Dan Henderson and the 10 Best Chins in MMA

Andrew Saunders@SaundersMMACorrespondent IIFebruary 12, 2013

Dan Henderson and the 10 Best Chins in MMA

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    Sometimes, it's not about how much punishment you can dish out, but rather,  how much you can take.

    At UFC 157, iron-chinned warrior Dan Henderson steps into the Octagon for the first time since October 2011. If successful, Henderson will get to compete for the UFC light heavyweight championship against Jon Jones. However, to claim that prize, he will need to find a way to get past the powerful counter-attacks of Lyoto Machida.

    The former PRIDE superstar became known for his ability to absorb damage over the years, and that asset might be his most valuable attribute in a clash against such a dangerous opponent.

    However, Hendo isn't the only guy known for his inhuman ability to take a punch. Here is a look at the 10 best chins currently competing in MMA.

Honorable Mention:

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    Active Fighters:

    Chris Leben

    Anderson Silva

    Yoshihiro Akiyama

    Big Nog

    Jon Fitch

    Benson Henderson

    Clay Guida


    Inactive Fighters:

    Stephan Bonnar

    Chris Lytle

    Quinton Jackson

    Fedor Emelianenko

10. Frankie Edgar

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    Time and time again, critics give credit to the incredible heart of Frankie Edgar for his courageous performances against dangerous opponents. However, the real credit belongs to his tremendous chin.

    Never before was this more obvious than a New Year's Day performance against challenger Gray Maynard at UFC 125. In that bout, Frankie was battered with power punches and repeatedly dropped without ever succumbing to them.

    In fact, despite spending nearly 169 minutes inside the Octagon with B.J. Penn, Gray Maynard, Benson Henderson and Jose Aldo, no one has ever been able to stop Edgar from continuing.

9. Diego Sanchez

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    After 28 professional fights, Diego Sanchez is one of few fighters to have never been stopped due to strikes. Aside from four losses by way of decision, the only other time that Sanchez didn't see his arm raised came after B.J. Penn opened a nasty gash across his forehead, and the cut was too gruesome to continue.

    The closest that anyone has ever come to knocking out Diego came at UFC 114, when "The Nightmare" met John Hathaway, who wrecked him with an insane knee. Even then, Sanchez stood back up and continued fighting until the final bell sounded.

8. B.J. Penn

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    Speaking of B.J. Penn, the former dual-division champion also knows how to take his beatings like a man. In fact, Penn has taken a tremendous wallop in each of his last three fights, but not Jon Fitch, Nick Diaz nor Rory MacDonald was able to parlay that punishment into a stoppage win.

    Penn has never been knocked out in his career, although he has two losses by way of TKO. One came when Hall of Famer Matt Hughes trapped Penn in a crucifix position, and "The Prodigy" was unable to intelligently defend himself.

    The other came when Penn's corner threw in the towel after four rounds of domination against Georges St-Pierre.

7. Junior Dos Santos

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    Junior dos Santos is certainly known for his propensity to create knockouts. However, his stellar boxing is matched only by his equally impressive chin.

    The man who once held the UFC heavyweight championship was dominated by Cain Velasquez for five rounds at UFC 155. Were it not for his immaculate chin, the fight would have been over in less than five.

    Prior to that fight, dos Santos' chin was a mystery due to the fact that no one was able to cleanly hit "Cigano" with a seemingly meaningful shot in nine UFC appearances.

6. Shogun Rua

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    Former UFC light heavyweight champion Shogun Rua has stepped into the cage with some of the most powerful and technical strikers whom the sport has ever known. 

    From Rampage Jackson to Alistair Overeem to Dan Henderson and many more, Rua has eaten punches from the best of the best. Not once has the Brazilian muay thai machine been knocked out. 

    Some would argue that Rua does not belong on this list due to his recent frequency of being rocked while in combat. Fights with Henderson and Brandon Vera saw Shogun badly hurt and seemingly ready to slip into a state of unconsciousness. However, neither time was the PRIDE legend finished.

    The only man to stop Rua due to strikes is reigning champion Jon Jones.

5. Roy Nelson

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    Does the magical power of Roy Nelson's chin lie within his magnificent mountain beard? Is there something about his blubberous physique that strengthens "Big Country" and his ability to absorb ridiculous punishment?

    Nelson was the first man in history to go the distance with boxing phenom Junior dos Santos, despite eating 130 significant strikes during their UFC 117 contest.

    Only once in 25 fights has Nelson been put to sleep, and it came against murderous striker Andrei Arlovski. That sole discrepancy prevents the TUF winner from taking the top spot in our countdown.

4. Mark Hunt

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    Right leg, hospital left leg, cemetery. That is the much-deserved legacy of kickboxer Mirko Cro Cop after knocking out foe after foe with his tremendous head kicks.

    One fighter apparently had the ability to walk through Cro Cop's signature left head kick without batting an eye, and that man is Samoan striker Mark Hunt.

    Not only did Hunt survive Cro Cop's best, but he did the same against Wanderlei Silva and won split decisions against both men.

    Hunt was knocked out only once in his MMA career, and that came against Melvin Manhoef, who holds 25 KO victories to his credit.

3. Leonard Garcia

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    There is something inherently terrifying about a man who can take your best punch, smile back at you and push forward aggressively without any concern for his own well-being. 

    Fan favorite Leonard Garcia fits this description perfectly and absolutely loves finding himself engaged in a brawl. Not only does this mean that "Bad Boy" receives powerful punches, but he takes them in tremendous supply.

    Never in 26 fights has Garcia been knocked out. Anyone who has seen the kind of damage that he has absorbed over the years can attest to why this is such an incredible feat.

2. Dan Henderson

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    Shogun Rua, Fedor Emelianenko, Rampage Jackson, Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort and the Nogueira twins. 

    Each man listed above has tremendous knockout power and a history of using their limbs to put opponents to sleep. Another thing that they have in common is the fact that they each squared off with PRIDE and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson and were unable to score a knockout.

    Hendo is known for his incredible chin, however, there is one person who is more deserving of the honor. His name is...

1. Fabio Maldonado

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    Fabio Maldonado might be a cyborg. That is the only logical explanation as to how he could possibly take the never-ending supply of punishment that was doled out by Glover Teixeira at UFC 153.

    The beating was merciless and the home audience was left feeling bad for the poor Brazilian who was simply too proud to lay down and let the ref save him from more damage.

    A battered Maldonado was handed a six-month medical suspension pending neurological evaluation, although he was never finished from the forceful striking of Teixeira.

    Cageside officials called a stop to the action when they determined that Maldonado was unable to continue after the second round.