Siblings have been prevalent throughout MMA history and even laid the UFC's foundation. As early as its infancy, Ken and Frank Shamrock dominated the sport, along with the entire Gracie family that featured siblings like Royce, Rickson, and Royler Gracie. We would go on to be graced by heavier sibling legends like the Nogueira brothers, the Emilianenko brothers, the Overeem brothers, and even the Rua brothers. Among those sibling pairs, one often overshadowed the other, but they all managed to have their own fruitful careers.
Today, I want to look at some modern-day sibling combos that continue to add to the legacy behind their family name. The only rule is that both siblings need to still be current combat sports athletes in some capacity. Let's take a look!
Daukaus Brothers, Cortez Siblings, Azaitar Brothers
Chris Daukaus is on a four-fight losing streak, but he was once a fight or two away from contending for gold at heavyweight. Kyle Daukaus had a decent UFC run but was cut after two straight losses. He's on a two-fight winning streak on the regional scene, making a solid case for a return.
Tracy Cortez is perfect in the octagon, going 5-0 after winning on Dana White's Contender Series. She's still looking for her first finish but should fight a top-ten opponent in her next bout. Her brother Reyes "Jr." Cortez has a strong 7-3 record but has two decision losses on DWCS. Nonetheless, he could make his octagon debut on short notice since he showed promise in both fights.
Ottman and Abu Azaitar could have made this list easily if it had been written last year, but it seems as though both fighters may have been relying on performance-enhancing drugs for their early career success. While this claim is unconfirmed, their most recent performances have raised suspicions after Ottman suffered the first two losses of his career in the last 12 months, with both coming by first-round finish and Abu being finished in the third round in his last fight.
You probably didn't know that light heavyweight contender Johnny Walker has an undefeated brother who was supposed to make his UFC debut this past week. At just 25 years old, the 6'6" Valter Walker has an 11-0 record. Fighting at heavyweight, the prospect stamped his pass into the UFC with a regional title win against former UFC veteran Alex Nicholson. The better-known Johnny Walker is slated to fight Magomed Ankalaev next month in a potential title eliminator. Riding a three-fight win streak, Walker has some of the most exciting highlight-reel KOs ever, but has also been on the opposite end of some exciting KOs. Despite the questionable chin, Walker has shown more patience in his recent fights and would make a massive statement with a win against Ankalaev.
The last we saw of Herbert Burns left a negative image in the minds of fans, as he needed to be carried out of the Octagon by Gilbert after losing by TKO due to exhaustion against Bill Algeo. That shouldn't understate the accomplishments of the talented grappler, who finished all of his wins since December 2014. The lesser brother made his name early in ONE Championship, finishing future title contender Timofey Nastyukhin in the first round. He would go on to finish UFC stalwart Nate Landwehr in his octagon debut before eventually showing his stamina to be his Achilles heel. Big brother Gilbert Burns is a different story, with a similar grappling pedigree, a gas tank for days, and stones for fists. The former welterweight title contender has established himself as a fan favorite and has beaten plenty of UFC legends while going out on his shield in his losses.
This next set of Brazilian siblings tells a similar story to the Burns brothers. Older brother Deiveson Figueiredo has etched his name in UFC history, becoming a two-time flyweight champion. His power at 125 is still unmatched, being on the right side of some of the most gruesome knockouts the weight class has ever seen. He looks to further his legacy at 135, where he is slated to fight Rob Font in December. Francisco Figueiredo also made it to the UFC but has seen mixed results thus far, with a 2-2 record. He was most recently finished in the first round by contender Amir Albazi but showed promise in the fight before that, scoring a first-round kneebar finish against Daniel Lacerda. While Francisco's time in the UFC may be limited, his brother's title success has carried this sibling pair into the rankings.
