15 Best MMA Movies Of All Time

Fighters-turned-influencers like Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who have taken the world by storm within the past decade, have popularized MMA and synonymously the UFC. Looking at the entertainment industry, MMA has always been a small sub-genre of the action film category even after having much more realistic and inclusive plot elements.

Also Read: Mel Gibson Movies

Guns, violence, and kung fu have always been a part of mainstream action entertainment leaving selective audiences for MMA. UFC and the likes have changed that completely. People are opting for more realistic beatdowns rather than senseless action sequences. This gives a breath of fresh air to the subgenre. With that said, here are the top 15 MMA movies of the century.

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15 Best MMA Movies About Fighting

  1. Warrior

    Director: Gavin O’Connor

    Writers: Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis, Cliff Dorfman

    Stars: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton

    Genres: Action, Drama, Sport

     Warrior (2011) on IMDb

    A dramatic and emotional rollercoaster of a plot starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte, and others. A story of two brothers who have to face each other in a bloody battle to achieve a mutual but contradicting interest. Former U.S. Marine Tommy Riordan has had his family in ruins after running away with his sick mother because of his father, Paddy’s alcoholic abuse.

    Tommy enters Sparta, an MMA tournament to reconcile with his past mistakes. Tommy’s older brother, Brendan, a physics teacher, could not accompany his brother and dying mother because of his future wife, Tess.

    Brendan having a hard time making ends meet, decided to fight in a street ring to afford his daughter’s heart surgery. After the news spread, he loses his teaching job. Seeking an opportunity, he suggests replacing his fighter friend in Sparta (to win the prize money for the surgery).

    It is revealed that Tommy resents Brendan for abandoning him and their mother, Brendan has forgiven Paddy, but Tommy is still unconvinced. Will this family dispute end in a brutal beatdown? The two brothers have a lot at stake and neither one is going to back down because of their estranged relationship.

  2. Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing

    Director: Isaac Florentine

    Writers: Boaz Davidson, James Townsend, David N. White

    Stars: Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Ben Cross

    Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Sport

     Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing (2006) on IMDb

    Life is a constant battle. Much more true when you are set up, jailed, and forced to fight for your freedom. A sequel to the 2002 boxing actioner Undisputed, Michael Jai White has reprised his role as George Chambers co-starring MMA master Scott Adkins as Yuri Boyka.

    After the events in Undisputed (2002), Chambers visits Russia for a boxing competition. He is framed for possession of drugs and sent to prison where illegal MMA fights occur. Bratva Gaga and the jail warden tell Chambers to fight Boyka, the undisputed ring champion.

    On refusing, Chambers receives the worst treatment as an inmate. He finally gives in and reluctantly agrees to fight the champion. While both the fighters train hard for their dual, Boyka’s subordinates, without his knowledge, bribe Chamber’s cornerman to sedate his water during the match.

    Obviously, after a draw in the first round, the sedative takes a toll on Chambers, and he gets knocked out by one of Boyka’s flying kicks. Chambers does not give up easily and challenges Boyka to a second fight. Only this time, Chambers is trained by Boyka’s former handicapped coach, Crot to even out the 1:0 score.

  3. Never Back Down

    Director: Jeff Wadlow

    Writer: Chris Hauty

    Stars: Sean Faris, Djimon Hounsou, Amber Heard

    Genres: Action, Drama, Sport

     Never Back Down (2008) on IMDb

    High school brawls have also been a hot topic among teenagers. In a high school where the strongest reigns, you have to make it top of the food chain to get the deserving respect. Starring Sean Faris, Cam Gigandet, Amber Heard, and Djimon Hounsou, Never Back Down is the story of Jake Tyler a fatherless high schooler with anger issues.

    After Tyler’s father lost his life in a drinking and driving accident, he and his family had to move to a new city. A video of Tyler’s brawl in the previous school has made him famous in the new high school. Usual high school drama gets Tyler involved with Ryan McCarthy who badly beats him up in a one-on-one fight.

    The bruised-up boy is introduced to MMA coach Jean Roqua. After an intense test, Jean accepts Tyler as a disciple under the condition that he cannot get in a fight during his training. Jake’s anger issues get him involved in a brawl and who is to say that Ryan is far from being done with him when they study in the same high school?

