9 Best Finishers in the UFC Right Now
There's just something fulfilling about witnessing the sudden halt of an MMA bout.
While grinding decisions bore most viewers, knockouts and submissions act as high points on almost any fight night, particularly in the UFC, where the world's most venomous fighters routinely lock horns.
Just in the past year, much has changed in terms of the sport's most elite finishers. UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman stopped arguably the best finisher in the history of the sport, Anderson Silva, twice in 2013. In May, UFC bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw polished off Renan Baro, who had finished three straight opponents in title fights.
While it's sure to change radically again by next year, here's a list of the nine best finishers in the UFC right now.
All fighters on hiatus from competition were left off this list, with the exceptions of Vitor Belfort and Anthony Pettis. Belfort was included based on the facts that he fought in November and was scheduled to fight on July 5 at UFC 175 before Chael Sonnen failed a random drug test. Pettis was included because he fought in August and is expected to return this summer.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua: Shogun has won 22 fights in his 13-year career, 19 by form of knockout and one by submission. The three-time UFC "Knockout of the Night" winner only failed to make the cut because he's dropped three of his last four fights.
Gegard Mousasi: The 28-year-old has 30 finishes in his 41 career bouts. "The Dreamcatcher" has won 18 bouts by knockout and 12 via submission. Mousasi has only finished two of his last five foes, which kept him off the list.
Robbie Lawler: A finisher since the early 2000s, Lawler has notched just three decisions in his 23 career wins. "Ruthless," who has 19 career wins by KO/TKO, has won 12 of his last 13 bouts by KO, including three in the UFC since February 2013.
9. Glover Teixeira
A pro since 2002, 34-year-old Brazilian Glover Teixeira is one of the most well-rounded finishers on this countdown.
In his 25 career bouts, the lethal submission artist with equally potent striking chops has amassed 13 KO/TKOs and six submissions, including two submissions and two TKOs since joining the UFC in 2012.
He dropped his first fight since 2005 when he lost a unanimous decision to Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 172 in April. The loss snapped a 20-fight winning streak that included 12 KO/TKOs and six submissions.
8. Anthony Pettis
Even though his first two fights in the UFC ended in lackluster decisions (one a loss and another a win), lightweight kingpin Anthony Pettis has more than made up for those shortcomings in his last three bouts.
Since earning a split decision over Jeremy Stephens at UFC 136, Pettis has disposed of three straight mainstays in the lightweight division.
After knocking out Joe Lauzon with a head kick and punches at UFC 144, "Showtime" dropped Donald Cerrone with a kick to the body at UFC on Fox 6. Pettis then shocked Benson Henderson and snatched his lightweight strap with a slick first-round armbar at UFC 164.
Only three of Pettis' 19 career bouts have gone to a decision. But because two of those decisions came in the UFC, the extremely dangerous Showtime didn't get a more favorable spot on this list.
7. Travis Browne
For a former basketball player who has just five years of training under his belt, Travis Browne epitomizes the new breed of fighter: strong, smart,athletic and well-versed in every facet of the game.
Browne has utilized his wealth of natural tools to prevail in 16 of the 19 fights he's taken since turning pro in 2009.
A purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Browne has displayed a knack for stuffing takedowns, a skill that has opened up his unorthodox striking game that's been refined by Jackson's MMA coach Mike Winkeljohn.
Browne has scored finishes in 14 of his 16 wins, including 12 via TKO/KO. The 31-year-old Hawaiian has finished four of his last six bouts, including three in a row by KO in 2013.
6. Jon Jones
Jon Jones is world's top pound-for-pound fighter for a reason, and it's not just because he's essentially undefeated, with the exception of a disqualification loss to Matt Hamill in 2009.
Like Teixeira and Pettis, Jones can end a bout at any moment with his chokes and unorthodox striking. In 21 career scraps, "Bones" owns nine TKO/KOs and six submissions.
