Best Wrestlers of All Time

This is a list of the best greco-roman/freestyle wrestlers of all time.

The Top Ten

1 Alexander Karelin

Had no points scored on him for 6 years

Easily the best wrestler ever..

This man is an animal

1 loss by 1 point to the Rulon Gardner of the USA for the Gold..think that would have been his 4th Olympic Gold...if he had won that match the discussion would not be a discussion because he'd be #1 in everyone's eyes. Karelin did not train nearly as hard for his last Olympics in 2000 when he lost to Gardner in the finals for Gold. Karelin was no longer in kill mode hungry for Gold as he was in prior Olympics (he started his political career). If they wrestled 10 times Karelin would have beat Gardner 9 out of 10 times. Karelin had been undefeated for 13 years. Karelin had not even given up one single point in six years (prior to losing to Gardner). He also underestimated Gardner...hung & chilled with Gardner several times and it's easy to underestimate him with that nice guy look & smiling baby face.

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2 Hamid Sourian

Are you guys kidding me? The guy has 6 world championships 2 Asian championships, and is the reigning Olympic champion and he is 5th on your list? Over a bunch of guys that have one or maybe 2 gold medals in total on the world stage?

I just watched some of his videos, holy jesus. HE IS A GOD

He won 7 gold medal (6 World Championships and 1 Olympic) from 8 World Championships competitions that he participated and just lost 1 competition.
He is the best world Champion from Iran.

He is the Best and he is going to get another gold medal from Rio.

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3 Cael Sanderson

The best wrestler in the United states! Number one

The best to do it

From the USA, Gable & Smith were fabulous. But, there's only 1 GOAT, and that's 159-0, Olympic Champion, Cael Sanderson.


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4 John Smith

Simply, the best..

The best I Have Ever Seen. Saw John In Person In The Early 90s In Spokane Washington USA Vs. Cuba

Just look at the hardware. Certainly not an American that can compete. Maybe #2 on this list at worst. Take out the heavies and he's hands down the #1.

The best American Freestyle wrestler to date and one of the top freestyle wrestler in the world. His record speaks for itself. Cael Sanderson the best collegiate wrestler of all time.

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5 Valentin Yordanov

7 time World Champion, 7 time European Champion and an Olympic Champion.
Only wrestler to win 10 medals at World Championships.
Also has an Olympic bronze medal.

Is this guy Russian?

He is best of the bestt

Valentin Yordanov is a Bulgarian wresler and he is the best freestyle wresler of 20th century!

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6 Dan Gable

I feel this accomplishment is what no other wrestler comes close too. This is what makes him the GOAT! As the University of Iowa's all-time winning-est coach from 1976 to 1997, Gable won 15 NCAA National Wrestling Team Titles while compiling a career record of 355-21-5, He coached 152 All-Americans, 45 National Champions, 106 Big Ten Champions and 12 Olympians, including four gold, one silver and three bronze medalists.

Greatest Iowa wrestler ever!

All "top" lists, even made with objectivity (if possible), still include personal opinion, varying "top" traits, age (watching video isn't same and there's more on younger guys), etc... You could argue for anyone on the list for many reasons. Still comes down to personal favorite. So, I went with mine. I went to his wrestling camp and he's a big idol. Are there better? Maybe, possibly probably, but not to me.

The Soviet Union, a country with unbelievable wrestling heritage, knew Gable was coming and spent FOUR YEARS searching the country for a hand-picked person to groom and train; with a sole mission to defeat Gable. He, like all other competitors, could not even score A POINT on Gable. Not a single point. His comrades were not happy, and Gable beat a cold-war USSR and the world!

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7 Buvaisar Saitiev


Most of the wrestlers mentioned are worthy all time candidates, but for me Buvaisar Saitiev is number 1. An athlete who physically is not the strongest, nor the fastest or quickest, not the most aggressive, and not even the best conditioned. Six world championships, 4 olympic games, and of those 4 olympic games he won 3 gold medals. The one olympic game he did not medal in, he was upset by the eventual gold medal winner Brandon Slay (American) and his brother Adam Saitiev won a gold, wrestling practically 2 weight classes up.

What is most impressive about Buvaisar is, he was a genius on the matt. Lacking the physicals of most world class wrestlers he was able to produce a career that is unrivalled in a very difficult and competitive weight class, by being the smartest and most creative wrestler of all time.

All due respect to my wrestling brothers.


Saitiev brothers are something else man.

I'm actually surprised Saitiev isn't ranked higher. I'm an American but I cannot see how he's ranked below Gable and Sanderson. The man won 9 world-level gold medals and is universally considered the greatest freestyle wrestler of all time. Saitiev is the man. Hands down.