  4. Boyka: Undisputed

    Director: Todor Chapkanov

    Writers: Boaz Davidson(story)David N. White

    Stars: Scott Adkins, Teodora Duhovnikova, Alon Aboutboul

    Genres: Action, Drama, Sport

     Boyka: Undisputed (2016) on IMDb

    A sequel to Undisputed 3: Redemption, the events of Boyka: Undisputed takes place six months after Boyka’s defeat at the hands of George Chambers. Boyka is a free man who fights in underground Ukraine matches. In one such fight, Boyka accidentally kills his opponent, Viktor.

    Troubled by Viktor’s death, Boyka questions his purpose of fighting. To rejuvenate his fighting spirit, Boyka decides to ask for forgiveness from Viktor’s wife, Alma, who lives in Russia. There, Boyka learns Alma is heavily indebted to the crime boss, Zorab, and works as a waitress in one of his underground fight clubs.

    As an attempt to seek Alma’s forgiveness, Boyka agrees to fight Zorab’s three best fighters in exchange for her freedom. A blend of Scott Adkins’s masterful ability to project real-world martial arts on screen and the necessary drama to construct a faithful plot. Boyka has become an admirable symbol of an anti-hero in the fictional world of MMA.

  5. Never Back Down 2: The Beat Down

    Director: Michael Jai White

    Writer: Chris Hauty

    Stars: Michael Jai White, Dean Geyer, Alex Meraz

    Genres: Action, Drama, Sport

     Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown (2011) on IMDb

    Evolving from the high school to the actual “The Beatdown” arena. A well-deserved sequel for fans who never loved Back Down. Starring Evan Peters, Michael Jai White, Dean Geyer, Alex Meraz, Todd Duffee, Scott Epstein, and Jillian Murray, the sequel gives the bitter-sweet aspects of living the life of a fighter.

    Four fighters- Zack Gomes, Tim Newhouse, Mike Stokes, and Justin Epstein. The four of them are training for their upcoming fights in the underground event of The Beatdown. Each with their reasons is giving their best to win the prize money.

    Justin, the troublemaker, is giving the other three a tough time making it hard for them to train in the same facility. Zack and Justin end up fighting, and the police pursue the Case because of his probation. Nonetheless, they train in a new gym, but the bullied Justin makes a total mess of the situation.

    He frames their coach, who gets arrested. The other three have decided to take revenge and teach Justin a lesson. With each of them facing their opponents in The Beatdown, either has to clash with Justin for their mentor’s sake.

  6. Bruised

    Director: Halle Berry

    Writer: Michelle Rosenfarb

    Stars: Halle Berry, Adan Canto, Sheila Atim

    Genres: Drama, Sport

     Bruised (2020) on IMDb

    A movie that showcases Halley Berry’s masterful acting talent. More than that, it is a heart-touching story about a retired fighter who has a hard time adapting to motherhood. Jackie Justice, ring named Pretty Bull, retired from UFC four years ago after forfeiting a major fight.

    Working as a housemade, she has to rely on alcohol to cope with her anxiety and tedious job. Her relationship with her son was compromised after her husband’s death leaving the child in her mother’s care.

    During an illegal underground match, a fighter provokes Jackie, who has given up on fighting. She loses her composer and pins down the fighter, drawing the attention of a promoter for the all-female Invicta Fighting Championships. She is paired with Bobby, the promoter’s best trainer to fight for him in the upcoming Championship.

    Developing feelings for Bobby whilst trying to repair her motherly bond with her son is too much of a distraction for Jackie. With all the commotion in her life, Jackie starts doubting herself when she is pitted to go against the flyweight champion of Invicta.

  7. Here Comes The Boom

    Director: Frank Coraci

    Writers: Allan LoebKevin JamesRock Reuben(uncredited)

    Stars: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler

    Genres: Action, Drama, Sport

     Here Comes the Boom (2012) on IMDb

    A unique twist of comedy in a fighting movie. Surprising at first, the story is inspiring in its basic sense. Perhaps a parody in itself, there is nothing better than Kevin James’s charm in his comedic roles. Scott Voss, a mild-aged bored biology teacher is going through a rough time due to the failing school he works at.

    The school lacks funds to continue its music program, so Scott somehow decides to gather the budget. He part-times as a night instructor, where he tutors Niko, a former MMA fighter. Scott learns an easier way of reaching the budget by losing MMA fights for which he will be paid.

