Kickboxing is a martial art with roots deep in Ancient Asian arts, such as Muay Thai and Karate. But, the combat sport we know today hasn’t started its development until the 1960s. It quickly evolved and became one of the most popular striking martial arts in the world.
Different styles and techniques were developed during that period, but the basic rules have been unified worldwide, making Kickboxing a global sport. Over the years, there have been many incredible fighters, many of whom made a significant mark in martial arts history.
However, due to the differences in style and the sport’s development over the years, it’s hard to rank fighters and decide who’s the best of all time. That’s why we made a list of the ten best Kickboxers of all time, not ranking them in any particular order. We’ll add some honorable mentions, too, because there are so many fighters that deserve the honor of being on this list.
- Semmy Schilt
- Alistair Overeem
- Buakaw Banchamek
- Robin Van Roosmalen
- Giorgio Petrosyan
Another Dutch fighter on the list, Semmy Schilt, has an admirable career for any martial artist. He won a staggering four K-1 Grand Prix championships and was also a Glory Champion. His Kickboxing record is 43-6, but he also competed a lot in MMA, where he is 26-14.
In his Kickboxing years, he defeated the likes of Hoost, Aerts, Le Banner, Hunt, and many more, making him one of the most decorated Kickboxers of all time. He ended his career on a 6-fight win streak and is one of the few fighters ever to defeat Rico Verhoeven in a Glory Kickboxing fight.
Alistair Overeem is probably much better known for his MMA career, but he also had an excellent Kickboxing career. His knee strikes were the source of many rule changes and significant evolutions in the world of Kickboxing, as he would decimate his opponents with prolific knee striking.
Although he only has a 10-4 overall score in Kickboxing, he’s on his list because he managed to get some great wins in that period. He won matches against Badr Hari, Peter Aerts, Gokhan Saki, and Ben Edwards. He thrived in MMA using his Kickboxing, winning Strikeforce and dream Championships, while also competing in the UFC for many years.
The heavyweight division is almost always the most popular, but that doesn’t mean all the greatest fighters are there. Buakaw Banchamek, for instance, is a decorated Kickboxing and MMA fighter competing in lower-weight divisions, including Featherweight, Lightweight, and Welterweight.
What makes him so legendary is the number of fights on his professional resume. He has an unbelievable 239 wins with 24 losses and 12 draws. He won almost every Muay Thai accolade possible and has two K-1 World MAX Championship wins and two runner-ups.
Robin Van Roosmalen
Another fighter competing in lower divisions is Robin Van Roosmalen. The Dutch has now transferred to MMA but has a tremendous Kickboxing career behind him with multiple championships.
He was a Glory champion both in the Featherweight and Lightweight divisions, making him the only dual Glory champ. He’s got 51 wins and 18 losses in his career, but he defeated some incredible fighters along the way, including Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, Gabriel Varga, Marat Grigorian, and others.
Petrosyan is the last fighter on our list, competing in almost every prestigious Kickboxing organization globally. He’s won titles in Glory, Hero Legends, K-1, and finally, in ONE Championship, where he is still the Featherweight champion.
He competed in categories from Featherweight to Middleweight and picked up astounding wins on every step. It’s incredible to look at his overall career score, 102 wins, and only two losses. Petrosyan destroyed his competition repeatedly. And, being 35 years old, he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. We can expect to see more greatness from him.
It’s hard to pick only 10 of the greatest Kickboxers in history because there are so many fighters with incredible careers behind them. Jerome Le Banner won two K-1 Grand Prix titles and was a runner-up two times more. He also won numerous other Kickboxing and Muay Thai titles and defeated some of the world’s best fighters.
Remy Bonjasky is also high on the all-time list, winning three K-1 titles and defeating Mirko Cro Cop, Alistar Overeem, Badr Hari, Le Banner, Leko, Saki, and others. We mustn’t forget Mike Bernardo as well, who was always the gatekeeper for greatness. If you wanted to be a champ, you had to go through him.
He won the K-1 Grand Prix title one time, was the runner-up once, but won 3rd place three times. He also won WAKO and WKA Championships and defeated the likes of Cro Cop, Peter Aerts, Brano Cikatić, and many others.
Among other all-time greats, there’s Croatian Branko Cikatić, Mark Hunt, Ray Sefo, etc.