18 Best Mexican UFC Fighters In MMA History

18 Best Mexican UFC Fighters In MMA History

The UFC, the apex MMA promotion in the world, is home to a plethora of MMA stars, predominantly the best in the sport, who have boasted of decades worth of experiences and numerous eye-popping accomplishments that place them in an iconic class in the sport.

These fighters come from a diverse range of nationalities, but it is often no surprise that certain corps of fighters with the common bond of nationality dominate the UFC in ways that leave fans bemused.

From the Brazilians, the Russians, to the Americans, UFC fighters with the common bond of nationality dominating the promotion are not uncommon.

Of the numerous fighters with similar national heritage, we have chosen to focus on the Mexicans who currently dominate and have dominated the UFC in this article.

These fighters who fought in different years made their marks in sport, some claiming titles, and others, while not so fortunate, impressed their names into the annals of UFC history thanks to their awe-inspiring techniques.

We thus reveal the best Mexican UFC fighters in MMA history.

The list cuts across both genders and is ultimate decidedly titles won, title defenses, and most importantly, professional MMA record.

Best Mexican UFC Fighters

18. Efrain Escudero

  • Height: 5 feet 9 inches
  • Nickname: Hecho En México
  • Division: Lightweight

When Efrain Escudero newly burst into the UFC scene, he was one of the most promising UFC fighters, and as he transitioned from being a fresh face in the promotion to an esteemed star, he lived up to his reputation for his impressive fighting wits.

Efrain Escudero initially started out as a wrestler, but his interest in MMA fight in the summer.

He first started out in 2006 at Rage of Cage and recorded seven successive wins by submission, the most won by submission in the MMA in 2007.

Soon, Escudero not only began fighting in other months aside from the summer, but he embraced MMA action full time.

In 2007, he fought in his country of birth in the first event of the Full Moon Fighting promotion.

Efrain Escudero’s top-rated performance saw him invited to the eighth edition of the UFC reality television show, The Ultimate Fighter.

His incredible talents saw him advance to the finals, where he emerged victorious, thus earning him a six-figure UFC contract.

In December 2008, he came into UFC action.

He fought in the UFC until 2010 when he became the second winner of  The Ultimate Fighter to be released from the promotion.

After his release from the UFC, he fought in multiple promotions such as the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts and Legacy Fighting Championship.

He had a brief stint in the UFC, which started in December 2011 at UFC 141 and ended at UFC 145 in April 2012.

Following his second release from the UFC, he signed a one-fight deal with the Bellator MMA.

In September 2014, he returned to the UFC and continued to fight in the promotion until his last fight at UFC 197 in April 2016.

Escudero has been fighting in multiple promotions such as Absolute Championship Berkut and Professional Fighters League since he was released from the UFC for the third time in 2016.

17.  José Alberto Quiñónez

José Alberto Quiñónez
Source: Wikimedia
  • Height: 5 feet 8 inches
  • Nickname: El Teco
  • Division: Bantamweight

For a man who boasts of much consistency in the UFC, it may seem surprising that, unlike his contemporaries, his initial interest was not in any combat sport but in soccer.

In fact, José Alberto Quiñónez tried out for Mexican soccer teams Tecos F.C., and C.F. Pachuca. José Quiñónez’s interest, however, got diverted from soccer to mixed martial arts when he was a teenager.

He, alongside his brother, Cristian “Taylon” Quiñónez, trained in martial arts, learning jiu-jitsu and boxing.

He started his professional career in the Mexico Circuit and won his first 3 of his first four bouts and lost one.

His talents earned him a place in The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 1, bantamweight division.

In November 2014, José Quiñónez made his debut in the UFC at UFC 180, but lost to Alejandro Pérez.

He continued fighting for the promotion and, at the same time, tackling challenges resulting from injuries that affected his form.

In March 2021, after about eight years in the UFC, it was announced that José Quiñónez would be released from the promotion. Following his release from the UFC, he went on to the Xtreme Fighting Championships.

16. Martin Bravo

  • Height: 5 feet 8 inches
  • Nickname: El Toro
  • Division: Lightweight, Featherweight, Bantamweight

Bravo has always been a straight shooter who had always wanted a taste of MMA action right from his early years.

