By Newsroom on August 15, 2017
  • Given that the next time you see the Octagon it will be in Rotterdam, and that two of the seven fight cards scheduled in September and October will take place on European soil, now feels like a really good time to run down the top European talents to compete under the UFC banner.

    Before getting to the collection – which includes five current or former champions and athletes who have competed in seven divisions, a point of clarity: this is based on success in the Octagon, not just all-time status.

    For example: Mirko Cro Cop is one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time. However, he went 5-6 combined over three different runs in the UFC and didn’t make the cut.

    Here are the athletes that did.

    This is The 10: Top European Fighters

    Andrei Arlovski

    Arlovski represents the past and present of the UFC heavyweight division – an early standout and former champion who shared the cage with the likes of Ricco Rodriguez, Pedro Rizzo and Tim Sylvia who returned for a second act to face a collection of today’s top talents, including current champ Stipe Miocic, former champ Frank Mir and future contender Francis Ngannou.

    “The Pit Bull” was an elite competitor upon arrival in the UFC and he enjoyed a second act that saw him rattle off four-straight wins, including an epic one-round dust-up with Travis Browne, after returning to the fold.

    Michael Bisping

    The current middleweight champion has the most wins in UFC history and is tied for the most Octagon appearances. He won Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter at light heavyweight, has been a main card talent throughout his entire career, a headlining act for much of that time and he’s spent the last decade doing work against the best fighters in the world.

    Love him or hate him, Bisping is one of the most consistent and accomplished fighters to ever compete in the UFC and easily one of the top European representatives of all-time.

    Alexander Gustafsson

    In a different time, “The Mauler” might be in the middle of a lengthy reign atop the light heavyweight division. As it is, Gustafsson has to settle (for now, at least) for being an elite talent who has pushed both Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier to their limits in classic championship encounters.

    The Stockholm native has become one of the biggest European stars in the sport and has been an elite contender in one of the UFC’s marquee divisions for the last five years, amassing a 10-4 record that includes dominant victories over perennial contenders Glover Teixeira and Jimi Manuwa and former champ Shogun Rua.

    Joanna Jedrzejczyk

    The first European female to wear UFC gold, Jedrzjecyzk has been a dominant force in the strawweight division and continues to get better. Her last three outings against Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Andrade have been the best performances of her career and as she continues to work with the all-star cast of coaches and training partners at American Top Team, it’s not inconceivable to think that “Joanna Champion” will take her talent to another level in the future.

    Already beloved by the hardcore set for her vicious style in the cage and playfully charming personality when the gloves are off, the Polish champion has superstar potential and could go down as the greatest female fighter in UFC history before her career is over.

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