MMATraining.com wanted to know which top MMA fighters have never had the misfortune of being knocked out in a professional MMA fight. You may be surprised to read about who made our list, and maybe even more surprised to see who didn’t! After some input from our staff on what our initial starting points should be, a ton of research and enough coffee to keep the Ultimate Fighter contestants awake for four days, here is what we found:
Anderson “The Spider” Silva
In 25 fights as a professional Mixed Martial Arts artist, Anderson Silva has never been knocked out. The Brazilian Muay Thai expert has lost only 4 times in his career, and never been stopped by strikes. Silva began his reign of terror over the UFC’s middleweight division in June of 2006 and has since never been defeated inside the Octagon. Regarded by most as the world’s best pound for pound fighter, “The Spider” was voted the 3rd Toughest athlete in Sports by Sports Illustrated in 2008. Only the PGA’s Tiger Woods and Sled dog racer Lance Mackey placed ahead of him.
Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira (Big Nog)
Noted as having quite possibly the best chin in all of MMA, Big Nog, is one of the toughest Heavyweights to ever put on a pair of 4 ounce gloves. He has taken a pounding from the all time Heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko on three different occasions and survived to hear the judge’s decision twice. (One encounter was stopped due to accidental cut).
Prior to his meetings with Fedor, Nogueira battled Bob Sapp during Pride Shockwave in 2002. If Nogueria’s chin was ever a question mark, all was answered on August 22, 2002. 365 lbs muscle-bound Sapp picked Nog up and slammed him onto his head, leaving onlookers wondering if he would even get up. Nogueira’s submission of Sapp just minutes later will live on in MMA infamy forever.
During Fedor’s dominance over Prides Heavyweight division from 2002 to 2006 he was one thing: Unstoppable. At 27-1-1, the native of Russia has beaten Mirko Cro Cop and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira twice, and has not lost in his last 25 fights. In one of his most defining moments, facing Kazuyuki Fujita at Pride 26, Fedor was hit with a barrage of punches and he appeared seconds away from being KO’d. He was able to hold onto his opponent long enough to regroup and submit the Japanese Heavyweight at the 4 minute mark of the 1st round.
Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi
Takanori Gomi, the Japanese lightweight sensation currently carries a professional MMA record of 28-3. With only 2 submission losses and one lose from the judge’s decision on his resume; the “Fireball Kid” has never been KO’d. One would think Gomi’s willingness to stand and trade punches with some of the top lightweights would have lead to at least one KO, but no one yet has been able to. In what was likely his toughest test to date, Gomi was to face an extremely gifted BJ Penn, in Penn’s home state of Hawaii. The October 2003 battle would not go Gomi’s way. Gomi suffered one of his three losses, with Penn getting the better of him via rear naked choke in the 3rd frame. Penn peppered Gomi’s chin throughout the fight but was unable to put him down.
Tim “the Maine-iac” Sylvia
The 6’8 Sylvia is not the most popular fighter with fans. However, he has a heck of a chin. After entering the UFC in 2002, Sylvia was known as a very aggressive striker who’s first 6 wins in the Octagon all ended before the final bell. The behemoth of a man has been criticized in recent years for using his long reach to jab his smaller opponents to boring decision victories. However, a closer look at Tim’s record reveals he has fought some very tough competition and never been put down. Randy Couture, Minotauro Nogueira and Brandon Vera all flank the Maine-iac’s fight resume.
When heavy hitting KO artist Andrei Arlovski hammered Tim in their 2006 title rematch it looked like Big Tim was done. But he was able to regain his composure seconds later, and threw a right hand that ended Arlovski’s night for good, sending him to the canvas in a heap.
Notably Absent from the List
When the subject first came up about doing an article on the top guys in MMA who’d never been knocked out, we heard a lot of names being thrown around for it. But, three of the names we heard most often had indeed been knocked out, no matter how much our friends insisted they hadn’t been (gasp – we know).
Below, we give you the 3 most notable names ABSENT from our list:
Randy “The Natural” Couture
After moving down from Heavyweight to Light Heavyweight in June of 2003, the legendary “Captain America” appeared to be unbeatable, stopping Chuck Liddell and embarrassing Tito Ortiz in the process. His streak would end however, when he faced Liddell once again in April of 2005. Couture met the fate of many Liddell opponents before him, suffering a 1st round KO mid way through the round. Couture was once again KO’d by Liddell in February 2006, which put a conclusive end on their trilogy and causing Randy to enter into semi-retirement. The Dudeliest Dude of the Year for 2007 re-entered the world of martial arts shortly thereafter, only to retire again due to feeling unappreciated and underpaid.
George “Rush” St. Pierre
The young French Canadian had run through almost everyone in the deep UFC welterweight pool. He had dominated the likes of Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Frank Trigg and Sean Sherk, before dominating his rematch with Matt Hughes at UFC 65 in Sacramento (before which he uttered the often repeated “I am not impressed by your performance” to Matt Hughes). He was the UFC champion and was untouchable. No one told Matt Serra this. Winner of the 4th installment of The Ultimate Fighter, Serra shocked the MMA world by knocking GSP out in the first round at Houston’s Toyota Center in April 2007 (he later avenged that loss during UFC 83, which sold more UFC tickets than any other prior UFC event). St. Pierre later said he tapped due to strikes, but referee “Big” John McCarthy was seconds from stopping it and was scored as a 1st round TKO.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
The reigning UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Rampage is now atop the MMA 205 lbs food chain. But in October 2003, during Pride 28 “High Octane” he was not as fortunate. Rampage ran up against then Pride champion Wanderlei Silva, who had not been defeated in his last 14 fights. Jackson was beaten soundly, with Silva using his Muay Thai clinch to deliver one devastating knee after the other, leaving Quinton bloodied, and hanging from the ropes unconscious. Just 6 months later, Rampage suffered yet another KO loss, this time to Silva’s teammate and fellow Chute Boxe fighter Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Jackson will likely have the chance to avenge those losses, as all three are currently employed under the Zuffa umbrella.
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