This paper presents the results of the nonlinear system modelling approach based on the use of fuzzy rules optimized by different population based optimization algorithms. Fuzzy rule based models with different number of the rules are used to describe the some nonlinear systems in the literature. Firstly, parameters of the fuzzy models are determined by the artificial bee colony (ABC) algorithm. To demonstrate the efficiency of the ABC algorithm, its modelling ability is compared with the other two powerful population based algorithms, particle swarm optimization (PSO) and differential evolution algorithm (DEA). Simulation results show that a successful model performance with good description ability in the modelling of nonlinear or complex systems can be obtained by using one of the population based algorithms in design of the fuzzy rule based models.