    He starts training under Niko and his friend Mark. Scott’s love life gets pretty smooth with colleague Bella Flores. Scott confronts Niko after he turns down a UFC offer from Joe Rogan. Later, they patch up and mutually accept the offer to complete the budget goal.

    On the day of the championship, Scott learns that the school’s vice principal was arrested for money laundering, including Scott’s earnings. He realizes that the only way out is winning the championships, but it seems impossible, for he has trained only to lose. With his beloved students backing him up, will Scott win the championship?

  8. Undisputed 3: Redemption

    Director: Isaac Florentine

    Writer: David N. White

    Stars: Scott Adkins, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Mark Ivanir

    Genres: Action, Drama, Sport, Crime

     Undisputed 3: Redemption (2010) on IMDb

    Boyka’s adventure continues in the third installment of the franchise. Previously, Boyka (Scott Adkins) lost to George “Iceman” Chambers leaving him with a broken knee. Working as the jail janitor, Boyka hears about an inter-prison competition, Prison Spetz Competition.

    Inmates from across the globe fight each other for their freedom. Boyka secretly trains for the tournament and challenges the champion of the preliminary rounds held inside the prison.

    He easily beats the champion and becomes Russia’s representative for the competition. For Boyka, it does not end there. Now, he has to go against the toughest prison fighters from different corners of the world. This video-action flick has some of the best kick-ass hand-to-hand fighting scenes showcasing different mixed martial arts like jiujutsu, grappling, kickboxing, and more.

  9. Fighting

    Director: Dito Montiel

    Writers: Robert MunicDito Montiel

    Stars: Channing Tatum, Terrence Howard, Luis Guzmán

    Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Romance, Sport

     Fighting (2009) on IMDb

    When it comes to fighting, the streets are the most demanding place. New Yorker Shawn McArthur, a street hustler, sells fake goods at a corner. He is approached by a group of men who force him to relocate his business, but he beats them. Later, Shawn confronts the men and their boss.

    Boss Harvey Boarden, who controls the corner, offers Shawn to fight for him in exchange for some hard cash. Shawn’s fighting career starts with Harvey as his manager and match pitter. Subsequently, Shawn meets waitress Zulay (she places the bets for his matches), with whom he later falls in love.

    After winning two out of three fights and making some decent earnings, Harvey offers Shawn to lose a fight against his rival Evan in exchange for $ 500,000. Shawn reluctantly agrees. During the fight, Shawn gets choked and is about to lose. He snaps and beats Evan overpowering him.

    Harvey later confronts Shawn about throwing away the $ 500,000 offer, but Shawn reveals that Zulay reversed the bets. With prize money of $ 1 million, Zulay, Shawn, and Harvey leave New York City with Zulay’s daughter and grandmother.

  10. The Hammer

    Director: Oren Kaplan

    Writers: Eben Kostbar, Joseph McKelheer

    Stars: Russell Harvard, Raymond J. Barry, Shoshannah Stern

    Genres: Biography, Drama, Sport

     The Hammer (2010) on IMDb

    A must-watch for UFC fans. Credited as an emotional and inspirational plot, The Hammer (2010) is based on an actual person. Matt Hammil, the inspiration for the movie, is a deaf pro wrestler and former MMA fighter.

    More of a biopic, the movie shows Hammil’s struggle in his fighting career. A beautifully paced and motivational movie for physically challenged people who aspire to achieve in the sports field. All the more, lead actor Russell Harvard’s brilliant performance has made this movie likable and relatable.

  11. The Raid: Redemption

    Director: Gareth Evans

    Writer: Gareth Evans

    Stars:Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy

    Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller

     The Raid: Redemption (2011) on IMDb

    This Indonesian action thriller gives genuine non-stop action in a beautiful form of chaos and violence. Action star Iko Uwais stars as rookie special ops officer Rama. A 20-man squad, including Rama, is led by Sergeant Jake and Lieutenant Wahyu.

    The team is assigned to raid a 20-story apartment block owned by big-time criminal kingpin lord Tama Riyadi. The mission is to swiftly and silently enter the building and take out Tama. Residents of the apartment include Tama’s mercenaries, clients, dealers, and tenants under his protection.

    As the alarm goes off, Tama’s men rain bullets on the co-ops team. With exits blocked and no sign of reinforcements, Rama has to use his exceptional skills and combat abilities to fight through an army of men and complete the mission, simultaneously saving his allies.

