Top 10 Kickboxers In UFC
The 10 Best Kickboxers in the UFC
In MMA, it is essential to be well rounded in every aspect of fighting, and it sounds pretty obvious. Sometimes, the most successful fighters at one thing are so good because they threaten fighters in other areas. For example, Georges St. Pierre somewhat outstruck most of his opponents on his feet purely because they were constantly worried about his wrestling.
Kickboxing is one of the most important elements of MMA as the kicks can target any part of the body, creating opportunities to attack opponents. Using knees can also ward off wrestlers, as men like Jose Aldo knock out people diving in on him with counter knee strikes.
While many MMA fighters are nowhere near the level of the strikers you can find in K-1 or Glory, the evolution of kickboxing is increasing at a rapid speed within MMA. Recently retired Pat Barry has signed a new contract at Glory, although he is coming off back-to-back knockout losses from Shawn Jordan and Soa Palelei.
Every fight starts on the feet, so having the advantage in that area is always going to give you a chance in the fight. Most of the champions in the UFC are incredible kickboxers, from Renan Barao's ferocious tenacity to Jon Jones' more measured style of striking.
But how can you measure who the best kickboxers are? It comes down to four main factors that combine to make a successful fighter: success of striking, finishing power, technique and intimidation.
John Makdessi – Makdessi is coming off a horrible decision loss against Patrick Alan where the 'Bull' was completely robbed by the judges. I believe that he is really the wrong moniker for Makdessi as he plays the matador in his fights. His spinning back fist knockout was fantastic in his UFC debut, and his defensive ability, distance and timing are all very high level. Sporting a perfect 22-0 kickboxing record, Makdessi kicks off the list.
Tarec Saffiedine – For me, the jury is still out on Saffiedine. He obviously has very technically clean striking, and his low kicks are a fantastic tool used to break down his opponents. His lack of finishes is what stops me putting him in the top-10.
10. Donald Cerrone
No stranger to the fans, Donald Cerrone is one of the most entertaining fighters in the world. His muay thai is ruthless as he constantly chains combinations of lead and power kicks to bemuse his opponent, but Cerrone's inability to adapt puts him lower than he could be.
9. Anthony Njokuani
One of the most dangerous lightweights in the world and heavily unrecognized, Anthony Njokuani gave Edson Barboza one of his toughest fights to date. He also used his range and speed to beat Makdessi. 'The Assassin' has really only lost to wrestlers as well as one crazy knockout loss to Maciej Jewtuszko. There is a reason no one wants to stand with Njokuani, and you just have to watch his fight against Andre Winner to see why.
8. Edson Barboza
The lighter weight classes are invading this list. Edson Barboza is one of the most exciting prospects in the sport, with some of the flashiest Muay Thai striking we've seen. He holds a Knockout of the Year finish with his spinning wheel kick victory over Terry Etim, and is also improving rapidly with his wrestling. The only thing that stops him being higher is his habit of circling away with his hands down, where he gets tagged with the same right hook in every fight.
7. Demetrious Johnson
Demetrious Johnson has been on a mission since dropping to the flyweight division, starting from being a solid all-round guy to excelling in absolutely every area. In his last fight, he became the first man to ever knock out Joseph Benavidez, and that makes two stoppage wins in a row for Mighty Mouse. His kickboxing is technically perfect, and he just needs to avoid getting dropped by strong fighters to climb higher in these ranks.
6. Cub Swanson
A man often overlooked in the UFC and unfairly so, I don't remember the last time I've seen Cub Swanson in trouble on the feet, and his unorthodox attack is so successful that it's led him on a title run. His last knockout over Dennis Siver was some of the most beautiful display of striking I've seen in the UFC.
5. Gegard Mousasi
Gegard Mousasi is matched with tricky striker Lyoto Machida, which has the potential to be the Fight of the Night or the 'Snoozer' of the Night. Mousasi has ventured into boxing, kickboxing and grappling, seemingly succeeding in everything he tries. While Mousasi tends to struggle with lesser opponents when he shouldn't, his striking is so technically sound and precise that he often finishes his fights.
4. Carlos Condit
Carlos Condit is the most dangerous striker at welterweight, and each one of his limbs has knockout power. His flying knee to Dong-Hyun Kim, one-punch knockout of Dan Hardy and body shots on Martin Kampmann show he is the greatest striker in the 170-pound weight-class. Condit's ability to attack from anywhere gives him a real chance of becoming the welterweight champion.
3. Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva, the greatest fighter of all time, has achieved his accolades through his incredible striking. He is to MMA as Roy Jones Jr. was to boxing; at his peak, was the most dynamic fighter to ever grace the Octagon. Every opponent he faced in the UFC eventually had to succumb to his striking prowess, and he is still one of the very best strikers to this day.
2. Anthony Pettis
The new lightweight champion and Duke Rufus prospect has become one of the best fighters in the world today. Anthony Pettis effortlessly destroyed his rival and former UFC champion Benson Henderson with two painful body kicks. Pettis is the only fighter in the UFC that kicks off the cage, off of handstands and off the ground. He is a spectacular striker to watch and is rarely matched by the opponent in the cage.
1. Jose Aldo
Jose Aldo has possibly the best boxing in the UFC, as well as the best head and body movement. His kicks are in infamous throughout the MMA world, and it's rumoured that he has Urijah Faber's real leg in a frame at home. Jokes aside, Aldo is the best striker in the world at the moment, and no one stands a chance with him in the first three rounds of a fight. A matchup with Pettis would be entertaining, but I see Aldo coming out on top due to his fantastic defense.