While these two brothers still have plenty to prove in the UFC, they are clearly both talented enough to eventually at least make it into the rankings in their respective weight classes. Older brother Javid Basharat came first, earning a submission win on DWCS in 2021 to earn a UFC contract. Since then, he's handily defeated his first three opponents in the octagon, starting 3-0 in the promotion. His next test will be a step up in competition when he faces Victor Henry next month. A win here may not earn him a ranking in the loaded bantamweight division, but he will undoubtedly be at least one fight away from that distinction. Younger brother Farid Basharat is also undefeated in his MMA career and is just as promising. While his technique isn't as clean as his brother's, Farid is much more of a finisher, scoring a submission in his most recent fight in the UFC. With both fighters making their way up to bantamweight, it would be exciting to see them crack the rankings simultaneously.
Like the Basharat brothers, these siblings are much less established than some other fighters on the list, but they pass the eye test with flying colors. Older siblings have shown more promise than their younger counterparts in most of these rankings, but younger brother Gabriel Bonfim looks terrifying in his UFC run thus far. At 15-0, his grappling has been on another level in the welterweight division, collecting two first-round submissions in his first two fights in the UFC. He'll face off against Nicolas Dalby in November, who sits just outside of the UFC rankings, meaning Dana White sees what I see; this guy is ready to compete with the best welterweights in the world, and only time will tell when he cracks the rankings. Big brother Ismael Bonfim is smaller than his little bro, but the lightweight also has tons of skill and promise. Bonfim came into his promotional debut against fan-favorite Terrance McKinney and surprised everyone with a second-round KO by flying knee. He recently fell short against Benoit St. Denis, who is fighting for a ranking spot in his next fight, but Ismael will look to rebound against Vinc Pichel on the same card as his brother. Keep your eye on these guys; they could climb into the top five of this list one day.
This isn't a mistake, people, these two are actually siblings. Kind of. Tai Tuivasa is married to Tyson Pedro's sister, making these two killers brothers-in-law. Tai Tuivasa needs no introduction, as "Bam Bam" is responsible for some incredible knockouts and even better shoeys. He's on a three-fight skid, but there is no shame in losing to Cyril Gane, Sergei Pavlovich, and Alexander Volkov. The fan-favorite will continue to cause havoc in the heavyweight division, and while he probably won't see championship gold, a career like his transcends the title. Tyson Pedro, on the other hand, is on the upswing of the second act of his UFC career. After sitting out for almost four years due to injury, Pedro returned in 2022 and has gone 3-1 since then. While his striking leaves something to be desired, he's accumulated three KO finishes in his return and possesses a dangerous grappling skillset, especially at 205. These guys don't have as clean a record as others on this list, but their wins are as brutal as it gets.
The only siblings on this list from ONE Championship, this is the only entry made up of three fighters. Christian Lee is a reigning double champ in the promotion, holding the welterweight and middleweight belts (lightweight and welterweight in ONE). Angela Lee is the strawweight champion (atomweight in ONE) and even held the flyweight belt in the past (strawweight in ONE). Victoria Lee was the most talented sibling of the three, who tragically passed away last December. Victoria held a 3-0 record at the time of her passing, with all finishes, and at age 18, had the entire world ahead of her. Her passing was felt across the entire MMA community, and we will all remember her as a superstar in the making who left us too soon. While the other two siblings haven't fought since her passing, and Angela Lee announced her retirement this past week, their previous successes and pedigree cannot be underscored, and they've done wonders in bringing honor to their family name.
One of these siblings is not like the other. While both Shevchenko sisters dominated the kickboxing world, Valentina Shevchenko truly stamped their family name in MMA history books. Valentina is arguably a top-three female fighter of all time, defending her flyweight belt seven times since 2018. She has compiled a 12-3-1 UFC record and looked virtually untouchable before her last two fights. She recently lost the belt to Alexa Grasso and then failed to get it back with a controversial draw in the rematch, but Valentina still hasn't finished trying to return to the top of the division. Dana White seems to be eyeing a trilogy, and even if she never gets the belt back, she will still be recognized as an all-time great. Antonina Shevchenko hasn't reached the same heights as her sister, But she's compiled a respectable 4-4 UFC record and has graced the rankings. At 38 years old, the book is closing for Antonina, but she won her last fight and will look to keep the ball rolling in her next fight.