  12. Redbelt

    Director: David Mamet

    Writer: David Mamet

    Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tim Allen, Emily Mortimer

    Genres: Drama, Sport

     Redbelt (2008) on IMDb

    Highlighting Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, the American martial arts film is one of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s best works. Simple and entertaining. The story revolves around struggling martial arts teacher Mike Terry. His respect and honor for the art refrain him from engaging in abusive earning methods.

    To run the martial arts studio he has to borrow from his wife’s fashion business profit. Things take an unfortunate turn in Mike’s life after Laura, an attorney, panics and grab an officer’s gun. The gun goes off and Mike and the officer agree to hide the matter. To repair the damages from the gunshot, Mike goes to his brother-in-law’s club to borrow a loan.

    Actor Chet Frank befriends him after saving the action star from some thugs. Their friendship extends up to a dinner with their spouses. In a trustful and casual mood, Mike reveals a “loser gets a handicap” sparring technique. He further discusses the details with Chet’s manager but people don’t appear as they intend to in Mike’s life. With the facades dropping, Mike has no choice but to dishonor his art to make a living.

  13. Blood and Bone

    Director: Ben Ramsey

    Writer: Michael Andrews

    Stars: Michael Jai White, Julian Sands, Eamonn Walker

    Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Sport

     Blood and Bone (2009) on IMDb

    Blood and Bone has a typical “underground rising fighter straight out of prison” plot starring Michael Jai White as Isaiah Bone, an ex-Marine and a master martial artist. Fresh out of prison, Bone sees a fighting competition on the TV and approaches promoter Pinball to pit him in the same fighting competition. They work together and win thousands of dollars with every fight.

    Bone develops a warm relationship with his neighbors. He is offered to fight in a much bigger ring by mob leader James. Bone creates a heartfelt relationship with Jame’s junkie girlfriend Angela who lost custody of her son after her husband’s death.

    He reveals that her husband was his cellmate and was killed by another inmate. James puts $5 million on the line to make Bone fight reigning champion Price. Bone declines to fight when he learns that one of his neighbors was mauled by Jame’s dogs. James kidnaps Angela and Bone’s neighbors. Now, Bone has to fight Price and stall James until the police arrive reluctantly.

  14. Philly Kid

    Director: Jason Connery

    Writers: Adam Mervis, Javier Rodriguez

    Stars: Wes Chatham, Devon Sawa, Sarah Butler

    Genres: Action, Drama, Sport

     The Philly Kid (2012) on IMDb

    In a corrupted world, even the big flies get caught in the end. Dillon McCabe, a natural-born fighter, gets accused of a cop’s murder the same night he wins the NCAA wrestling championship. After ten years of jail time, Dillon returns to his hometown, where he learns that his old friend is being troubled by a loan shark. Dillon agrees to fight in an underground ring to pay off the debt. In no time, he rises through the ranks, but things aren’t as easy as it seems. He quickly learns that the entire system was set against him, and he has to turn tides with his bare hands.

  15. Bloodsport

    Director: Newt Arnold

    Writers: Sheldon Lettich, Christopher Cosby, Mel Friedman

    Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Donald Gibb, Leah Ayres

    Genres: ActionBiographyDramaSport

     Bloodsport (1988) on IMDb

    It a classic 80’s entertainment with highlighted chops and kicks. With a handful of sensible humor, the 1988 martial arts movie was an early attempt at an MMA actioner. Jean-Claude Van Damme’s starring debut as U.S. Army captain Frank Dux in Bloodsport.

    Well-renowned in Hong Kong, Dux gets involved in a highly illegal kickboxing competition, the Kumite. Two Criminal Investigation Command agents are tracking him down to arrest him. He befriends Ray Jackson but is envied by reigning champion Chong Li for gaining the new record for the fastest time out.

    During the tournament, Jackson is brutally beaten by Li and hospitalized. Dux promises to avenge him, but before that, he has to deal with the pursuing officers. He promises to get arrested once he defeats Li. The ruthless Li has some dirty tricks up his sleeve, and Dux needs to show him who’s the real champion.

Conclusion

A well-balanced list of the best and mid-off MMA movies. The list provides a wide range of MMA implications in different scenarios and not only the sport. Bringing together the brutal world of martial arts in a movie format makes it more entertaining. A perfect sub-genre of movies for people who like fast-paced, non-stop, and violent action.

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