He built his skills so well that when he made his professional debut in Mexico, he went undefeated for his first ten professional bouts.

Soon his talents earned him a place in the third season of the UFC reality television show,

The Ultimate Fighter Latin America series.

Bravo was in exceptional form as he defeated all his opponents to make it to the finale.

In November 2016, at the finale of the third season of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, he fought Claudio Puelles, who he defeated to claim the Lightweight title of the tournament.

However, in his next fight in the UFC against Humberto Bandenay in August 2017, he lost the fight in the first round.

He went on to lose his next two fights in the UFC, and in February 2020, he was released by the UFC.

After his release from the UFC, he went on to Combate Global, where he made his debut in September 2021.

15. Akbarh Arreola

  • Height: 5 feet 10 inches
  • Nickname: El Caballero
  • Division: Lightweight, Welterweight

Long before he retired from MMA action, Akbarh Arreola was one of the stars to behold in the UFC.

Years after his departure from the MMA scene, his exploits are still recalled.

Of the numerous Mexican fighters who made it to the MMA, Akbarh Arreola stands out in impressive fashion.

He first came on the radiates of numerous fans in February 2012, when he was included on the roster for The Ultimate Fighter 15.

He, however, did not perform well as he was defeated in the entry round.

Arreola was still included in the UFC roster but suffered successive defeats in the course of his UFC career, which started in July 2014, when he made his UFC debut, and ended in November 2015, when he was released from the promotion.

Though Akbarh Arreola does not boast of an impressive UFC record, his MMA exploits saw him excel in other promotions where he won titles such as the MMAX Fights Welterweight Championship and the MMAX Fights Welterweight Championship.

In April 2016, months after his release from the UFC, he announced his retirement from the MMA scene.

Arreola fought in 35 bouts throughout his career, won 23, lost 11, and ended one bout in a draw.

14. Hector Sandoval

  • Height: 5 feet 2 inches
  • Nickname: Kid Alex
  • Division: Flyweight

Hector Sandoval’s first into MMA dates back to when he was 19 years old in 2006.

Young, eager, and ambitious, Sandoval spent two years training and improving his skills before he debuted on the MMA scene.

In 2008, he made his professional debut and fought in a flurry of promotions such as Tachi Palace Fights and Palace Fighting Championship.

He came to the attention of the UFC after he went on a four-fight winning streak.

After signing a deal with the UFC, he debuted in the promotion in July 2016 at UFC 201.

However, his debut did not go as he planned, as he lost the fight. Sandoval went on to fight in three more bouts, winning the first two and losing the last.

His drop in form soon led the UFC to release him. After his UFC stint, he went on to other promotions such as Combate Global. 

13. Álvaro Herrera

  • Height: 6 feet 0 inch
  • Nickname: El Chango, Sport Billy
  • Division: Lightweight, Welterweight

A versatile athlete, Álvaro Herrera was a popular face in the  MMA scene before he came onto the UFC. He started his MMA career in 2008 and competed mainly in the regional circuit, mostly in Mexico and South America.

His talents soon caught the attention of UFC management, who sponsored his training at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy.

He soon was selected as one of the cast for The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2, where he lost in the elimination round.

In November 2015, at The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 finale, he made his UFC debut, defeating Vernon Ramos in the first round via Knockout. Herrera went to fight in three UFC bouts in the span of two years, losing all of the bouts.

He was subsequently released from the UFC and went on to fight in the Combate Americas promotion.

Though his performance had been dismal in recent times, the MMA star, who is a student of bio-pharmaceutical chemistry, has won other titles in other promotions such as the Black Fighting Championship Welterweight Championship and Black Jaguar Fights Welterweight Championship.

12. Jessica Aguilar

  • Height: 5 feet 3 inches
  • Nickname: JAG
  • Division: Strawweight

One of the most formidable female UFC fighters in the history of the promotion, Jessica Aguilar still remains a prominent figure in the promotion long after her departure.

Her impressive fighting skills have earned her the admiration of fans not only in the UFC but also in the multiple promotions she has fought in and made her mark.

Aguilar started her career in February 2006, when she made her debut in the Absolute Fighting Championships.

However, her MMA career started on a negative note as she was defeated in her debut fight.

Aguilar, however, rose from the ashes of her defeat to become a dominant force, going on to win her successive three bouts, which brought the attention of the Bellator Fighting Championships to her.

In June 2010, Aguilar signed a deal with the promotion and made her promotional debut the next month.

She fought in the promotion for years until she was released by Bellator MMA in August 2013. She was one of the last fighters on the promotion roster at the time she was released.

In November 2013, she went on to the World Series of Fighting, becoming the first female fighter to sign for the promotion, and won the WSOF Women’s Strawweight Championship.

In May 2015, she left WSOC for the UFC. She debuted in the UFC in August 2015.

She started her UFC career on a negative note, as she lost her fight.

Aguilar who is on of the proud gay UFC fighters making waves, went on to lose the majority of her fights in the UFC and was released by the promo in May 2019.

In October 2020, she signed with  Xtreme Fighting Championships, where she has remained ever since.

11. Alejandro Pérez

  • Height: 5 feet 6 inches
  • Nickname: Turbo
  • Division: Bantamweight

Still dominating in the UFC, Alejandro Perez is inkling to make his mark in the UFC by solidifying his relevance in UFC history with a title win.

From the age of 16, Alejandro Pérez had been working intensely to make a name for himself in MMA.

He debuted professionally at 16 years old, and despite being younger than most of his opponents, he managed to rack up a 14-5 record, which preceded his invitation to The Ultimate Fighter in May 2014.

Alejandro Pérez proved to be a dominant force in The Ultimate Fighter, defeating all his opponents in the Bantamweight division to make it to the finals.

In November 2014, at the UFC 180, Alejandro Peréz defeated José Alberto Quiñónez in the Bantamweight final to emerge the winner of the Bantamweight tournament in The Ultimate Fighter.

He, however, lost his next fight in the UFC but soon returned to winning ways as he continued his quest for a UFC title.

10. Augusto Montaño

  • Height: 6 feet 2 inches
  • Nickname: Dodger, El Tigre
  • Division: Welterweight, Middleweight

Since the age of 15, Montano has been well on his way to MMA domination, and he has enjoyed a measure of success along the way.

The star started out as a 15-year-old lad training in Kung Fu, not for the purpose of fighting in sport, but to defend himself in the face of violence and physical aggression as he lived in a dangerous neighborhood in Mexico.

However, that training soon led him into the MMA world, where he made his professional debut in 2008.

He went on to win middleweight titles in promotions such as Xtreme Fighters Latino, Xtreme Fighter Society, and Xtreme Kombat.

By the time he was invited to the UFC, he had lost a single professional bout and had an impressive 14-1 record.

In November 2014, he debuted at UFC 180, defeating Chris Heatherly.

He lost his next fight but was embroiled in a drug brouhaha as he tested positive for testosterone metabolites, which led him to be suspended for a year.

In September 2016, he returned to the UFC but lost his first fight in about a year.

9. Marco Beltrán

  • Height: 5 feet 8 inches
  • Nickname: Psycho
  • Division: Flyweight, Bantamweight

Few Mexican MMA stars boast of much fighting prowess and skill as much as Marco Beltrán.

The Psycho started out with boxing at an early age but soon picked up more skills essential to the ways of the MMA when he began training at Top Brother México.

In 2008 Marco Beltrán made his debut in MMA and fought in promotions such as Xtreme Kombat.

He tried out for The Ultimate Fighter:

Latin America in 2015 and was announced as part of the cast. He, however, lost in the semifinal to José Alberto Quiñónez.

In November 2014, he debuted in the UFC 180, defeating Marlon Vera in his debut bout. He continued fighting in the UFC until October 2017, when he was released from the promotion after losing to Matt Schnell at UFC 216.

After his UFC stint, he went onto Lux Fight League, where he won the Lux Bantamweight Championships in March 2019.

8. Polo Reyes

  • Height: 5 feet 11 inches
  • Nickname: El Toto, Torito
  • Division: Lightweight

A carpenter turned MMA star. Polo Reyes did not start out in MMA to become an athlete but to learn self-defense.

He soon got involved in MMA tournaments, and became Mexico’s national champion, and also held regional titles.

