In the wild world of mixed martial arts, a brutal knockout can be viewed by some as a violent scene. Nevertheless, there’s something a bit more sinister about submission finishes.
While a knocked out fighter might not even remember anything prior to hitting the canvas, tapping out of a fight willingly is the sort of happenings that can give a man sleepless nights.
Since the very beginning of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993, Royce Gracie shocked the world by winning the tournaments at UFC 1, UFC 2 and UFC 4 (he had to retire from UFC 3 due to an injury) all while submitting larger fighters who had no idea how to deal with his impeccable Jiu-Jitsu techniques.
This started a revolution in a sport that was very young, as MMA fighters from various background opted to learn the Japanese martial art which was developed by the legendary Gracie family in Brazil.
In time, fighters learned how to counter Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, however, this art remains highly-effective in MMA until this very day, with some UFC champions tracing their roots back to BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).
So who are the fighters with the most submission wins in UFC history? And which fighters top their divisions in this regard?
All the answers are submitted below.
Most Submissions in UFC History [Top 7]
Let’s take a look at the fighters with the most submission wins in the Ultimate Fighting Championship since the founding of the organization until the day of writing.
|Ranking||Fighter||Nationality||Weight Class||UFC Fights||UFC wins||UFC Wins by Submission|
|1||Charles Oliveira||Brazilian||Lightweight, Featherweight||30||21||16|
|2||Demian Maia||Brazilian||Middleweight, Welterweight||33||22||11|
|3||Royce Gracie||Brazilian||Welterweight, Open weight, Catchweight||12||11||10|
|3||Jim Miller||American||Lightweight, Catchweight||38||22||10|
|5||Nate Diaz||American||Welterweight, Lightweight||26||15||9|
Charles Oliveira – 16 Wins by Submission
Charles Oliveira is the UFC fighter with the most submission wins throughout the organization’s history. In UFC 274, the Brazilian won his 16th fight via submission as he finished Justin Gaethje with a rear-naked choke submission after 3 minutes and 22 seconds into the first round.
“Do Bronx” arrived to the company as an undefeated young prospect back in 2010. However, his road towards the title was long, gruelling and filled with ups and downs.
And yet, his credentials on the ground were never doubted, as even on his worst day, Oliveira was still able to snatch a win by forcing his opponent to tap out.
So let’s have a closer look at all the tap-out victories recorded by the submission king so far in his illustrious UFC stint.
|1||Darren Elkins||1||0:41||Armbar||UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko||August 1, 2010|
|2||Efrain Escudero||3||2:25||Rear-naked choke||UFC Fight Night: Marquardt vs. Palhares||September 15, 2010|
|3||Eric Wisely||1||1:43||Calf Slicer||UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis||January 28, 2012|
|4||Jonathan Brookins||2||2:42||Guillotine choke||The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale||June 1, 2012|
|5||Andy Ogle||3||2:40||Triangle choke||UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi||February 15, 2014|
|6||Hatsu Hioku||2||4:28||Anaconda choke||UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt||June 28, 2014|
|7||Nik Lentz||3||1:10||Guillotine choke||UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Alves||May 30, 2015|
|8||Myles Jury||1||3:05||Guillotine choke||UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs. Cowboy 2||December 19, 2015|
|9||Will Brooks||1||2:30||Rear-naked choke||UFC 210||April 8, 2017|
|10||Clay Guida||1||2:18||Guillotine choke||UFC 225||June 9, 2018|
|11||Christos Giagos||2||3:22||Rear-naked choke||UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Anders||September 22, 2018|
|12||Jim Miller||1||1:15||Rear-naked choke||UFC on Fox: Lee vs. Iaquinta 2||December 15, 2018|
|13||David Teymur||2||0:55||Anaconda choke||UFC Fight Night: Assunção vs. Moraes 2||February 2, 2019|
|14||Kevin Lee||3||0:28||Guillotine choke||UFC Fight Night: Lee vs. Oliveira||March 14, 2020|
|15||Dustin Poirier||3||1:02||Rear-naked choke||UFC 269||December 11, 2021|
|16||Justin Gaethje||1||3:22||Rear-naked choke||UFC 274||May 7, 2022|
Most Submissions by UFC Division
After viewing the record of the ultimate king of the tap-outs, let’s find out who is the fight with the most submission wins in every each UFC division.
