The sport of boxing is often seen as in conflict with Mixed Martial Art's biggest promotion, the UFC, but in fact it is a fundamental art all UFC fighters must be familiar with to survive.
While pure boxers have never fared well in the sport, from Art Jimmerson to James Tony, the UFC is not short of accomplished boxers.
This slide show is meant to look at those fighters in the UFC who excel at the sweet science and are the most effective at using in UFC fights.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
The 2008 version of Jackson would be much, much higher. But Jackson has turned his back on much of what made him successful as a fighter. Jackson no longer throws his effective jab and now just looks for in close upper cuts and hooks. He has great power in his hooks and is dangerous on his feet for sure, but anyone who can keep him at range will contain his power.
Couture was Army Boxing Champion and has quite a bit of boxing savvy. Most of it shown itself in the dirty boxing he has used to great success, but Couture has a very nice right hand, with which he rocked Tim Sylvia. Couture also is quite good with his left hand, and it was his jab and left hook that really won him that first fight against Chuck Liddell.
Bonnar is the embodiment of mid-level fighter today, considered a jack of all trades and a master of none, but every opponent going against Bonnnar has to respect his boxing. Bonnar is a two time (2002, 2004) Chicago Gold Gloves Champion, one of the the toughest amateur boxing tournaments. Accurate and smooth with his combinations, Bonnar is still one of the better boxers in the Light Heavyweight division.
Florian has been a solid striker for much of his UFC career, known mostly for his Muay Thai elbow strikes, but it was the addition of boxing that made him an elite striker in his weight-class. He used his solid jab and powerful straight punches to dominate Roger Huetra, Joe Stevenson, Clay Guida and Takanori Gomi.
Georges St. Pierre
Pierre's work with Freddie Roach in the lead up to his rematch with Josh Koscheck has clearly paid off. GSP has always had good striking, but he showed a very quick and stiff jab in his most recent fight. It was surprising heavy for GSP had never shown much power in his left hand before and with his first punch he broke Kos' orbital bone.
Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira
Big Nog is here mostly out of respect for his career. His decline has been very sharp and his stalking style has turning into plodding and his KO losses to Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez show how much speed he has lost. But in his day, "Big Nog" had some of the best boxing in MMA.
The UFC Bantamweight Champion's style can be summed up in the old boxing proverb "You can't hit what you can't catch." Dominick Cruz uses his speed, head movement and a strong jab to control and frustrate opponnets on the feet. Cruz creates excellent angles with his footwork and uses every bit of his 69 inch reach its fullest.
That is not to say that he is without flaw, as Cruz tends to lead his movements with his head when he punches and throws bow-and-arrow punches, exposing his chin.
That said, the Bantamweight division needs to brush up on their boxing because this young champion improves each time out and is quickly becoming one of the more technical strikers in the UFC.
Australian UFC lightweight George Sotiropoulos is not just one of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts to hail from Down Under, but he is also a Victorian State Amateur Boxing champion.
While Sotiropoulos' 7-0 run in the UFC is mostly been due to his jiu jitsu prowess, we have yet to see the Aussie out-struck and he has been very impressive during his time on the feet. He has a very strong straight right hand and is very adept at slipping punches. Look for Sotiropoulos to use his boxing in his upcoming UFC 127 match against great kickboxer Dennis Siver.
The UFC Lightweight Champion's boxing game is one of the major factors of his improbable run to the title. Frankie Edgar's entire boxing game is based around speed both of foot and of hand.
Edgar is a very small 155-pound fighter, he cuts almost no weight in his lead up to fights and it would be almost no problem for him to make the 145-pound weight limit for Featherweight. So Edgar is at a size disadvantage in every fight, and Edgar uses his speed to control the pace and distance of fights.
Edgar uses his excellent footwork to dart in and out of striking range and peppers opponents with combination punching to the head and body and then quickly circles away before his opponent can respond.
Edgar's defensive boxing lags a bit behind his offensive boxing, as Gray Maynard showed. But Edgar's boxing skill set is already a huge part of his game and if his rematch with Penn is any guide, look for Edgar to improve on those flaws in his rematch with Gray Maynard.
The man known as "Little Nog," lives in the shadow of his twin brother's accomplishment but boasts a stronger boxing game.
An accomplished amateur boxer, Rogério Nogueira won gold at the South American games and Bronze at the Pan Am games in 2006 and 2007. And in the mid-2000s was considered by many to be the best boxer in all of MMA.
His 2005 fight in Pride against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was a fine display of his boxing, Nogueira beat Shogun to the punch all night with tighter and more technical punches. While Shogun did earn the decision victory with his grappling, it was an excellent display of how effective the sweet science could be in MMA.
