12 MMA Fighters With Incredible Ape Indices

Updated on October 7, 2019
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Charles loves MMA and has been following MMA for more than 15 years.

Let's face it: reach plays a huge influence on how a fight can play out. In mixed martial arts, having a longer reach than your opponent can be a big advantage. It can make you harder to hit, your opponent easier to hit, and it can keep you on the outside of takedown attempts. It can also give you more leverage and torque in both striking and grappling.

Ape index measures your arm span relative to your height. A common method of calculation is having the height subtracted from the arm span. Most people have a neutral size ratio. However, there are individuals who possess an arm span that exceeds their height by a huge margin. A good example is the famous boxer, Sony Liston. He stood at 6'1" but had a whopping 84" reach. Therefore, he had a positive ape index of 11".

The height among fighters in a given weight class rarely offers a significant difference, so having a very high positive ape index can be quite advantageous. A larger arm span can potentially create a bit of balance if facing an opponent who is significantly taller.

Heights, Reaches, and Ape Indices of the Fighters on This List

Fighters
Height
Reach
Ape Index
1) Sergei Pavlovich
6'3"
84"
+9.0"
2) Jon Jones
6'4"
84.5"
+8.5"
3) Kevin Lee
5'9"
77"
+8.0"
4) Uriah Hall
6'0"
79.5"
+7.5"
5) Francis Ngannou
6'4"
83"
+7.0"
6) Paul Daley
5'9"
76"
+7.0"
7) Miguel Torres
5'9"
76"
+7.0"
8) Georges St-Pierre
5'10"
76"
+6.0"
9) Brock Lesnar
6'3"
81"
+6.0"
10) Tony Ferguson
5'11"
76.5"
+5.5"
11) Tyron Woodley
5'9"
74"
+5.0"
12) Conor McGregor
5'9"
74"
+5.0"
 McGregor stuns Mayweather with a long jab.
McGregor stuns Mayweather with a long jab.

12) Conor McGregor

The “Notorious” one needs no introduction. He transformed the world of MMA with his unrivalled confidence and took trash-talk to a whole new level in the UFC. He is the first fighter in mixed martial arts history to hold multiple UFC titles at the same time. Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes and Henry Cejudo would later accomplish the same feat.

McGregor is best known for his striking accuracy and power but what most people overlook is his outrageous reach of 74 inches which contributes to his striking prowess. At 5’9”, one would expect McGregor’s reach to be around 69 inches which is the average for his height. The mean reach of fighters in the lightweight division is at 71.5" giving McGregor a 2.5" reach advantage over his competition. Interestingly, Conor’s reach of 74 inches is equivalent to that of a 6’2” man.

Conor has a positive ape index of 5” and holds the record for longest reach in the UFC's featherweight division. It is interesting to note McGregor has a longer reach than UFC Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Cormier. He also has a longer reach than Donald Cerrone who stands at 6’0”.

Woodley delivers a devastating right to Lawler.
Woodley delivers a devastating right to Lawler.

11) Tyron Woodley

Tyron Woodley is one of the most explosive welterweights in the world. His massive right hand can knock anyone out if he lands it square.

At just 5’9”, Woodley is well below the average height for fighters in the welterweight division which is around 5'11.5". The amazing thing is despite his height deficit, Woodley’s reach of 74 inches is slightly longer than the average in his division. Woodley possesses the average reach of a 6’2” man which helps him a lot considering that most of his opponents tower over him.

T-Wood has a positive ape index of 5 inches and his reach is not far behind the longest in his division. Woodley has the same reach as Darren Till who stands at 6’0” and a longer reach than Jacare Souza who is 6’1”.

Tony Ferguson attempts to secure a D'arce choke against Danny Castillo.
Tony Ferguson attempts to secure a D'arce choke against Danny Castillo.

10) Tony Ferguson

The Bogeyman has one of the most unconventional styles in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His weird nature and exciting fights have earned him a lot of following. He is best known for his signature D'Arce choke and his incredible reach of 76.5 inches helps him to easily lock up this submission.

This vicious lightweight fighter possesses the average reach of a man who stands at almost 6’5” which is really astonishing if you consider the fact that he stands at just 5’11”. His reach is way above the average in the lightweight division and is only an inch less than the average in the heavyweight division.

