Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History

1 Nikolai Valuev

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Reddit
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  • Height: 7 feet
  • Weight: 330 pounds

Boxing star Nikolai Valuev, also known as the Russian Giant, retired in 2009. That same year, together with a group of coaches, he created the Nikolay Valuev Boxing School. In 2010, he founded the Valuev Youth Sports Foundation with the aim of promoting regular physical exercise among children. In addition to being a professional boxer, he also starred in a few movies and commercials, and became a member of the State Duma through the United Russia Party in 2012.

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2 Shaquille O’Neal

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Pinterest
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  • Height: 7 feet, 1 inch
  • Weight: 325 pounds at his heaviest

Also known as Shaq, Shaquille O’Neal played in the NBA for 19 years, from 1992 to 2011, for teams like Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Cleveland Cavaliers. After his retirement, he was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. He also released a few rap albums and now works in the entertainment space, starring on his own reality shows and making cameo appearances in movies and on TV.

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3 Hafthor Julius Bjornsson

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Wikimedia Commons
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  • Height: 6 feet, 9 inches
  • Weight: 452 pounds

This professional strongman-turned-actor is best known for playing The Mountain in the HBO series Game of Thrones. Before turning his attention to strongman competitions, Bjornsson was a professional basketball player from 2004 to 2008. During his time on Game of Thrones and after the series concluded, Bjorsson continued to compete in strongman competitions, winning Europe’s Strongest Man in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

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4 Yao Ming

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
New York Daily News
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  • Height: 7 feet, 6 inches
  • Weight: 310 pounds

Yao Ming is a professional basketball player who came over from China to play for the Houston Rockets. At 7 feet, 6 inches and 310 pounds, he easily ranked as one of the best players in the game. After various foot and ankle injuries, Ming announced his retirement in 2011. He was later elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, and was elected chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association in 2017.

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5 Mamadou N’Diaye

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Piston Powered
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  • Height: 7 feet, 6 inches
  • Weight: 300 pounds

While Yao Ming is a more well-known name, Senegalese professional basketball player Mamadou N’Diaye is equally as tall. At 7 feet, 6 inches, Mamadou set the record for the tallest basketball player to compete in the NCAA Division I level during his time at UC Irvine. He later played for the Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers, and other professional teams. After his retirement, he turned his attention to coaching and became an assistant coach at Coastal Carolina University in 2011.

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6 Konishiki Yasokichi

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Mid American Japanese Club
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  • Height: 6 feet
  • Weight: 633 pounds

By virtue of their profession, sumo wrestlers have to be huge. But even in this big-bodied career, Konishiki Yasokichi stands out at 633 pounds, a weight that hangs off his 6-foot frame. During his sumo-wrestling career, Yasokichi won the top division championship three times and earned the rank of ōzeki, the second-highest rank in the sport. After 15 years of sumo wrestling, Yasokichi announced his retirement in 1997. He then used his sumo fame to become a Japanese entertainer, releasing hip hop albums and starring in films.

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7 Logan Ondrusek

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
TheRichest
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  • Height: 6 feet, 8 inches
  • Weight: 230 pounds

Logan Ondrusek is a professional baseball pitcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, and other professional teams. After starting his professional career in 2010, Ondrusek has played for a variety of US-based and international teams. On December 14, 2019, he signed a contract with the Leones de Yucatán, a team in the Mexican league, for the 2020 season.

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8 Ronnie Coleman

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Wikimedia Commons
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  • Height: 5 feet, 11 inches
  • Weight: 300 pounds

While professional bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman is only 5 feet, 11 inches tall, he weighs a massive 300 pounds because of his impressive muscle mass. Over the course of his career, Coleman won a record of eight Mr. Olympia titles. Unfortunately, Coleman was forced to undergo 10 surgeries for various health issues stemming from injuries he sustained during his career. But the somewhat questionable procedures damaged his body, and he announced in June 2020 that he may never walk again. However, he’s currently on the road to recovery, though only time will tell if he’ll be able to overcome the issues.

