Over the last 20 years the UFC Hall of Fame has been a great way to celebrate the organization’s greatest fighters but also though who have contributed to the growth of the UFC. There are a lot of inductees but who are they and what are the different categories?
Thankfully here we have all the answers you’re looking for about the UFC Hall of Fame. Read on to find out all about the UFC Hall of Fame.
Table of Contents
- What Is the UFC Hall of Fame?
- UFC Hall of Fame History
- 4 Wings in UFC Hall Of Fame
- Selection Process for The UFC Hall Of Fame
- UFC Hall Of Fame List: Full List of Inductees From 2003 To 2023
What Is the UFC Hall of Fame?
It’s firstly important to point out that the UFC Hall of Fame is not the MMA Hall of Fame. The UFC version is specifically made for those who have contributed to the organization, but it does note that it will acknowledge and celebrate achievements from elsewhere.
The UFC Hall of Fame is there to acknowledge the greatest fighters in the UFC’s history. Not only that, but it only looks to celebrate the fighters who were important in the development of the sport, its greatest fights, and also those who have contributed to the UFC in a meaningful way.
UFC Hall of Fame History
Having a Hall of Fame is common in most American sports and they have long been established in the likes of baseball, football, ice hockey, and basketball. In 2003 the UFC wanted to join the party and created their own.
It was formally announced at UFC 45 back in 2003. Unlike with other sports, there has yet to be a physical Hall of Fame but it could well happen in the future at the home of UFC in Las Vegas. The first two men inducted were Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock.
Over the years the UFC Hall of Fame has grown and evolved. It has separated its fighters into modern inductees and pioneers, as well as added new categories which are for its most famous fights, contributors, and also those who have given back to their community.
4 Wings in UFC Hall Of Fame
The UFC has divided its Hall of Fame into four different main wings, there is also another wing that has recently been added which has nothing to do with what happens inside the octagon. Let’s look at what these wings are and why they exist.
Pioneers Wing – The Pioneers wing is there to celebrate those fighters who had a huge part to play in the rapid growth of the UFC. When it started, the UFC didn’t have a defined set of rules, competitors often wore different clothing, and were only skilled in one marital art.
That all changed in November 2000 as unified rules were bought in, with the rules being implemented from UFC 28 onwards. Any fighter who made their debut before this date is eligible for the pioneer wing.
Modern Wing – Any fighter who made their debut on or after UFC 28 is eligible for the modern wing. Due to this, no fighter can be a member of both the modern wing and the pioneer wing.
This is to celebrate all of the amazing fighters in the modern era. There are a few criteria for the modern win with the main one being that a fighter needs to either be over the age of 35 or retired for one year.
Fight Wing – The Fight Wing is a more recent concept with its first inductee happening in 2013. It seeks to recognize the most important fights in the history of the organization and regardless of the result, both fighters will be seen as hall of famers.
As it stands, only eight fights have been inducted into the Fight Wing and in some years the award hasn’t been given, such as in 2020. The fight needs to have been held at least five years ago to be eligible for the honor.
Contributors Wing – The contributor’s wing is there to honor those non-fighters who’ve had a significant role in the development of the UFC. This can be anyone but includes commentators, co-creators, matchmakers, and producers.
Forrest Griffin Community Award – While not called a ‘wing’, a fifth category has been added to the UFC Hall of Fame which is named after the former UFC fighter Forrest Griffin. This is to celebrate fighters who have given back to their communities through volunteering or charity work.
Selection Process for The UFC Hall Of Fame
Most of the responsibility for the Hall of Fame choices falls on the shoulders of UFC President Dana White. He selects who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame while also taking advice from a UFC committee to finalize their choices.
As we mentioned above, there are a few criteria to be selected for each fight wing:
Pioneers Wing – Those who made their debut before November 17, 2000. Technically they either have to be over 35 or have retired for a year but the passing of time has made that rule defunct.
Modern Wing – Debut after November 17, 2000, and either over 35 or retired for a year. Active fighters are eligible but unlikely to get chosen if they are still fighting for the organization.
