Some MMA debates are never ending, with one of those being who the sport’s hardest ever hitters are.
We at Fight Of The Night have put together 10 fighters who we believe have the heaviest hands and shins in MMA.
With arms that resemble tree trunks along with an enthusiastic desire to use them in the cage, its little surprise that Goodridge made FOTN’s list. One of the postermen of the early days of MMA, Big Daddy’s knockout of Paul Herrera – which consisted of EIGHT repeated elbows to the head – in 1996 is still remembered as one the sport’s most brutal finishes.
His KO’s of Oleg Taktarov and Amir Rahnavardi in Pride further cemented his status as MMA’s most violent punchers at that time. While his career had been over for some years, it’s unlikely that Goodridge’s punching prowess will be forgotten by MMA fans anytime soon.
Another nobrainer to this list, Igor Vovchanchyn’s MMA career may be long over, but his stellar career and knockout power are remembered by many of the sport’s fans. The Ukrainian enjoyed a long career with Pride, the organisation where many of his brutal beatdowns occurred.
Few could forget his one-punch KO of Francisco Bueno in the Main Event of Pride Event, as well as two finishes over the aforementioned Gary Goodridge in Pride 4 and the Pride 2000 Grand Prix Semi Final. As if that’s not enough, his violent dominations of Daiiro Matsui and Enson Inoue were truly devastating and at times painful to watch.
It is unlikely that Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson will ever fight for the UFC Heavyweight title. However, it is likely that Nelson will remain a UFC staple for some time to come if he continues his hard-hitting ways.
Nelson made his UFC debut with a bang when he KO’ed Brendan Schaub to win the Ultimate Fighter 12. He then made it two UFC wins in a row when he finished Stefan Struve in just 39 seconds. While Big Country has achieved mixed results since then, his first-round finishes over Dave Herman, Matt Mitrione, Cheick Kongo and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira have made him a favourite among fans.
His lack of an elite ground game has hindered him from becoming a top-ten MMA fighter, but the man known as No Mercy is certainly elite when it comes to his stand-up. A whopping 25 of Manhoef’s win come by either TKO or KO, and what’s more unbelievable is some of the names featured on his KO list.
Mark Hunt – who was famous for his iron chin – was finished by Manhoef in just 18 seconds back in 2008. He is also the only fighter to finish Kazuo Misaki by TKO, having done so back in 2009.
Manhoef also holds the distinction of being the only fighter to finish Evangelista Santos twice.
Lombard may have started off as a judoka, but he has since become known as a well-rounded MMA fighter with some of the scariest knockout power in the sport today. The Cuban began making major waves in Bellator, where six of his eight victories came by knockout, including a six second win against Jay Silva.
He has continued has hard hitting ways in the UFC, with a first round TKO victory over Rousimar Palhares in Australia before dropping down to Welterweight and knocking out former Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nate Marquardt in the first round.
His MMA past has consisted of missing weight for numerous fights as well as a UFC-career ending indiscretion immediately following his fight with Josh Koscheck.
It is unfortunate that Daley has remained known for those controversies rather than for being one of the most ruthless knockout artists the welterweight division has ever seen.
His one-punch finish of Scott Smith in Strikeforce was something of beauty and his TKO/KO finishes of Martin Kampmann, Duane Ludwig, Yuya Shirai and John Alessio show just how crisp and how hard Semtex’s punches really are.
‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler has had a distinguished MMA career that has lasted for thirteen years and counting, and he has lived up to his nickname the entire time. His heavy hands were first shown on a grand scale back in 2002 after back to back TKO/KO victories in the UFC.
Since then, a who’s who of MMA fighters have fallen victim to Lawler’s knockout power, including Frank Trigg, Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua, Scott Smith, Melvin Manhoef and Matt Lindland.
He made his return to the UFC last year with a stunning first round knockout of Josh Koscheck, which was followed by a Knockout of the Night performance against Bobby Voelker.
Few fighters in MMA are as synonymous with and famous for their knockout power as much Dan Henderson. His powerful left hook, colloquially known as the ‘H Bomb’, has rendered a number of fighters unconscious.
Among those was Michael Bisping, whose KO at the hands of Henderson (named by many publications as the 2009 Knockout of the Year) has been a highlight reel favourite ever since.
Hendo is also one of just two fighters to finish Fedor Emelianenko by TKO. Other well-known fighters who have been overwhelmed by Hendo’s heavy hands include Shogun Rua, Babalu Sobral, Wanderlei Silva and Renzo Gracie.
Pride-era Mirko Cro Cop
His last years in MMA may have been ordinary, but before that Mirko ‘Cro-Cop’ Filipovic was among the most feared strikers and fighters in the sport. Cro-Cop’s kicks remain known as some of the most ferocious ever seen in MMA competition, and he finished fights with them on various occasions.
Most of his long-list of KO finishes took place in Pride, where he finished Kazushi Sakuraba, Igor Vovchanchyn, Heath Herring, Josh Barnett (twice), Mark Coleman, Alexander Emelianenko and Wanderlei Silva, amongst others.
Liddell became one of the faces of MMA as the sport experienced a meteoric rise in popularity in the mid-2000s. His knockout power, along with his distinctive mohawk, made him hugely popular with fans worldwide.
The Iceman’s hard hands started gaining notoriety after his come-from-behind KO of Guy Mezger at Pride 14.
He then went on an amazing seven-fight win streak (during which he won and defended the UFC Light Heavyweight belt), all of which were by TKO/KO and included fighters like Babalu Sobral, Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz, all of whom were in their primes during Liddell’s hot streak.