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?


  1. Profile photo of jdnextchamp


    April 30, 2014 at 10:50 am

    James Toney. Man, that arm triangle defense !

  2. Profile photo of zzoooman


    April 30, 2014 at 11:14 am

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

    • Profile photo of johndo11


      April 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm

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

      • Profile photo of jdnextchamp


        April 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm

        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 :)

        • Profile photo of HunterB


          April 30, 2014 at 12:51 pm

          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.

          • Profile photo of jdnextchamp


            April 30, 2014 at 6:41 pm

            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.

      • Profile photo of SpaceJam


        April 30, 2014 at 10:11 pm

        Shinya Aoki 35 wins 23 submissions.

    • Profile photo of Bruce Lee

      Bruce Lee

      April 30, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      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.

      • Profile photo of falcon4917


        April 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm

        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.

    • Profile photo of DeeJaySlyTee


      April 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      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…

  3. Profile photo of David Saucier

    David Saucier

    April 30, 2014 at 11:15 am

    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.

  4. Profile photo of grandslam


    April 30, 2014 at 11:22 am

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

  5. Profile photo of Buster Evans

    Buster Evans

    April 30, 2014 at 11:33 am

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

  6. Profile photo of highkick12


    April 30, 2014 at 11:46 am

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

    • Profile photo of TheXperience


      April 30, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      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.

  7. Profile photo of HunterB


    April 30, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Sakuraba… end of story.

  8. Profile photo of Mike Drahota

    Mike Drahota

    April 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    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.

  9. Profile photo of Bruce Lee

    Bruce Lee

    April 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm

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

  10. Profile photo of Mike Drahota

    Mike Drahota

    April 30, 2014 at 12:53 pm


  11. Profile photo of HunterB


    April 30, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    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.

  12. Profile photo of Mike Drahota

    Mike Drahota

    April 30, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    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.

  13. Profile photo of Garson


    April 30, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    We are talking "Ever" here and no Rickson on the list? :P

  14. Profile photo of ripstic5021


    April 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Marcin Held! hahahahahahaahaha

  15. Profile photo of Brian Cox

    Brian Cox

    April 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    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.

  16. Profile photo of Entity


    April 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    "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"

  17. Profile photo of jdnextchamp


    April 30, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Jacare Jacare Jacare !

  18. Profile photo of Brasil


    April 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm

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

  19. Profile photo of Brasil


    April 30, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Btw Michael on crack today for saying Ronda….

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