Daniel Cormier: “Royce Gracie is the Greatest Submission Artist in UFC History”

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Former UFC heavyweight and welterweight champion Daniel Cormier, along with retired NFL player Ryan Clark, hosts the DC & RC show, which is sponsored by ESPN. The two retired athletes this time chose the five greatest submission artists in UFC history.

It’s interestingly that Clark and Cormier didn’t put Charles Oliveira or Demian Mai in the first place, even though they are the two fighters with the most submissions in UFC history. Namely, “Do Bronx” forced its opponents to surrender as many as 14 times, and Maia is a little less successful with 11 wins by submission.

The first place on both rankings was taken by the legendary Royce Gracie. The Brazilian is an icon of the BJJ and one of the pioneers of the UFC. All MMA fans are well aware of what happened in the UFC 1 tournament when Royce easily defeated all three opponents in the first round by forcing them to surrender with BJJ submissions. He won Gracie UFC tournaments twice more (UFC 2 and UFC 4), and only Patrick Smith lost by technical knockout to Royce Gracie. In all other fights, Royce won by submission. A total of 11 of his 15 MMA wins Royce Gracie recorded by submission, and 10 came under the roof of the UFC.

Although Maia and Oliveira are great masters of BJJ, Royce Gracie is a very justified choice for the best. Cormier placed Ronda Rousey in second place, with Fabricio Werdum, Mackenzie Dern, and Frank Mir completing the remaining three places. Cormier admitted that he forgot about Charles Oliveira even though he is the fighter with the most submissions in UFC history.

Ryan Clark has not forgotten about “Do Bronx”, which ranks second on his list, while the Top 5 is closed by Demian Maia, Ronda Rousey, Frank Mir, and “Minotauro” Nogueira (shares fifth place with Mir).


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It could be said that Cormier has not only forgotten Oliveira, but also Demiana Maia who certainly deserves his place in the Top 5 much more than Mackenzie Dern. However, Cormier justified the choice of Mackenzie Dern by the fact that she is the only fighter who celebrated in the UFC with a leglock (kneebar against Hannah Cifers). Other than that, Dern is the UFC’s straw category record holder with four wins by submission.

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