Nogueira's run in the UFC has been less than ideal with his recent loss to Ryan Bader, there are not many Light Heavyweights that want to test Nogueira's boxing because it wasn't so long ago that he was snapping Luis Aruther Cane with crisp hooks in his UFC debut.
Firefighter Chris Lytle is combat sports lifer. A wrestler in high school, when he entered into firefighting, he training in multiple combat sports in his spare time.
In addition to his 52 professional MMA fights, Lytle is also 15-1-1 as pro boxer. He's very well rounded as a boxer and has a great to chin to boot. For much of his most recent UFC run, Lytle focused more on being exciting than focusing on being well rounded, and while he piled up bonus checks he wasn't viewed as a legitimate contender.
But Lytle is in the midst of a run back to contender-ship and much of it is due to his use of more measured boxing instead of wild hay makers and more effectively using his grappling. With his underrated Jiu Jitsu game and excellent boxing, Lytle now posses a well-rounded threat to any UFC Welterweight.
Cain Velasquez's stand up was heavily criticized by UFC fans and pundits alike after his win over Cheick Kongo, in which Velasquez was rocked several times. Velasquez worked very hard on his boxing, and nearly a year later when he was faced with legendary Minotauro Nogueira, Velasquez's trainer Javier Mendez boasted that his fighter had the skill to be a Top 10 Heavyweight boxer.
That comment got a hardy laugh from the MMA media, but the laughing stopped when Velasquez knocked out the legend in just 2 minutes. Later that same year, Velasquez used his boxing to become UFC Heavyweight champion, notching a TKO win over Brock Lesnar.
Velasquez's hand speed is simply amazing and once he finds his range, he is able to put together lighting fast combinations. The UFC Champion also has great power in his hands, all but one of his nine MMA wins have come via (T)KO.
"Hand speed" is the first phrase that often comes up when discussing UFC Middleweight Vitor Belfort. And Belfort has power to go with that speed and is very accurate with his punches. Some of his most iconic wins put this boxing prowess on full display, his KO wins over Scott Ferrozzo and Tank Abbott to claim a UFC Heavyweight Tournament, his knock out of Wanderlei Sivla and his most recent KO of Rich Franklin.
Belfort only has one pro boxing match to his name, in which he knocked down his opponent three times earning a TKO win in less than one minute. It was so impressive, he received interest from Golden Boy Promotions if he ever wanted to try his hand at boxing again.
Vitor is entering his mid-30s and coming off his first loss in four years, but his boxing is as dangerous as ever and must be respected by the next middleweight to challenge him.
Junior Dos Santos' background officially is kickboxing, but he has professed a love for boxing. Dos Santos is known for his boxing and punching power almost excursively, we have yet to see him flex his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt or his kicking game.
Dos Santos just really enjoys punches guys in the face, and he is really good at it. In his pro kickboxing career he went 18-0 with 18 KOs and 8 KOs in MMA. Power defines his boxing game, he is excellent at setting up power shots, isn't afraid to work the body and its a matter of "when" not "if" he lands that big punch.
The Brazilian brawler has just viscous hooks and upper cuts and Roy Nelson is the only UFC fighter to date to withstand his barrage of damage.
A UFC legend, B.J. Penn was born a fighter. Nicknamed the prodigy for his uncanny ability to learn the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, upon entering MMA Penn showed a similar learning curve for the sweet science of boxing.
With naturally heavy hands and granite chin, Penn trained boxing with legendary Freddie Roach in the early 2000s who declared him the best boxer he'd seen in the UFC. Penn features a lighting quick jab that he uses to pulverize opponent's faces and strong right hand. He also has an excellent ability to slip punches and throw strong counters, as Matt Hughes learned in their most recent meeting.
Now Penn's boxing did finally look human when he was faced with the speed based in-and-out style of Frankie Edgar, but he was still able to land hard counters in their first fight and Edgar showed a strong chin in order to not be rocked.
What sets the UFC Middleweight Champion apart isn't his stiff jab, his right cross, devastating straight punches or his pinpoint accuracy. What really makes Anderson "The Spider" Silva the best boxer in the whole of MMA are his defensive abilities.
Silva has excellent footwork and can work circles around just about any striker. His head movement and ability to slip and counter is the best in all of MMA, with out question. Silva also has fought on the amateur and pro level of boxing in Brazil to great success. He has natural power to go with his speed and reach, making him just a nightmare to fight.
Silva has worked with legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach also, who considers Silva's boxing on par with the elite middleweight boxers.