Fight Wing – The fight needs to have taken place at least five years ago. Fights will be chosen if they either captured the public imagination or were historically important.
Contributors Wing – There are no set criteria for this. There is no age limit, nor a time limit on when someone can be inducted.
As long as a person meets the relative criteria above, then Dana White will consider them for selection to the Hall of Fame. There are also no criteria for the Forrest Griffin Community Award as long as they’ve made an outstanding contribution to their community.
UFC Hall Of Fame List: Full List of Inductees From 2003 To 2023
Here are all the inductees to the UFC Hall of Fame in all the separate categories. We’ll show in brackets the year they were inducted.
The Pioneers Wing is there to recognize those who made the UFC the giant organization is today. Here are the 17 men inducted:
Ken Shamrock (2003) – UFC Superfight Champion and Tournament Winner
Royce Gracie (2003) – 3 x UFC Tournament Winner
Dan Severn (2005) – UFC Superfight Champion and Tournament Winner
Randy Couture (2006) – UFC Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion (three defenses), and Tournament Winner
Mark Coleman (2008) – UFC Heavyweight Champion and 2 x UFC Tournament Winner
Chuck Liddell (2009) – UFC Light Heavyweight Champion (four defenses)
Matt Hughes (2010) – 2 x UFC Welterweight Champion (Seven defenses)
Tito Ortiz (2012) – UCF Light Heavyweight Champion (five defenses)
Pat Miletich (2014) – UFC Welterweight Champion (4 defenses), and UFC Tournament Winner
Bas Rutten (2015) – UFC Heavyweight Champion
Don Frye (2016) – 3 x UFC Tournament Winner
Minotauro Nogueira (2016) – Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Maurice Smith (2017) – UFC Heavyweight Champion (1 defense)
Kazushi Sakuraba (2017) – UFC Tournament Winner
Matt Serra (2018) – UFC Welterweight Champion and Tournament Winner
Rich Franklin (2019) – UFC Middleweight Champion (2 defenses)
Kevin Randleman (2021) – UFC Heavyweight Champion (1 defense)
Jens Pulver (2023) – UFC Lightweight Champion (2 defenses)
Anderson Silva (2023) – UFC Middleweight Champion (10 defenses)
The Modern Wing recognizes those who have helped to grow the sport in the modern era and currently has 10 men inducted, along with one woman.
Forrest Griffin (2013) – UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and Tournament Winner
BJ Penn (2015) – UFC Welterweight and Lightweight Champion (3 defenses), and Tournament Co-Champion
Urijah Faber (2017) – WEC Featherweight Champion (5 defenses)
Ronda Rousey (2018) – UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion (6 defenses)
Michael Bisping (2019) – UFC Middleweight Champion (1 defense) and Tournament Winner
Rashad Evans (2019) – UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and Tournament Winner
Georges St-Pierre (2021) – UFC Middleweight Champion and 2x UFC Welterweight Champion (9 defenses)
Daniel Cormier (2022) – UFC Heavyweight Champion (1 defense) and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion (3 defenses)
Khabib Nurmagomedov (2022) – UFC Lightweight Champion (3 defenses)
Jose Aldo (2023) – 2 x UFC Featherweight Champion (7 defenses)
Donald Cerrone (2023) – Most knockdowns in UFC history (20) and Most post-fight bonus awards in UFC history (18)
There are eight fights inducted into the Hall of Fame which all have to be at least five years old to be eligible. Here are the UFC Hall of Fame fights:
Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar I (2014) – The first two fights inducted to the Hall of Fame both happened in April 2005, although at different events. This was the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 1 and is credited with helping to bring the UFC to a mainstream audience.
Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg 2 (2015) – This fight from UFC 52 was for the Welterweight Championship with Hughes winning by submission in round one.
Pete Williams vs Mark Coleman (2016) – This incredible contest happened all the way back in 1998. It took place at UFC 17 with the winning blow being a head kick by Williams in one of the biggest upsets in the early days of UFC.