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9 Andre the Giant

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
WWE Network
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  • Height: 7 feet, 4 inches
  • Weight: 520 pounds at his heaviest

Andre Rene Roussimoff, a French professional wrestler better known as Andre the Giant, retired in 1992. He sadly passed away the next year, at the age of 46, as a result of congestive heart failure.

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10 Choi Hong-man

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Bleacher Report
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  • Height: 7 feet, 2 inches
  • Weight: 350 pounds

Choi Hong-man is a South Korean kickboxer also known as Korean Colossus, Korean Monster, and Techno Goliath. His last fight was in April 2016, where he defeated the “Chinese” Aorigele. Outside of kickboxing, Hong-man pursued a career in entertainment, releasing a rap single and appearing in TV shows like Running Man, Roommate, and Invincible Youth 2.

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11 William Perry

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Pinterest
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  • Height: 6 feet, 2 inches
  • Weight: 335 pounds

William Perry, who played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears, was nicknamed the Refrigerator because of his shape. Although he dominated on the field during his first season, he struggled with weight problems and injuries for the duration of his time playing football. He soon retired and tried to pursue a career as a rapper. In 2008, Perry was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a chronic disease that causes nerve damage. After that, Perry fell to heavy drinking and continued to struggle with his weight, ballooning to 425 pounds. He now lives a reclusive life in the house of his late father.

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12 John Krahn

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
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  • Height: 6 feet, 10 inches
  • Weight: 410 pounds

At just 19 years old, John Krahn has already made a name for himself as one of the biggest football players to ever play the game, currently playing for the Portland State Vikings. After recently finishing his senior year of college football, Krahn has gotten lots of attention for his size. However, after being plagued with health issues, it’s unclear if the football player will be able to advance to the next level in his sport.

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13 Margo Dydek

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
The Day
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  • Height: 7 feet, 2 inches
  • Weight: 232 pounds

While big men tend to dominate the world of sports, Polish professional basketball player Margo Dydek is an exception. She was the tallest professional female basketball player in the world. After retiring from the game, Dydek went on to live a quiet life with her family. Unfortunately, tragedy struck in May 2011 when Dydek suffered a cardiac arrest while pregnant with her third child. She died eight days later in a hospital in Brisbane at only 37 years old.

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14 Manute Bol

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Pinterest
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  • Height: 7 feet, 7 inches
  • Weight: 200 pounds

At 7 feet, 7 inches, Sudanese-born American basketball player Manute Bol was one of the tallest men to ever play in the NBA. He wasn’t the most talented player on any team, but his massive height allowed him to block almost any shot. His career lasted from 1985 to 1995. After his retirement, he turned his attention to charitable causes, particularly fundraising for Sudanese refugees. On June 19, 2012, at the age of 47, Bol sadly passed away due to complications from Stevens-Johnson syndrome and acute kidney failure.

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15 Wladimir Klitschko

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
YouTube/The World of Boxing
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  • Height: 6 feet, 6 inches
  • Weight: 243 pounds

Boxer Wladimir Klitschko competed professionally in boxing from 1996 to 2017.  During that time, he won the world heavyweight competition twice. He also holds the record for defeating the most opponents (23) to earn the title of champion. Klitschko dated American actress Hayden Panetierre for many years and the two share a daughter together, though they separated for good in 2018. After his retirement, Klitschko has lived a fairly quiet life.

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16 Zdeno Chára

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Twitter
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  • Height: 6 feet, 9 inches
  • Weight: 250 pounds

Zdeno Chára is a Slovak professional ice hockey player who stands at 6 feet, 9 inches tall, making him the tallest person to ever play in the NHL. Also known as “Big Z,” he is only the second born-and-raised European captain to win the Stanley Cup. Chára played for the Boston Bruins from 2006 all the way to 2019. In July 2019, he became the oldest active player in the NHL, and he’s not done yet. On December 30, 2020, Chára signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals, extending his NHL career even further.

