10 Most Underrated Strikers in the UFC Today

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2012

10 Most Underrated Strikers in the UFC Today

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    From fast-paced flyweights to powerful heavyweights, striking proves vastly important throughout every UFC weight class.

    Whether it's kickboxing or boxing, head kicks or quick jabs, fighters use dynamic skill sets to separate themselves from their opponents.

    Some of these evolving standup talents have been overlooked by more diverse and flashy specialists in the past, but not any more.

    Here are 10 underrated combatants capable of giving any relevant striker issues.

Max Holloway

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    Max Holloway has only had two fights in the UFC, but fans have already seen what he's capable of doing on his feet.

    Currently one of the most promising prospects in the featherweight division, Holloway has the overall technical makeup to one day be a top-five striker in the division.

    With length, speed, flexibility and an evolving clinch game, the 20-year-old is a formidable opponent to any standup specialist.

    If he can graduate from a white belt in jiu-jitsu, we could be looking at a future title contender.

Shawn Jordan

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    Shawn Jordan has quickly become a budding star in the UFC heavyweight division.

    His experience as a national champion fullback at LSU has surely done him wonders inside the cage, but what makes him even more special is his ability to learn and adapt to new striking techniques.

    Wit natural power on his side, Jordan has produced impressive bouts opposite experienced strikers such as Lavar Johnson and Oli Thompson.

    His 6'0 frame may be an issue in the future, but so far the 27-year-old has done an excellent job of combining athleticism and speed to lunge in and out of an opponent's reach.

Mike Pyle

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    As one of the UFC's most experienced fighters, veteran Mike Pyle has seen it all inside the Octagon.

    However, that hasn't deterred the 36-year-old from improving his striking capabilities.

    Currently riding back-to-back first-round knockouts over Ricardo Funch and Josh Neer, Pyle has proven he's capable of standing with a variety of welterweights.

    With 16 career submission victories in his pocket, striking may not be Pyle's first option, but he's elevated his game nonetheless.

Cub Swanson

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    As a perennial featherweight contender, Cub Swanson has been part of some very entertaining fights.

    Key losses to Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas have hindered his championship hopes in the past, but with two consecutive KO victories under his belt, the 28-year-old is back on track.

    Swanson's performances against the heavy-handed George Roop and the tough Ross Pearson have reminded fans that he's still one of the more technically sound strikers in the division.

    If he can keep up his winning ways, a standup battle opposite champion Jose Aldo would be something truly special.

Matt Brown

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    Many people consider Matt Brown an all-around good fighter.

    But besides his heart and ability to take damage, Brown's improving standup game has given him the edge he needs to win inside the Octagon.

    With three straight victories, two via TKO, The Ultimate Fighter alum has showcased his willingness to stand in the pocket and deliver crushing blows.

    If Brown can get a tad stronger in the future, he could inflict some serious damage within the welterweight division.

Stipe Miocic

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    Currently one of the biggest prospects in mixed martial arts today, Stipe Miocic has also become one of the better strikers in the UFC heavyweight division.

    A former Golden Gloves boxer and NCAA Division I wrestler, Miocic has utilized his ability to keep fights standing and inflict damage inside.

    With back-to-back knockouts over Phil De Fries and Shane del Rosario, the Mirko Cro Cop lookalike has become one of the biggest gamers in the division.

    As long as his size doesn't get in the way, Miocic has the raw talent to stand and bang with the best.

Brian Ebersole

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    Brian Ebersole isn't just some guy who shaves an arrow into his chest before fights.

    He's actually pretty sound in all departments.

    Over his last four fights, all victories, Ebersole has out-struck every one of his opponents except for one.

    This includes the always formidable Chris Lytle.

    With unorthodox strikes and an unassuming approach, there's a reason why Ebersole has only lost to Hector Lombard since 2007.

Chris Weidman

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    After knocking out one of the best middleweight strikers around in Mark Munoz, Chris Weidman's striking has spoken for itself.

    As a hungry contender who wrestles first and asks questions later, it was overly impressive to see him escape a fight with Munoz unscathed and unscratched.

    With time on his side and the ability to athletically do things that others simply can't, there's no reason to believe that Weidman can't become one of the better strikers in the division.

    Not for nothing, but the New Yorker hasn't been out-struck in any one of his five UFC fights.

Evan Dunham

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    Throughout his eight-fight UFC career, Evan Dunham has been a very unassuming striker.

    His Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background may be responsible for his opponents overlooking his standup game, but the 30-year-old has shown in the past that he's more than willing to let the leather fly.

    Outperforming well-established strikers like Sean Sherk (albeit a controversial loss) and Tyson Griffin has surely granted Dunham the permission to call himself a solid striker.

    His KO loss to Melvin Guillard back in 2011 is most definitely a blemish, but Dunham has rebounded nicely.

Phil Davis

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    Wrestler first, striker second, Phil Davis' standup game has been vastly overlooked for the majority of his UFC light heavyweight career.

    Despite dropping his most recent bout to Rashad Evans, which could have been a product of Davis coming off an injury, "Mr. Wonderful" should still be considered a threat on his feet.

    His showdowns with Brian Stann, Alexander Gustafsson, Tim Boetsch and Minotauro Nogueira may not have ended via KO or TKO, but Davis out-struck every single one of them.

    That's not too shabby for a bulky wrestler trying to stay afloat in a heavily crowded division.

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