Who says that this is a young man's game?
While the UFC is always trying to build up its younger stars like Sage Northcutt and Paige VanZant, it still has some wily veterans that still have some fighting left in the tank. These fighters have been in the sport for 10 and, in some cases, nearly 20 years and have plenty of accolades to hang there hat on.
For long-time fight fans, these are the people that we grew up rooting for and cheering on as they won belt after belt. Here are the most dominant fighters that have already hit the big 4-0.
4. Roy Nelson (40)
Nelson may have never reached the pinnacle of the sport with a championship title, but he is easily one of the biggest fan favorites in the UFC. The winner of TUF 10, Nelson has one of the most legendary chins in UFC history. The heavyweight division is all about big knockout power, but in his 34 fights Nelson has only been finished twice and has never been submitted.
"Big Country" was willing to fight anyone and was the gatekeeper for any serious contender in the heavyweight division. Though his last fight was a loss to "The Black Beast" Derrick Lewis, Nelson will always scrap and put on a show for the fans delight.
3. Mark Hunt (42)
Though Hunt is in the news nowadays mostly for his talk outside of the Octagon, there is no denying his talent inside of it. Hunt, a former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, is a must watch draw in his fights.
He has earned six post-fight bonuses in his time with the UFC, fought for the interim heavyweight title against eventual champion Fabricio Werdum, and was the co-main event on the biggest card in UFC history, UFC 200. While we may never get to see him fight again as he is disputing with the UFC over Brock Lesnar's failed drug tests, his time with the sport was a special one.
2. Anderson Silva (41)
The GOAT, Anderson Silva is still one of the top draws in MMA despite being 41 years old. Silva had the longest reign as a UFC champion in history, holding the belt for 2,457 days. That streak saw him have 16 consecutive wins and 10 straight title defenses. He is tied for the most finishes in UFC history with 14 and is second in knockouts in UFC history with 11.
Though he no longer holds the belt, he is still the No. 5 ranked middleweight in the world, and his appearance on UFC 200 saved a card that was headed for doom. He is without a doubt one of the best fighters to ever compete in MMA.
1. Dan Henderson
The legend himself, Henderson has found a way to stay relevant in combat sports for almost 25 years. Hendo competed at the Olympics twice prior to entering the UFC as a wrestler, earning a 10th and 12th place finish in 1992 and 1996, respectively. He was the UFC 17 tournament winner back in 1998, former Pride Middleweight Champion, former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion, and has competed for both the 185 and 205 belts in the UFC, carried by his fabled "H-Bomb."
Hendo will get another shot at UFC glory when he faces Michael Bisping for the middleweight title later this year. A win would absolutely cement himself as one of the most important fighters in UFC history.
Images courtesy of MMA Weekly.