MMA is generally exciting. However, there is a spectrum of excitement in MMA. Many fighters are safe and methodical. We're impressed by their talent, but they don't always enthrall us.
Certain fighters, however, showcase a sensational amount of grit and fortitude whenever they're locked in the Octagon. They're not meek. They're not cautious. Are they crazy? They evoke so much excitement that viewers howl at their televisions, devolving into monkeys intoxicated with primal passion and a thirst for carnage.
“Excitement” can't be measured objectively. My qualifiers for excitement include daring, resilience, relentlessness and toughness. Moreover, you'll find the men on this list simply possess the biggest cajones in the UFC.
Scope out this list, which is in no particular order, and feel free to post your thoughts below.
Although his style has never been heralded as the most technical or effective, Wanderlei Silva's wild approach is still an awesome spectacle.
“The Axe Murderer” is reaching the end of his prolific career, and his successes of late have been fewer than in PRIDE. Still, he brings it in every bout, swinging away until either he falls or his opponent does. His rabid pace and aggression have always been enthralling.
His recent fights with Cung Le, Rich Franklin and Brian Stann confirmed Silva's clout as a modern-day gladiator, delivering loads of raw excitement and joy to fans everywhere.
A common trait among fighters on this list is that they seek knockouts and submissions fervently. Shogun isn't an exception.
Shogun's most marketable feature, though, might be his ability to endure a beating. Against Jon Jones and Dan Henderson, Rua absorbed enough punishment to kill a whale. Yet in the midst of those heinous beatings, Shogun fought back with everything he had.
Rua's fights are often cinematic in their epicness, much like a Rocky movie. He gets rocked repeatedly, and his cardio wears thin, yet he continues to fire big shots and hurt his opponent right back. When Shogun's fighting, violence is guaranteed, and the outcome is never predictable.
His penchant for brawling and high-impact striking have endeared him to MMA fans. Even if he'll never reach his former glory again, he'll still be widely adored for his heart inside the cage.
Zombies don't point fight.
The Korean brawler plods through strikes without regard for his safety. His affinity for stopping his opponents makes him absorb immense punishment in order to crawl closer to delivering a finishing blow.
Chan-Sung Jung's disregard for his own health makes his MMA game seem raw, yet he strikes and grapples with expert proficiency. His fluidity and aggression on the ground coupled with his powerful striking make Jung an exciting yet well-rounded fighter.
“The Korean Zombie” amazes because he doesn't relent and he doesn't settle, even under major duress. During battle, his balls supersede his brain and take control of his body. Even after he was injured and exhausted, Jung continued to throw flying knees and winding uppercuts against Dustin Poirier. In visceral fashion,his grit granted him victory.
Like others on this list, Anderson Silva brandishes a warrior's spirit when he fights. He's brave and gritty, but that's not why the masses are tickled by his exploits.
Anderson Silva is exciting because he does things inside the Octagon that seem impossible. He's a ninja among mere dudes. He taunts and dances as he dispatches professional fighters, making it seem as if they've never trained a day.
The champion's movement is supremely nimble and fleet, and his highlight reel is a collection of clever and brutal finishes.
“The Spider” has put forth a few lackluster performances in the UFC, but those anomalies are outshined by his many moments of brilliance.
Joe Lauzon's will to finish fights is swell. His ground game is smooth and busy, allowing him to attack his opponents with daring submissions and chain those attempts into others. His finishing ability and overall excitement level have earned him many thousands of dollars in bonus money and a spot on this list.
In fact, Joe Lauzon has earned the most post-fight bonuses in UFC history. A dynamic BJJ artist, “J-Lau” has received the “Submission of the Night Honors” six times, as well as “Fight of the Night Honors” five times and “Knockout of the Night Honors” once.
Whether he's unleashing a decisive beating (Gabe Ruediger) or losing a hard-fought battle (Jim Miller), Joe Lauzon is always a thriller.
Honorable mentions: Jose Aldo, Jon Jones, Mark Hunt, Junior dos Santos, Stefan Struve, Nate Diaz, Benson Henderson, Cain Velazquez, Alan Belcher, Robbie Lawler, Vitor Belfort, and Yoshihiro Akiyama.