Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), is one of the fastest rising sports there is. Originating from Vale Tudo, with origins that can be traced back to as late as the early 1900s, this combat sport makes use of several martial arts including Boxing, Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo and Karate. With several combat sports taken into consideration, things can go from a graceful display of technique to a brutal and savage beat down within a matter of seconds.
In November of 1993, MMA saw the light of day with UFC 1 being broadcast on live television. It was a really brutal show. Back then, no one knew what was going to happen. Let’s face it, everyone was used to seeing boxers go against boxers and wrestlers against wrestlers back then. So when the stage was set, everyone was curious of the outcome when fighters from different disciplines go head to head; or fist to head, and shin to head, or whatever their martial art dictates.
The first match was between Savate practitioner Gerard Gordeau and Sumo wrestler, Teila Tuli. The more scrawny looking Gordeau looks like he’s about to be squashed by Tuli. But this is MMA. Less than a minute into the fight, Gordeau took the win via TKO from head kicks to Tuli. If you watch closely, Tuli’s tooth can be seen flying out of the cage.
But that was years ago. MMA is a lot less brutal now and it’s no longer a free-for-all, no holds barred cage fight. But its evolution doesn’t mean that the fighters themselves have toned down on the violence. Every once in a while, fight fans get to see some vicious fighters out there. Here are the 10 most vicious MMA fighters in the world:
10. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
The current UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion has been on UFC’s roster for a short time, but her few fights in MMA’s most popular promotion is a highlight of her vicious style. “Black Magic” is a well-decorated Kick Boxer and Muay Thai fighter and her stand up prowess is always on display in the cage. Just watch her match with Jessica Penne and Carla Esparza to see how much damage Jedrzejczyk can do with her elite striking. The Polish product is currently set to coach the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter against rival Claudia Gadelha.
9. Fedor Emelianenko
Unless it’s a list of terrible MMA fighters, expect to see Fedor Emelianenko on any MMA list. “The Last Emperor” has been dubbed as the greatest of all time several times, but with an impressive record of 35 wins and 4 losses, he’s still a contender. Although he’s never been in the UFC, Emelianenko’s fights are really a sight for fight fans. His strikes are obviously heavy, and his ground game is spectacular as well. With a background in Sambo, Emelianenko can roughen up his opponents regardless of what position he’s in. Fedor recently came out of retirement to fight in Japan on New Year’s Eve.
8. Shinya Aoki
This is MMA, so if you’re expecting that every fighter featured on this list is a striker, then Shinya Aoki will surely prove you wrong. A grappling expert with a whopping 25 wins via submission, Aoki’s highlights are filled with some brutal submissions. He’s been on the end of controversy as well, since many analysts critique Aoki’s style as being reckless and purposely hurting other fighters to prove a point.
His moniker, “Tobikan Judan,” roughly translates as “The Grand Master of Flying Submissions,” and what he does in matches is proof that the nickname suits him well. His arsenal isn’t limited to armbars and triangle chokes, as he also won matches with one of the rarest MMA submissions, the Twister.
7. Ronda Rousey
Perhaps the most popular female MMA fighter there is, Ronda Rousey has proven time and time again that she is dangerous in both stand-up and ground battles. Rousey holds and impressive record of 12 win and 1 loss. Her first loss is courtesy of Holly Holm via KO.
Rousey has never gone to a decision. Her wins go by submission or KO, so there’s no complaining that she’s on this list. Rousey is currently on hiatus from MMA, but you should expect to hear a fight announcement regarding the former champion sometime in the near future.
6. Robbie Lawler
“Ruthless” is probably the hardest hitter in the UFC’s Welterweight division. His moniker suits him very well, as Lawler seemingly pummels his opponents in the stand up department. The sheer power in his hands came on full display during his match against Rory MacDonald. Their brutal back and forth battle bagged the Fight of the Night Award and both fighters were visibly damaged, but MacDonald was the one that took the heavier beating in their colossal championship bout.
It’s obvious that Lawler prefers a stand up battle, and with power like that, who wouldn’t? With a good takedown defense to back up his striking, fight fans can expect a brutal fight when Lawler steps into the octagon.
5. Rousimar Palhares
Yet another grappler in the world of MMA, Rousimar Palhares has been dubbed as the “Master of Leg Locks.” Ask several fighters and they’ll tell you that a leg lock is one of the most painful submissions there is. The fact that Palhares can pull it off with ease makes him a very vicious fighter, not to mention holding the submission way after the tap.
Like Aoki, Palhares has been on the end of controversy as well. UFC fighter Joe Lauzon makes a very detailed analysis of how long Palhares’ holds a submission after his opponents tap, and a few seconds does make a difference for a fighter in a painful lock.
4. Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor has proven time and time again that his striking is both unique and vicious. There’s no denying that “Mystic Mac” is one of the most popular fighters in the history of the sport, but with a very entertaining style and attitude, there’s no wondering why fans love the Irish man.
With six out of seven of his UFC fights won via KO/TKO in either the first or second round, fans can expect to see someone bloodied whenever McGregor steps in the cage. His most famous win is obviously his KO of then Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo in the early seconds of round 1. Sadly, McGregor recently lost to Nate Diaz in a Welterweight bout, ending his seven-fight winning streak. Even then, Diaz was obviously damaged from McGregor’s striking.
3. Dan Henderson
This MMA veteran is a well-rounded fighter, but his most notable weapon is his trademark H–Bomb. Basically just an overhand right, the H-Bomb is Dan Henderson’s go to move. The sheer power of this H-Bomb is at full display on his 2nd round KO of Michael Bisping back at UFC 100. Even if the H-Bomb doesn’t fully hit, Henderson follows it up a takedown then a flurry of strikes. Henderson still competes for the UFC in his mid-forties, yet you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank, considering it’s either kill or be killed for the former PRIDE champion.
2. Wanderlei Silva
With a nickname like “The Axe Murderer,” you can already tell the Wanderlei Silva is a ferocious fighter. He has a good run with the UFC, but if you want to see the Axe Murderer at his finest, watch his Pride FC highlights. Pride FC has lesser restrictions than the UFC and if you allow Wanderlei to do soccer kicks, expect a violent match. But if you want to see the Axe Murderer at full display, watch his knee barrage to Rampage Jackson, which left the latter bloodied in both of their fights. Silva just signed for Spike TV’s Bellator, and he’s expected to make his debut sometime this year.
1. Charles Bennett
“Krazy Horse” … It’s an odd nickname for a fighter, but seeing how he acts inside and outside of the cage (or ring), you wouldn’t be surprised. Now known as “Kid Khaos,” Charles Bennett, despite having a short stature, has really heavy hands. His 17 wins via KO/TKO is proof of his ferocity.
Aside from his “Krazy” antics outside the cage, Bennett is even crazier during fights. His arsenal mostly involves punches, but several fighters have been slammed by him. Heck, Bennett even slammed his opponent in the cage at one point. Check the 1:27 mark of the highlight reel to see what I mean.