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FiveOuncesofPain’s Fifty Most Electrifying Athletes Of Mixed Martial Arts

Ben HendersonWho are the absolute most exciting fighters currently competing in the sport of mixed martial arts? is here to answer that question, as we have pain stakingly reviewed the careers of hundreds upon hundreds of the game’s top athletes in an effort to help establish the most complete inventory of the most electrifying performers in MMA.

Among the most contributing factors in the decision making process involved in compiling this extensively researched list were (in order):

A) Consistency. More than two or three boring fights in a career will make it hard for any fighter to make this list. Loud jeers during previous bouts due to lack of activity are big no-no’s. 

B) Recent activity. The last year is the most relevant, with the year prior to that being second, and so on, and so forth. If you had a terrible fight in 2004 but you’ve been bringing it ever since, I’m not going to hold it against you.

C) Finality. Decisions can be exciting for sure, but more often than not there’s nothing more exciting than decisive finality. Taking your fate out of the judges hands consistently is what the fans like to see, and will be rewarded here.

D) Competition. If you’ve been doing nothing but highlight reeling guys all over your hometown in North Dakota somewhere, ant the North Dakota Fighting Alliance shows, there’s a good chance a lot of people haven’t heard of you yet, so you’re not making this list, sorry.

So come along as we kick it 0ff from #50 and work our way down the ranks ten fighters at a time beginning today, and wrapping up with the top ten and complete list that will be published on Friday.

41. Anderson Silva: What Silva lacks in consistency, he makes up two-fold with astonishing Ong-Bak, Matrix-esque finishes. Silva would be much higher on this list if it wasn’t for his very recent lackluster bouts against Thales Leites and Patrick Cote. However, the recent first round demolition of Forrest Griffin and a history of leaving the crowed shaking their heads in disbelief make “The Spider” one of the most closely watched fighters in the sport.

42. Benji Radach: Radach has made a name for himself in the sport as one of it’s most exciting competitors with his tenacious fighting spirit and ability to separate his opponents from consciousness. Benji’s throwdowns with Scott Smith and Murilo “Ninja” Rua will forever have a place among the most brutal battles waged in the history of the game.

43. Jon Jones: An unblemished record and an unorthodox striking style that includes spinning elbows, kicks, backfists, and only Jones knows what else, “Bones” has quickly become one of the premier showman to keep an eye on in the sport. Jones has acquired a massive fanbase in no time since making his Octagon debut, with impressive performances against the likes of Andre Gusmao, Stephan Bonnar and Jake O’Brien.

44. Brian Bowles: With a base in wrestling and 5 submissions in his 8 victories, Bowles has established himself as one of the few 135 pound fighters that can end a fight with a single punch. Fighters like Bowles and Miguel Torres have single handedly created an interest in a division there was little attention focused on in prior years. With 8 finishes in 8 bouts, Bowles has yet to meet a man that could push him to the scorecards.

45. Demian Maia: With every single one of his UFC victories coming by way of submission, Maia is one of the rare ground technicians with a rock steady ability to get the job done time and time again. During his career inside of the Octagon Demian has taken part in hard fought scraps with Ed Herman and Jason MacDonald, while notching dominant first round submissions over the likes of Ryan Jensen, Nate Quarry and Chael Sonnen.

46. Lyle Beerbohm: If Lyle Beerbohm dies without ever having to go the judges scorecards again, he will die a happy man. Having never been a big fan of easing into things, Beerbohm is notorious for getting right to work from the jump, and never leaving a fan in attendance disappointed. In 13 bouts as a professional, Lyle has been forced to the judges just once; In ten bouts as an amateur, Beerbohm gave the judges the night off every time out. A relentless pace, strong wrestling base, punishing stand up, slick submissions and terrifying ground and pound make “Fancy Pants” a serious problem for any lightweight that makes the fateful decision to “man up”.

47. Benson Henderson: Fighting out of the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona, Henderson has come out of nowhere to establish himself as one of the top lightweights on the planet over the last year. Benson has a history of leaving it all in the cage with every single performance. Only twice in Henderson’s 11 professional bouts has he made it to the final bell, and his knockdown, drag-out war with Donald Cerrone was among the best fights of 2009.

48. Leonard Garcia: The “Bad Boy” made a name for himself as a submission artist out of the gate, notching seven wins by tapout in his first eight victories, but you’d never know it now as Leonard has completely reinvented himself as a bomb dropping knockout technician, finishing Hiroyuki Takaya and Jens Pulver with strikes in recent bouts. Garcia’s grueling war with Roger Huerta at UFC 69 was easily one of the best fights of 2007.