Dan Henderson vs Mauricio Rua I (2018) – This 2011 fight was a back-and-forth contest that went the distance after five brutal rounds, with Henderson getting the unanimous decision.
Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida (2019) – Back in 2009 these two warriors went at each other in another epic fight over three rounds, with Sanchez winning via split decision.
Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson (2021) – Another great fight was between these two legendary fighters from 2013. It was for the Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 165 and after five brutal rounds, Jones was given the unanimous decision.
Cub Swanson vs Doo Ho Choi (2022) – Inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame 2022, this 2016 fight at UFC 206 was a featherweight contest that unsurprisingly won Fight of the Year. It was Swanson who would end up winning by unanimous decision after three rounds.
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II – This was a bloodbath back in 2015 and is the latest entrant into the Hall of Fame. In the fifth round, MacDonald was slightly ahead on the cards but Lawler managed to get the win via knockout.
Here are the seven men currently in the Contributors Wing:
Charles “Mask” Lewis (inducted 2009) – Founder of Tapout clothing.
Jeff Blatnick (2015) – Commentator and commissioner who played an important role in getting UFC regulated.
Bob Meyrowitz (2016) – Co-creator and owner.
Joe Silva (2017) – Matchmaker from 1997 to 2016.
Bruce Connal (2018) – Matchmaker from 1997 to 2018.
Art Davie (2018) – Matchmaker, co-creator and co-owner.
Marc Ratner (2021) – Credited with getting MMA legalized in all 50 states.
Forrest Griffin Community Award
Perhaps surprisingly, Forrest Griffin isn’t actually in the Forrest Griffin Community Award wing, which would have made him the only fighter in three separate wings. However, here are the four awards that have been given to this date.
Dustin Poirier (2021) – Founder of The Good Fight Foundation which aims to help underserved communities in Louisiana.
Max Holloway (2022) – Local community work in Hawaii and raising money for charity.
Giga Chikadze (2022) – Founded The Knockout Cancer Foundation which gives financial support to those in need.
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antônio Rogério Nogueira (2023) – Local support and volunteering to communities in Brazil.
How Many People Are in the UFC Hall of Fame?
As it stands, there are 58 entrants to the Hall of Fame when you include all of the wings. However, three fighters are in multiple wings so there are 55 separate people included.
- 19 members of the Pioneer Wing
- 11 members of the Modern Wing
- 16 members of the Fight Wing
- 7 Members of the Contributors Wing
- 5 Forrest Griffin Community Award winners
The three members in multiple wings are Matt Hughes (Pioneer and Fight), Forrest Griffin (Modern and Fight), and Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pioneer and Forrest Griffin Community Award).
Is Anderson Silva a Hall of Famer?
Yes. Anderson Silva has only just been inducted into the Hall of Fame but he was always going to be included sooner or later due to his legendary status. The UFC are hesitant to add active fighters and it’s likely that he’d have been inducted much sooner if he’d have retired a few years ago.
Why Conor Is Not in the UFC Hall of Fame?
Conor McGregor has only just met the criteria to be induced as he turned 35 on 14 July 2023. However, as the UFC is hesitant to induct active fighters, so he’ll probably need to wait a few years before he is inducted.
You can still be inducted before the age of 35 if you have retired, which was shown by the introduction of Khabib Nurmagomedov in June 2022 when he was still 33.
How Do You Become a UFC Hall of Famer?
The Hall of Fame isn’t just dedicated to the best fighters in the sport. It also recognizes those who have helped elevate the sport to the next level and improve its reputation. Therefore, to be inducted you not only need to be a great fighter but also a great character.
When Can We Expect UFC 5?
Those that love the UFC and gaming will know just how good UFC 4 was. While that’s true, it was released in 2020 and therefore a new game is long overdue. Thankfully it doesn’t seem as though we’ll have to wait much longer. While no official release date has been given, it appears as though the game will be released in late 2023.