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8 Sergei Beloglazov

He is a 6 time world champion 2 time Olympic champion beat the 84 Olympic champion. He is just as impressive as Karelin.

Greatest All time..

Best technical wrestler ever, did not have the same accolades as Alexander but was in a tough weight that he completely dominated for nearly a decade

Cannot be overlooked has to be put on the international scale in the top five. Not taking anything away from the 84 olympic champions. He could have been a 3 time olympic champion. Look at his accopishments. Probably considered to be one of the most technical wrestlers.

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9 Arsen Fadzaev

Only lost twice while winning 6 world titles and 2 Olympic titles. Won the 1992 Olympic final by a superiority score.

He did not lose a single battle in seven years. The best athlete of USSR 1991.

And won silver at the world's when he wrestled up a weight class.

How 'bout John Smith he's amazing and I'm commenting on this one because Jordan burroughs needs to stay somewhere on this list.

10 Jordan Burroughs

Jordan Burroughs should be higher for sure, and in time Kyle Dake will be up here

One of the best. Should be top 3 no doubt

Jordan Burroughs is still young, but he will be the best U.S. wrestler in history. Just watching him wrestle, you can see that his athletic ability trumps even the best technicians. When you watch some people wrestle, you think wow that looks hard af. But when you watch Burroughs wrestle, you think hey I could prolly do that...he makes it look easy. That's how I know he's the best.

Jordan Burroughs will without a doubt be the greatest of all time when it is all said and done. Simply makes things look far too easy.

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The Contenders

11 Saori Yoshida

You would have a hard time combing two men to beat her Gold medals. She is the winningest and most dominant international wrestler of all time. With that being said, she is the best, but I hope Helen Maroulis beats her in Rio!

13 World Golds
3 Olympic golds

Only 2 senior losses since 1998. A decade undefeated. These numbers are better than Karelin. She's the best ever. If you don't agree, you are sexist.

12 Gogi Koguashvili

5x World champion

the best

13 Brock Lesnar Brock Lesnar Brock Edward Lesnar is an American professional wrestler and former amateur wrestler, professional American football player, and mixed martial artist who is currently signed to WWE.

Its kind of embarrassing that Brock Lesnar even made this list. A great athlete no doubt, but his achievements look like child's play compared to anyone else on this list. By the way, WWE is fake... That means it doesn't count.

Wow so much hate. None of you could've beaten him on the mat during his collegiate years. The only thing embarrassing here are the number of keyboard warriors talking trash from their mommies house.

I'm a big pro wrestling fan but that stuff has a planned ending. MMA, Wrestling Record, Collegiate Wrestling Titles, and Olympic Awards should go int hat order in my opinion. Brock has no gold, silver, or bronze medals. One Division 1 championship. Good wrestler but number 13 all time? Not even close.

heavy weight champ in college - itg

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14 Kurt Angle Kurt Angle Kurt Steven Angle is an American professional wrestler, actor and former amateur wrestler currently signed to professional wrestling promotion WWE, where he was the on-screen general manager of the Raw brand and an occasional wrestler.

Great wrestler and I believe if he had been in the ufc he would of been champion!

"Maybe as a fake wrestler"...How many gold medals do you have? Yeah, that's what I thought, loser.

he won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics with a broken neck! - AP1090

Kurt Angle hands down is the greatest. The fact that Bret Hart and Brock lesnar is ahead of him on this list is a tragedy in it self.

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15 Aleksandr Medved

This list must be based on something silly as this guy is at #15 right now. He won three gold medals. No American has ever done that.

In 1972 I saw Medved winning the gold Medal, outstanding wrestler. I met him in 1985 in Colorado springs, where he was referee. It was Espier World Championship. Very pleasant person. I am surprised to see him at number 10. He won 3 Gold Medals in Olympics.

The man killed a bear with a club how is he this far down?

How is Medved at #15? You guys are crazy if you think someone like Burroughs should be above him, even Smith and Sanderson haven't come close to Medved's success in international wrestling. College wrestling is good, but the competition in college wrestling comes no where near international freestyle and greco.

Medved should be at 2/3. Alongside Saitiev.

16 Mark Shultz

It's Schultz not Shultz. Greatest pure athlete ever to step on a mat. Northern California All Around Gymnastics champion. Winner in UFC 9 under no holds bar rules.

Tougher than anyone!

