Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

ADFSDF1996

There are many martial artists that will forever be praised as the “G.O.A.T” or “greatest of all time”. Here are some of the many martial artists that deserve the title of “G.O.A.T”.

Note this is just my opinion, I understand that everyone has their own picks.

1.) Jigoro Kano: The founder of Judo. He took traditional Japanese Jujitsu and modified it to turn it into Judo. He was also very vocal in opposing Japanese militarism pre WWII.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

2.) Kyuzo Mifune: Known as one of the greatest Judoka’s in history. Despite only being 5’3” and 100lbs, he never lost a martial arts contest. His greatest victory was over a 6’0” 240lb sumo wrestler.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

3) Gobar Goho: One of the greatest wrestlers of India. He fought the best around the world and won. He defeated a much larger wrestler named Jimmy Esson and defeated one of the greatest catch wrestlers of his generation named Ad Santel.

Statue of Gobar Goho
Statue of Gobar Goho

4.) Masahiko Kimura: One of the greatest judokas in history who defeated the best of his time in the forms of Helio Gracie, Yoshihiko Yoshimatsu and many others. Kimura was also known for defeating much larger opponents than himself, such as Waldemar Santana.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

5.) Mitsuyo Maeda: A Japanese Judoka who introduced Judo and Jujutsu to Brazil. From there the Brazilians would further refine what they learned from Maeda and develop Brazilian Jiu jitsu.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

6.) The Gracies: The Gracies are a very popular amongst the martial arts communities. They get both praise and criticism but the fact remains that they are one of the main reasons why BJJ and MMA are popular today.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

7.) Masakatsu Funaki: A Japanese mixed martial artist, known for beating some of the greatest mixed martial artists of the 1990s, such as Ken Shamrock, Bas Rutten and Semmy Schilt.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

8.) Yuki Nakai: One of the greatest Japanese mixed martial artists. He is known for having three fights in one night. Even though he’s only 5’7” and weighs 154lbs, he managed to defeat the 6’5” 216lb karateka Gerard Gordeau and the 6’1” 251lb wrestler Craig Pittman in the same night by using his Judo skills.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

9.) Ryoko Tani: At only 4’9”, she proved to be one of the toughest female judokas in history by winning multiple gold medals, usually against larger women.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

10.) Ken Shamrock: One of the top MMA stars in the 1990s who also had a stint in the WWE. He was mentored by Masakatsu Funaki and went on to defeat Dan Severn, Bas Rutten, Brian Johnston and Kimo Leopoldo.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

11.) Dan Severn: One of the most experienced MMA fighters out there. He currently has a record of 101 wins, 19 losses, and 7 draws.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

12.) Don Frye: A popular MMA fighter from the 1990s. He beat both Ken Shamrock and the 6’8” 514lb Chadwick Haheo Rowan. His most famous fight was with Yoshihiro Takayama because it was one of the most brutal fights in MMA history.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

13.) Fedor Emelianenko: Considered to be the G.O.A.T of MMA, he fought the best and beat the best in his prime. He is also a giant slayer who’s defeated multiple opponents who are twice his size. It’s only in his post prime that he started to lose.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

14.) Kazushi Sakuraba: Another great Japanese mixed martial artist who has defeated multiple members of the Gracie family, which earned him the nickname “the Gracie hunter”.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

15.)Cain Velasquez: Considered to be one of the greatest mma fighters in the UFC. He’s beaten guys like Brock Lesnar, Travis Browne, Ben Rothwell Junior Dos Santos and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira And Antonio Silva.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

16.) Demetrius Johnson: Another great MMA known for both his speed and strength. He’s the smallest MMA fighter out there but he’s rarely lost a fight. Even Bas Rutten said that a 300 lb man wouldn’t stand a chance against him.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

17.) Reina Miura: A young Japanese mixed martial artist, judoka and sambo practitioner. She is still green in MMA but she has shown a lot of potential. She’s known for beating women that are twice her size and even beat Shayna Baszler a mma veteran. That being said, Reina is very tough and has more fights in a year than the average mma fighter. Should Reina stay in MMA, she can almost certainly become a top mma star in the future.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

18.)Masae Ueno: Another great Japanese Judoka, she has won numerous gold medals and has beaten larger women. Her two notable wins are against Ronda Rousey and the 6’0” Dutch giant Edith Bosch.

Masae with her gold medal.
Masae with her gold medal.

19.) Saori Yoshida: Possibly the greatest female freestyle wrestler in the world. She retired in January 2019 with a record of 89 wins and only 1 loss

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

20.) Daniel Cormier: Currently the most popular mma fighter in North America. So far he has only lost once out of his 24 fights and is currently the UFC heavyweight champion. He’s possibly the next Fedor Emelianenko.

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 2

Greatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1
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Most Helpful Girls

  • DeeDeeDeVour
    Waiting for the names Bruce Lee & Chuck Norris to pop up. Maybe in part 2?
    Is this still revelant?
  • Secretgardenblood
    Good take
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Guys

  • GoBlueSC4
    Chuck Liddell
    Is this still revelant?
  • Iron_Man
    Bruce Lee
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • Wowgirl30q
    Missed oneGreatest Martial Artists In History: Part 1
  • JP_Man
    There is do many Japanese people on your list and no Chinese. Don't forget martial arts are from China and there are many styles that are far more complete then Japanese martial arts. I suggest you read about these martial arts and also about Korean, vietnamese and such. On the other hand just a question here: how does one can compare dead people to living people. How is it possible to actually make a descent comparison?
    • ADFSDF1996

      It’s not a comparison, it’s just a list of individuals who deserve recognition for their accomplishments in combat sports.

      Historical records show that martial arts have been practiced in Japan for almost as long as Japanese has existed. Over the years Japanese martial arts have evolved leading to new martial arts like to Judo, Aiki jujutsu, Brazilian jiu jitsu, German Jiu jitsu, Russian sambo, Toshu Kakuto etc. In fact, MMA owes it’s popularity to the Japanese.

      As I made clear in the title, this is only part one, there will be more parts to follow.

    • ADFSDF1996

      @JP_Man Also, I’ve talked about the many types of martial arts before. You can read it here. Some Martial Arts That People Have Forgotten About ↗

  • LivingInWonderland
    90% of your selections are either wrestler or Japanese or both, most of your selections are not exactly MMA.

    I agree some of your selections such as Daniel Cormier and Demetrius Johnson. But I am surprised that Dominick Cruz is not on your list, he is a very very skilled MMA fighter, his wrestling skill is quite good as well (check Johnson vs Cruz).
    • ADFSDF1996

      Any combat sport like Judo, Brazilian Jiu jitsu, freestyle wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai etc is a martial art. Eventually some people took all those martial arts and blended them together to create what we now call MMA.

      MMA has roots in both Japan and Brazil. Without the Japanese and Brazilian influences, MMA would probably never exist. Many of the pioneers of MMA are of Japanese and Brazilian ancestry, that’s why there are many Japanese names on this list and why the Gracie family is also mentioned.

  • Other_Tommy_Wiseau
    you forgot jon jones, anderson silva and jackie chan, and bruce lee...
  • Boxing is kinda neglected, what about Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano, Gene Tunney, or Joe Frazier?
  • Interesting perspective. Glad you didn't add Jon Jones since he is a steroid user.
  • Liam_Hayden
    Others have mentioned Bruce and Chuck. What about Joe Lewis? Dan Inosanto?
  • NerdInDenial
    Chuck Norris
  • TURK-CONQUEROR
    Don't forget Benny the jet
  • Sofie1979
    What No Bruce Lee?
  • patrickstarz
    Illegal alien
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