El Cucuy has a positive ape index of 5.5” and possesses one of the longest reaches in his division. He has almost the same reach as former UFC Heavyweight Champions, Fabrício Werdum and Junior dos Santos.

Lesnar's full reach at display.
Lesnar's full reach at display.

9) Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar is one of the most dominant figures to step in the octagon. Although he had a relatively short career in the UFC, it was an impactful one in so many ways. Lesnar won the UFC Heavyweight Championship in a TKO victory over Randy Couture at UFC 91.

Lesnar has a reach of 81 inches which is mind-blowing for a man who is 6’3”. His reach is the average for a 6’9” man and one of the longest ever measured in the UFC. Luke Rockhold who is also 6’3” like Brock can only boast of a reach of 77 inches.

Brock’s reach is 6 inches longer than his height giving him a positive ape index of 6 inches. He has the same reach as Alexander Volkov who stands at 6’7” and a longer reach than Travis Browne who is also 6’7”.

GSP's reach contributes to him having one of MMA's best jabs.
GSP's reach contributes to him having one of MMA's best jabs.

8) Georges St-Pierre

Georges St-Pierre is regarded by many to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time. He is a three-time former UFC welterweight champion and a former UFC middleweight champion. He vacated his welterweight title and decided to take some time off from the sport. He returned after 4 years to defeat Michael Bisping for the middleweight title becoming the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold a championship belt in multiple weight classes.

He is 5'10" and has a 76" reach. This makes him 1.5" shorter than the average welterweight, but he compensates for this with a 2.5" reach advantage over the average in his weight class. He has a positive ape index of 6".

He has the same reach as Nick Diaz despite being two inches shorter than him. He also has the same reach as Carlos Condit, who stands at 6'2".

It is also interesting to note that St-Pierre has a reach advantage over some notable light heavyweight and heavyweight fighters like Chael Sonnen, Roy Nelson, and Mirko Filipovic, who all stand at least six feet tall.

Miguel Torres (right) utilising his long reach.
Miguel Torres (right) utilising his long reach.

7) Miguel Torres

Miguel Torres is a former WEC bantamweight champion and has also competed in the UFC.

Standing at 5'9" and with a reach of 76", he has a significant advantage over the average fighter in his division. He is 2" taller than the 5'7" average and has an outrageous 7" reach advantage over the average reach of 69". His reach is equal to the average seen in the light heavyweight division.

His ape index is 7,'' and he has held the longest reach in the bantamweight division of every promotion he has competed in. He has a 4" reach advantage over one of the tallest fighters to ever compete in the UFC's bantamweight division, George Roop, who stands at 6'1". He also has a 2" reach advantage over the first fighter to hold two UFC titles at the same time, Conor McGregor, who currently holds the record for longest reach in the UFC's featherweight division at 74". Last but not least, he has a 1.5" reach advantage over MMA heavyweight legend, Fedor Emelianenko.

Paul Daley (left) stuns Lorenz Larkin with a long jab.
Paul Daley (left) stuns Lorenz Larkin with a long jab.

6) Paul Daley

Paul Daley is best known for his incredible knockout power. He is also infamous for hitting Josh Koscheck with a left hook sucker punch after the end of their match, earning him a lifetime ban from the UFC. He is currently competing in Bellator's welterweight division.

Standing at an average height of 5'9", he has an amazing reach of 76". This gives him a positive ape index of 7". With the average reach of fighters in his weight class being 73.5", he has a 2.5" reach advantage. This is extremely significant considering the fact that he has a 2.5" height disadvantage in his division. The average height of his competition is around 5'11.5".

Amazingly, he has the same reach as Seth Baczynski. At 6'3", Kaczynski is one of the tallest fighters in UFC's welterweight division. He also has a reach advantage over some notable heavyweights and light heavyweights in MMA like Lyoto Machida, Randy Couture, and Quinton Jackson. These men are all six feet tall and above.

The long reach of Francis Ngannou (left) at full display.
The long reach of Francis Ngannou (left) at full display.

5) Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou is a rising star in the UFC’s heavyweight division and is one of the greatest knockout artists to step foot in the octagon. His punching power measures at 129,161 units which is currently the highest ever measured.

