Everyone loves the knockout. Even those who may feel the sport of MMA is too violent for their liking. Admit it. There is nothing wrong with getting excited by a highlight reel KO. So let’s take a look at a possible top 6 list of the most powerful strikers in the UFC. Why 6? Because, as you will see, Chuck Liddell did not quite make the cut for top 5, but as a legendary striker he had to make this list and going beyond 6 seemed like too much work.
6. Chuck Liddell
UFC Record: 17-5, 10 KO’s/TKO’s (59% of wins in UFC)
One of the best strikers in the history of the sport, the Iceman has 10 stoppages to his credit including two knockout victories over 5-time UFC champ, Randy Couture and two TKO’s over former UFC champ, Tito Ortiz. Although he seems to have lost some quickness recently he still remains one of the most powerful strikers in the UFC. Watching his fights, you know that his opponent is always one haymaker away from lights out. And that is one reason why he remains one of the most popular fighters in the sport and continues to have a huge fan following. The haircut and head tattoo surely play a part as well. He just looks cool.
5. Wanderlei Silva
UFC Record: 2-4, 2 KO’s/TKO’s (100% of wins in UFC)
With a name like “The Axe Murderer”, you have to expect to make this list. Wanderlei Silva has deadly Muay Thai knees and brutal head kicks in his repertoire. Those credentials combined with the intensity he brings into the ring and the ability to pounce on a hurt opponent earns him a spot on this list of the top power strikers. While his UFC record is a meager 2-4 (he only returned to the octagon in December 2007 after an almost 7 year absence from the UFC) his overall MMA record is an impressive 32-9-1. He is a gamer. Each time he steps into the octagon you know he’s going to give it his all and there is a high probability that you will see a knockout. Sporting some sick tattoos, like Liddell, he also just looks tough.
4. Mauricio Rua
UFC Record: 1-1, 1 TKO (100% of wins in UFC)
A relative newcomer to the UFC, “Shogun’s” overall MMA record is 17-3 with 14 of his 17 wins by way of KO or TKO (82%). That is why he belongs on this list. Known for his strength, aggressiveness and Muay Thai background, he is a dangerous fighter who, it says here, will continue to drop opponents in the UFC at his historical pace.
3. Quinton Jackson
UFC Record: 4-1, 3 KO’s/TKO’s (75% of wins in UFC)
“Rampage” has one of the most powerful right hands in the sport, as evidenced by his first round stoppages of two others on this list, Liddell and Wanderlei Silva. A wrestler by background, Jackson owns some of the craziest slams in the sport. Another testament to the strength and power he possesses. Putting the Forrest Griffin title bout behind us, Jackson is more often than not going to produce an exciting and entertaining match. And he howls like a dog. What’s not to like?
2. Rashad Evans
UFC Record: 8-0-1, 4 KO’s/TKO’s (50% of wins in UFC)
Going out on a limb, the undefeated light-heavyweight champ (also an undefeated 18-0-1 overall) gets the nod as the runner up on this list due to his recent performance. After starting his UFC career with three-straight decisions, 4 of his last 5 victories are by way of KO or TKO. Three of these of top-notch, highlight reel quality too – head kick to Sean Salmon, brutal one-punch KO of Liddell and, most recently, the relentless pounding of Forrest Griffin to win the belt. We all know Griffin can take a punch, but even he was shocked at the beating he took from “Sugar” Rashad at UFC 92. How does a Rashad Evans vs. Anderson Silva bout sound?
1. Anderson Silva
UFC Record: 8-0, 6 KO’s/TKO’s (75% of wins in UFC)
“The Spider” doesn’t look powerful, but the stats and the highlight reels don’t lie. The middleweight champ is undefeated in the UFC with all of his wins coming by way of KO, TKO or submission. He has only gone past the 2nd round once (that fight resulting in an unfortunate stoppage due to a knee injury sustained by Patrick Cote). This guy is a premier striker who has obliterated the UFC middleweight division and could very well continue to work his way through the light-heavyweight division as well. For these reasons, he deserves the top spot as the most powerful striker in the UFC.
UFC Record: 9-2, 6 KO’s/TKO’s (67% of wins in UFC)
Currently slated as the number one contender for a shot at Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title, “The Pitbull” has an impressive resume of striking ability and power. However, with TKO’s over Matt Hughes and Karo Parisyan as possible exceptions, he does not have any knockout victories over top-tier opponents. So for now he does not quite make the cut.
UFC Record: 3-1, 1 TKO
It’s too early for Lesnar to rank here, but we are talking about the most powerful punchers. Knocking former heavyweight champ, Frank Mir down with one punch (albeit before getting caught in a leg lock for a submission loss), sending Heath Herring flying into a backwards somersault with one punch and scoring a TKO title win over Randy Couture deserves mention. It’s no surprise that he hits hard – he is bigger than everyone else. Uglier too.
“Rampage” Jackson is headlining UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio along with Keith Jardine. They are joined by another big banger in Shane Carwin (10-0) who, with his 5X gloves – bigger paws than Lesnar – could make this list soon. Brandon Vera, with some impressive KO victories to his credit, is also on the card.
Then at UFC 97 in Montreal, we will see three of the fighters on this list in action. Anderson Silva will face Thales Leites for the middleweight title. As well, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell will square off against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a bout that is all but guaranteed to end with a knockout. This card is packed with powerful strikers – Cheick Kongo, David Loiseau and Sam Stout to name a few.
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