10 UFC Fighters Who Have Absorbed the Most Punishment in 2013
While technique is of primary importance inside the Octagon, fighters like Mark Hunt, Roy Nelson and Diego Sanchez probably wouldn't be where they are in the UFC today without their sheer toughness.
Over the past 12 months, UFC fighters have poured blood, sweat and tears onto the Octagon canvas. They've endured incredible amounts of punishment for the entertainment of MMA fans around the world. Some have taken more abuse than others, but all have risked their safety in pursuit of success in the purest form of competition.
The end of the calendar year brings an opportunity to recognize the sacrifices UFC fighters have made throughout 2013.
Damage can be measured in many different ways. The simplest and objective way to do so, though, is in the form of significant strikes received.
So, based on that statistic over all fights contested since Jan. 1, here are the fighters who have absorbed the most punishment in 2013.
10. Antonio Silva
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 172
Antonio Silva was on the receiving end of 69 strikes through his first two fights during 2013.
In February, Alistair Overeem picked "Bigfoot" apart for two rounds prior to being overwhelmed by the desperate Brazilian in the final stanza. Silva's come-from-behind win over the former Strikeforce champion earned him a shot at the heavyweight championship.
In a rematch with Cain Velasquez, "Bigfoot" was stopped after being on the wrong end of 18 significant strikes.
Silva may have taken a good amount of punishment through his first two fights in 2013, but a recent bout with Mark Hunt more than doubled the amount of total strikes he absorbed. The Brazilian battled to a draw with Hunt, somehow surviving 103 significant strikes from the high-level kickboxer.
T8. Sam Stout
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 174
Sam Stout posted a respectable 2-1 record in 2013, but he took a good amount of damage in the process.
The Canadian opened the year with a split-decision victory over Caros Fodor in February. With 47 significant strikes, Fodor actually landed one more strike than Stout over three rounds.
In June, Stout competed in his most punishing fight of 2013. The 29-year-old ate 96 strikes from James Krause at UFC 161 before being forced to tap due to a guillotine choke in the third round.
At UFC on Fox 9, Stout got back into the win column. However, the 31 significant strikes he received from Cody McKenzie elevated him into the most frequently hit fighters of the past 12 months.
T8. Takeya Mizugaki
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 174
Takeya's Mizugaki's place on this list might be misleading.
Although the Japanese bantamweight was among the most punished fighters in 2013, he went undefeated in three fights over the past 12 months. Even though he performed well, Mizugaki employs a style that leaves him in many back-and-forth boxing exchanges, which is the main reason he was hit so frequently.
In narrow decision victories over Bryan Caraway and Erik Perez, Mizugaki was tagged 37 times each.
A bout with Nam Phan is what really upped the 30-year-old's amount of strikes absorbed in 2013. Mizugaki was a clear winner in that matchup, but he was willing to brawl with Phan and left himself on the receiving end of 100 significant strikes.
7. Diego Sanchez
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 177
Though he only competed twice in 2013, Diego Sanchez still found a way to take more damage than most UFC fighters.
In March, Sanchez was on the receiving end of 81 significant strikes from former Pride FC champion Takanori Gomi. Although Sanchez only landed 65 times, he found a way to steal a decision from the Japanese MMA veteran.
While Sanchez absorbed a good amount of punishment against Gomi, he looked almost superhuman in a fight with Gilbert Melendez. The former Strikeforce champion blasted Sanchez with his best shots 96 times only to find himself in survival mode after being rocked in the third round.
Sanchez still came up short on the scorecards in that matchup, but he showed amazing toughness to take the fight to the scorecards.
6. Dennis Bermudez
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 180
Like Takeya Mizugaki, Dennis Bermudez went undefeated in three fights during 2013. Winning didn't save the TUF runner-up from eating some big shots along the way, though.
In February, Bermudez met Matt Grice in a Fight of the Year candidate. The featherweights traded blows for three rounds until Bermudez was named the winner in a split decision.