While we all know about current welterweight champion Leon Edwards and his octagon success, Fabian Edwards most recently fought for gold when he lost to Johnny Eblen at Bellator 299 this past weekend. If you asked me to make this list two years ago, the Edwards brothers probably wouldn't have cracked the top ten, but Fabian was able to score some great wins to secure the brothers' current spot. After starting his Bellator career with a lackluster 4-2 record, including a loss to Austin Vanderford, Fabian turned his luck around with three consecutive wins, including Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi. The Mousasi win was especially impressive, considering how quickly he turned Vanderford away a few fights prior. While Eblen dominated Edwards, he should take pride in the run that got him to the title fight, especially given that Eblen could potentially be the best middleweight in the world. On the other side of the coin, we have Leon "Rocky" Edwards, who hasn't lost a fight since 2015. Leon has steamrolled his competition in the UFC, going 13-2 with one no-contest. Leon will defend his belt for the second time, facing Colby Covington in December.
Leon may have gotten the best of Kamaru, but at least Kamaru can rest easy knowing that he's still higher on this list. During his UFC title reign, Kamaru Usman made a strong case for being the greatest welterweight of all time and was about to unseed Georges St. Pierre in most peoples' eyes until a head kick ended all of those talks. Regardless, Usman has stamped himself as a top-10 fighter of all time because of the length of his reign, the names he has dismantled, and the dominance he showed with his wrestling. Mohammed Usman has been having his own UFC success lately, going 3-0 and winning The Ultimate Fighter in the process. This is the only duo on the list to have two TUF winners. While Mohammed's style leaves more to be desired in the way of entertainment value, he has passed every test he has faced in the octagon. The eye test says that he may struggle the farther along he gets, but it's all smooth sailing for the younger (but much bigger) Usman brother.
I was shocked when I saw the combined win total of these two Bellator bruisers. With 60 total wins between the Pitbull brothers, these two have essentially been the faces of Bellator for the last 14 years. If we just counted Bellator records alone, these two have a combined 39-15 record, which amounts to more wins than all but the top two in this list. Despite respectively being 37 and 36 years old, Patricky and Patricio are still fighting the best of the best in the promotion. Patricky is focusing on lightweight, and Patricio is best at featherweight. Patricky is the less successful brother, and while he once earned lightweight gold, he lost convincingly to Usman Nurmagomedov in his first defense. He fights Alexander Shabliy in his next bout, which will let fans know if he still has what it takes to stay at the top of the division. Patricio "Pitbull" Friere could be the greatest Bellator fighter of all time, with nine featherweight title defenses, three total periods as featherweight champ, and even a short stint as lightweight champion after he beat Michael Chandler for the belt. Patricio recently tried to make history as MMA's first triple champ of a significant promotion but fell short against Sergio Pettis.
These two fighters have the best chance of any pair on this list eventually reaching the top spot. The Nurmagomedov brothers have been obliterating every fighter who has challenged them, maintaining an unblemished record. Umar Nurmagomedov is the UFC counterpart, currently ranked 11 in the bantamweight division. He's 4-0 with three finishes in the UFC and even scored the first knockout of his career in his last fight against Raoni Barcelos. Umar's grappling is his strength, but his clean technique, well-rounded skill set, and cage IQ have carried him throughout his career. Their younger brother, Usman Nurmagomedov, fights at lightweight and currently reigns as the Bellator champion in his weight class. It's hard to tell which brother is better, but Usman has more knockouts on his record, so it's safe to say he's more willing to exchange on the feet than Umar. Umar takes a safer approach, while Usman is more optimistic about going for submissions and other finishes. He will defend his belt at Bellator 300 in a few weeks against Brent Primus and is coming off of a first-round submission over MMA legend Benson Henderson. These guys are legit everywhere.
