10 of the Flashiest Fighters in MMA History
One of my favorite parts about MMA is the fact that there's an almost infinite number of techniques a fighter can use inside the cage.
While some are content using safe moves to grind out wins, the warriors that are really starting to push the sport's technical boundaries always seem to be a bit flashy as well.
However, as seen by the recent spike in spinning wheel kick knockouts, today's premier fighters aren't just getting flashier—they are also getting more dangerous. Just ask Luke Rockhold or Mark Hunt.
In honor of these recent highlight reel finishes, let's take a look at some of the flashiest fighters in MMA history.
10. Shonie Carter
Shonie Carter may have tapered off a bit later in his career, but "Mr. International" will definitely go down as one of the sport's flashiest fighters.
The former WEC welterweight champ and UFC vet made a name for himself with his unorthodox striking techniques stemming from his karate background.
Carter's most famous finish came over Matt Serra at UFC 31, where he landed a huge spinning back fist with just seconds left in the fight to floor the former UFC champ.
However, that was not "Mr. International's" first time KOing somebody with that move, as he previously stopped Keith Wisniewski with the same technique just 40 seconds into the first round of their fight in 1999.
9. Vitor Belfort
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Always a dangerous striker, the legendary Vitor Belfort has reinvented his stand-up game as of late, specifically adding kicks to his arsenal.
By doing this, "The Phenom" has also added even more flashiness to his style, as seen by his wheel kick KO of Luke Rockhold and his head kick KO of Michael Bisping earlier this year.
Since he first set foot inside the Octagon, Belfort has always been an exciting fighter who usually puts on a show by blasting his opponents with a barrage of punches. Now that he has the ability to finish opponents with both his hands and feet (and lets not forget on the ground), Belfort's not only even more entertaining to watch, but he's twice as deadly as well.
8. Shinya Aoki
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While some grapplers in MMA get a bad reputation for being safe or boring, Shinya Aoki is not one of them.
The slick jiu-jitsu ace has been entertaining fans for years with his intricate and bone breaking submissions.
Whether its a heel hook, mounted gogoplata or a flying triangle, the current ONE FC lightweight champ has a huge arsenal of subs, making him one of the best ground fighters in the game today.
In addition to his tricky finishes, Aoki also adds in some flash with his trademarked rainbow spats as well as a tough as nails attitude when he's inside the ring.
From his fashion to his style of fighting, Aoki is definitely one of the flashiest ground guys in MMA.
7. Kazushi Sakuraba
Back when Pride was the premier organization in MMA, Kazushi Sakuraba was one of the biggest superstars among hardcore fans.
The man they dubbed "The Gracie Hunter" after he defeated four members of the famed Brazilian family made a name for himself with his hard-nosed fighting style and slick submission skills.
The Japanese star also showed the effectiveness and creativity of professional wrestling with his use of unorthodox attacks, like his trademarked jumping dropkicks or cartwheel guard passes.
However, it is the combination of his flashy techniques with his never say die approach to fighting that will immortalize Sakuraba as a legend of the sport.
6. Jose Aldo
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Out of all the fighters competing in the UFC's lighter weight classes, there are few guys that are as flashy and dangerous as UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo.
For years, the Brazilian powerhouse has utilized a special blend of creative combinations and raw speed and power to decimate his opponents inside the Octagon en route to his current 15-fight win streak.
While Aldo has been known to throw superman punches and other creative strikes from time to time, his most devastating and flashiest techniques come from his knees, which he can land from a variety of positions.
The UFC champ put on a highlight reel performance against Cub Swanson at WEC 41 with his knee strikes, taking just 8 seconds to land a double flying knee for the knockout.
Considering his speed and creativity with his strikes, Aldo may have one of the best stand-up games in the sport today.
5. Cung Le
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41-year-old middleweight Cung Le may be showing off his flashy moves in more action movies these days, but the former Strikeforce champ still has some skills inside the cage.
A decorated Sanshou kickboxer before moving into MMA, Le has be exciting fans for years with his unorthodox striking style, highlighted by his huge arsenal of powerful kicks.
The Vietnamese born fighter loves to use spinning kicks, front leg side kicks and hook kicks to keep his opponents at a distance, and will often integrate rarely used sweeps and trips to keep his opponents guessing.
While Le is getting up there in age, it's always a treat to see this real-life Tekken character score a sweet combo of strikes inside the Octagon.
4. Genki Sudo
Fact: you are not a true hardcore MMA fan unless you're obsessed with Genki Sudo.
The former UFC and Pancrase vet wasn't just flashy with his techniques, as he often used flying triangles and armbars as well as spinning backfists, but his cage entrances were some of the most creative walk-ins in MMA history.
Sudo would choreograph lengthy, intricate entrances to nearly each of his fights, using a myriad of dancers, pyrotechnics, costumes and other props to put on pop concert style performances that Lady Gaga would be jealous of.
Since his retirement from fighting in 2006, it's no wonder that Sudo has channeled his flashiness into a career in music.
Check out his latest music video with his group World Order embedded in this slide.
3. Anthony Pettis
If you call yourself "Showtime," you better be flashy in the cage.
Former WEC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis has certainly lived up to his moniker so far as he constantly throws new and innovative techniques each time he enters the Octagon.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past three years, then I'm sure you've seen his "Showtime Kick" against Benson Henderson at WEC 53. I've embedded a video of it just in case.
Beyond his off-the-wall antics, Pettis is great at throwing Tae Kwon Do and Capoeira inspired techniques and is also pretty slick on the ground.
It's a shame "Showtime" was forced out of his bout with Jose Aldo as that had the potential to be one of the flashiest fights in MMA history.
2. Jon Jones
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UFC light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones isn't just flashy for flashiness sake, actually, he uses his unorthodox style in a very intelligent manner.
"Bones" will often throw spinning elbows against the cage, oblique kicks to the knee and a whole gamut of other flashy techniques not just for show, but in order to set-up even more devastating moves.
He's constantly attacking from different angles and switching up his wrestling and striking game, making him one of the most unpredictable fighters in the game today.
And at just 25-years-old, I'm both scared and excited to see what other crazy moves Jones will add to his arsenal in the coming years.
1. Anderson Silva
Jon Jones may be the future, but until Anderson Silva hangs up the gloves, it's "The Spider" who reigns supreme as MMA's flashiest fighter.
The UFC's middleweight king has a record filled with highlight reel finishes that have come against some of the best the sport has to offer. Whether it's the stepping back jab that KO'd Forrest Griffin or the front kick KO that stopped Vitor Belfort, Silva has the ability to finish fights in ways that you'd only think were possible in a Jet Li film.
Sure, "The Spider" may showboat from time to time, but that just makes him look even more impressive when he decides to take a fight seriously.
Not only is Silva the greatest of all-time, but he's probably the flashiest fighter in the sport's history as well.