- Rio de Janeiro, Dagestan, and Los Angeles produced the most UFC fighters.
- UFC fighters with the highest winning percentages come from Pennsylvania, New York, and Arizona.
- The U.S. West produces the most KO/TKO wins by UFC fighters and most title fight wins.
- The highest salaries in the UFC are attributed to Californian fighters.
The Journey to Ultimate Fighting Glory
When you ask a given child what they’d like to be when they grow up, you’d probably be hard-pressed to find one that says “a professional fighter.” However, some are naturally gifted with their fists and legs, and pursue a career in mixed martial arts with the dream of becoming the best of the best.
But who can provide them an outlet to become the greatest ever, exactly? Well, the UFC, a world-renowned mixed martial arts promotion company, tends to be considered the peak, especially given its company valuation of around $9 billion to $10 billion. Using fighter biography data from ufc.com, we can see what the odds are of a fighter achieving UFC stardom and uncover a whole bunch of other related and fascinating fighter data. Read on to see what we discovered!
Across the world, the U.S. churns out the most UFC fighters per one million residents. They have comfortably separated themselves from any other country—producing, on average, 0.54 more fighters than the next (being Canada). Out of all 1,200 current active fighters in the UFC, 579 are American, whereas only 39 Canadians are fighting behind the maple leaf.
Just because a country has more representation than others, certain cities have become hotbeds of UFC talent. Take Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Dagestan (Russia), for example. There are currently 18 active fighters from each of these cities and we have UFC Odds for all of them! Both cities have undeniably produced generational talents, including recently retired Khabib Namurgomdeov, who finished his career with 29 wins and zero losses, as well as Gilbert Burns, who holds a 20-4 professional fighting record and is currently ranked as the second best fighter in a star-studded welterweight division.
Scrappers by State
Taking a closer look at the U.S., most UFC fighters hail from Alaska, as the state produces 0.68 of them per 100,000 residents. That being said, Alaska has the fourth smallest population among states in the country, with only about 730,000 residents. Meanwhile, California is the most densely populated state with nearly 40 million residents and still finds itself in the top 10 for most UFC fighters per capita.
Notable active Californian UFC fighters include T.J. Dillashaw and Brian Ortega, who are both ranked third in their weight divisions (Bantamweight and Featherweight, respectively). Meanwhile, the state of Kentucky has the least amount of UFC fighters to its name, but has produced one of the most decorated mixed martial artists of all time in Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. With an already incredibly impressive record of 27-3-1 in the UFC, he also holds the record for longest world title defense, with 11 straight victories against then-wishful opponents.
At the end of the day, winning is all that matters in the UFC and in our Sportsbook, so let’s see which states produce fighters who do that the most. From every match since UFC 28 (the first event to use unified MMA rules), Pennsylvania is home to the winningest fighters, followed by New York and Arizona. Also, even though the Northeastern fighters have the highest win percentage, it’s the West that holds the most UFC records at 11.
Some notable American record holders in the UFC are Jim Miller (most fights, 38), Donald Cerrone (most wins, 23), Matt Brown (most KO/TKO victories, 12), and Jon Jones (most title fight wins, 14). Regardless of who holds what record, though, Pennsylvania has produced the most winningest UFC fighters compared to any other state. Among them are Eddie Alvarez with a professional fighting record of 30-8, and Phil Davis with an also impressive 23-6 record.
By country, Ukraine is home to fighters with the highest win percentages in the UFC. Although there are currently five active Ukrainian fighters, their combined record is 68 wins and 17 losses—the second largest country in Europe clearly knows how to develop fighting talent. Still, the U.S. holds the most UFC records by a mile, with 32 compared to runner-up Brazil with 11.
Show Me the Money
California finds itself in the UFC fighter conversation once again, this time regarding salaries. Fighters from the Sunshine State make $4 million more than fighters in Wisconsin, the second richest state. Naturally, more popular/famous fighters will make more money, but considering that the average UFC salary stood at just shy of $148,000, these California kids sure are making a pretty penny.
Also, aside from holding the most UFC records in the U.S., fighters in the West also make the most money – maybe there’s a correlation …
In the Lab
Once again, the West leads in another category, this time being for the amount of MMA gyms per one million residents. By far the most UFC fighters are from the West, too, so the higher number of facilities checks out. Interestingly, the Midwest has the least gyms but the second-most UFC fighters.
By state, California blows everyone else out of the water, having nearly three more gyms per one million residents than the next (New York). Some of the best MMA gyms in California include Alliance MMA, whose coaches helped train some great champions like Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Cruz, and American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), where trainers excel at making top UFC fighters more well-rounded in their techniques and styles.
By a landslide, the U.S. produces the most elite fighters in the world. However, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Dagestan (Russia) were the two cities that have the most to show in regards to UFC stars. Still, Americans hold the most records in the UFC—comfortably ahead of second place Brazil.
California found itself leading a couple of categories in this study, including being home to the highest-paid UFC fighters, as well as the most MMA gyms per one million residents. If you’re a betting man, you can wager a lot on the assumption that more and more fighters will likely go there to improve their game. This same betting man should also be familiar with BetUS, the go-to place for sports betting across a multitude of events, as well as in-depth analysis to help you make the most informed choices on your picks. Head over now to reap the rewards of their incredible sign-up, crypto, and casino bonuses.
Methodology and Limitations
For this project, we collected UFC fighter data from https://www.ufc.com to explore where UFC fighters come from and which countries and U.S. regions have created more of them. We analyzed data to find the countries and regions with the most of the following:
- Record holders
- Title fight wins
- KO/TKO wins
- Submission wins
- Shortest average fight times
The records in this study represent all UFC fights from UFC 28 to the present (UFC 28 was the first event to use the Unified Rules of MMA).
We also used Yelp to explore the number of UFC gyms in each region and pulled salary data from https://thesportsdaily.com to explore the highest salaries in the UFC.
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