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17 Peter Crouch

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Paddy Power News
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  • Height: 6 feet, 7 inches
  • Weight: 165 pounds

Soccer players aren’t usually known for their height, but Peter Crouch is an exception. This professional soccer player stands tall at 6 feet, 7 inches, but only weighs about 165 pounds. Crouch started playing soccer professionally in England in 1998, and only just retired in July 2019. At age 38, he now hosts a podcast and TV show with the BBC.

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18 Mariusz Wach

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
The Mirror
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  • Height: 6 feet, 7.5 inches
  • Weight: 249 pounds

Also known as The Viking, Mariusz Wach started his pro career in April 2005. He continues to fight today, with his most recent match taking place on December 12, 2020.

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19 Pau Gasol

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  • Height: 7 feet, 1 inch
  • Weight: 250 pounds

Height is a huge advantage in basketball, and Pau Gasol certainly has that on his side. This basketball player is a six-time NBA All-Star who played for many teams during his career. In 2019, Gasol signed with the Portland Trail Blazers, but was waived before he got a chance to play a game. He expressed an interest in returning to the NBA in late 2020, but so far hasn’t signed any new contract.

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20 Chuck Nevitt

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
The Delite
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  • Height: 7 feet, 5 inches
  • Weight: 217 pounds

Although Chuck Nevitt stands at 7 feet, 5 inches and weighs 217 pounds, this American basketball player never made a big deal out of himself during his career. However, he did have a long run in the NBA, playing for 12 seasons with teams like the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Detroit Pistons. After retiring in 1993, Nevitt went on to live a quiet life with his wife, Sondra Childers.

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21 Paul Donald Wight II

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
WWE Network
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  • Height: 7 feet
  • Weight: 425 pounds

Known by his stage name Big Show, Paul Donald Wight II is a professional wrestler for WWE. He started his career in 1994 and signed his first contract with World Championship Wrestling in 1995. He is a seven-time world champion and has become a well-known name both on and off the mat. He has appeared in several popular films and TV shows, including Jingle All the Way, The Waterboy, Royal Pains, and Psych. He is currently still under contract with WWE and appears regularly on the network.

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22 Troy Jackson

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Upbeat News
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  • Height: 6 feet, 10 inches
  • Weight: 400 pounds

Despite weighing nearly 400 pounds, Troy Jackson was an American professional basketball player who could move nimbly down the court, despite his large size. He played basketball for a while at the University of Louisville, but never made a name for himself professionally. He sadly died at age 38 from hypertensive heart disease on February 20, 2011.

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23 Eric Esch

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Sportscasting
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  • Height: 5 feet, 11 inches
  • Weight: 425 pounds

Eric Esch, better known as Butterbean, had a diverse career in sports. He was a professional boxer, mixed martial artist, kickboxer, and wrestler. Standing at just 5 feet, 11 inches tall, Butterbean found success in the sports arena largely through his weight, which gave his every hit lots of power. His last fight took place in 2013, and he went on to make a name for himself in the entertainment space, even starring in a one-season reality show called Big Law: Deputy Butterbean.

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24 Sharran Alexandar

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  • Height: 6 feet
  • Weight:  469 pounds

Sharran Alexander is a female sumo wrestler. In fact, she’s one of the few female sumo wrestlers to be recognized by the British Sumo Federation. She began her sports career in 2006 after signing up for a television show called Strictly Lady Sumo. After that, she went on to compete in the international scene, where she won four gold medals. She also earned a place in the 2013 Guinness World Records book as the heaviest female athlete.

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25 Dalip Singh Rana

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Wikimedia Commons
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  • Height: 7 feet, 1 inch
  • Weight: 347 pounds

Best known for his work in the WWE, Dalip Singh Rana is also known by his competition name, “The Great Khali.” The Indian-born American started his career in wrestling in 2000. Rana went on to compete in wrestling competitions around the world before being signed by WWE in 2006. He took a short break from sports and opened his own wrestling school in 2015, but returned to the ring in 2017. The Great Khali has also starred in various films, including The Longest Yard, Get Smart, and MacGruber. 