Ngannou stands at 6’4”, just an inch above the average height for his division. However, his reach is one of the longest in his division at 83”. This gives him a 6" reach advantage over the average and has a positive ape index of 7”. He is beaten only slightly by Stefan Struve’s reach of 84.5” which is mind-boggling if you consider Struve stands almost 8” taller than him.

The Predator has a 3” reach advantage over one of the tallest fighters in his division, Alexander Volkov, despite Volkov standing 3” taller than him. He has a 4” reach advantage over Travis Browne who also stands at 6’7”.

Uriah Hall (left) throws a long jab.
Uriah Hall (left) throws a long jab.

4) Uriah Hall

Uriah Hall moved from Jamaica to the United States at the age of 13. Upon his arrival, he was bullied at school but found refuge in martial arts. In the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter, he unleashed a devastating spinning hook kick to Adam Cella's head that knocked him unconscious. It was described by Yahoo Sports as being arguably the most violent televised knockout in combat sports history.

He currently competes in the UFC's middleweight division. Standing at exactly six feet tall, he is only an inch less than the average height of the weight class. In contrast, he has an incredible reach of 79.5". This gives him a 4.5" reach advantage over the average.

He has a positive ape index of 7.5" and currently possesses the second-longest reach in the UFC's middleweight division. He is only beaten slightly by UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. The Last Stylebender's reach of 80 inches is the longest in his division but you have to take into consideration that Adesanya is 4" tall than Hall. Interestingly, Uriah's reach of 79.5" puts him ahead of over 85 percent of UFC fighters in the heavyweight division.

Kevin Lee (right) seems to have twice the arm length of Michel Prazeres.
Kevin Lee (right) seems to have twice the arm length of Michel Prazeres.

3) Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is a rising UFC star with a very good wrestling background. He currently competes in the lightweight division and has a height of 5'9". This is the average height for fighters in this weight class.

However, his reach is a different story. Lee possesses a reach of 77", which makes it the longest in the lightweight division. The mean reach is at 71.5", meaning he has a significant 5.5" reach advantage over his competition. Interestingly, his reach is only half an inch less than the average of fighters in the heavyweight division, which is 77.5".

His ape index of 8" is one of the highest in the UFC today. Kevin Lee has a 1" reach advantage over the tallest fighter in his division, James Vick, who stands at 6'3". He also has the same reach as former UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez.

Jon Jones has unusually long arms, his fingertips almost touching his knees
Jon Jones has unusually long arms, his fingertips almost touching his knees

2) Jon Jones

No MMA fighter in the world uses their reach better than Jon Jones. At 23, he became the youngest champion in UFC history and is ranked as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world by several publications. Jones was stripped of his title and was removed from the official rankings following his arrest on felony hit-and-run charges. He was reinstated into the UFC in October 2015.

He has an unbelievable 84.5" reach for a man who stands at 6'4". He is tied with Stefan Struve for the longest reach in UFC today. This is remarkable since Struve is seven feet tall. Jones is 2 inches above the average height in the light heavyweight division, and he has a significant 8.5" reach above the average in the weight class.

He has a positive ape index of 8.5" and currently has the second-highest measurement in the UFC. His reach is only 0.5" less than the UFC record of 85", held by the 6'8" Dan Christison. The greatest reach disparity in the promotion's history was recorded during a bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Jones had a 12" advantage over his opponent.

Sergei Pavlovich utilising his long reach.
Sergei Pavlovich utilising his long reach.

1) Sergei Pavlovich

Standing six-foot-three and looking like he was chiselled out of granite, Pavlovich is one of the most intriguing prospects to enter the heavyweight division in quite some time. This Russian heavyweight has the highest ape index in the UFC today beating even the freak, Jon Jones.

His reach of 84 inches which is only half an inch less than the highest in the UFC (tied between Jones and Struve) is really mind-blowing if you consider the fact that he stands at 6’3”. Sergei Pavlovich enjoys a remarkable 6.5” reach advantage over the average fighter in his division despite standing at just the average height for his division.

He has roughly the same reach as Stefan Struve which is crazy considering Struve towers over him by 9 inches. Interestingly, Sergei has a 4-inch reach advantage over Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic despite being slightly shorter.

The following MMA fighters also have high positive ape indices. Numbers given are height, reach, and ape index.

