The UFC features the best of martial art’s global talents who go toe-to-toe for championship titles. However, beyond the ring, the referee, and the fans, lie the commentators who make the bouts enjoyable on our earpieces. They engage and make the viewers understand what is going on from a professional and tactical standpoint.
Let’s look at the top 15 list of UFC’s most iconic commentators of all time. They include:
- Joe Rogan
- Michael Bisping
- Jon Anik
- Dominick Cruz
- Daniel Cormier
- Paul Felder
- John Gooden
- Mike Goldberg
- Laura Sanko
- Dan Hardy
- Kenny Florian
- Michael Buffer
- Bruce Buffer
- Brendan Fitzgerald
- Brian Stann
Read on to learn a little more about your favorite virtual fight companions.
Joe Rogan is one of the top names and has always been a color commentator for the UFC since 1997. He started as a backstage interviewer in the UFC 12 event and rose to become UFC’s color play-by-play commentator.
Although Joe briefly took a break from commentating, he came back after managerial changes at the UFC. He remains one of the most outstanding commentators of all time and an asset to the UFC.
What’s most outstanding about Joe is his understanding of martial arts at a professional level. That’s because he’d practiced several fighting styles over the decades, in his early days. Joe is well versed in several martial art styles: BJJ, Taekwondo, Boxing, Karate, Muay Thai, and wrestling.
This background makes him one of the most fight-experienced and iconic UFC’s commentators. He can identify the rarest martial art maneuvers on display and live in action during bouts. For instance, he was the only commentator to Identify a rare submissive style, twister, by a fighter, Chan Sung Jung.
Joe is still active in duty, mainly commentating pay-per-view UFC bouts and top championship title fights. One of the most notable events was UFC 229, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor’s much-anticipated fight.
Joe Rogan is a formidable, charismatic, and vocal gateway for sports fans into the martial arts scene. Currently, he’s a podcaster and runs a Youtube Channel, The Joe Rogan Experience. It addresses various controversial discussion topics, including holding interviews with different UFC fighters.
Michael Bisping is a formidable UFC commentator who first started as a UFC fighter in the Middleweight category. Formerly a middleweight champion with a 30-9-0 stat fight record, he retired from fighting to become a UFC commentator.
Joining the UFC as a commentator in 2018, Michael Bisping has gained his rightful space and become a respected voice. He started as a desk sports analyst to the ring-side commentator that he is right now. In mid-2021, the UFC extended their commentator contract with Michael in a four-year deal.
Michael has an insider insight into fights, being candid and knowledgeable about the sport with unmatched lingual prowess. In a witty and charismatic way, his precise articulation of live events engages the fans, enhancing the fight experience.
This aspect makes Michael Bisping one of the top UFC commentators of all time. The UFC Hall of Famer is famous for outright expressing his opinions during matches that could occasionally touch a nerve.
Jon Anik’s career as a commentator at the UFC commenced in 2011, having worked at ESPN for nearly five years. At the time, Jon was a passionate reporter covering MMA events for ESPN.
Dana White would later recruit this vocal talent to join the UFC’s commentary team. After Mike Goldberg’s exit, Anik joined the team, covering all UFC’s pay-per-view events.
As an experienced real-time analyst covering martial art events, Anik was a natural fit. He has commented on great fights, most notably, Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington.
Anik always displays respect and appreciation for fighters, who crown the octagon to make a living while entertaining fans.
Anik is famous for his passion, energy, and relentless work ethic. He takes down all details about fights and fighters and commits these bits to memory. He does his research and doesn’t engage in uninformed ranting on the cage side. Instead, Anik provides information value in his commentary to the fans.
In the 2021’s Abudhabi event, Anik’s voice was the soundtrack for the 28-fight UFC 267 event. It would follow for UFC 268 event, held at the Madison Square Garden arena in New York.
Anik’s charisma, preparation, and passion on-air covering events are unique, making him one of the greatest commentators in UFC history. These aspects propel Anik as one of the most trusted and sought-after voices in MMA history, both home and abroad.
Dominick Cruz is a two-time world champion for the UFC bantamweight category and is now a brilliant sports analyst.
UFC talk shows often invite him to comment on the organization’s live fight events. Despite his excellent fighting record and more recent allocation of duties regarding commentary for UFC fights, Cruz encounters certain shortcomings.
