Most experienced UFC fighter, by division

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                                Most experienced UFC fighter, by division

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Vitor Belfort made his MMA debut in October 1996, so one would think his experience would be very valuable when he takes on 25-year-old light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. However, Belfort is not even the most experienced challenger Jones has met during his reign as 205-pound titleholder.

The Brazilian's 30 career bouts have prepared him well for almost any UFC opponent, but Jones possesses unparalleled talent and has already proven he can handle veterans of the sport with relative ease. Throw in a significant size disadvantage, and Belfort has his hands full in trying to reclaim the UFC's light heavyweight belt.

Still, whether it was deserved or not, the fact that Belfort is even competing in a UFC title fight at this late stage in his career is an accomplishment in itself. Nearly 16 years have passed since Belfort knocked out Jon Hess to begin his career, making him one of the longest tenured fighters competing inside the Octagon today.

These are the most experienced fighters in each of the UFC's eight weight divisions.

Alistair Overeem
Debut: October 24, 1999

Light Heavyweight
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
Debut: November 13, 1999

Wanderlei Silva
Debut: November 1, 1996

Brian Ebersole
Debut: February 24, 2000

Dennis Hallman
Debut: May 18, 1996

Bart Palaszewski
Debut: January 27, 2002

Johnny Eduardo
Debut: November 1, 1996

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What is a bigger factor for experience?

Years since your debut? Or how many title fights and top opponents, and big time fights you have had?

I would go with the latter, personally.

It is impossible unfortunately to quantify quality and breadth of opposition in a way that would get broad agreement.

I would say GSP has more experience than Ebersole, personally.

Maybe not as many total fights, but definitely more big fights, higher level of opponent fights.

Hard to argue against Overeem, Rampage, and Wanderlei.

Hallman's been around forever, but is he more "experienced" than BJ Penn?

Didn't Chael P. Sonnen Debut at 'light heavyweight' back in 1997? Phone Post

Vladdy Matyushenko debuted before Rampage did. Phone Post

And who has Jones fought that debuted before Vitor? Phone Post

I dont think Matt Hughes is officially retired

Sofa King Cool - And pretty sure Nogueira debuted before Reem. Phone Post

So basically the article was poorly researched before being written Phone Post

Mike Pyle disagrees with Brian Ebersole 

I feel like this list is based on amount of fights. 

UGCTT_Zacharinho - I feel like this list is based on amount of fights. 

Is it? Phone Post

Underground Blog - It is impossible unfortunately to quantify quality and breadth of opposition in a way that would get broad agreement.


great post, Kirik? :o)

The UG news failed to pick up on the No. of fights over debut date, but the bleacher report article this is from clearly emphasizes their record before noting their debut 

If it goes by date, shouldn't Renzo Gracie be on there? Pretty sure he started fighting in 1992 Phone Post