Oranges, Disney World, and beautiful beaches are probably the first things that come to mind for most people when they think of Florida.
However, the Sunshine State is home to one of the premiere MMA gyms on the planet, American Top Team.
It’s no surprise then that the UFC has had a number of fantastic Florida MMA fighters participate under their banner.
In this article, we’re going to list the top 10 UFC fighters from Florida.
Only fighters who have fought in the UFC will be included, so honorable mentions to Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett and Seth Petruzelli, two legendary MMA fighters from Florida.
Krazy Horse made a name for himself during the PRIDE FC days, while Petruzelli is the man famous for knocking out popular street fighter Kimbo Slice in a sanctioned MMA bout.
This list is purely opinion, so feel free to comment if you think someone should be higher or lower on the list, or if there’s any UFC fighters from Florida we forgot to include!
10. Alex Nicholson
Alex Nicholson is a heavyweight from Apopka, Florida, who trains out of American Top Team Orlando.
He reps the Sunshine state well, having won the state’s amateur Muay Thai championship as well as the Florida Golden Gloves competition in boxing.
His run during the UFC wasn’t as successful, going 1-3 in 4 middleweight fights.
His lone victory came against Devin Clark via KO in the first round.
Nicholson had a stint in the Professional Fighters League before finding a home in the new promotion, Gamebred Fighting Championship.
9. Nina Nunes
Hailing from Weston, Florida, Nina Nunes is the wife of the greatest female UFC fighter of all time, Amanda Nunes.
Formerly Nina Ansaroff, she trains out of American Top Team and is a black belt in taekwondo and a purple belt in BJJ.
She is both the only woman and only openly gay fighter to make our list.
Although she hasn’t been as successful in the UFC as her significant other, she has notable wins over Claudia Gadelha and Angela Hill.
She is currently 4-4 in the UFC’s strawweight division.
8. Mike Rio
Mike “The Wolverine” Rio is the first of many UFC fighters from Miami to make our list.
A prolific high school wrestler turned MMA fighter, Rio amassed two Florida State wrestling championships before graduating, going 147-10 during that time.
Rio was a competitor on the 15th season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he was picked up by Dominick Cruz.
He went 1-1 in The Ultimate Fighter, with both his victory and loss coming via rear-naked choke.
He later had a short 4-fight stint in the UFC, going 1-4 in the promotion.
Mike Rio is currently retired from MMA, having last competed in 2014.
7. Impa Kasanganay
Impa Kasanganay was once considered an exciting prospect in the UFC’s stacked welterweight division.
Born in Fort Lauderdale, Kasanganay currently fights out of Deerfield Beach, Florida at Sanford MMA.
Kasanganay earned his UFC contract after two victories on the Dana White Contenders Series, but wasn’t able to maintain his success in the promotion.
He went 2-2 in the UFC, including his famous KO loss against Joaquin Buckley via spinning back kick.
Impa Kasanganay is currently signed with the newly minted Eagle FC, the MMA promotion founded by former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
6. Niko Price
Niko Price is a UFC welterweight from Cape Coral, Florida.
“The Hybrid” is known for his explosive and wild style that often results in spectacular finishes, but also sometimes puts him in bad positions.
Niko has had a solid run thus far in the UFC, going 7-5 with two no contests during his tenure.
He’s perhaps most famous for his ability to knock people out while on his back, scoring one of the most spectacular knockouts in UFC history via hammerfists from the bottom against Randy Brown.
He also scored an upkick knockout against James Vick.
Price hasn’t had an easy road in the UFC, with losses against top contenders Vincente Luque (twice), Geoff Neal, and Michel Pereira.
However, he has the distinction of being the only man to ever knock out Tim Means.
5. Alex Caceres
The second of our UFC fighters from Miami, Alex Caceres is a distinguished veteran of the UFC’s featherweight division.
Originally a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koschek, Caceres is known for his creative striking and toughness.
Over the course of his decade-long UFC tenure, Caceres has gone 14-11 with one no-contest over 26 bouts.
He has notable wins over Sergio Pettis, Chase Hooper, and Austin Springer.
Although he hasn’t been able to evolve past the journeyman status, his longevity in the UFC makes him notable on our list of UFC fighters from Florida.
4. Ben Saunders
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Ben Saunders is a grizzled MMA veteran who has competed in Bellator and the UFC.
Like many other MMA fighters from Florida, he trains out of American Top Team.
Saunders was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter Season 6 before earning a contract with the UFC.
His first stint with the promotion saw him go 4-3, before jumping ship to Bellator in 2011.
He returned to the UFC in 2014, going 6-7 this time around.
“Killa B” is notable for being a particularly tall welterweight, standing at 6 ‘3 in a division where the average is 5’ 11.
3. Miguel Baeza
One of the most promising MMA fighters from Florida in years, Miguel Baeza is a native of Davie, Florida who competes in the UFC’s welterweight division.
Known for his striking, Baeza turned a victory on Dana White’s Contenders Series into a UFC contract.
He went undefeated in his first 10 professional MMA fights, including victories over Matt Brown and Takashi Sato.
Although he’s hit a snag, dropping his last two fights, Baeza has all the talent and ability to rise to the top of the UFC’s welterweight ranks.
2. Ovince Saint Preux
Known to UFC fans as “OSP,” Ovince Saint Preux is a UFC veteran who hails from Immokalee, Florida.
OSP brought notoriety to the relatively rare Von Flue choke submission, having 4 of the 6 Von Flue choke submission victories in UFC history.
Although he’s fallen on harder times more recently, OSP has had an illustrious UFC career, going 13-11 over 24 bouts.
He has impressive wins over top competitors such as Alonzo Menifield, Corey Anderson, and Shogun Rua.
Ovince Saint Preux is also the first fighter on our list to have fought for a championship, losing to Jon Jones at UFC 197.
1. Jorge Masvidal
The last of our UFC fighters from Miami should come as no surprise for UFC fans.
Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal is one of the most popular fighters on the UFC roster with an impressive ledger that spans an MMA career that began all the way back in 2003.
Masival’s 21-fight tenure in the UFC has seen him go 13-8.
Not bad for a kid from the Miami streets who got his start fighting in backyards, famously beating a Kimbo Slice prospect named Ray.
Masvidal’s popularity soared after an incredible 2019 that saw him knockout Darren Till, score perhaps the greatest knockout in UFC history with his flying knee decimation of Ben Askren, and “BMF Title” victory over fellow fan-favorite Nate Diaz.
He followed that up by fighting for the welterweight belt against Kamaru Usman, back-to-back, but came up short both times.
The Future of Florida MMA
The Sunshine State will continue to be a hub for MMA, housing top gyms American Top Team and Sanford MMA.
While MMA fighters from Florida have competed for UFC gold in the past, they have yet to be crowned the undisputed champions.
However, it seems only a matter of time before a UFC fighter from Florida wins the title.
Whether that’s Miguel Baeza or some prospect in the future, the future of Florida MMA is bright.