Yes he is

17 Bruce Baumgartner

The most decorated super heavyweight wrestler in American history. Bruce achieved three golds at the Pan American Games, 17 American titles and eight World Cup wins. An NCAA National Championship, 2, NCAA Runner-Up finishes, 2 AAU National Titles and a Junior National title. All of this is on top of the 3 world titles and 2 olympic gold medals he won. Bruce Baumgartner won 4 olympic medals and 9 world championship medals in his career. That is more than any Super heavyweight freestyle wrestler. In his prime I would pick him to beat any freestyle wrestler in history. Kurt angle beat a 300lb roided Brock lesnar in a freestyle wrestling match and Angle wasn't even in his prime. Angle also had neck problems as well and he still beat Brock. Bruce is a super heavyweight Angle is a heavyweight. Bruce is more accomplished than Angle by miles. So imagine what a prime Bruce would do to Brock in a wrestling match. I don't even know why Lesnar is number 1 he has never evewn been to the olympics ...more


18 Ben Askren

Very underrated in my opinion, has a great style of wrestling

Among the best, but not the best. Love his style the most though.



19 Daniel Bryan Daniel Bryan Bryan Lloyd Danielson is an American professional wrestler best known for his tenure in WWE under the ring name Daniel Bryan. He is the current WWE champion.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

20 Kyle Snyder

Are you kidding me!
Only #20? And behind Brock Lesner?
You folks are on drugs!

Should be ranked much higher.

Kyle Snyder is the #1 ranked heavyweight on the planet

21 Great Gama

Seriously? 24?
He should be in top 5. Bruce lee got inspired from his workouts. He challenged to wrestle back to back 10 players in England.
He defeated 7 feet wrestler in minutes

Only wrestler who would give everything for a strong fight

If he is the only undefeated wrestler ever, shouldn't he be the best?

Only one undefeated wrestler. Undoubtedly the best

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22 Abdollah Movahed

Lives in northern Virginia out side of DC

He started wrestling at 19! Was on the national team 8 months late. 6 straight world title with an Olympic gold in the middle. Gave up no take downs in 6 years! Dan Gable was lucky Movahed injured his shoulder in his first match in the 1972 Olympics and had to pull out.

This guy never lost an international match. NEVER. Several world and Olympic golds.

Dominated the world of wrestling from mid-60s to early 70s never lost at major competition level.

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23 Dave Schultz

Should be top 2... Even without the tragic story, the man was an animal.

Dave Schultz is by far the greatest wrestlers of all time

Awesome wrestler

Dave Schultz is one of the many reasons that I'm wrestling today I Thant he is the best

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24 Pat Smith

Crazy that this guy is so far down!

Okie State

25 Tom Brands

Tom along with his brother terry are amazing. Coaches for Iowa, they are very good!

26 Lee Kemp

>Started wrestling in 9th grade age 14
>undefeated 11th & 12th grade winning 2 State Titles
>beat Legend Dan Gable as 18 year old College Sophomore (Gable was 27)
>won 1st of three World titles at age 21 becoming the youngest World Champion in United States History. Held that distinction for 30 years.
>1st 3 time World Champion. Held that distinction for 7 years.
>won 3 NCAA titles and placed 2nd as a true freshman and held the longest collegiate wins without a loss record of 101 consecutive wins, and held that distinction for 23 years.
>after winning his third World Gold he was the most accomplished American wrestler of all time and held that distinction for 7 years.

Would have been a Olympic Gold Medalist if it wasn't for the boycott of the games in 1980. Top 10 easy!

won 3 world championships and beat dan gable when he was just a sophmore in college

27 Jeff Blatnik


28 Cary Kolat

Best high school wrestler ever

Why you don't know him:
Most screwed wrestler in history. He had controversial matches overturned at both the 1997 and 1999 World Championships, before the same thing happened to him at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Ended his college wrestling career with an impressive.941 winning percentage (111-7) and 53 career falls.

In high school, Kolat competed successfully in college and international tournaments finishing his high school career at Jefferson-Morgan School District with an undefeated (137-0) record and four Pennsylvania state titles.

Definitely should be ranked in the top 15 I mean 36 come on

29 Kyle Dake

Second best college wrestler. Internationally unimpressive.

30 John Cena John Cena John Felix Anthony Cena Jr. (/ˈsiːnə/; born April 23, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, rapper, actor, and reality television show host signed to WWE, where he is assigned to the SmackDown brand. more.


31 Bo Nickal

Bo Nickal is super cool and a great Wrestlers

32 Wade Schalles

Wade beat Kemp. Would have destroyed Askeran. Should be in top 5. If he didn’t have neck injury would be in top 3

Holds the world record for most wins and most pins, definitely deserves a spot on this list!

