Kirstie Gannaway was a professional graphic designer until she agreed, after much prodding from her boyfriend, to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. It was on November 27th of this year that the atomweight fought and defeated Malaysian, Adek Omar with a triangle choke submission. Since her debut, Osman has fought a commendable nine bouts, with a professional record of Ishige had been enjoying a winning streak until her third fight this year when Filipina, Jomary Torres defeated her. Ana Julaton had been a name in boxing long before she began competing at the highest levels of MMA. Were your favorite fighters on the list?
Greatest Asian Fighters of All Time
The 5 best MMA fighters from Asia
Although they get a huge chunk of money from Asia through broadcasting deals, the number of Asian fighters that went on to make it big in the UFC is pretty low. The exact reason for this lack of Asian impact in the UFC is something that is worth debating about. However, we will not be exploring the same today. Instead, we will be looking into the Asian fighters that actually made a mark in the promotion.
5 Southeast Asian MMA fighters with the most social media following
That resume speaks for itself. He even went up to Heavyweight to face 3 Lyoto Machida. When outsiders were coming to Japan to fight for Pride FC, Sakuraba was there to welcome them with a punch in the face. He was the face of Japan MMA for a long time and is considered a legend there.
Amassing a following through being active on social media often and getting your name out there lends you a leg up in your career — like how Derrick Lewis of the UFC ended up fighting for the Heavyweight Title at UFC largely because he maintained such a hilarious Instagram account. Yes, his hail mary KO of Alexander Volkov helped, but the cult following he was gathering as one of the funniest men in the MMA scene certainly helped push the deal over the line. Fighters that have originated from this region also use social media effectively to market themselves and have found professional opportunities open up because of it. Now, some of the names on this list may not be active fighters anymore — but they most certainly still maintain their connection with their fans through social media.