He fought in Mexico from 2009 to 2014 with a record of 4-3-0, which soon got him invited to The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2.

He, however, lost out in the semifinal to Horacio Gutiérrez.

In November 2015, Polo Reyes made his debut in the UFC and began his journey with a win in the first round.

He continued in stellar form, winning 3 of his next four bouts before he was banned for six months by the USADA for testing positive to Ostarine.

Following his return to the UFC in February 2019, his performance dropped drastically, as he lost all of his next three bouts, which led him to be released in February 2020.

After his release from the UFC, he went on to fight in other promotions.

7. Henry Briones

  • Height: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Nickname: Bure
  • Division: Bantamweight

In his early years, Henry Briones would never have taught he would end up as an MMA star.

From an early age, Henry Briones had dreamt of playing Ice hockey professionally, but that dream came crashing after his efforts to pursue Ice hockey as a professional career in the US did not work out, despite moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to reside with his aunt to pursue his dream.

He soon returned to Mexico, where he went on to attend law school.

At the age of 26, he began training in mixed martial arts. He soon turned pro and fought in the Mexico circuit, amassing a 15-4-1 record.

He went on to apply for the UFC’s Latin America developmental program and was accepted.

After a year of training at Jackson’s MMA, he was listed as a member of the cast of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 1.

He, however, lost in the quarter-final to Marlon Vera.

In November 2014, at UFC 180, he made his debut in the promotion.

His performance was so impressive that he earned the Fight of the Night award in his debut bout.

He contoured fighting in the UFC but was defeated in the majority of his bouts.

In November 2019, after four successive defeats, he was released from the UFC.

6. Érik Pérez

  • Height: 5 feet 8 inches
  • Nickname: Goyito
  • Division: Bantamweight

Born into a family with deep ties to combat-related sports, it was inevitable for Érik Pérez to follow the ways of his brothers in delving into a combat sport.

After fighting for a while in Mexico, he moved to the United States and began fighting in the UFC.

From June 2012 to November 2016, Érik Pérez started to fight in the UFC, winning the majority of his bouts but with titles evading him.

In October 2017, after his contract with the promotion was due, he moved on to Combates Americas, where he had a brief stint.

In December 2019, Érik Pérez signed a deal to fight in the Bellator MMA.

5. Gabriel Benítez

  • Height: 5 feet 8 inches
  • Nickname: Moggly
  • Division: Featherweight

Though Gabriel Benítez embraced MMA when he was 18, he learned fast enough to disrupt the ranks of the promotions that he fought in, in the early years of his career.

After debuting professionally, he accrued a 16-4 record before he came into the UFC scene.

In April 2014, he was selected as one of the cast members of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 1 but lost to   Leonardo Morales in the semifinal.

In November 2014, at UFC 180, Benítez made his debut, and via the guillotine choke technique, he defeated Humberto Brown to win his debut bout.

Since his first fight in the UFC, Gabriel Benítez has been a dominant force to reckon with and has been consistent in his firm as he works his way to a chance at claiming the featherweight title.

4. Yair Rodríguez

Yair Rodríguez
Source: Wikimedia
  • Height: 5 feet 11 inches
  • Nickname: El Pantera (The Panther
  • Division: Featherweight

One of the best fighters in the UFC, Yair Rodríguez, not only dominates his male Mexican counterparts in the UFC, only a few fighters measure up to him in skill and performance.

His journey into MMA began at the tender age of five when he began learning Taekwondo.

After building his talents to a large extent, Yair felt confident in facing other professional stars.

Yair Rodríguez debuted in the Mexican Fighter Promotions in October 2011. He won his debut fight and went on to become a force in the Mexican Fighter Promotions.

In May 2014, it was announced that Yair Rodríguez would be a cast member of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America. His top-rated ability saw him progress to the featherweight finals.

In Novem2014, at UFC 180c Yair Rodríguez defeated Rudolfo Rubio to win the tournament. In his second fight in the promotion, he put up a stellar performance to win the fight and the Fight of the Night award.

In April 2016, in his fourth bout in the UFC, he won the Performance of the Night bonus.

Rodríguez continued in fine form until December 2020, when he was suspended for six months by the USADA for being unavailable for a drug test and failing to declare his location.

