Analysts and fight fans are no longer the only ones discussing the crossover of MMA fighters into the boxing ring. What started with the infamous Mayweather vs McGregor event has become a fully fledged trend, and there are any number of dream matchups which could happen someday. Thus far, we’ve already seen McGregor, Anderson Silva, and Ben Askren jump into the ring recently, and countless other UFC fighters compete in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. Former UFC champion Tyron Woodley is next, as his boxing debut against YouTuber Jake Paul is scheduled for August 29th. More UFC fighters are undoubtedly going to cross over in the future and this begs the question, which current UFC fighters are the best boxers?
Max Holloway is without a doubt one of the best boxers in the UFC today. You can check out the UFC odds for him and all his matches. By now, all MMA fans have seen the viral clip of Holloway claiming exactly that in the middle of a fight with Calvin Kattar, as he dodges punches and returns fire without even looking at his opponent. It’s an impressive moment, but his resumé certainly speaks for itself.
Holloway has 10 KOs out of 22 wins. Watching him fight is spectacular because he will often utilize a thorough boxing approach instead of a hybrid boxing-wrestling stance like many other fighters. His output volume is unmatched as he will continuously pepper his opponent with punches that go from the head to the body and back to the head. Holloway likes to utilize a long stance, capitalizing on his reach, and he will keep his lead hand hanging to surprise with the jab and attack from odd angles.
In addition, Holloway has some of the best footwork in the 145lbs division. He can swiftly move in and out to close the distance on his opponent and will do it with a focused intensity that never sees him losing his cool. Boxing trainer Robert Garcia has even said that he believes Holloway could absolutely be a professional boxer.
Dustin Poirier has also built up a reputation as a strong boxer in the UFC. On his resumé, he has KO/TKO wins over other skilled boxers like Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor, and Justin Gaethje. He also beat Holloway when Max made the step up to the 155lbs division. Poirier has everything he needs to be competitive in the sport. He has excellent movement, a strong chin, and enormous power. A move to boxing would make a lot of sense right now.
After two high profile fights with McGregor, Poirier has become a major star and any contest he has outside of the octagon is sure to draw a crowd. Being a lean 155lber, there are certainly options for him in the boxing world if that is something he would be interested in. However, next he will fight for the title against UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira and Poirier is already the -158 favorite in the UFC betting odds for this contest. Knowing that he has repeatedly expressed his desire to make more money, we could see him in a major boxing event in the near future.
Russian 135lb fighter Petr Yan has repeatedly been hailed as one of the organization’s best boxers. He has outworked former champions Jose Aldo and Urijah Faber easily, and showcases his boxing abilities in nearly every fight. Yan has great takedown defense and keeps the fights standing so he can finish his opponent.
Masvidal is likely to make a boxing appearance at some point and was angling heavily for a Canelo fight back in 2020, though that never panned out. That said, Masvidal has serious boxing skills and all the attributes he needs to compete. He is extraordinarily tough, has a chess-like brain with high fight IQ, great power, and strong defensive capabilities.
We’ve always thought of the legendary Silva as a Thai kickboxer first and foremost, but now his boxing skills cannot be denied. After achieving everything there is to achieve in MMA, he recently made his boxing debut against a tough opponent in Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Silva stunned the world when he won by split decision, showing that he is a striking phenom, regardless of the sport.