Fifteen of the most intimidating UFC fighters on the planet
MMA fighters have to be amongst the most fearsome combat sports athletes in the world, well at least that is what we would imagine. As when someone decides to dedicate themselves to fighting in a cage against another human being. They have to be cut from a different cloth than the average person walking down the street.
But while some do actually look like your average office employee. There are others who stand out as some of the most menacing people on the planet. So with that, we wanted to take a rundown of some of the most intimidating MMA fighters in history. Who would make a regular person quake in their boots.
One of the most accomplished, not just MMA fighters, but combat sports athletes in the world. Dutch fighter Alistair Overeem has been in active competition since 1999. Overeem holds the unique achievement of being the heavyweight champion across three major global promotions. Those being K-1 kickboxing and then Dream and Strikeforce in MMA.
A former middleweight, over the years Alistair has been able to add some serious additional muscle. Eventually settling at heavyweight where he saw his most prolific success. In a division where at one point he would go on a twelve fight win streak, looking for a time unbeatable.
But it was his diet and subsequent transformation into an absolute monster which would eventually raise some eyebrows. And when in 2012 he tested positive for grossly elevated levels of testosterone. The cat had escaped the bag and his dietary intake which consisted of massive amounts of horsemeat. Showed some additional ingredients to help the Dutch hulk bulk his mass.
None the less, he has been one of the most successful fighters on the planet. And even with his suspension from competition is regarded as one of the best to have ever competed. Just a pity the facade had to come crashing down like it did, forever soiling his amazing legacy.
Another “monster” in the sport of mixed martial arts, was the two-time NJCAA All-American, WWE wrestling superstar Brock Lesnar. Lesnar who was one of the biggest names in professional wrestling decided in 2006 to turn his attention to the sport of mixed martial arts.
Known for his massive size and freakish athleticism had never competed in MMA. But with his notoriety and sheer presence with just one fight was quickly able to make is way to the UFC. Really the only promotion on the planet capable of maximising the WWE superstars potential.
But after a loss in his first fight to former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Some thought it might be a step too far for the blonde blue-eyed farmer’s son with Viking blood running through his veins from Webster, South Dakota. But Brock would prove his doubters wrong and just two fights later capture the heavyweight championship at UFC 91 from Randy Couture.
“Is that even human.”Joe Rogan – on brock Lesnar at UFC Boston
What followed was a rollercoaster career where he would successfully defend his title. Then lose it in emphatic fashion to young up and comer Cain Velasquez. A potentially career-ending illness would see him step away from competition for several years. Before he returned in 2016 to defeat Mark Hunt. In a result which would later be overturned due to his failing a pre-fight drugs test.
And while Big Brock may have had a relatively short career in the sport, the impact he had cannot be underestimated. As he is still to this day, considered one of the most iconic fighters to ever step inside the UFC’s octagon.
When we think of true icons in the sport, most seasoned fans will immediately be drawn to the name Chuck Liddell. As the former UFC light heavyweight champion was at one point the single most famous figure in MMA. His name is synonymous with why many of today’s fighters took up the sport.
With his signature mohawk and his cool calm demeanour, devastating striking and ability to get back to his feet. The Iceman became known as one of the most feared fighters in the world at 205 lbs. So much so that he alone was taken to Japan to compete against the best fighters outside the UFC in Pride fighting championships.
And while he ultimately may not have been successful. It was his continued dominance in the UFC that would propel him to legendary status amongst US fans. With historic fights against Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz. His name will be forever immortalised as one of MMA’s true pioneers. Very much helping to shape its explosion into the fastest growing combat sport on the planet.
At one point in time, Cain Velasquez was touted as the most fearsome heavyweight to have ever competed in the UFC. A training partner of two-division champion Daniel Cormier. Cain captured the UFC heavyweight championship from Brock Lesnar at UFC 121. With most people believing Brock would simply be too much, Velasquez blitzed the behemoth champion with relative ease. Announcing his arrival as the best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world.
But things did not turn out as expected for the first Mexican American champion. Losing in his first defence to Junior Dos Santos, Cain would recapture the title just two fights later. Going on to defend two times before falling foul to Brazil’s Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188 in Mexico City.
What followed was a period of personal health issues which would see him compete just two times in a four year period. With one win and one loss, the shine from what for many could have been the greatest heavyweight career in the world had been lost. And with seemingly a lack of desire to continue on, he officially announced his retirement on October 11, 2019.
For some fans watching women’s MMA can sometimes not quite live up to expectations. And while there are several standout female fighters, few have compared to the ferocity and destructive power of Cris Cyborg. Real name Cristiane Justino Venancio, from 2005 to 2018, she had dominated women’s featherweight division.
There was only a women’s featherweight division in Strikeforce and Invicta fighting championships. As UFC was yet to establish it’s own and so Cyborg remained on the periphery, unable to compete for their belt. But with the bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey being widely touted as the greatest female fighter on the planet. It looked for a time like that might change?
Eventually signing with the UFC, the rumour mill began to churn as a potential meeting between the pair now seemed possible. But with two weight divisions separating them, in hindsight it wasn’t all that likely. And with her well-documented struggle just to make 140 lbs and a lack of stiff competition at featherweight. Cyborg very much looked like the champion of a division that in reality didn’t even exist.
Then at UFC 232 the UFC’s current bantamweight champion Amanda ‘Lioness’ Nunes blew the whole thing apart. Stopping Justino with a barrage of punches in the very first round. Smashing the aura of being unbeatable that the legendary champion had and signalling a new era in the sport.
Part-time surfer, full-time dog fanatic, Martial Arts practitioner. I’m trying to save the world, one fight at a time. Catch me blogging at FightNomads.com.