A great striker is what draws most of us to MMA. A fighter who can deliver an instant knockout in the most brutal way possible is what makes the sport so exciting.
However, being a great knockout specialist is not enough to make this list.
This list is comprised of strikers who can be effective and smart with their attacks.
Strikers who can break down their opponents with an effective mix of punches and kicks are far more impressive than those to can just go in and put someone to sleep in the first round.
Why? Well...There will always be someone who can take a clean shot to the chin, so sometimes you might have to go with Plan B.
Love him or hate him, Nick Diaz is a great fighter.
No one throws out a punch volume like this guy, plus he attacks the body frequently, an under-utilized skill in MMA.
Overeem is a beast. With his recent growth in size, the added muscle makes his K-1 striking skill that much more powerful.
After seeing what he did to Brett Rogers in May, he can now pound his way throughout the heavyweights in MMA.
Vitor Belfort has been out of action for a while, and he only really made his return recently against Rich Franklin.
The hand speed and explosive standing that he has makes him like an oversized Jose Aldo.
Don't write him off just yet. One loss means nothing with regard to this man's striking skills.
While his win percentage via knockout may not be very high (25 percent), it's the way that he's able to vary his striking to suit the type of opponent that he's facing.
In his previous three fights before his first real loss against Fabricio Werdum, he was able to knock out his opponents in devastating fashion, all without breaking a sweat.
What Royce Gracie was for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu back in UFC's early days, Lyoto Machida is for karate in the modern-day incarnation of the organization.
His elusive Shotokan karate counter style is like no other in MMA, and until he met up with a man named Shogun, he was on a tear through the Light Heavyweight division.
While B.J. Penn may be known primarily for his phenomenal ground skills, many people fail to realize that he has some of the best pure boxing skills in MMA.
With a great jab and excellent head movement, there have been numerous fights, including his first meeting with GSP, that his opponents have been stuck between a rock and a hard place as to where to take the fight.
Marlon who? Well, in some circles, he's ranked as the No. 2 Featherweight in the world behind Jose Aldo.
This BJJ black belt just has face-melting power. He puts his hands on you and you go to sleep.
Oh, and did I mention that he happens to be Jose Aldo's training partner?
Okay, now before everyone starts to plan what they are going to write in their comments about this selection, let me explain my reasons for the decision to not place Anderson Silva at No. 1:
- It's too obvious to place him there. Yes, he is a phenomenal striker, we all know that; but his recent performances have been pretty lackluster. Now, he only appears to be a shell of the striker that he was when he first joined UFC.
- Silva's shown a lack of respect for opponents that he can easily beat. In his last fight against Demian Maia, it was an utter circus for five rounds.
Within the first round, you could clearly see that Maia was not even on Silva's level; but instead of finishing his opponent off, Silva proceeded to taunt and humiliate Maia.
This is not what a devastating striker does, and until Silva can show signs that he is returning to his old form, No. 6 is a perfect spot for him on this list.
Shane Carwin has the goods to be on this list with his devastating, fight-ending, one-punch power.
There is no doubt that he should be mentioned among the great strikers in MMA today (Just ask Brock Lesnar).
However, the reason that he's not higher on this list is simply the fact that he's got no stamina.
At UFC 116, he showed the world that he could take Lesnar only if the fight lasted one round.
Carwin's lack of experience beyond the first round in 12 fights up until that point really hurt him in a big way during that fight. He basically punched himself out and had nothing left for Lesnar by Round Two.
With some adjustments to his training, I have no doubt that Carwin could find himself back in the hunt for the title.
I know that this might come as a surprise to some that the lady they call "Cyborg" even makes the list, but Strikeforce's Women's Featherweight Champ belongs on this list for one main reason: She fights like a man.
Sure, Gina Carano hits hard, but Santos hits harder and faster.
I'll even go so far as to say that she reminds me of a female version of Wanderlei Silva, which would make sense since both practice the Chute Boxe style of striking.
For those unfamiliar with this style, it's a very fast-paced style designed to throw punches in rapid fashion, which ultimately swarms the opponent.
Much credit can be given to her husband, Evangelista Santos, who is also an MMA fighter with Strikeforce.
Mr. Santos, along with the Chute Boxe Academy, has made this woman a force to be reckoned with in MMA.
After her destruction of MMA eye candy and former champion Gina Carano last August, I don't see anyone coming in and giving her much of a threat, with the exception of possibly Erin Toughill.
This heavyweight contender has skyrocketed to the upper level of the division with his knockout victories over Fabricio Werdum, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Gilbert Yvel.
He's got very good footwork for a big man, and when you combine that with power, you have a dangerous fighter.
Mauricio Rua is a top-level striker, and you know it. Let's look at the facts:
- Shogun's win percentage via knockout is 81 percent.
- He has amassed a pretty impressive list of victims, which includes: Lyoto Machida, Chuck Liddell, Alistair Overeem, and Rampage Jackson, just to name a few.
- His effective use of a Muay Thai striking style was pretty evident in both of his fights against former Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida.
In the first fight, he pushed "The Dragon" more than anyone else ever has in a fight, which exposed a few holes in what was once thought to be an impenetrable stand-up game.
However, in their second fight, Rua was able to take what he learned from their first encounter and quickly pounce on the former champion to end the fight in the first round.
Rua is a fighter with the most balance in the stand-up right now, and we should all take notice.
I've had the pleasure of meeting Jose Aldo recently, and I would have to say that he is the nicest guy you could meet.
Incredibly humble and gracious, this is a completely different picture that comes to mind when you say his name.
In the cage, Aldo is a man possessed. He attacks his opponents like they've stolen something from him.
With a vicious combination of power and speed, it's no wonder that he is not only the WEC Featherweight Champ, but the most feared man in the division.
In the aftermath of his most recent victory over longtime division favorite Urijah Faber, the former champion posted a Tweet of his swollen and bruised leg, which was the result of Aldo's devastating leg kicks.
Who could forget the double flying knee KO victory over Cub Swanson at WEC 41? That's right, a flying DOUBLE KNEE. Aldo was so fast that he was able to tag Swanson with both knees.
Are you going to tell him he shouldn't be No. 1?