Demetrious Johnson

Mixed martial arts is a truly global sport with a blend of martial arts styles from all around the globe. The explosion of the sport has seen a new wave of sensational athletes come through and re-shape our perceptions of what martial arts can be.

In 2020, there are a few standouts who continue to wow us at every turn.

From divisional dominance to a seamless blending of techniques, these athletes showcase what the very best have to offer as we near the new year.

Here is a look at ten of the best pound-for-pound athletes in the game today in no particular order.


Demetrious Johnson

Demetrious Johnson

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Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson can be summed up in one word: perfection. He is the example of what a mixed martial artist should be both in and out of the ring. Johnson's technique is flawless in all areas, and his results reflect that with both stunning knockouts and jaw-dropping submissions. Now, the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion has a chance to claim another title when he takes on Adriano Moraes for the ONE Flyweight World Championship.

Jon Jones

Jon Jones

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If you are writing a shortlist for the mixed martial arts GOAT, Jon "Bones" Jones is assuredly near the top of it. He debuted in the UFC as a virtual unknown and shocked the world with an upset of Andre Gusmao. In hindsight, it's easy to see how everyone got that one wrong. Jones changed the game in his run to the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, and he has been able to accomplish so much during his 12-year run in the company. What challenges are left? Will we finally see him compete at heavyweight?

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov

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29-0. The record speaks for itself. The undefeated UFC Lightweight World Champion has been peerless in the division since his organizational debut in 2012. His unmatched grappling and tireless takedowns have been unstoppable as he marched toward the title and completed three dominant defenses. Rarely losing a round, Nurmagomedov has proven to be virtually unbeatable.

Angela Lee

Angela Lee

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"Unstoppable" Angela Lee garnered a lot of attention early in her career with her well-documented past as an amateur, and she met the challenges as a professional head-on. She stormed her way to the ONE Atomweight World Championship and remains undefeated in the division with an incredible slate of finishes to her credit. Lee will welcome a new addition with her baby in 2021 before returning to defend her crown and assert her dominance on the division.

Christian Lee

Christian Lee

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Angela isn't the only Lee worthy of inclusion; her little brother Christian is also sitting at the top in his division. The ONE Lightweight World Champion followed in his sister's footsteps from youth champion to professional glory. The scary part for the rest of the lightweight world is that Lee is still growing both physically and mentally. "The Warrior" has shown his KO power and excellent ground game, but as he develops more and more, the blend of his skills will make it difficult for him to be dethroned.

Amanda Nunes

Amanda Nunes

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"The Lioness" is the model for progressing as a mixed martial arts athlete. She always had the raw tools, and throughout her career, fans have been treated to watching her slowly fine-tune her arsenal into a near-unstoppable force. She came into her own and made history with a 48-second knockout against Ronda Rousey, only to follow it up with a 51-second knockout over Cyborg. Nunes' all-around game is a marvel to watch as she reigns over the UFC bantamweight and featherweight divisions.

Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya

www.essentiallysports.com

The UFC Middleweight World Champion has done something few have been able to do - exceed expectations. Adesanya entered the UFC in 2018 with a lot of hype and outperformed expectations with a quick rise to the top. After capturing the interim belt, he unified the titles in October 2019 and has become a household name with pristine striking and a charismatic persona.

Joshua Pacio

Joshua Pacio

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ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua "The Passion" Pacio is one of the most exciting athletes in the sport today. Each time the Filipino steps inside the ONE Circle, he is looking to add another finish to his impressive highlights reel as he continues to help grow the sport in The Philippines with each and every performance. The Team Lakay representative is not just building his legacy in ONE, but in his homeland, as he becomes a bigger star and inspires a new generation.

Adriano Moraes

Adriano Moraes

mmajunkie.usatoday.com

Speaking of the ONE Flyweight World Champion, Moraes is one of the very best in the world himself. Not merely because he is at the top of the heap in ONE Championship, but because his skills are nearly flawless. The unheralded flyweight has power in his strikes, and his ground game is next-level as a legit Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. The Brazilian is entering his athletic prime and could be poised to make a statement when he meets one of the greatest ever to do it, Johnson, in 2021.

Stipe Miocic

Stipe Miocic

media.tegna-media.com

It is difficult to discredit the run of Ohio's Stipe Miocic. The firefighter became the first athlete to defend the UFC Heavyweight Championship three times and won the trilogy against Daniel Cormier to cement himself atop the mountain. He has accomplished what no other heavyweight has been able to do inside the Octagon with a well-rounded game and the ability to adjust on the fly. And he has been able to accomplish all of that while remaining humble and soft-spoken through his impressive tenure.


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Dustin Poirier has knocked out Conor McGregor in the second round at the UFC 257 Main Event. This spoils McGregor's long-awaited UFC return after his win over Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone last January. Poirier hinted after the match that he would be open to another bout against McGregor, as this fight brings their rivalry to a 1-1 record. The impressive wins of Poirier and Michael Chandler on Saturday night set the UFC's lightweight division up for a very exciting future.

The Legendary Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame has never before been documented in a single location. Now, you can learn about all the icons that have achieved one of the greatest honors in all of martial arts.

Black Belt Magazine is proud to announce the NEW Member Profiles feature for the Hall of Fame. At the time of this article, the online records account for every inductee from the inaugural year of 1968 all the way through 1990 (upwards of 200 martial artists). The page will be updated continuously and will include every inductee through 2020 in the near future. For now, you can enjoy images and facts about the legendary members for each induction they received before 1991. Take advantage of this never-before-seen opportunity to learn about many of the martial artists who contributed to the lifestyle, culture, and community that every martial artist experiences today.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE BLACK BELT HALL OF FAME

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The UFC returned to American network television for the first time in more than two years Saturday on ABC while former featherweight champion Max Holloway returned to his winning ways following two straight losses, earning a unanimous decision over Calvin Kattar in Abu Dhabi. Holloway showed he still has plenty left as a fighter dominating Kattar from the opening bell of the main event with a mix of punches and low kicks.

It appeared as if the former champion might stop his opponent in the fourth round landing a series of vicious body blows followed by hard elbows to the head as a bloodied Kattar sagged against the fence. But Kattar somehow survived managing to keep himself upright through the fifth stanza as well, only to lose a lopsided decision. After dropping his title to Alexander Volkanovski and then losing a controversial rematch, Holloway may have put himself in position for one more crack at the championship following Saturday's impressive performance.

SportMartialArts.Com

Jessie Wray's Virtual Fight Tour brought the heat in their fifth promotion with a call-out match, massive "Draft Edition" team fight, and a surprise bonus bout to bring sport karate fans an action-packed event.

The call-out match featured the Canadian veteran Ben Stewart as he challenged Black Belt Magazine's #3-ranked point fighting heavyweight in the world, Anthony Merricks of Team Next Level. After a new Virtual Fight Tour record was set in that bout, the action just kept getting more intense as Team Jadi Tention took on Team Richard Plowden in twelve total rounds of team fighting. Even after a thrilling team fight with numerous momentum shifts, promoter Jessie Wray still brought out one last fight to keep the fans happy. Keep reading to find out how it all went down at Virtual Fight Tour V: Draft Edition.
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