However, in his return fight in November 2021, he was defeated by Max Holloway but won the Fight of the Night bonus. Rodríguez is still an active UFC fighter in the featherweight division.

3. Brandon Moreno

Brandon Moreno
Source: Wikimedia
  • Height: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Nickname: The Assassin Baby
  • Division: Flyweight

Among the Mexicans in the UFC, Brandon Moreno’s name reigns supreme. He has made his mark in the UFC thanks to his superior fighting abilities and exceptional fighting style.

Brandon Moreno’s first into MMA began at age 12 when he joined a local Entram Gym to lose weight.

He soon began training in MMA and fell in love with the sport so much that he gave up plans to study law in other to pursue a career in MMA.

In April 2011, he made his professional debut in Mexico and went on to record 6-3 records in his first two years of fighting.

He joined the World Fighting Federation promotion in 2014 and soon became the promotion’s Flyweight champion.

In July 2016, he was named as a cast to the 25yh edition of The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions, but he lost in the entry stage.

In October 2016, while The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions was still airing, Moreno debuted in the UFC. He won his debut fight in the promotion and won the Performance of the Night award.

He continued fighting for the promotion until

2021 when he was cut off from the promotion.

After being left out of the UFC, he went on to Legacy Fighting Alliance in June 2019.

In September 2019, he returned to the UFC and continued in fine form, which set him up for a UFC Flyweight Championship bout with Deiveson Figueiredo in December 2020 in UFC 256.

The bout, however, ended in a majority draw. The two fighters met again in June 2021 at the UFC 263 with the UFC Flyweight Championship on the line.

After Moreno dominated most of the bout, Figueiredo submitted to a  rear-naked choke in the third round, which made Brandon Moreno the winner of the bout.

He thus became the first Mexican-born UFC Champion in the UFC. 1

He also earned the UFC Performance of the Night award for the bout.

Moreno, however, lost the title in his first title defense in UFC 270 against Deiveson Figueiredo in January 2022.

2. Irene Aldana

  • Height: 5 feet 9 inches
  • Nickname: Robles
  • Division: Bantamweight

One of the most formidable female MMA fighters in the world, Irene Aldana began her journey into the MMA much later than most of her contemporaries.

She got interested in the sport during her time in college and began training at the local Lobo Gym.

She soon debuted professionally and started fighting for Jungle Fight promotion.

In September 2014, she debuted at Invicta Fighting Championships.

However, her stint at Invicta FC was short-lived, as she left the promotion in February 2015.

In December 2016, she debuted in the UFC but lost her debut fight.

She, however, was able to win her next fight and soon returned to winning ways.

1. Alexa Grasso

Alexa Grasso
Source: Wikimedia
  • Height: 5 feet 5 inches
  • Division: Strawweight, Flyweight

One of the most talented and incredible fighters in the UFC, Alexa Grasso, may not have won a title, but she dominates the most in the UFC of her Mexican UFC counterparts.

She debuted in December 2012 and went undefeated in her first five bouts.

After a year away from the MMA scene, she returned to action in September 2014 at the Invicta Fighting Championship.

She continued to fight in the promotion until September 2015.

Throughout her stint in the Invicta FC, she was undefeated.

In August 2016, she signed with the UFC and debuted in November 2016. She won her UFC debut bout but lost her second bout.

This defeat marked the first time she had ever lost a bout in her MMA career.

Undiscouraged, she continued to fight in the UFC, and in August 2021, she moved to the flyweight division.

Alexa Grasso’s achievements in the UFC octagon sees her top the list of best Mexican UFC fighters in the history of the sports

Final Words

Mexican UFC fighters are among the most prominent fighters in not only the UFC but in MMA.

Over the years, the UFC has constantly been inundated with an influx of Mexican fighters in its various divisions, who have thrilled fans, and contributed immensely to the oil story of the sport.

Mexican MMA stars help not only to popularize MMA globally but also provide a steady stream of talents for the apex MMA promotion, thus making Mexican fighters noteworthy in the sport.

References & Notes

Facts Sources:
  1. Brandon Moreno Wins UFC Flyweight Title, Becomes 1st Mexican-Born Champion. Bleacher Report

About The Author