Yoel Romero and the Most Physically Imposing Fighters in the UFC

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIJune 17, 2014

Yoel Romero and the Most Physically Imposing Fighters in the UFC

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    Some fighters are strategic masterminds, others are technically sound, and a few are just physical freaks.

    MMA athletes tend to be some of the best-conditioned athletes in the world, and those in the UFC represent the top percentage of that group.

    Roy Nelson would obviously be given a pass.

    Guys like UFC middleweight Yoel Romero represent true physical specimens who likely put some doubt into an opponent's mind even before the showdown.

    MMA fans of course love a good scrap, but there's something about watching a fighter who defies the logic of nutrition and physics. Whether it be with a near-perfect physique or the ability to overpower their opposition, these fighters are the most physically imposing competitors to step foot in the Octagon.

Honorable Mentions

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    These guys could have easily made the list and be mentioned among the most physically imposing, but 10 is such a round number.

    Chad Mendes: Looks at this. Seriously, Mendes is a man among boys with his size and athleticism.

    Benson Henderson: The former UFC lightweight champ has tree trunks for legs and is among the biggest lightweights in the division. Few people have the ability to outmuscle "Smooth" when the cage door closes.

    Urijah Faber: "The California Kid" helped build the featherweight division and has become a staple of the bantamweight division. Despite being one of the more seasoned fighters on the roster, he is routinely the bigger, faster fighter come fight night.

    John Dodson: Move on from the shrieking laugh, and you'll realize Dodson is a physically imposing flyweight. And no, that's not an oxymoron. He has the athleticism of a flyweight and the knockout power of a much larger man.

    Gleison Tibau: I know we ask this question every time the Brazilian fights, but seriously, how does he cut down to lightweight?

    Khabib Nurmagomedov: It may not always look pretty or technical, but Nurmagomedov's "attack first, attack later" style is definitely imposing. Opposing fighters have to feel like they're fighting a freight train with how unstoppable "The Eagle" has been in the Octagon.

    Vitor Belfort: I didn't include him on the list because of how many TRT-related comments it would inspire. Still, whether it's from a pharmacy or training, he is a freak of nature when it comes to physique and stopping power.

Yoel Romero

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    We might as well start with the guy in the introduction, right?

    Yoel Romero just looks like a fighter. I'm amazed every time he weighs in that the scale reads 186/185 pounds. Years of training at an Olympic level for wrestling have certainly created an imposing figure.

    Oh, and he hits pretty hard too. Just ask Derek Brunson, Ronny Markes and Clifford Starks. Or you can ask Brad Tavares about how the beach muscles aren't just for show with Romero.

    And he's not just gifted with physical strength either. Check out this feature from Bloody Elbow's wrestling guru Mike Riordan, which showcases some of Romero's physical gifts.

    Thus far in his career he has shown that he's as dangerous on the feet as he is on the mat. He'll have to be careful to avoid falling into the pitfalls that many wrestlers have found themselves in—love of the knockout.

    He will enjoy a grappling advantage over nearly everyone he faces; he'd be wise to continue using his wrestling just as much as his thunderous punches.

Hector Lombard

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    Hector Lombard was already a beast at middleweight; now that he's at welterweight, he looks like someone out of a Marvel comic.

    Not only does he possess dangerous knockout power, but he's extremely strong when it comes to grappling. He can thwart any number of takedowns an opponent throws at him. Check out the way he was able to manhandle Jake Shields.

    Lombard has made a career out of finishing his fights, as 26 of his 34 total wins have ended before the final bell. It seems he is not only aware of his skills as a fighter but well-aware of his physical status as well—that's if you believe the stories from inside the gym.

    If there's one thing worse than a bully, it's a bully who's too big to beat up.

    Dong Hyun Kim will look to stand up for all the little guys in the gym when he takes on Lombard on August 23.

Alistair Overeem

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    Alistair Overeem may often be the butt of jokes from MMA fans, but one thing they can't knock is his incredible physique.

    Of course, that hasn't always translated into great cardio shape, but few fighters have the ability to control men in the clinch like "The Reem."

    It's too bad that his physical appearance hasn't worked out for him in the Octagon, because The Reem would be the perfect guy to put on a poster. Perhaps he is too busy using the mirrors in the gym, since his cockiness has been his Achilles' heel in the UFC.

    Overeem was running away with a victory against Antonio Silva and came within moments of finishing Travis Browne as well. But his overconfidence cost him, and outside of a lackluster decision win against Frank Mir, Overeem's recent career in the UFC has been anything but a success.

    But hey, at least he never has to worry about getting ready for beach season like the rest of us "large and in charge" fellows.

Phil Davis

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    OK, so Phil Davis doesn't seem that imposing after getting manhandled by Anthony Johnson and Rashad Evans in his UFC career, but he still has an impressive physique to fall back on.

    Drinking Redbull doesn't give you wings; being Phil Davis gives you wings. Or at least a lot of lat pulldowns.