Of his eight UFC title fights, only Rashad Evans, Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira have managed to go the distance with Jones. In his other five title bouts, he TKO'd Mauricio Rua and Chael Sonnen and submitted Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort.
Jones, ranked No. 1 on the UFC's pound-for-pound list, doesn't sport the best finishing percentage on this list. However, in terms of the steep competition he's disposed of in his still-blossoming career, he deserves a spot ahead of Joe Lauzon.
5. Vitor Belfort
Forget the fact that Vitor Belfort has polished off 20 of his 24 career victims in his extraordinary 19-year career. "The Phenom" plucked the No. 5 spot on this list on account of his exploits in his last 10 fights.
He has racked up an impressive 8-2 record in that span, falling only to Jon Jones and Anderson Silva in light heavyweight and middleweight title bouts. Seven of his wins in that time came via TKO/KO, and another came by submission.
Although he continues to deal with issues from his use of testosterone replacement therapy, the 37-year-old Brazilian put on arguably the three best performances of his career in his last three outings.
Belfort finished three straight ranked opponents—Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson—all with KOs from kicks in 2013.
His KO of Henderson marked the first knockout loss in the 18-year career of the iron-jawed "Hendo."
4. Matt Brown
Since losing via guillotine to Seth Baczynski in November 2011, fifth-ranked UFC welterweight Matt Brown has used his never-ending gas tank and superior striking chops to outclass his competition.
He has reeled off seven straight wins since falling to Baczynski at UFC 139, finishing six of those foes via KO. Stephen Thompson went the distance with "The Immortal," although he got dominated en route to a unanimous decision at UFC 145.
Since routing Thompson, Brown has tallied five straight TKO/KOs, picking up "Knockout of the Night" and "Performance of the Night" honors in his last two wins against Mike Pyle and Erick Silva, respectively.
Brown will finally get his proper due when he faces top-ranked Robbie Lawler in a welterweight title eliminator at UFC on Fox 12 in July.
3. Cain Velasquez
The only fighter on this list who doesn't own a submission win, UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez has made up for his lack of flare in the submission game with his rare ability to flatten foes with his fists.
The heavy-handed Velasquez possesses a motor like a lightweight and some of the best wrestling skills in the UFC—variables that make his high-volume striking game so effective.
In 12 UFC bouts, he has won nine by TKO/KO, including three finishes in title fights. Only Junior dos Santos and Cheick Kongo were able to withstand Velasquez's pressure and take him to a decision in his 11 UFC wins.
2. Chris Weidman
In just his fifth year as a pro, Chris Weidman arose from relative obscurity to dethrone former UFC middleweight linchpin Anderson Silva, handing "The Spider" his first two career UFC setbacks in 2013.
Weidman knocked out Silva, arguably the best fighter in MMA history who sported a previous UFC record of 16-0, in just his 10th career fight at UFC 162 in July.
A little over six months later, "The All American" again finished The Spider, this time checking one of his kicks and snapping the Brazilian's left tibia and fibula to retain his belt at UFC 168 in December.
A gifted wrestler with sensational submission skills and a newfound love for striking, Weidman garnered the No. 2 spot on this countdown because he's yet to reach his prime.
Three of the 10 fighters he's faced in his career took him to a decision, but don't expect many middleweights to do so in five-round fights in the future with the ever-improving Weidman.
1. Ronda Rousey
A lack of variety in her finishes and a lack of experience in her career carry little weight in the argument against listing UFC women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey at the top of this list.
Truth be told, she has finished every top-flight opponent she's faced with relative ease, and she shows no signs of deviating from that pattern in the future.
In fact, she plans to retire undefeated, which doesn't seem so far-fetched at this point.
Rousey has won six fights under the Zuffa flag via armbar and another by first-round TKO. Of her eight career armbar wins, she has snatched seven in the first round.
Only Miesha Tate, whom Rousey armbarred in the first round in Strikeforce in 2012, managed to last past Round 1 with "Rowdy." Of course, Tate ultimately lost her rematch with Rousey via third-round armbar at UFC 168.