Three months later, "The Menace" was back in the Octagon.
A matchup with Max Holloway produced a competitive contest that lasted through all three rounds. Bermudez was on the receiving end of 75 significant strikes in that bout, but he came away with another split-decision win by scoring four takedowns.
UFC Fight Night 31 provided Bermudez with a less taxing outing. Still, the 23 strikes Steven Siler landed on him made Bermudez one of the 10 most punished UFC fighters of 2013.
5. Roy Nelson
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 184
Roy Nelson's UFC career has almost exclusively consisted of quick knockout wins and decision losses that could be described as prolonged beatings.
"Big Country" opened the year with one of his quick knockout wins, stopping Cheick Kongo with only two significant strikes at UFC 159. Only eating four shots from Kongo in the process, Nelson appeared to be on his way to a somewhat healthy 2013.
Taking a quick turnaround fight with Stipe Miocic less than two months later, Nelson's 2013 quickly took a turn for the worse, though. Miocic picked Nelson apart at UFC 161, landing 106 significant strikes en route to a lopsided decision win.
At UFC 166, it was another rough outing for Nelson. Surging Strikeforce veteran Daniel Cormier had his way with Nelson en route to a decision win, leaving Nelson as one of the most damaged fighters in 2013.
4. Sean Spencer
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 194
Sean Spencer was a newcomer to the UFC roster in 2013, but he accumulated a good amount of experience over the past 12 months. The 24-year-old competed three times, with all fights lasting three rounds, so he was bound to have his chin tested a few times.
In January, Spencer made his debut against Rafael Natal. The Brazilian grounded Spencer four times and chipped away with ground-and-pound to earn a decision win.
Not wanting to be shut out inside the Octagon, Spencer was able to turn things around in his next two fights, earning decision wins over Yuri Villefort and Drew Dober. Still, Spencer again ate more than 60 significant strikes again in those two matchups.
3. Mark Hunt
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 195
Mark Hunt endured an overwhelming amount of punishment in the heavyweight division during 2013.
Things didn't start out so bad for Hunt, who defeated Stefan Struve in March. Before knocking "The Skyscraper" out with a jaw-breaking punch, Hunt was only hit with 24 significant strikes in that outing.
Beating Struve took Hunt to a new level of competition, though.
While Hunt held his own against former champion Junior dos Santos, he was punished for his toughness. Possibly the heaviest hitter on the UFC roster, dos Santos hit Hunt with 74 significant strikes before putting "The Super Samoan" away with a spinning heel kick.
If the damage Hunt absorbed in his bout with dos Santos wasn't enough, he also had a epic brawl with Antonio Silva. Over five rounds, "Bigfoot" tagged Hunt 97 times in a fight that was ultimately declared a draw.
2. Yuri Villefort
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 220
The only fighter on this countdown no longer on the UFC roster, Yuri Villefort absorbed an incredible amount of significant strikes in only two trips to the Octagon.
Villefort made his UFC debut against fellow Strikeforce veteran Nah-Shon Burrell. Although he scored three takedowns, Villefort was blasted with 121 strikes at UFC 157, leading to a unanimous-decision loss to start his short UFC stay.
With his job on the line at UFC Fight Night 28, Villefort was again beaten in a decision. Over three rounds, Villefort was hit with 99 significant strikes from Sean Spencer.
1. Rosi Sexton
Significant Strikes Absorbed: 250
Rosi Sexton took more damage than any other fighter on the UFC roster in 2013 despite fighting only two times.
At UFC 161, Sexton made her UFC debut against Alexis Davis. While she was beaten unanimously on the scorecards in that matchup, Sexton was hit with an ordinary 44 significant strikes.
UFC Fight Night 30 is where things got ugly.
Sexton was on the receiving end of 206 significant strikes during that October fight card, where she met Jessica Andrade. That outing alone would have made Sexton the second-most punished fighter of 2013, showing how crazy it is that the fight was not stopped before reaching the scorecards.
Statistics via FightMetric.com.