|Division||Fighter (Years Active)||Wins by Submission|
|Heavyweight||Frank Mir (2001-2016)||8|
|Light heavyweight||Glover Texeira (2012-present)||7|
|Middleweight||Gerald Meerschaert (2016-present)||8|
|Welterweight||Gunnar Nelson (2012-prsent), Chris Lytle (2000-2011), Demian Maia (2012-2021)||6|
|Lightweight||Charles Oliveria (2010-2011 and 2017-present)||10|
|Featherweight||Charles Oliveira (2012-2016)||6|
|Bantamweight||Urijah Faber (2011-2016 and 2019), Rani Yahya (2011-present)||6|
|Flyweight||Demetrius Johnson (2012-2018)||5|
|Women’s Featherweight||Felicia Spencer (2019-present), Amanda Nunes (2018-present), Macy Chiasson (2018-present), Megan Anderson (2018-2021), Raquel Pennington (2021-present)||1|
|Women’s Bantamweight||Ronda Rousey (2013-2016)||3|
|Women’s Flyweight||Gillian Robertson (2017-present)||5|
|Women’s Strawweight||Mackenzie Dern (2018-present)||4|
Most Submissions in UFC Heavyweight Division
Frank Mir holds the most submission wins in the history of the heavyweight division with eight wins via tap-out.
While the likes of Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia were engaged in a never-ending rivalry to determine who is the hardest puncher in the division, Mir was one of the very few heavyweights at the time who possessed remarkable ground skills.
His win over BJJ black belt Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 140 remains one of the most shocking moments in the company’s history. Mir’s kimura broke the arm of the Brazilian legend who refused to tap out.
Most Submissions in UFC Light Heavyweight Division
Glover Texeira holds the record for submission wins in the UFC’s light heavyweight division at seven. Following his arrival to the organization, the Brazilian mostly relied on his boxing skills.
Nevertheless, he later reverted to his Jiu-Jitsu origins which paid dividends as he went on to earn UFC gold at the the age of 42.
Most Submissions in UFC Middleweight Division
Gerald Meerschaert is yet to establish himself amongst the elite fighters at middleweight, but he already holds the record for the most submissions in the division with eight wins. His favorite technique is taking his opponent’s back and applying a rear-naked choke.
Most Submissions in UFC Welterweight Division
In the welterweight division, three fighters share the record as Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia and Chris Lytle all have six wins by submission.
As we mentioned in the table above, Maia ranks second in the overall list with 11 submission wins, but six of those had came at middleweight prior to his drop to welterweight in 2012.
Most Submissions in UFC Lightweight Division
Charles Oliveira has the most submissions in the UFC Lightweight Division with 10.
Jim Miller previously held the record with an impressive nine UFC wins via submission.
Most Submissions in UFC Featherweight Division
Although he’s mostly known as a lightweight, Charles Oliveira spent enough time in the featherweight division to collect six tap-out victories and earn himself the accolade of holding the most submission wins at 145 pounds.
Most Submissions in UFC Bantamweight Division
In the bantamweight division, Urijah Faber and Rani Yahya share the record for the most submission wins with six for each.
Despite never winning UFC gold, the “California kid” remains one of the pioneers of the smaller weight classes.
Most Submissions in UFC Flyweight Division
During his heyday, Demetrius Johnson completely cleaned out the Flyweight division, earning six submission wins in the process. “Mighty mouse” remains the record holder in this regard.
Most Submissions in Women’s UFC Divisions
In the Women’s UFC divisions, Gillian Robertson holds the record for submissions. She forced her opponent to tap out on five occasions.
While Ronda Rousey had the nastiest triangles and the biggest paychecks amongst her peers, the legendary fighter only collected three submission wins during her memorable UFC run.