ByRyan Matsunaga, writer at
MMA fan, BJJ enthusiast, and Executive Publisher at Creators Media.
Ryan Matsunaga

Blood runs thicker than water, and MMA is chock full of brothers and sisters who fought side-by-side (albeit some getting along better than others) during their martial arts careers.

Here are nine of the best known sibling duos:

1. Nick and Nate Diaz

The Diaz brothers started young, and never stopped fighting. Nick, the eldest of the two, began his MMA career in 2001 at the age of 18, eventually becoming the first Strikeforce Welterweight Champion, the first WEC Welterweight Champion, and an IFC Welterweight Champion twice. He even gave running his own promotion a shot, putting on an event called WAR MMA in 2013.

His younger brother Nate has not been fighting quite as long, but holds an impressive martial arts resume of his own. He was the Ultimate Fighter 5 Lightweight tournament winner, and holds the record for the most post-fight bonus awards in UFC history. He most recently handed Conor McGregor his first ever UFC defeat, tapping him out via rear-naked choke in the second round.

2. Anthony and Sergio Pettis

Anthony Pettis is the former UFC Lightweight Champion, and was the last man to hold the WEC Lightweight title before it was merged into the UFC. He is currently ranked #3 in the Lightweight division, and also holds the distinction of being the first UFC champ to appear on the front of a Wheaties box!

His younger brother Sergio is also a UFC fighter, an up-and-comer in the Flyweight division. He currently holds a 13-2 record, and in his six UFC bouts so far, already has two Fight of the Night awards.

3. 'Shogun' and 'Ninja' Rua

The older Rua brother, Murilo (nicknamed "Ninja), was one of PRIDE's top Middleweight competitors. He was also the first EliteXC Middleweight Champion. He retired in 2012 after amassing a 20-13 record.

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, the younger brother, was the 2005 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Champion. The 16-man tournament saw him defeat Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueria, Alistair Overeem, and Ricardo Arona to claim the title, in what many consider to be one of the most stacked brackets in MMA history. "Shogun" is also the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, and is currently ranked #8 in that division.

4. Fedor and Aleksander Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko is considered by many to be one of, if not the, greatest MMA fighter who has ever lived. For nine years, he seemed nearly unstoppable, facing only one defeat in first 33 fights (a controversial doctor stoppage against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, and a rematch he handedly won five years later). Fedor was both the PRIDE Heavyweight Champion, and the 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion. He retired in 2012 with a 34-4 record, although he recently returned to active competition last year, picking up yet another victory in Rizin FF.

His brother Aleksander had a far bumpier MMA career. With a background in Combat Sambo (in which he won nine championships), Alex spent much of his 11 year career in PRIDE, facing fighters such as Josh Barnett and Fabricio Werdum. In 2014 though, he was convicted of sexual assault, and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

5. Jake and Joe Ellenberger

A former US Marine, Jake Ellenberger is a consummate competitor, racking up over 40 fights in 10 years. He's competed all over the world in promotions such as M-1, bellator, BodogFight, and the IFL, and has spent the last five years in the UFC's welterweight division.

His twin brother Joe holds a 15-2 MMA record, and competed twice in the UFC. In 2009 though, he was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disease, forcing him to retire from professional competition.

6. Antonio Rodrigo and Rogerio Nogueira

The Nogueira twins are legends in the sport of MMA. Antonio Rodrigo spent much of his career in PRIDE, eventually becoming the Heavyweight champion, and a two-time competitor in the Heavyweight Grand Prix. He is also tied for the record of most submission wins in that organization (11). He eventually made his way over to the UFC, becoming the interim Heavyweight champ after defeating Tim Sylvia. He retired last year, ending his career with a 34-10 record.

Antonio Rogeri was also a force to be reckoned with in PRIDE, competing in the Middlweight division. In addition to a 21-7 MMA career, Rogeri was also a boxer, winning the Brazilian Championship twice, and taking the bronze at the 2007 Pan American Games. He is currently still active on the UFC Light Heavyweight roster.

7. Frank and Ken Shamrock

The Shamrock brothers aren't related by blood, and were instead adopted by the same father. Both men were early pioneers of MMA, with Frank becoming the Interim King of Pancrase in 1996. He would go on to become the first man to ever win championships in the UFC, WEC, and Strikeforce.

Ken Shamrock meanwhile is responsible for helping to put the UFC on the map, participating in the first UFC event ever. He eventually became the first Pancrase Openweight Champion, and fought Royce Gracie to a draw in the first ever UFC Superfight. Despite being over 50 years old, he continues to compete at the professional level, racking up a total of 47 fights over his 23 year career.

8. The Gracie Brothers

The Gracie family tree is far too complicated to map out here, but needless to say, their impact on the course of modern martial arts can not be understated.

Royce Gracie is arguably the most well-known brother of his era, due to his history in the UFC, but his generation includes half-brothers Rickson, Royler, and Robin, and cousins Renzo, Ralph, and Ryan, to name a few who have competed in professional MMA.

9. Angela and Christian Lee

Two of Asia's most promising MMA prospects, both of the Lee siblings are undefeated fighters in the ONE Championship roster.

Angela Lee holds a 5-0 record with five submission victories, and in May, will challenge Mei Yamaguchi for ONE's first ever women's title. Christian meanwhile is 3-0, taking his third first round victory last month.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Matt and Nick Serra
  • Matt and Mark Hughes
  • BJ and Reagan Penn
  • Chuck and Sean Liddell
  • Rashad and Lance Evans
  • Jim and Dan Miller
  • Cole and Micah Miller
  • The "Pitbull" Brothers, Patricio and Patricky Freire
  • Rodrigo and Carina Damm
  • Alistair and Velntijn Overeem
  • Clay and Jason Guida
  • Pat and Ryan Healy
  • Joe and Dan Lauzon

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