33 Kristjan Palusalu

Greetings from Latvia

Estonian heavyweight wrestler and Olympic winner. Palusalu became the first and only wrestler in Olympic history ever to win both the Greco-Roman and freestyle heavy weight events.

34 Logan Steiber

4 State championships, 4 NCAA championships, multiple international awards and is still getting better way to low on this list

Dominates come tournament time different mind set he's a technician

4 time # stud

35 Terry Brands

How.. 26 behind brock.. no way! He was winning world titles right out of college!

36 Yojiro Uetake

An amazing wrestler. Best collegiate wrestler I ever saw.

You vote for who you know. I am lucky to have seen Yojo wrestle several times. Like many of the other greats, there was never a doubt as to who was the best when Yojo was on the mat. He was in a class all his own. Quicker and more skilled than anyone. You just couldn't stop whatever move he was making. You may well know other greats, but Yojo is to remembered and talked about whenever you ask who was the "Greatest".

Unbelievable wrestler and totally dominant!

Never lost- and was never really challenged in three years at Oklahoma State from 1963-1966. Won three collegiate national championships. Won two freestyle Olympic gold medals for Japan in 1964 and 1968. HE IS THE BEST WRESTLER THAT NOBODY EVER TALKS ABOUT. Too bad- because he was incredible!

37 Rulon Gardener
38 Vugar Orujov

Watch some of this guys matches he's an untaimed beast.

Vougar is the best

The goat

39 Kenny Monday

Kenny was one of the assistant coaches at Montclair State when I wrestled there. He was an amazing wrestler- totally committed to wrestling.

40 Aaron Pico

He is an awesome wrestler! Amazing!

That's disgusting u even mention this dudes name in front of gold medalists. He has never even QUALIFIED for any Olympics and never won a college national title. What a joke. What he is is a bunch of wasted talent.

41 Danny Hodge

World's best

This guy was amazing! I guess popularity and money speaks for this site?

Danny not being in the top 10 puts the validity of this list in question

So apparently no one has ever heard of this man. He should be in the top ten.

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42 Frank Gotch
43 Mavlet Batirov

Should be in top 15 for sure, even top 10.. two Olympic golds in two different weights and would of been a 3 time if not for injury...

Dude was a freak. People couldn't even tie up with him without getting ducked under for a takedown. He was a 2 time olympic champion and world champion.

44 Bill Koll

72-0 and three time ncaa champion. His college career got interrupted by WW2 where he served at the Normandy landings. Also an outstanding coach. Placed fifth in the Olympics, on a controversial trip vs Germany.

45 Helen Maroulis

Beat Saori Yoshida in 2016 Rio Olympics for the gold Medal

46 Bret Hart Bret Hart Bret Sergeant Hart, better known by his ring name Bret "The Hitman" Hart, is a Canadian-American writer, actor and retired professional and amateur wrestler. A member of the Hart wrestling family and a second-generation wrestler.

I've seen him fight with Shawn Michael, they both were equally strong. This is, indeed, one of the great westler in the worl.

Umm are you sure Bret should be this high on the list? Compared to all the other REAL wrestlers he's got no chance. I'm not saying he's bad in WWE/WWF because he's clearly not but he doesn't deserve to be this high on the list. Sorry

47 Andrzej Wroński

Olympic Games: Seoul '88 (gold), Atlanta '96 (gold)! World Championships: Tampere '94 (gold), Athens '99 (silver), Stockholm '93 (bronze), Wrocław '97 (bronze). European Championships: Oulu '89 (gold), Copenhagen '92 (gold), Athens '94 (gold), Poznań '90 (bronze), Budapest '96 (bronze). 15 times Champion of Poland in greco-roman wrestling.

48 Thomas Gilman

Pure beast crazy offense

Never a ncaa champ but one of the better wrestlers in college history

49 Martin Klein

Winner of the longest wrestling match ever recorded 11h 40 min. Estonian wrestler who competed for the Russian Empire at the 1912 Summer Olympics. He won the silver medal in the middleweight class. In the semifinal against the reigning world champion Alfred Asikainen, the two grappled for 11 hours and 40 minutes on a sunny day outdoors, until Klein managed to pin Asikainen. Klein was so exhausted from the bout, that he was unable to wrestle for the gold the next day, leaving Swedish wrestler Claes Johansson with the gold medal.

50 Howard Harris
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List Stats

2,000 votes
53 listings
11 years, 33 days old

Top Remixes (5)

1. Arsen Fadzaev
2. Buvaisar Saitiev
3. John Smith
1. Hamid Sourian
2. Valentin Yordanov
3. Alexander Karelin

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