UFC, Muhammad fought for the Celtic Gladiator organization, BRAVE FC. He made his UFC debut in 2022, winning the Fight of the Night award.

He has already broken into the top 15 flyweight list, where he is ranked number 12. The Punisher is undefeated in eight years of MMA competition, and Mokaev is a guy who promises success. The Punisher’s smile during fights says a lot about how much he enjoys fighting.

Ottman Azaitar (13-1) 

Ottman “The Bulldozer” Azaitar is a fighter of Moroccan origin, born in 1990 in Cologne, Germany. He started his career with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when he was six and later switched to Muay Thai and boxing. Ottman was a representative of the German national team in Muay Thai participated in the world championship in 2012, and won several important competitions in striking sports.

He made his professional debut in 2014 in the SFC organization. He continued his winning streak in Fair FC, GMC, and Brave. What is specific about Azaitar is how he transferred his stand-up game from the ring to the octagon. Of 13 matches, ten ended with knockouts in the first round and two by submission.

He made his UFC debut in 2019, after which he collected two knockout victories, after which he received Performance of the Night twice, but lost by knockout in 2022. Given that he arrived in the UFC four years ago, he can be expected to stay there in the coming years and manage to climb high in the rankings in the dangerous lightweight division.

Nasrat Haqparast (14-5)

Nasrat Haqparast was born in 1995 in Hamburg, Germany. His parents are refugees from Afghanistan. He started practicing martial arts because he was overweight and enrolled in kickboxing. After seeing the first MMA sparring, Nasrat knew that was what he wanted to do in his life.

He made his professional debut in 2012 but was defeated in that match. In the continuation of his career, he evolved into a dangerous knockout artist when he extinguished opponents in the first rounds in various organizations such as SFC, AFC, WLMMA, Ravage, and Superior FC.

Nasrat made his UFC debut in 2017, where he, unfortunately, lost by decision. His journey to the UFC was a challenging one. Despite the three defeats against quality lightweight fighters such as Drew Dobber, Bobby Green, and Dan Hooker, Haqparast showed everyone his heart and love for the sport.

Nasrat trains in the famous All-Star Gym under the guidance of legendary Firas Zahabi, and considering his hard work and will, he has a bright career ahead of him.

Umar Nurmagomedov (16-0)

Umar Nurmagomedov was born in 1996 in Kizilyurt, Dagestan, Russia. He started freestyle wrestling with his older brother, Usman, and shortly after, both started practicing Muay Thai. After moving to Makhachkala, they began training with their uncle Abdulmanap at the Eagles MMA camp.

Umar showed his talent and hard work from an early age when, at 19, he became the world champion in combat sambo under the WCSF organization, to become the WMMAA World Champion the following year. He made his professional debut in 2016 for the EFN organization, where he won by submission.

Umar continued his 12-fight winning streak in various organizations such as Fight Star, EFN, FNG, PFL, GFC, Samara MMA Federation, and Battle on the Volga. With enviable success, he justifies his team and origin, and in 2021, he fights for the UFC flyweight division and celebrates with a victory by submission.

He won the Performance of The Night award twice against Sergey Morozov and Raoni Barcelos in his last fight. Out of his 16 matches, seven opponents ended by submission, seven by decision, and two by knockout.

Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1)

Zabit Akhmedovich Magomedsharipov was born in 1991 in Khasavyurt, Dagestan. Traditionally, he started wrestling at the age of 10. Still, after that, he did something different from all his compatriots; he started practicing Sanda and won the Wushu European Championship in 2012.

In 2012, he also won his MMA debut with a knockout in the first round at the Odessa Golden Cup. He got his first and only professional defeat in the fifth fight at ProFC, after which he had an incredible 8-fight-win streak in the ACB organization, which catapulted him straight to the UFC.

He won his UFC debut in 2017 by submission, and in subsequent fights, he excels against featherweight fighters, where his style comes to the fore. His acrobatic and attractive fighting style sets him apart from other Dagestani fighters.

Zabit earned a six-fight-winning streak in the UFC with important victories against Bochniak, Stephens, and Kattar. Just when the opportunity for the title was on the horizon, Zabit retired in 2022, citing the preservation of his general health as the reason.

Askar Askarov (14-1)

Askar “Bullet” Saipulaevich Askarov was born in 1992 in Kamysh-Kutan, Akhvakhsky District, Republic of Dagestan. Askarov, as a representative of the Russian wrestling team, won the gold medal at the Deafyolympics 2017. He was born 80% deaf, meaning his hearing works only 20%.

He made his professional debut in 2012 for the Kavkaz League, where he celebrated with a submission in the second round. Askar carries his winning streak through the GEFC, Khasavyurt Fight – Dagestan MMA Open Cup organization and excels with a seven-fight win streak in the ACB organization.

