FiveOuncesofPain.comis here to answer that question, as we have painstakingly 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 count them down from #50 and work our way down the ranks ten fighters at a time, wrapping up with the top ten and complete list that will be published on Friday.
21. Urijah Faber: A 5’6″ stick of dynamite, Faber is the living, breathing definition of relentless aggression. You almost need to down an energy drink just to keep up with watching “The California Kid” and the tireless pace he consistently brings to the cage. 22 wins, 18 finishes against some of the toughest little men on the face of the earth. That’s how Urijah rolls.
22. Kazushi Sakuraba: Hands down one of the most lethal ground fighters in the sport, Saku is perhaps the most beloved mixed martial artist in all of Japan for one very obvious reason: He performs. Out of 26 career victories for Sakuraba, 19 have been finished by submission, 4 by knockout, with only 3 men making it to the judges scorecards.
23. Frank Shamrock: Ever since his very first bout with Bas Rutten during round one of the King of the Pancrase tournament in 1994, Shamrock has been giving the fans what they’ve paid for all over the globe. Some of Frank’s more memorable battles include knock down brawls with the likes of Enson Inoue, Tito Ortiz, Phil Baroni and Cung Le.
24. Paul Buentello: The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a guy like “The Headhunter” is: That guy is a freaking warrior. Flat out. Not like all the other guys on this list aren’t, but Buentello just reeks of a willingness to die every time he enters the cage. Unbelievably, in 34 fights, only one of them has made it to the judges for Buentello. One way or another, someone’s catching a beating when Paul puts on for his city.
25. Shane Carwin: If Carwin’s 11 highlight reel finishes in 11 bouts doesn’t justify the massive heavyweight’s spot on this list, his come from behind destruction over Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96 leaves little question. One of the most explosive and powerful athletes in the business, Carwin has the kind of power behind his punch that could bring a full grown elephant to its knees.
26. Kenny Florian: Kenny Florian finishes fights, no question about it. Out of 11 wins, Ken-Flo has put a decisive end to ten of them. Equally as dangerous on the ground with a slew of submission as he is standing with punishing Muay Thai, Florian makes it a point to put on a show every time he wraps his hands.
27. Brett Rogers: If you’re a fan of dudes getting bounced with absolutely no remorse, then “Grim” is your fighter. Standing at 6’5″ tall, and tipping the scales at 265 pounds of bad times, Rogers has annihilated every opponent that has crossed his path with explosive knees and punches. There’s one guarantee when big Brett shows up to fight: Pain in generous portions.
28. Jamie Varner: I have had the privilege of watching Varner come up in the ranks on the Arizona circuit between the years of 2003 and 2005, and if there’s one thing I can tell you from first hand experience, it’s that Jamie knows know other way than to go hard. The Arizona Combat Sports trained WEC lightweight champion’s recent wars with Rob McCullough and Donald Cerrone have established Varner as one of the most entertaining athletes in the sport.
29. Joe Lauzon: Make the mistake of judging a book by it’s cover in Lauzon’s case and it may be the last one you make. A former I.T. that looks the part, Lauzon has never gone to the judges once in his entire career in mixed martial arts. Someone ends up getting hurt every time Baby Joe puts it down for Massachusetts. Lauzon’s victims in the Octagon include Jens Pulver, Kyle Bradley and Jeremy Stephens.
30. Forrest Griffin: Who has their arm snapped in half like a dried out tree branch and comes back to knock their opponent out with the other arm? Forrest Griffin does, that’s who. Let us not forget his legendary fight with Stephan Bonnar. The bottom line with Forrest is that you know what you’re going to get every time out. You’re going to get a fighter that lays it all on the line every time he steps foot into the cage.
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