Hispanics have a rich history in combat sports.
In boxing, Oscar de la Hoya, Bobby Chacon, Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello and Fernando Vargas were just some of the many Hispanic boxers who enjoyed massive success.
Professional wrestling has also featured many Hispanic role models, including Tito Santana, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Misterio Jr., Alberto Del Rio and Mil Mascaras, just to name a handful.
MMA and the UFC is no different. As we wrap up Hispanic Heritage Month, let's look at some of the best Hispanic fighters on the UFC roster. Yes, there are many, many more, but these are the ones that have made a significant impact on the organization.
Velasquez wears his Mexican-American heritage proudly on his chest, with the tattoo of "Brown Pride" decorating his clavicle. He's one of the sport's all-time greats, and is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion of the world. Velasquez recently tweeted this image of his grandparents.
Cejudo won the Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling in 2008, and now enjoys a career as a successful UFC title contender in the company's flyweight division. He's 10-1 in his MMA career. He came up short in his title shot against Demetrious Johnson, but the loss will make him better. He's not going anywhere for a long time.
Diaz grew up on the streets of Stockton and has enjoyed some of the biggest success of any Mexican-American in the UFC. He submitted Conor McGregor earlier this year, and is a longtime veteran of the UFC. Nate will likely end up in the UFC Hall of Fame as one of the company's most feared strikers. He's also great on the mic, blessed with the gift of gab and the ability to talk straight to the fans.
Ferguson, who goes by the nickname "El Cucuy" is a Mexican-American that resides in Orange County, CA. He's a lightweight who has been steadily climbing the rankings and clawing his way into title contention. He'll be fighting former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos in Mexico City, Mexico this November, which will hopefully set him up for a much-deserved title shot.
She's the UFC's first strawweight champion, and one of the company's brightest young female stars. Carla was also the first Invicta FC strawweight champion, so she's made history twice already in her career. A women's wrestling All-American, Esparza is a naturally gifted grappling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu master, and won the UFC strawweight title in a 16-woman tournament. Although she lost the title to Joanna Jędrzejczyk, she remains the No. 2 ranked strawweight in the world, and she has title aspirations again. Carla is one of those rare talents that proves women's MMA is not just about Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg.
Pettis shocked the world when he submitted Benson Henderson to win the UFC lightweight championship. A product of Puerto Rican and Mexican-American heritage, Pettis is an elite fighter who can hang with the best, and has shown that he is an elite level athlete. He recently submitted Charles Oliveira, and has a very respectable 19-5 record. He is currently on the hunt for UFC gold again, both at 145 and 155.
One of the original stars of The Ultimate Fighter, Sanchez is a true Mexican-American role model. Arriving to the cage to Mexican music, and proudly displaying Mexican flag colors, Sanchez is likely nearing the end of his UFC career, but as one of the original faces of the company, he still stands among the best. His fight with Gilbert Melendez was the 2013 fight of the year.
Melendez is a former Strikeforce lightweight champion. From San Francisco, California, Melendez fights with the heart of a Mexican warrior. He never backs down, and you can expect that Melendez will never run in one of his fights. He comes forward and doesn't stop until he wins or loses. He always puts on a show. Melendez has also enjoyed success in the broadcast booth as analyst. This man has a bright future both inside and outside the cage.
Cruz might be, pound-for-pound, the best fighter in the world. He returned to his winning ways after a two-plus-year hiatus due to a knee injury, and in his very next fight, after a 16-month break, won the bantamweight championship from TJ Dillashaw. Cruz is 22-1, and looks pretty close to unbeatable at the moment. He's also the occasional voice of UFC Fight Night and has shown great skill as an analyst in the commentary booth.
Condit is one of the welterweight division's best. A veteran of the sport, he's a former interim champion, and has enjoyed tremendous battles against Robbie Lawler, Johny Hendricks and Georges St-Pierre. He's talked of retiring from the Octagon, and if he does, he will be remembered as a true fighter who always left everything inside the cage.
She's one of the UFC's best strawweight fighters, having enjoyed successful runs in Bellator and the World Series of Fighting. With a record of 19-5, Aguilar has demonstrated that she's among the women's elite of the sport. She's also a member of the LGBT community and a role for many people around the world.
We can't leave out Nate Diaz's older brother, Nick, from the list. Nick hasn't fought since January 2015, but he's still one of the sport's most talked about fighters. An incredible striker and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Diaz can compete with anybody at any time. He's hilarious and unpredictable on the microphone, and always makes the sport entertaining. He's rumored to be returning to the sport soon, and when he does, it will probably be a big payday for both him and the UFC. One thing is certain, it will be a memorable moment for the fans.