A Night of Legends: Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, and More Enter UFC Hall of Fame 2023 – Highlights

Looking back at some of the best moments from this year's UFC Hall of Fame ceremony in Las Vegas

Hall of Fame
Courtesy of @UFCFightPass on Twitter

Thursday night’s UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony was an emotional rollercoaster as mixed martial arts celebrated some of the most important names in the history of the sport.

Among the inductees inside the T-Mobile Arena were former featherweight world champion Jose Aldo, fan-favorite Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, middleweight icon Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva, and Miletich Fighting System alumni Jens Pulver and ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler. 

Unlike other members of the Hall of Fame class of 2023, ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone never became a UFC champion. Despite that, Cerrone etched his name in the history books by becoming one of the most beloved fighters in the history of the sport thanks to his high-octane style of fighting that made his matchups can’t-miss moments. 

“When I said I’d fight anyone, anywhere, anytime; and I told everybody that I wanna be the guy that if I’m on the card, they pull the RV over. They figure out how they can stream it and watch. And tonight allows me to concrete that,” Cerrone said backstage.

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the night came from the UFC’s first-ever lightweight world champion, Jens Pulver. Honing his craft in Bettendorf, Iowa under the tutelage of another MMA pioneer, Pat Miletich, Pulver made history by becoming the inaugural 155-pound champ at UFC 30 in February 2001. 

“Battled with for a long time, anxiety and depression,” Pulver said. “And I learnt, ‘Never close the door on a person you’re gonna be in five years’. Because time will be different, those problems, those memories will change. If you’re busy growing your world, those problems will get smaller. Never close the door and do something drastic.”

Joining Jens Pulver was his long-time MFS teammate and former UFC welterweight champion, ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler. Making his promotional debut at UFC 37, Lawler seemingly fizzled out after being touted as one of the biggest prospects in the sport. Nearly a decade removed from his exit from the promotion following UFC 50, Lawler found his way back inside the Octagon thanks to the purchase of Strikeforce by the UFC. Lawler made the most of it, capturing the welterweight title at UFC 181, defeating Johny Hendricks. 

Seven months later, Lawler would go on to compete in one of the greatest title fights in UFC history. ‘Ruthless’ went toe-to-toe with Rory MacDonald for five rounds in a brawl that has to be seen to be believed. 

UFC Hall of Fame Inducts Two of the Sports’ Greatest World Champions

The 2023 UFC Hall of Fame ceremony also paid tribute to two of the promotion’s greatest world champions.

Undisputed featherweight GOAT Jose Aldo was gracious as ever in his acceptance speech, looking back at a legendary career spanning two decades. Going an incredible eight years without a defeat, ‘Junior’ captured the 145-pound title under the WEC banner before becoming a two-time champion in the UFC and defending the title an incredible seven times. Aldo is also a one-time interim champion.


The next icon of the sport was Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva who was unable to attend the ceremony on Thursday night, but his son and aspiring mixed martial artist, Kalyl Silva, accepted the award on behalf of his father who dominated the middleweight division for an incredible seven years. During that time, Silva defended the title 10 times, the most in middleweight division history. 

Also recognized at the event were the Nogueira brothers, Antônio Rogério Nogueira and Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, affectionately known by MMA fans as ‘Lil Nog’ and ‘Big Nog.’ The two Brazilian staples of combat sports received the annual Forrest Griffin Community Award. 

You can catch a replay of the 2023 UFC Hall of Fame ceremony on UFC Fight Pass

Published on July 7, 2023 at 4:02 pm
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