49. Martin Kampmann: “The Hitman” is a problem no matter where the fight ends up. Straight out of Denmark, Kampmann has the ability to end any fight standing or on the ground. Only 2 of Martin’s 18 bouts have gone to the judges. His battles against Drew McFedries and Carlos Condit were among some of the best bouts in recent UFC memory.

50. Rory Markham: In 21 professional scraps, Markham has yet to allow a single judge to to their job. Out of 16 wins, Rory has finished 11 of them by either KO or TKO, with the remaining 5 ending by way of submission. In his 5 defeats, Markham has either been KO’d ot TKO’d in every single one of them. Some of the men that have faced the wrath of Rory include Jason Guida, Mike Pyle, Brad Blackburn, Pat Healy and Brodie Farber.

  • s13 says:

    Seeing Anderson at 41 makes me really anxious to see the rest of the list. Good job!!

  • BigDave says:

    I love that Silva isnt even in the top 25 that made my day.

    Im curious to see where you put GSP, zaromskis, Belfort, and Brock.

    there are a few i’m forgetting but they will all be ahead of the spider, LMFAO

  • BigDave says:

    Oh and how dare I forget the next HW champ of ufc Cain Velasquez.

  • edub says:

    Fail man. Anderson at 41 when he has an 80% finishing percentage in the UFC just wow.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Keith Hackney will have to be on this list somewhere.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    that what i was thinking dub.
    cant wait to see Brock in the top 10 with only 5 fights and 2 finishes

  • edub says:

    Ok im sorry about the fail comment, but 41 really??

    Cory i respect the hell outta you man so ill reserve judgement til i see the other 40, but CMONN!!
    41!!! Im having a tough time thinking of 5 or ten who are more exciting.

  • CMT says:

    I would much rather see Tony Jaa fight in Ong-Bak than to see Siva fight.

  • CMT says:

    Sorry, Silva

  • I really feel that Silva at #41 reeks of MMA’s rampant case of “What-Have-You-Done-For-Me-Lately Syndrome.” When you have HL reel KOs of Leben, Franklin (x2) Irvin, Marquardt and Griffin along with subs over Lutter and Henderson, being ranked the 41st most electrifying MMAthlete seems crazy.

    On a completely urelated point… aesthetically speaking, I feel the list would flow better if it counted down from 50-41, 40-31, etc. as opposed to having one scroll down to 50 and scroll back up to get to the top.

  • CMT says:

    Although Sergio, Tony Jaa had 4 minutes of HL reel KO’s on thugs in Ong-Bak II.

  • Makington says:

    I really hope Jim Miller will be on here, but I don’t think he will put him up. Granted I would have put Silva higher than 41, but atleast Cory gave legit reasoning and thought, which he explained. That’s better than 90% of people who seem to hate him just because.

    Interesting idea for the topic btw, you don’t see many cool pieces like this lately.

  • Niv says:

    Hey Corey as a relative newcomer to five ounces of pain I’d like to let you know it’s your articles I love to read above and beyond anyone else’s here. Personally when I read what you say, it’s almost creepy as it’s almost exactly what I think.

    I have to say though that seeing Anderson Silva at 41 really raised my eyebrows a bit, so I’m very intrigued to see the rest of this list. I think if we judge the Spider by his body of work from Vale Tudo, Meca, Pride, King of the Cage and UFC I’m not really sure how he can sit so low on your list.

    I look forward to reading the rest of this list, but I’m going to beg you, please don’t put Brock Lesnar on it, there’s no way he can rank above Silva in excitement. There’s absolutely nothing that I’ve seen in Lesnar’s fights that can warrant him a place above Silva.

  • Makington says:

    He’ll be there Niv, it’s just the hype he brings. He may not be an exciting fighter, and I’ve been one of his most critical skeptics, but he does bring excitement, and no one can deny that.

  • Vogairian says:

    Love the idea of the article, but Silva being at #41 is crazy. Dude makes people look rediculous in the cage and more often than not decimates whoever he is facing.

  • Niv says:

    Makington says:
    November 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm (Quote)

    “He’ll be there Niv, it’s just the hype he brings. He may not be an exciting fighter, and I’ve been one of his most critical skeptics, but he does bring excitement, and no one can deny that.”

    I know he’ll be on the list that’s what bugs me. You’re right he does bring excitement, but he’s not an exciting fighter at all. He’s very one dimensional and this article is about mma’s most exciting fighters.

    I fear Corey is about to give me my first disappointment here.