Here's another curveball. Yes, we have another pair of siblings-in-law. This time, Chris Weidman's sister is married to UFC fan-favorite Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson. While Chris Weidman's best performances are behind him, he is still responsible for defeating Anderson Silva twice to solidify his legacy as an all-time great of the sport. Before his loss to Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman defended his belt three times against three legends in their prime: Silva, Lyoto Machida, and Vitor Belfort. He has looked different since that run, but as a former UFC champion, his legacy in the game must be respected. While Wonderboy is the less successful brother as far as peaks go, the karate kickboxer currently holds more UFC wins than his brother-in-law, with a 12-6-1 record. Wonderboy has made it as far as the title before, failing to secure the belt in his two title fights. The first was a draw against Tyron Woodley, and the second was a rematch where Woodley would earn a majority decision. Coming so close to the belt hasn't deterred Wonderboy from continuing to try to reach the mountaintop, and he's currently making his last attempt at making a run at welterweight. With an upcoming fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov scheduled for December, Wonderboy can put his name firmly in the sweepstakes with a win. It might not be too late for this old dog with new tricks!
While Anthony Pettis may have walked away from his MMA career, he's still competing in boxing matches, making this sibling duo barely eligible for this list. Anthony Pettis is one of the most polarizing UFC champions of all time, at least as far as performances in the cage go. Pettis came into the UFC from the WEC merger and eventually made it to a title fight against Benson Henderson off the back of exciting finishes over Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone. He would finish Henderson in the first round with an armbar and secure the title, even defending it against Gilbert Melendez. Then, his title run would be cut short after losing to Rafael Dos Anjos. This would mark the start of a volatile rest of his career, where he would beat guys like Charles Oliveira and Stephen Thompson but also lose to guys like Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier, and Tony Ferguson. After fighting a murderer's row and going 6-7 after losing his belt, Pettis would move on to the PFL, where he was expected to dominate. To his surprise, Pettis would go 1-4 in the PFL and move on from MMA, at least for now. Despite the rocky end to his MMA career, Pettis will still be memorialized for his successes and flashy style.
After his average 9-5 run in the UFC, the book was already written about his younger brother, Sergio Pettis. Sergio bounced between flyweight and bantamweight in the UFC and even scored wins against Joseph Benavidez and Brandon Moreno. However, after going 2-3 in his last five UFC fights, Pettis elected to move on to Bellator, where he added an entirely new chapter to his book. Sergio has gone 5-0 in Bellator, winning the bantamweight strap against Juan Archuleta and defending it twice against Kyoji Horiguchi and Patricio Pitbull. He will face his toughest test at Bellator 301 when he faces Patchy Mix in November. While Anthony's contributions to the legacy of this pair are minimal at this point, Sergio has a chance to make a case for this duo to earn the top spot.
This might seem like a cop-out, considering that these guys haven't participated much in the last few years, but until the Diaz brothers officially call it quits on combat sports, they'll be sitting atop the list of current siblings in MMA. While Nick Diaz lost his two UFC fights with title implications, he made his name in Strikeforce, where he defended his welterweight title four times. This occurred at a point in time when Strikeforce commanded a base of talent comparable to the UFC. Throughout his MMA career, Nick beat the likes of Chris Lytle, Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley, and BJ Penn, along with plenty more. Nate Diaz has had just as exciting of an MMA career, if not more. Nate got on the map through season five of The Ultimate Fighter and eventually became the winner of the season after Manny Gamburyan got injured in the finals. While Nate has never been champion, he's only been finished once (not counting Masvidal doctor's stoppage due to a cut), and he holds wins over legends like Connor McGregor, Donald Cerrone, and Anthony Pettis. With an endless gas tank, strong boxing fundamentals, and a dangerous submission game, Diaz can stand toe to toe with any fighter and give them a good run for their money. While these two don't have the same accolades as many of the siblings on this list, they dominate everyone in popularity, cultural significance, and swagger.