UFC

Matt Brown and the 10 Best Brawlers in the UFC Today

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2014

Matt Brown and the 10 Best Brawlers in the UFC Today

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Brawlers these days are truly a rare breed.

    Equipped with limitless aggression and violent skill sets, they pressure even the most calculated opponents to the brink of defeat.

    Often left bloody and battered, they always find themselves hungry for more. Whether it's in the center of the cage, against the fence or off their backs, they never give in or give up.

    In celebration of these throwback dynamos, here are the 10 best brawlers in the UFC today. 

Alexis Davis

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    Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

    Over her last few fights, top contender Alexis Davis has showcased the brutal consistency on her feet that would make even Diego Sanchez proud.

    It may seem odd for a jiu-jitsu practitioner to acquire such an in-your-face skill set, but the 29-year-old has done it nonetheless. She has battered and bruised some of the most game opponents in the weight class, including Liz Carmouche and Jessica Eye.

    As long as Davis can continue to pressure Octagon foes with unparalleled grit and moxie, her divisional stock will grow exponentially. 

Brad Pickett

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Brad Pickett is by no means the biggest or strongest fighter around, hence his recent move from bantamweight to flyweight.

    However, what the Englishman lacks in muscles and power, he makes up for in combative tenacity.

    Always in the mix for Fight of the Night honors, he has crafted his professional image of a brawler by staying in the pocket, winging punches and hoping for the best. It's not the smartest of techniques, but it has for the most part served him well.

    Assuming his crisp boxing and excellent head work can transition to a smaller weight class, it will only be a matter of time before he challenges for a title. 

Nate Diaz

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    Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    It's often impossible for other fighters to mirror the effort and confidence put into motion when Nate Diaz takes the cage.

    It's not that they don't try or imagine themselves doing it; it's because Diaz is in a class of his own when it comes to a brawler's bravado.

    While the lightweight title threat is more calculated and precise than the majority of the names on this list, don't be fooled. He could be the spokesman for skilled fighters turned crazy.

    Until he relinquishes his throne as a smack-talking, drop-your-hands bad boy, the Stockton kid will forever make this list. 

Dan Henderson

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    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

    Dan Henderson's "H-Bomb" is arguably the single best weapon in mixed martial arts today.

    Its proficiency is off the charts, suggesting "Hendo" made a deal with the devil in some previous life. I guess that's why the 43-year-old possesses such confidence in close quarters.

    I know it's been difficult for him to land his patented one-punch knockout of late, but that's not the only reason he makes this list.

    Despite his age and declining athletic capabilities, the MMA legend is still good enough to go toe-to-toe with any fighter in the world.

    Not to mention, he has no front teeth and once starred in the movie Evil in the Bayou

Chan Sung Jung

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    Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

    No, Chan Sung Jung is not a flesh-eating corpse that is groveling for human brains.

    However, by absorbing punches like he is a sponge taking on water, the featherweight lives up to his billing as "The Korean Zombie."

    What makes him even more fascinating to watch is that he's capable of inflicting his own offense, unlike the Hollywood zombies that seem to move slower than a slug in salt.

    Whether it's swift transitions, flying knees, devastating uppercuts or titanic ground-and-pound, you better believe the Korean can get down with the best of them. 

Robbie Lawler

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    At this point in his career, with all of the kinks worked out, Robbie Lawler is as dangerous as they come.

    Equipped with the power of an F5 tornado and the chin of a 10-story building, "Ruthless" never seems to get overwhelmed inside the cage.

    His aggression and unheralded knockout ability lend a hand in creating the confidence needed to exchange punch-for-punch with guys like Johny Hendricks.

    It doesn't matter how bloody or tired Lawler gets—he's always aiming to detach his opponent's head. 

Vitor Belfort

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    Andre Penner/Associated Press

    Vitor Belfort has looked scarier than a bear in a supermarket.

    His evolution as a fighter has culminated into multiple head kicks, knocking out Dan Henderson and looking like an unstoppable force in a fairly wide-open division.

    As one of the most vicious strikers of all time, he often leans on his ability to attack early and land punches before his opponent even knows what happened.

    However, in case that doesn't work and the Brazilian needs to dig extra deep, he's capable of mixing it up with any ill-advised schlep around. 

Mark Hunt

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Mark Hunt fights like a giant redwood.

    No matter how many axes you take to him, he's not falling down.

    The only difference between the powerful heavyweight and an actual tree is the fact that Hunt can fight back—and when he fights back, he breaks jaws (i.e., Stefan Struve).

    He's not in the best shape of his life and doesn't train like Cain Velasquez. However, Hunt is capable of slinging leather until the cows come home, which makes him dangerous from bell to bell. 

Matt Brown

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Matt Brown is an in-cage psycho. No ifs, ends or buts about it.

    When the streaking welterweight takes center stage, you know you're in for a show—one that will feature a gritted mouthpiece, wide eyes and iron fists clenched to destroy.

    His recent menacing has catapulted him to the forefront of title contention, something that would have been unthinkable a few years back.

    Besides the final name on this list, "The Immortal" is without a doubt the most prolific brawler in the UFC today. It's hard to argue that he isn't when you watch his ferocious attacks up close and personal. 

Diego Sanchez

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    Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

    It doesn't matter if Diego Sanchez wins or loses.

    Heck, it probably doesn't even matter if he trains.

    When he steps inside the Octagon, an animal of epic proportions is reborn again—the type of animal that feeds off blood, sweat and tears and grows hungrier as the fight goes on.

    For what he displays on a fight-to-fight basis, it seems as if he's injected with tiger testosterone when he comes to hunt. 

    So, while the tenured veteran has grown incompetent to outlast and outscore more strategic fighters, it's borderline impossible to stay seated when Sanchez fights. 

    For that, he takes the cake as the best brawler in the promotion today.

     

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