Cruz tends to predict fight outcomes in his analysis of fights. This aspect sometimes works against his favor and draws negative sentiments and comments regarding his impartiality during commentaries. For instance, Khabib Nurmagomedov criticized Cruz’s wrong and impartial report in the UFC 229 fight with McGregor.
In addition, commentary jobs create TV personalities. Cruz doesn’t fit well to viewers’ expectations who opine that he whines too much on fight nights, judging his demeanor.
In addition, he sometimes throws public criticism at his fellow cage-side mates. For instance, he made negative remarks regarding Cormier’s commentary skills, questioning his preparation methods which they later settled with civility. These behaviors indicate that he holds strong opinions and doesn’t play well with others.
Initially, Cormier was a fighter and held an impressive 22-3-1 fight record. After his announcement to retire from fighting, the two-division champion got into the commentator booth after Goldberg exit.
As a former fighter with bouts experience, he brings insight into the fight commentating and breaks down live fight action. However, D.C. has been subject to criticism over biased commentary.
For instance, Justin Gaethje called out the commentator about his slant in representing the UFC 267 Abudhabi event. Cormier’s remarks after the fight gave most listeners the impression that Makhachev’s opponent stood no chance from the beginning.
All in all, commentator criticism is common, especially in competitive combat sports.
In response to such criticism, Cormier referred to his combat experience, helping him see through fights from the onset. He represents what he sees and what most inexperienced people won’t detect.
Paul Felder is a natural fit for UFC events as a fighter interested in commentating. He brings impeccable insights into octagon action but has limited experience commentating.
In the lightweight category, the former Irish fighter and Philadelphia native has an MMA stat of 17-6-0. However, he’s an early retiree from fighting who set to explore a career in commentating for the UFC since 2017.
Paul takes his commentary job seriously and is constantly upset by those who criticize commentary figures. He believes that this job is very demanding and daunting. Felder relates with the fighters and displays sensitivity in his commentary, exercising restraint while commenting on fights.
He admits that the job isn’t easy because balancing reality, truth, entertainment, and adjusting these to fighter sensitivities is daunting.
However, this limitation doesn’t deter Felder from giving it his best shot at his commentary role at the UFC. Felder’s energy, pleasant personality, and sharp and precise comments during fights makes him deserve the credit.
John Goodwin is no new name for abroad UFC commentating events.
He has no martial arts background but has considerable on-the-job experience in specific fight techniques. Majorly, Gooden covers UFC events outside of the United States only, with no coverage anywhere in the U.S.
However, Gooden’s not your typical commentator. Unlike most commentators with previous experience, he learned the art on the job, working in London, for a BBC production.
He has an outstanding ability to learn on the job and tap into available opportunities with more learning experiences. He has worked alongside main acts like D.C., Michael Bisping, Dan Hardy, and Paul Felder.
His calm and enthusiastic aura makes him an MMA fan favorite.
In addition, he co-owns the “Inside the Octagon” show on Youtube with Dan Hardy.
Goldberg is a veteran play-by-play commentator for the UFC, which he has held since 1997. He confirmed his departure from the UFC in 2017, which came as a shock.
However, his non-combative skills would contribute to his constant criticism by fans and the UFC community. They allegedly talked down his inability to articulate fights in analysis, engaging in UFC cheerleading instead while making frequent mistakes.
It would appear that with over 20 years serving the role at the UFC, people didn’t expect articulation mistakes. They also don’t tolerate a lack of knowledge for basic terms in fight techniques.
He served a long tenure, but the mistakes made him less desirable as a commentator. He no longer works with the UFC outfit, and his exit drew in talents like Cormier and Anik.
Laura Sanko is a young female MMA fighter with a pro-fight record of 1-0-0 on her stats. Shortly after she made it for her second fight, she had to stop fighting to take care of her family. However, her passion for MMA led her to get a broadcasting job at the UFC fabric, becoming a fan favorite.
During this time, she brought competence and detail in interviewing fighters after matches. Starting as an after-fight interviewer for MMA fighters, Laura seems to recall all of the activities inside the octagon. She expresses these activities with gravitas, working for Invicta. In late 2021, she earned a UFC award for the best MMA analyst of the year.
She deserved this accolade owing to her passion for MMA, broadcasting skills, and immersion in coverage of post-fight interviews.