  • Phil Davis: 6'1", 79", +6"
  • Kennedy Nzechukwu: 6'5", 83", +6"
  • Alexey Oleynik: 6'2", 80", +6"
  • Jimi Manuwa: 6'1", 79", +6"
  • Cheick Kongo: 6'4", 82", +6"
  • Neil Magny: 6'3", 80", +5"
  • Marcus Brimage: 5'4", 71",+7"
  • Taylor Lapilus: 5'6", 73", +7"
  • Oluwale Bamgbose: 5'11", 78", +7
  • Jared Cannonier: 5'11", 77.5", +6.5
  • David Branch: 6'1", 78", +5"
  • Alexander Volkanovski: 5'6", 71.5", +5.5"

Here are some MMA fighters with negative ape indices.

  • Max Holloway: 5'11", 69", -2"
  • Cody Garbrandt: 5'7", 65", -2"
  • Artem Lobov: 5'9", 65", -4"
  • Chris Lytle: 5'11", 68", -3"
  • Andy Wang: 5'6", 63", -3"
  • Issei Tamura: 5'5", 63", -2"
  • Darren Uyenoyama: 5'6, 64", -2"
  • Jason Reinhardt: 5'6", 64", -2"

Did you know that at 6'3", Magnus Cedenblad has the same leg reach as Stefan Struve who stands at a towering seven feet tall? The UFC introduced leg reach to its fight stats not too long ago. As with any measurement, there will always be freaks of nature. You can check out the UFC fighters with the craziest leg reaches in comparison to their heights here.

Questions & Answers

  • How long is Brock Lesnar's reach?

    Brock Lesnar has a reach of 81". This is remarkable considering he stands at 6'3". He has a positive ape index of 6".

  • How long is Khabib Nurmagomedov's reach?

    Khabib Nurmagomedov has a reach of 70 inches. At 5'10," his reach is average for someone his height.

  • How long is Conor McGregor's reach?

    Conor McGregor has a reach of 74 inches which is pretty long for someone his height. The average reach for someone his height is 69 inches which means McGregor's reach is around 7% longer than the average. At 5'9", he possesses a positive ape index of 5 inches.

  • How long is Ronda Rousey's reach?

    Ronda Rousey possesses a reach of 68 inches. At 5'7," her reach is an inch longer than the average for her height.

© 2016 Charles Nuamah

Comments

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    • profile image

      Will 

      3 months ago

      Ji-yeon Kim's real height is 5'6, not 5'7.

    • profile image

      idk 

      4 months ago

      Ji-yeon Kim, South Korean women's UFC flyweight. 5'7 with a 72 inch reach. She has the largest ape index of all the UFC women's roster, and her reach is half an inch shorter than Megan Anderson, who is 6ft tall.

      Korean Zombie is also listed as 5'7 with a 72 inch reach, but his real stats are reportedly 5'9 with a 74.5 inch reach.

    • profile image

      Hi 

      7 months ago

      How about Mark Hunt and Fedor

    • profile image

      Jon81 

      9 months ago

      One factor that over values ape index is finger length, because wingspan is measured fingertip to fingertip.

      Since striking is generally done with a closed fist. Fighters with large hands, more specifically long fingers may read very long, but if you measure from the begininng edge armpit to the middle knuckle of a closed fist as they stick their arm out, will give a more accurate portrait of reach advantage.

    • profile image

      Jbrone 

      2 years ago

      Brock lesnar: 75 inches tall wingspan of 81 inches

    • charlesnuamah profile imageAUTHOR

      Charles Nuamah 

      3 years ago from Germany

      Thanks Josh for the info. Didn't know Bas Rutten has such a high positive ape index.

    • profile image

      Josh 

      3 years ago

      Bas Rutten, he stands 6'1" and has an 80" reach.

    • Arioch profile image

      Gordon D Easingwood 

      3 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      Cheers, thanks for that clarification.

    • charlesnuamah profile imageAUTHOR

      Charles Nuamah 

      3 years ago from Germany

      Thanks Arioch. However ape index doesn't only take reach into consideration. It compares height to reach. For instance, Alexander Gustafsson has a long reach of 79" but stands at 6'5" tall. If we subtract his height from his reach, we find out has a positive ape index of only 2" despite his long reach. So height is also a critical factor.

    • Arioch profile image

      Gordon D Easingwood 

      3 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      Interesting hub, never heard reach described as the "ape index" before!

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