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Johny Hendricks and the 10 Greatest Power Punchers in MMA History

Matthew RothFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2017

Johny Hendricks and the 10 Greatest Power Punchers in MMA History

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    Johny Hendricks is such a nice guy that he kills people with kindness. Unfortunately, kindness is also what he calls his left hand. 

    At UFC 154, Hendricks landed his bomb of a left hand to put Martin Kampmann to sleep in just 46 seconds. 

    It was the third time he's ever recorded a knockout within the first minute in his UFC career. The stoppage earned him Knockout of the Night honors and a $70,000 bonus check. It also put a halt to any discussion of past knockouts coming from a "lucky punch."

    There is still no word from the UFC if it earned him a shot at UFC gold but when his time comes, I hope that the champion has a chin of granite. If not, we'll be hearing Bruce Buffer call out "AND NEW UFC WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WOOOOOORLD...JOHNY HENDRICKS!!!!"

    Hendricks may be the latest destructive striker in MMA but there were many to come before him. Let's take a look at the top 10 Greatest Power Punchers in MMA History. 

Robbie Lawler

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    There was a time when Robbie Lawler was one of the most feared strikers in all of MMA. He has crazy power in both hands and has put more than a few fighters to sleep. 

    He punches so hard that Tiki Ghosn believed that his bout with Lawler was stopped due to a cut instead of the knockout that happened in the first round. 

    What I'm trying to say is that Robbie Lawler punches really hard and can put you to sleep if he hits any part of your face. 

Mark Hunt

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    Mark Hunt is probably my favorite fighter in the world. 

    Part of it is because he just doesn't seem to care about sound bytes in a world that survives on them.

    The other reason is because he hits incredibly hard. He's reinvented himself in his latest UFC run by getting into shape and working on his grappling. But he's still Mark Hunt, the guy who once stood toe to toe with Ray Sefo in K-1. 

    And really, is there a more memorable image than Hunt sauntering off after knocking out Christian Tuchscherer?


Dan Henderson

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    The H-Bomb. 

    I honestly hate that people have a nickname for Dan Henderson's overhand right but I can't think of a better term for that explosive right hand. 

    It's the punch that gave us the absolutely epic knockout victory over Michael Bisping. It's also the punch that finished Fedor Emelianenko in the first round.

    Henderson always showed signs of punching power during his time in PRIDE, but it was only until recent that people truly began to fear him as a striker instead of a dominant grappler. 

    That's right. There was a time when his unofficial nickname was "Decision" Dan. Those days are long gone. 

Fedor Emelianenko

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    The Last Emperor ruled the MMA world between 2001 and 2009 as the top heavyweight. 

    Combining incredible submissions and ridiculously powerful strikes, Fedor Emelianenko remained undefeated for almost an entire decade. 

    His awkward punches came from weird angles and felt like he was hitting opponents with sledge hammers. He also completely revolutionized ground and pound as he would turned into every punch to deliver them with as much force as possible.

    This made him a legend in Japan and one of the most terrifying men on the planet. 

Chuck Liddell

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    While new fans may only know Liddell as the guy who got slept in his last fights in the UFC, he was once the most dominant striker in the organization. 

    Everyone knew how he'd win. Liddell wasn't known for straight punches and incredible head movement. Nope. Instead he would clobber you with overhand rights and lefts until you crumbled to the ground. 

    He left a wake of destruction that included wins over Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, and Renato Sobral. In total he recorded 13 victories by knockout. 

    Not bad for a guy with a tummy. 

Takanori Gomi

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    "Hadouken Punches."

    That's how Nick Diaz described the destructive power in Takanori Gomi's fists. 

    The former lightweight kingpin and PRIDE superstar became a legend in Japan when he put Jens Pulver to sleep in 2004. It was during this dominant run that opponents discovered that he had some incredible power and if they weren't careful, they'd end up totally unconscious. 

    He still shows signs of being the "Fireball Kid" of old with knockout victories of Tyson Griffin and Eiji Mitsuoka. But his best days are definitely behind him. Years of bad training habits have caught up with Gomi and he's just not as explosive as he was during his run in PRIDE.

Vitor Belfort

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    No list of dominant strikers would be complete without Vitor Belfort. 

    Belfort's dominant run as a striker can be split up between two time periods: when he entered the sport and present day. 

    When Belfort made his MMA debut, there was nobody like him in the sport. He always seemed to find his opponent's chin as he threw straight punches with devastating accuracy. 

    He fell off for a bit but Belfort returned to his dominant ways in 2007 when he scored four knockouts in five fights. 

    Not bad for a young dinosaur.

Kid Yamamoto

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    Between 2003 and 2007, Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto was one of the most feared strikers in the world. He was responsible for some of the most devastating knockouts in JMMA history and even found success in kickboxing. 

    During those years, Yamamoto was vicious in his attacks. There were some fights when he would continue to strike a downed opponent even when the referee attempted to pull him off. 

    Though his killer instinct may be gone, it's not forgotten. 

Melvin Manhoef

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    Melvin Manhoef is seriously one of the most terrifying people on the planet. As one of the hardest punchers in the sport, Manhoef has figured out a special way to remember these incredible moments. 

    While some may keep a highlight reel or a photo gallery, Manhoef has decided to commemorate these KOs with tattoos. A check mark for every unconscious opponent. 

    If there is a scarier striker in MMA, I can't name them. 

Tank Abbott

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    The original power puncher.

    The man who once impersonated an unconscious opponent. 

    Tank Abbott. His power was so mythical that when he became a professional wrestler with WCW, his finisher was a straight right. 

    His record won't put him in the Hall of Fame but his punching power created the Hall of Pain*.


    *That was terrible, I apologize.

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