It is a distinction that no fighter craves, a curse that has undermined the potential greatness of many a mixed martial artist. Otherwise gifted fighters have been relegated to a punchline as a result of possessing a figurative “glass jaw”.
As a short companion piece to my list of the five most robust chins in the UFC today, I present to you a rundown of the most delicate jaws in UFC history.
This may be a controversial choice, given Evans’ near spotless record. The former 205-pound champion has only been laid out cold once in his career, but do not let this fool you.
Evans has done a terrific job of protecting his candy glass-like chin, adopting an ultra-conservative style in order to minimise risk.
Despite boasting a more conservative style than Ronald Reagan, “Suga’” has been clipped on a number of occasions, and is seemingly on spaghetti legs whenever a fist so much as brushes his whiskers.
Remember the Machida fight? Rashad got caught with a jab and almost started breakdancing.
Evans’ fight with Thiago Silva was arguably an even more damning example of his fragility, when he crumpled to the floor in the third round after absorbing the tamest of strikes.
The statistics may suggest otherwise, but there is no doubt that Rashad Evans has one of the most suspect chins the UFC has ever seen.
Not one of the more well-known names on the list, but the paper-chinned Goulet has more than earned his stripes.
KO losses against the likes of Mike Swick, Marcus Davis, and Chris Clements only tell us half the story.
Anyone can get knocked out, but it is how well one can absorb damage that demonstrates the security of one’s chin. Unfortunately, Jonathan Goulet absorbs damage like oil absorbs water.
This may turn out to be another controversial selection. With that said, I am specifically referring to the last few years of “The Iceman’s” career.
Back in his prime, Liddell was capable of absorbing all sorts of punishment. He had a terrific chin. Unfortunately, those earlier wars caught up with him and his ability to take a punch declined dramatically.
It seemingly started with his second loss to “Rampage.”
Although Jackson is known as a powerful puncher, it took only a fraction of that power to send Chuck crashing to the floor.
Things only got worse for the former light heavyweight king in later years, with “Shogun” Rua putting him to sleep with a pretty ordinary-looking left hook.
But perhaps the worst knockout of Liddell’s career came in his final fight, against Rich Franklin.
Chuck crumpled to the floor after a short left hook towards the end of the first round. The punch didn’t appear to carry a great deal of power, yet Liddell went down like he had been taken out by a sniper.
As a former favourite of mine, I lament the fact that I had to put Chuck Liddell on this list. There was no denying his frailty towards the end of his career, however.
He may look like a superhero, but the former UFC heavyweight champion is about as robust as Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable. Chandelier Man, anyone?
Looking at Brock’s cartoonishly muscular figure, one would expect his chin to be similarly formidable. Nope. He starts moonwalking as soon as a glove is laid upon his Aryan features.
We saw it against Shane Carwin, then later against Cain Velasquez—going into a tail spin on the latter occasion.
Brock Lesnar certainly lives up to the old adage of books and covers.
The former UFC heavyweight champion is another fighter who has had his career undermined by the brittleness of his jaw.
A hugely talented striker and a very decent grappler, Arlovski could have achieved so much more in his career but for this solitary weakness.
It isn’t just that “The Pitbull” would get knocked out, but rather he would get knocked out cold and lay prone for minutes.
His knockout losses were downright terrifying, as one would sit and wonder whether Andrei would even be able to walk out on his own two feet.
And that fact has earned him a place at this list’s summit.