Sadly, MMA fighters typically have very short shelf lives. And with that, even if they have potential, but come up short, they are considered underrated.

In this article, we will go over six of the most underrated MMA fighters of all-time.

6 Most Underrated MMA Fighters

6. Gilbert Melendez

Gilbert Melendez is one of the most underrated MMA fighters. Yes, he comes in at number six, however, if you look at his resume, then you could throw him anywhere on this list.

In 2013, Melendez won the Fight of the Year from a number of outlets for his bout against Diego Sanchez. He holds many records under the Strikeforce banner, including, most successful title defenses (6), most consecutive title defenses (4), most wins in Strikeforce history (11) and most significant strikes landed in Strikeforce history (749).

5. Randy Couture

As a man who held the championship in two divisions, you wouldn’t think Randy Couture would be on this list. However, being the oldest fighter to be a champion at 45 years-old, as well as when he was the heavyweight champion at 44-years-of-age, he defended it against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74.

If you look at his resume, he fought absolute giants of his era and went toe to toe with all of them. He earned victories over the likes of Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Vitor Belfort and Tim Sylvia.

4. Rich Franklin

After leaving teaching, Rich Franklin took to the MMA cage. He fought under the UFC banner a couple of times, before becoming a mainstay on the roster in 2005. He earned the middleweight championship by beating Evan Tanner at UFC 53. He followed up with back-to-back wins against Nate Quarry and David Loiseau.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest fighters of all time, Anderson Silva signed with the promotion and became his kryptonite. At UFC 64, Silva defeated Franklin to capture the middleweight gold.

If it weren’t for ‘The Spider’, Franklin would have likely held the championship around his waist for quite some time.

3. Jon Fitch

With a record of 32-8-2, 1NC, Jon Fitch is our number three most underrated fighter of all time.

Fitch fought for the UFC from 2005 until 2011. The former welterweight title contender was never able to capture the companies 170-pound gold, however, he fought the who’s who of names in the division. He went 14-3, 1NC in his 18 UFC appearances.

Following a loss to Demian Maia in 2013, Fitch was released by the UFC and signed with WSOF. In 2016 he captured the promotion’s welterweight championship and went on to defend it twice before vacating it to sign with Bellator.

He went 1-1-1 under the Bellator banner before announcing his retirement in 2020.

2. Frankie Edgar

Looking at his most recent outings, many fans overlook Frankie Edgar’s early career.

After going 12-1 in his professional career, Edgar earned a shot against the best in the UFC’s lightweight division B.J. Penn. And he earned a decision victory to earn the 155-pound championship.

He went on to defend it against Penn in the rematch and then a grudge was formed against Gray Maynard. In both outings, if you were to head over to after the first round, Maynard would have likely been the favorite as Edgar was on dream street a couple of times. However, they fought to a draw in the first outing and Edgar withstood the early storm in the rematch and earned a fourth-round knockout victory.

If you look at the names on his rap sheet, you can not overlook him as one of the best ever at lightweight.

1. Jose Aldo

I hate to put this man at the number one spot of underrated fighters, but casual fans just don’t know or appreciate how good Jose Aldo really is.

The Brazilian went on a winning streak from 2006 to 2014, which is a ridiculous stat in itself. However, he had many highlight reel fights along that streak and also won and defended the WEC featherweight championship eight times.

He holds the record for the most successful UFC title defenses at seven, has earned Fight of the Night honors four times and Performance of the Night honors twice.

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