  • Cory Brady says:


    Ok im sorry about the fail comment, but 41 really??

    Cory i respect the hell outta you man so ill reserve judgement til i see the other 40, but CMONN!!
    41!!! Im having a tough time thinking of 5 or ten who are more exciting.

    Apology accepted on the epic fail comment, lol.

    As far as Silva’s #41 ranking goes; yeah, really. The absolute most decisive factor into ranking these guys was that they couldn’t have any really bad stinkers in recent memory. I was trying to think of fighters that, every single time they show up, you JUST KNOW it’s going to be exciiting. That can’t be said for Anderson anymore. Even he has been extremely outspoken about not caring about how exciting he ends up being viewed as by the fans following tactical victories over Cote and Leites. I mean the Leites fight was one of the longest and hardest to watch fights in all of 2009. I could understand if the fight took place three or four years ago, but it was just before Silva’s recent demolition over Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 that many were screaming for his blood for NOT being exciting. Like I said before, had it not been for those two consecutive…. boring fights over the last year, Anderson would be much higher on this list. Consistency is the key here.

    But I truly thank all of you for your feedback, even if it hasn’t persuaded me, I can at least admit that it forced me to think even longer and harder about my choice on this one.

  • edub says:

    Understandable Cory.

    I still disagree but thanks for the explanation.

  • Rich S. says:

    Wow.. you gotta wonder who’s on this list if guys like Bones, Garcia, and Spider didn’t even make it past 40..

  • submit662266 says:

    I’ll concede that A. Silva doesn’t deserve to be ranked very high. But 41??!! C’mon man!! The Leites and Cote fights SUCKED!! No doubt. But his full throttle destruction of Leben, Franklin (twice), Luter (I thought that one was awesome), Irvin, Griffin, Marquart is unparalleled. All of those fights were A guy hits a couple slow spots and you throw him under the bus. . . ridiculous.

    Not only is he “electrifying” but he has been viscious and scary against the best fighters of his division. He deserves to be top 25. If it weren’t for the 2 eggs he laid against Leites and Cote, he’d be top 5 easily.

  • twyg says:

    Yeah the 41 spot is well horrible. Is the Anderson resonsible for Leites backing away and laying on his back the whole time? And Cote sure it was boring but again Silva can not control what other people do in the cage. If someone is not willing to engage should he risk a loss by stepping out of his game plan just to be exciting? It takes two to dance my friend. The guy is a HOFer with highlight reel wins over is whole division for god sake, what more do you want?

  • WarCry says:

    What a Pot Stirrer!! Nothing like a little sprinkle of controversy to bring out the banter. Anderson is one of the Top five fighters in all of Mixed Martial Arts. You can throw all the accolades on to that excitement, finishing technique, and style. I don’t believe your explanation nor your criteria. I suspect that as this list is compiled your criteria is gonna become a problem .

  • 27jride says:


  • hindsightufuk says:

    2 lack lustre perfomances no way rank Silva alongside Radich & Jon Jones
    i’m not Andersons biggest fan but no way can you rank him that low, madness!!
    do 2 shit fights cancel out the previous 10?

    great article tho

  • moosebaby02 says:

    i guess it dose hind.
    like i said yesterday CANT wait where cory puts Brock on this list.
    Sorry Cory this one i have to give you a tumbs down on the 41 spot.
    other than that this is a great topic.

    Brock better not be in the top 20 for F sakes

  • Cory Brady says:

    Are the guys that are ranked higher than Anderson better fighters than him? NO. Are they as popular as him? No. But this list wasn’t designed to be the top 50 fighters in the sport, or even the top 50 most popular fighters. You may end up seeing some people on here you flat out consider to be bad fighters, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re exciting to watch every single time. It’s the 50 people that without a doubt will put on an exciting show every single time. Silva gets his respect on our pound for pound and middleweight rankings, and truth be told, he’s long been one of my fighters to watch. Regardless of how great he is, or how much I like him, I won’t let those things erase two boring performances in the last year, regardless of who’s fault they were. As far as the “two” bad performances go; My main point was that those particular bad performances were over the last year alone. I’m not tring to drag skeletons out of the closet, but any longtime fan of Anderson would have to admit that his bouts with Aleksander Otsuka, Jeremy Horn and Lee Murray weren’t very exciting either. Either way, I respect all of your criticism, but thats all I have to say about Silva and his infamous 41 spot. Next ten coming up shortly. Thanks for reading guys!


  • hindsightufuk says:

    least we get to see your opinion, thats what counts.
    now hurry up with the next 10 so we can ridicule you some more!!


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