    His physical gifts have served him well inside the Octagon. He's one of the top light heavyweights despite faltering when a title shot was on the line.

    He'll have some work to do in order to regain his lost momentum, but with his physical gifts, he's already one step ahead of most competitors.

Cain Velasquez

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    Cain Velasquez doesn't have an "Adonis" physique, but what the UFC heavyweight champ lacks in chiseled muscle, he more than makes up for in results.

    No, he isn't likely to intimidate too many heavyweights when he flexes, but his ability to impose his will on virtually everyone he's faced is remarkable. His fight (if you can call it that) with Antonio Silva showcased what a motivated Velasquez is capable of.

    He also managed to use the same game plan twice against Junior dos Santos. As anyone who has had to wrestle with a heavyweight will tell you, holding a big guy in one place is no easy task.

    Velasquez did it for nearly 50 minutes.

    The UFC heavyweight champ won't win any bodybuilding contests, but I'm sure he's content with being the biggest, baddest heavyweight in combat sports. He is set to defend his heavyweight title against Fabricio Werdum later this year.

Tyron Woodley

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    A lot of people aren't happy with Tyron Woodley's performance at UFC 174. And the majority of those people wouldn't dare voice their displeasure to his face.

    His imposing frame has been the subject of many Joe Rogan rants about conditioning versus muscles, but one thing remains clear: Woodley is a massive welterweight.

    Early in his career, he used his size and amateur wrestling background to keep fighters on the ground. Lately, he has harnessed his strength into being a true knockout puncher, as shown by his devastating knockouts of Jay Hieron and Josh Koscheck.

    Woodley needs another dominant win after Rory MacDonald picked him apart for three rounds. Hopefully, "The Chosen One" still has the same confidence and can bounce back in his next Octagon outing.

Jose Aldo

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    Jose Aldo has struggled with making the 145-pound weight limit in the past, and even though he seems to have gotten that under control, he is still a big featherweight.

    There's a reason fans have been dreaming about the day he gets bored of dispatching featherweights and decides to head up to lightweight.

    But he isn't just physically imposing based on pure size. He's physically imposing for the damage that his featherweight frame is capable of unloading. Fighters know they should invest in a pretty comfy wheelchair following a contest with Aldo.

    Heck, I bet some of his sparring partners take a taxi home, so they don't have to worry about pushing down on the gas pedal.

    The UFC featherweight champion is also physically gifted when it comes to agility. His head movement is among the best in MMA, and he makes avoiding his opponent's strikes look rather easy.

    It remains to be seen if Aldo's physical talents will continue to keep him atop the featherweight division, which he will look to do at UFC 176 when he takes on Chad Mendes once more.

Anthony Johnson

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    Just think for a second—that man used to compete at welterweight.

    Anthony "Rumble" Johnson continues to defy physics by fighting outside of heavyweight. He finally seems to have found a home at light heavyweight, which is a scary proposition for the rest of the 205-pound division.

    He isn't just a one-trick pony either; he has the agility and speed of a man half his size.

    Even if you take out his imposing size, he'd likely make this list based on his last performance in the Octagon. Facing a former Division I NCAA wrestling champion in Phil Davis, Johnson managed to shrug off his opponent's takedown attempts with ease.

    He then proceeded to place a whooping on Davis en route to a dominant decision victory in his UFC return. Johnson now looks to improve to 2-0 in the UFC's light heavyweight division when he faces Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on July 26.

    Wait, "Little Nog" hasn't pulled out yet?

Jon Jones

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    Wait what? Mr. Chicken Legs is physically imposing?

    You bet!

    Jon Jones at first appears to be a lanky young man, but check out this photo from Greg Jackson's MMA and tell me which one is the heavyweight.

    Jones may not have the bulging biceps or mountainous traps, but he's still an imposing figure compared to most light heavyweights. At 6'4" with an 84.5" reach advantage, he is not only taller than most 205-pounders, but he's well out of their range as well.

    In addition, the UFC light heavyweight champ is deceptively strong. He is adept at using leverage from his Greco-Roman background; just watch some of his highlights, like when he tossed around Stephan Bonnar around like a small child, as validation of his strength.

    Jones has a date with his biggest challenge to date in Alexander Gustafsson later this year, something fans have been eagerly anticipating.

Ronda Rousey

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    Hey, the ladies of the UFC can be just as physically imposing as their male counterparts.

    Ronda Rousey is physically imposing for the simple fact that every one of her opponents knows what she wants to do, yet none can stop her.

    She is so good at imposing her will that I don't think anything short of a woman pulling a "Kalib Starnes at UFC 83" is going to be able to stop Rousey from initiating the clinch and using her judo.

    The UFC women's bantamweight champion will look to keep her perfect record intact when she faces surging contender Alexis Davis at UFC 175.

     

    Can you think of anyone else? Sound off and physically impose your opinion on me. Just don't take my lunch money.