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26 Emmanuel Yarbrough

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
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  • Height: 6 feet, 7 inches
  • Weight: 600 pounds

Emmanuel Yarbrough is best known for his sumo career, though he was also a martial artist, wrestler, and football player. He started playing football in college, but he trained in judo after graduation. His training led him to the US Nationals tournament, where he won the silver medal. He then moved on to represent sumo in UFC competitions, and began a career in professional wrestling. Yarbrough also holds the Guinness World Record for the heaviest athlete. Sadly, in 2015, Yarbrough passed away at 51 years old after suffering a heart attack.

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27 Gheorghe Muresan

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
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  • Height: 7 feet, 7 inches
  • Weight: 325 pounds

Gheorghe Muresan is a Romanian professional basketball player who played in the NBA from 1993 to 2000. Although he was a formidable opponent, injuries kept him from reaching his full potential on the court. After he left the NBA, he founded the Giant Basketball Academy in 2004. He also dabbled in acting before eventually settling down in Washington with his family.

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28 Daniel McCullers

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Sports Mockery
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  • Height: 6 feet, 7 inches
  • Weight: 352 pounds

Daniel McCullers is a professional football player in the NFL. He first joined the league when he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2014 NFL Draft. In late 2020, he left the Steelers to join the Chicago Bears, where he still competes. In his position as a nose tackle, McCullers was listed as one of the best defensive tackle prospects in the 2014 draft, in part due to his massive height and weight.

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29 Ivo Karlovic

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Wikimedia Commons
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  • Height: 6 feet, 11 inches
  • Weight: 229 pounds

Croatian professional tennis player Ivo Karlovic is the tallest professional tennis player in the world. However, he also sports some real talent. Karlovic once held the record for the fastest serve recorded in professional tennis, clocking in at 156 miles per hour. He also holds the all-time record for career aces with 13,653. Today, Karlovic still plays tennis and became the oldest finalist on the ATP tour in 2019. Although he’s 39 years old, he hasn’t yet announced any plans to retire.

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30 Holley Mangold

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Breaking Muscle
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  • Height: 5 feet, 8 inches
  • Weight: 415 pounds

Holley Mangold from Dayton, Ohio, first began weightlifting in 2008 before heading to the 2012 Olympics. At 415 pounds, she is one of the biggest female weightlifters in the world. At the Olympics, Holley placed in 10th out of 14 weightlifters after she tore a tendon in her wrist prior to the competition. Her personal weightlifting record is 562 pounds, 147 pounds more than her own weight.

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31 Randy Johnson

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
FanBuzz
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  • Height: 6 feet, 8 inches
  • Weight: 225 pounds

Professional baseball player Randy Johnson’s six-feet, eight-inch frame led to his nickname, The Big Unit. Johnson pitched 22 seasons in the MLB, largely playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Seattle Mariners. During his career, he racked up 4,875 strikeouts, the second-highest number in the MLB. His career was particularly impressive because he was a left-handed pitcher.

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32 Suleiman Ali Nashnush

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Pinterest
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  • Height: 8 feet, 1/2 inch
  • Weight: 290 pounds

While most people stop growing once they reach a certain age, that wasn’t the case for basketball player Suleiman Ali Nashnush. One of only 20 individuals in history to surpass 8 feet, Suleiman was a Libyan basketball player born in 1943. During his time playing basketball, he was 7 feet, 10 inches tall. However, he continued to grow over the course of his life and soon surpassed 8 feet. He died on February 25, 1991, at just 48 years old.

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33 Jorge Gonzalez

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
EssentiallySports
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  • Height: 7 feet, 7 inches
  • Weight: 460 pounds

Jorge Gonzalez used his height to his advantage to become a proficient basketball player, as well as a wrestler. While his basketball career was impressive, he was best known for his appearances in World Championship Wrestling, where he competed under the name El Gigante. Argentinean Jorge was billed as being 8 feet tall, though he was really only 7 feet and 7 inches. Still, his height made him the tallest WWE and Argentine basketball player in history.

