Five Most Powerful Fighters in the UFC

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Most Powerful UFC Fighters


The UFC and the world of MMA are no stranger to powerful men.

From the early days of lore when the likes of Dan Severn and Mark Coleman would impose their will on unsuspecting foes, the UFC has followed typical combat sports lineage in focusing on the biggest and the baddest. Wrestlers have been the vast majority of strong men in the UFC, as guys like Tito Ortiz and Kevin Randleman basically pummeled their way to UFC titles in the sport’s early history.

While MMA has evolved into a full-fledged sport where just power isn’t enough, our insatiable desire for strength is still evident in our viewing habits and in the UFC’s matchmaking. Former WWE star Brock Lesnar powered his way to a UFC heavyweight title right when the division experienced a renaissance, and the UFC’s debut on FOX featured a lone bout: a heavyweight title fight between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.

In honor of the rematch of two of the most powerful men in the sport squaring off in a rematch at UFC 155 to close out the UFC’s year in December, we’ve ranked the five most powerful fighters on the UFC roster. Although obviously heavyweights have an advantage in this category, just three of our five honorees make their home in the UFC’s heaviest division.

Fighters not make the list include former UFC champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Vitor Belfort, as well as middleweight pit bulls Hector Lombard and Rousimar Palhares, as well as the aforementioned Cain Velasquez. With names like that left on the outside, it’s obvious that spots on this list weren’t easy to come by.

Check out who made the cut, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @MMAMcKinney to discuss this and other MMA topics.

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5. Shane Carwin


Don’t be ashamed if you forgot that Shane Carwin was actually still a UFC fighter. Despite being a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 16, we still won’t see Carwin inside the Octagon before the end of 2012, as he was forced to pull out of a TUF 16 Finale bout against Roy Nelson with an injury.

At 6’2” and typically weighing in nearly the heavyweight limit of 265 pounds, Carwin is completely chiseled and is imposing to even look at. With a background as a former Division II national wrestling champion, Carwin also competed in football. In MMA, he has seven knockouts or TKOs and none of his first 12 fights (where he was 12-0) even went out of the first round. In fact, only his interim title fight against Frank Mir went past two minutes.

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4. Dan Henderson

Image via FUEL TV

If you want to know about Dan Henderson’s power, then just ask any MMA fan about the “H-bomb.” It’s a weapon of mass destruction…just ask Michael Bisping. Now on the downside of his career, the 42-year-old former Olympic wrestler is entering the “old man strength” stage of his life.

With 13 career knockouts, the future Hall of Famer may have one or two more left in him before he decides to call it quits.

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3. Alistair Overeem

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Just freaking look at the man.

Alistair Overeem is one of just two men on this list without wrestling as a base, as he’s a Dutch kickboxer, which may even be worse for opponents. At 6’5” and 265 pounds, Overeem hasn’t lost since 2007 and boasts 15 career knockouts. But if you really want to see why he’s on this list, check out his fight against Brock Lesnar. It’s not every day that the former UFC champion is made to look like a little kid.

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2. Georges St-Pierre

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Let’s just say that you don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of his double leg takedowns. Despite not having an amateur wrestling background, Georges St-Pierre is widely regarded as perhaps the best pound-for-pound wrestler in the sport.

He may still be a puzzling addition to this list because of his relatively low knockout rate (35%), but his complete destruction of all of the top welterweights in the UFC in recent history (read: B.J. Penn, Carlos Condit, Jon Fitch, etc) and his staggering consistency make him an easy choice.

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1. Junior Dos Santos


As the UFC heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos is not only the unofficial king of the world, but he’s also the most powerful fighter in the UFC almost by default. And even if he isn’t by default, then just look at his knockouts over guys like Cain Velasquez, Frank Mir, and Gilbert Yvel for proof as to why he’s a clear choice to top this list.

With 11 knockouts in 15 career wins, Dos Santos is perhaps the most powerful striker on the UFC roster and could also be one of the best pure boxers. He’s also finished seven of his nine UFC fights via punches, a staggering rate at the highest level in the sport.