Currently, she serves as the first female color commentator in the history of the UFC outfit. Also, in her role under this historical job, she serves as the in-cage interviewer after fights.
Hardy, whose fight career debuted in 2008, would take up an impressive fighting career at the UFC. This situation was until 2013 when he got the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
During this period, he received his admission to the UFC commentary booth, covering several fight pass events for the outfit. Hardy has worked for Fox Sports as a sports analyst.
One of the most outstanding fights he commentated on live television was the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor mixed-rules bout.
He covered this historical fight for Sky Sports, tapping into his UFC fighting experience, articulation capabilities, and entertainment enhancement approach. His fighting background helped him create perspective for fans and articulate what’s happening, why it’s appropriate, and the desired effect.
However, Dan Hardy was recently in turmoil with the UFC. It was due to an alleged confrontation with one of UFC’s celebrated referees in MMA history, against company policy. Shortly after, Dan had an altercation with another UFC PR worker in Abudhabi, which led to his termination in 2021.
Regardless, Dan Hardy is half-owner of a Youtube Channel, “Inside the octagon,” which he runs alongside his partner John Goodwin. However, Dan Hardy no longer works for the UFC as a commentator.
Florian is a former two-division challenger for a UFC title, with a 14-6-0 UFC stat record. Kenny retired from his fight career with a martial art fighting history to venture into commentating for UFC events.
He is cheerful, and with MMA experience and knowledge, he was able to secure a spot as a UFC show host. When he joined the outfit, he came in as a new alternative to break the cycle of monotonous commentators to whom fans were long accustomed.
Kenny is the go-to person when other commentators couldn’t hold their commitments for fights, and for this reason, we laud his contribution. However, he recently ran into trouble for plagiarizing other analysts’ work on Fox Sports.
He is currently under disciplinary action, indefinitely suspended as an analyst and MMA host.
A Few Honorable Mentions
The following people might not be UFC commentators per se. However, they’re no doubt some of the most recognizable non-fighters in combat sports, which is why they deserve a mention:
He’s been a long-serving voice of Boxing for nearly 40 years now. His catchphrase, “let’s get ready to rumble,” resonates with sports fans all over the world. For over four decades, Buffer’s charismatic voice and microphone techniques saw him thrive as a ring announcer.
Buffer’s big voice, recognizable by all, has seen him land ring announcements. He’s also obtained other voice-over gigs in the NBA Finals, Major League baseball series, and the WWE. His introduction during matches arouses anticipation and excitement in fans for the bout, enhancing the entertainment experience.
He’s the estranged brother to Michael Buffer, and it was not until ’89 that they met in person. As it would be, the Buffer family has the talented voice for charisma and ring announcing gigs. Buffer is a ring announcer for UFC events.
Bruce has announced huge UFC features like Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
This feature makes him legendary in the Mixed Martial Arts world, with his powerful voice, energy, and memorable suits. There were rumors in the vines speculating about Bruce Buffer’s combat skills, specifically in Boxing.
He isn’t that famous but serves as an MMA analyst, a young UFC play-by-play announcer and commentator, starting in 2017.
With a passion for sports broadcasting, he hovered through several sports jobs, covering Boston sports, ESPNU basketball, and football. In 2017, he landed his current position at UFC following an audition. Since then, Brendan has covered multiple fight events on ESPN, making him a formidable member of the UFC booth.
Stan is an ex-marine and former Middleweight UFC fighter with a 12-6-0 record.
He was formerly a World Extreme Cagefighting light heavyweight champion. His tactical and fight history speaks for itself. After retiring from fighting, Stann returned as a commentator, covering UFC fights.
He resigned from UFC broadcasting the night before the historic Mayweather vs. Conor fight, after several years with UFC.
His reasons surrounded the unclear and unpredictable nature of the fighting business. He learned from history what UFC had done to other actors like Mike Goldberg and Kenny Florian.
His contract was contingent upon UFC sticking with Fox. In case of non-renewal, it would leave him exposed and uncertain about employment due to the change in landscape.
Currently, Stann is pursuing other interests that are non-combat sports-related.
The UFC scene has seen some incredible talents in fight announcing and commentary. With a great line-up of commentators, fans receive a guarantee for the ultimate fight entertainment experience.
Commentators who are articulate, unbiased, passionate, and enthusiastic help enhance the fight experience for fans. The commentators listed in this article have helped enrich the combat-watching experience for fans.