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34 Richard Metcalfe

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
New Arena
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  • Height: 7 feet
  • Weight: 310 pounds

Richard Metcalfe used his height to his advantage in his career as a Scottish rugby player. In fact, he was the world’s tallest international rugby player. He was generally an average of 6 inches taller than his teammates and competitors, allowing him to win 13 Scotland caps while playing for the Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons. In 2003, a knee injury forced Richard to retire, ending his rugby career for good.

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35 Stefan Struve

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
MMA Fighting
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  • Height: 7 feet
  • Weight: 265 pounds

Due to his 7 foot height, Dutch mixed martial artist and UFC fighter Stefan Struve is also known as the Skyscraper. Weighing 265 pounds, he is the tallest fighter to ever compete in the UFC. Struve began fighting at just 17 years old, and signed a four-fight deal with the UFC in 2008. Since then, he has participated in many fights and continues to appear in the ring to this day, though his face-offs are far less often than at the beginning of his career.

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36 Sajad Gharibi

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Jam News
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  • Height: 6 feet, 2 inches
  • Weight: 392 pounds

Also known as the Iranian Hulk, Sajad Gharibi is a bodybuilder turned MMA fighter. He began his wrestling career in 2020 when he signed on with the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, making him the largest man to ever join the competition. Before that, he earned fame on Instagram, showing off his enormous physique to his over half a million followers. Although he shines in the sports world and plans to continue his career in that arena, he primarily earns notoriety as an Internet phenomenon who attracts more followers every day because of his nearly inhuman massive body.

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37 Aaron Sandilands

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
The Young Witness
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  • Height: 6 feet, 11 inch
  • Weight: 262 pounds

Aaron Sandilands is a professional footballer in the Australian Football League. At one time, his 6 foot, 11 inch height and 262 pounds made him the largest player in the entire league. Sandilands retired from football in 2019 and was appointed as the ruck coach for Freemantle for the 2020 AFL season.

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38 Nataliya Kuznetsova

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
Instagram
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  • Height: 5 feet, 8 inches
  • Weight: 220 pounds

Standing at just 5 feet, 8 inches tall, Russian bodybuilder Nataliya Kuznetsova somehow carries 220 pounds on her relatively small frame. Even more impressive, most of her weight is due to the muscles rippling across her body. Kuznetsova started bodybuilding at just 14 years of age and now holds the world titles for bench press, deadlift, and arm lifting competitions. She competes less often today and is more focused on a quiet life with her husband, Vladislav Kuznetsov, whom she lives with in Moscow.

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39 Tacko Fall

Take A Look At The Largest Athletes In Sports History
DraftKings Nation
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  • Height: 7 feet, 5 inches
  • Weight: 311 pounds

Tacko Fall, born Elhadji Tacko Sereigne Diop Fall, is a Senegalese basketball player who plays for the Boston Celtics. Standing tall at 7 feet, 5 inches, Fall is currently the tallest player in the NBA. He moved to the United States when he was 16 and later signed with the Boston Celtics after not being drafted in the 2019 NBA Draft. In late 2020, Fall re-signed with the Celtics in a two-way contract that will allow him to play for both Boston and for the Maine Red Claws in the 2020/2021 season.

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40 Maria Sharapova

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  • Height: 6 feet, 2 inches
  • Weight: 130

Although Maria Sharapova looks fairly average compared to some other massive athletes, she is one of the tallest women to ever play professional tennis. Born in Russia, Sharapova transformed herself into a household name through her impressive tennis career. She won 36 titles in total, including five Grand Slam titles. She also won a silver medal competing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Although she faced a two-year suspension from playing professional tennis, she returned to the sport in 2018. She had two more successful years before announcing her retirement in 2020.

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Jessica Bedewi

A book lover and avid watcher of all things reality TV, Jessica Bedewi uses her BA in Communications and Sociology to put her love of reading and writing to good use. She stays on top of the latest trends in entertainment and employs a critical approach to poke fun at the things she loves most. Her work can also be found on Screen Rant, Ranker, and TheTalko. When she's not writing, she can be found binge-watching Netflix, practicing her mad crochet skills, and reading thriller novels.

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