After that, he went to the UFC in 2019, where he faced tough competition at flyweight at the very start. Askar is the fighter who, out of 14 matches, ended seven by submission, four knockouts, and three decisions.

He made his debut UFC match with a draw against current champion Brandon Moreno, after which he scored three victories against Tim Elliot, Alexandra Pantoja, and Joseph Benavidez. He experienced his first defeat in March 2022 against Kai Kara-France by the referee’s decision. At the end of 2022, Askar announced on his Instagram profile that he requested a release from the UFC due to concerns about his health.

Shara Magomedov (12-0)

Sharabutdin Magomedov, born on May 16, 1994, in Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia, began his childhood in Buinaksk. Despite being born in Makhachkala, Magomedov considers the village of Gunib, his family’s origin, as his true home. His distinctive red hair made him a target for childhood bullying, leading to frequent fights that shaped his resilient character.

Magomedov’s parents aimed for an academic path, given his grandfather’s status as a distinguished teacher and his mother holding a Ph.D. However, his passion for combat sports prevailed. Initially aspiring to become a footballer, conflicts and a particular brawl during a local football match led him to transition to boxing. Over the years, he excelled in muay thai, kickboxing, and pankration, earning numerous championships and titles.

Despite his success, financial constraints in Moscow forced him to move between various training facilities. Sharaputdin ventured to China to explore kickboxing opportunities, even participating in Glory of Heroes, a prestigious organization. His journey continued in Thailand, facing challenges such as financial struggles and accumulating debts.

In 2021, Magomedov emerged as a rising star in Russian MMA, dominating opponents and winning the Grand Prix in the “Nashe Delo” organization. He displayed remarkable performances with notable victories, leading to his signing with the UFC in December 2022. Initially targeted for a debut in mid-2023, the process faced delays due to a mildronate-related issue, a common heart medication viewed as doping by WADA.

Magomedov finally made his UFC debut on October 21, 2023, against Bruno Silva. Despite a strong start, Magomedov faced challenges, including a cut on his brow. However, he secured a unanimous decision victory, marking a successful beginning to his UFC career.

Sharaputdin Magomedov’s journey from a Dagestani village to becoming a UFC fighter is characterized by resilience, diverse combat skills, and triumph over adversities. His transition from regional competitions to the global stage showcases his determination and potential for success in the highly competitive world of mixed martial arts. Learn more about Shara Magomedov’s fighting style.

Muslim Salikhov (19-4)

Muslim Magomedovich Salikhov, born on June 9, 1984, in Buynaksk, Dagestan, is a Russian mixed martial artist excelling in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Raised in Dagestan, he began practicing Wushu Sanda in 1995 at the renowned school “Five Directions of the World.”

Salikhov boasts an exceptional Wushu Sanda career, achieving numerous titles, including becoming the first non-Chinese athlete to win the Wushu Sanda King’s Cup. His prowess was evident in facing Liu Hailong and clinching gold at the World Wushu Championships in 2005, marking him as one of the sport’s best.

Transitioning to mixed martial arts, Salikhov debuted in July 2011 and later joined M-1 Global, where he maintained an undefeated streak. His journey continued through regional promotions in China and Russia, showcasing his dominance with six knockout wins in seven fights.

The UFC signed Salikhov on October 19, 2017. His debut against Alex Garcia resulted in a submission loss, but he rebounded with victories over Ricky Rainey, Nordine Taleb, and others. A potential doping violation in 2018 was later cleared by USADA.

Salikhov’s UFC career is marked by notable wins and setbacks, earning him Performance of the Night awards. Despite a recent loss to Li Jingliang, he rebounded with a Performance of the Night-winning knockout against André Fialho. As of December 16, 2023, Salikhov is set to face Randy Brown at UFC 296, showcasing his resilience and determination in the highly competitive welterweight division.

Jake Matthews (19-7)

Jake Aaron Matthews, born on August 19, 1994, in Melbourne, Australia, is an Australian mixed martial artist competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Welterweight division. Known as “The Celtic Kid,” Matthews holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Carlos “Português” Vieira.

Raised in Melbourne, he began his MMA journey at 18, earning a 7–0 record in regional promotions before joining the UFC in 2014. Matthews faced notable opponents throughout his UFC career, earning victories against fighters like Li Jingliang, Diego Sanchez, and André Fialho. In 2023, he announced his conversion to Islam.

Matthews, a father of a daughter born in January 2019, has received UFC accolades, including Fight of the Night twice and Performance of the Night against André Fialho. Despite facing ups and downs in his MMA journey, Matthews remains prominent in the welterweight division.

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Gregori Povolotski

I have been practicing martial arts since 2007. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a huge passion for combat sports, especially Muay Thai and boxing. Helping people on their martial arts journey is what drives me to keep training and learn new things. Read More About Me

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