We broke down the numbers to find out which countries have produced the most UFC champions, and at the highest rate.
Patriotism runs rampant in sports. From hockey to soccer, where you are from is a big deal. The entire planet even gathers together every four years to see who has the best athletes in the Olympics, which started in 776 BC. Where we are from and pride from it runs deep in our blood. So I took some time and crunched the numbers to see who produces the most UFC champions.
So first, the ground rules. I did not include any champion outside the UFC. They had to hold a title under the promotion’s banner. No Pride, WEC, Strikeforce, or elsewhere have been counted for here. I’ve also removed any repeating champs. So Jose Aldo, Randy Couture and the like do not get extra points for re-capturing the title, nor do double champs like Conor McGregor or Daniel Cormier. The country and state were also determined by where the fighter was born, not where they grew up or settled down. One metric I did include was interim champs, who WILL count for their respective country. So let us take a look at the numbers.
Who is your flag?
Out of 195 countries in the world, only 13 have produced UFC champions. Belarus, Ireland, England, New Zealand, Kyrgyzstan, and Poland have all had one champion in the UFC. The Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Japan have had two. The top of the list gets real top heavy. In third place, Canada clocks in with three champions. Brazil takes second with 15 champions. The United States has made a mind-boggling 63 champions. To be fair, the US is where the UFC is based and where they get most of their talent. But the same applies to Brazil, where they get the second-most amount of talent from.
But it isn’t all about who has the most. It’s all about who has the most in comparison to the population, or per capita. I took the top three countries. The rest didn’t have enough of a sample size to fairly judge and places like Ireland and Poland would be considered outliers. Taking the amount of population from each country and dividing them into the champions will give us the true king of the UFC.
With a population of 209.3 million people, Brazil comes in last among our three countries. The UFC champion per capita there is 7.1667e-8, or .0000007167. I’ll stick with the first number to keep this less confusing.
Second place is Canada. Their low population of 37.06 million people paired with their three champions brings them just over Brazil at 8.0950e-8 per capita.
Coming in first place is the United States again. The 63 champions among 327.2 million people settles in at 1.9254e-7 (notice the “e-7.” That moves the decimal one less time giving you a higher number.).
The United States is the pound for pound king of the UFC. We are just waiting on more countries to join the party. Nigeria recently got two champions within 45 days of each other. A third would put them soundly in fourth place. Russia is also another promising country to enter the mix when it comes to champions.
Let’s break it down some more!
In the United States, we are so patriotic, that we are loyal to not only our country, but the state we are from as well. College football and basketball show us that. So let’s see which state produces the most champions while we’re at it. 24 states have produced a champion, just under half of the union. Maine, Nevada, Tenessee, Illinois, Oklahoma, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Michigan all have one champion in their ranks. New Jersey, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Texas, Iowa, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Wisconsin have two and Arizona has three champions.
Here are the top four states!
Washington and New York are tied for third with 5 champions each. New York recently legalized professional MMA fights so expect that number to grow fast. Ohio is in second place. They have produced eight champions since the UFC’s inception. Number one is California with 15 champions.
As we’ve seen before it’s not about who has the most, it’s about per capita. Even though it has the most champions, California actually comes in last with 3.5389e-7. The population of 39.56 million people really waters down the water pool.
New York is third at 5.7985e-7 on 8.623 million people.
Nabbing second place is Washington with 6.6348e-7 and a 7.536 million population.
The champ, by a hair, is Ohio. Ohio only has eight champs, but the 11.69 million population helps and put them on top of the nation as the best state in the union. Their champs per capita comes in ~6.8e-7.
So, that settles it. If you want to be a champion in the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion, be born in Ohio. As in the words of the great Stipe Miocic: