50 Most Dangerous Fighters in MMA History
Since arriving years ago, the sport of mixed martial arts has come a long way in establishing itself as a force in the world of sports.
The main reason for this growing success is the fighters who make a career out of the sport, sacrificing their lives to the sport they truly love.
These fighters, both active and retired, can be feared for their knockout power, submission skills or just downright dominant performances.
So, the following slides display the 50 most dangerous fighters in MMA history.
Lyoto Machida joined the UFC with a perfect 8-0 record only to continue his domination in his next eight fights on route to becoming the UFC light heavyweight champion.
But, it wasn't until UFC 129 when Machida showed the world just how dangerous he truly is in a thrilling front kick that sent Randy Couture to the ground.
Machida's karate based skills have helped him become a feared fighter across the globe.
While George St-Pierre has a tendency to take his opponents to the judge's scorecards, his dominance over the years has allowed him to be recognized as one of the most dangerous fighters of all-time.
The Canadian mixed martial artist is on a nine fight winning streak and has established himself as arguably the greatest welterweight in UFC history.
St-Pierre has defeated the likes of BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, and Jon Fitch.
While Brock Lesnar still has a lot to prove inside the Octagon since taking some time off, he remains one of the most dangerous fighters in the mixed martial arts history.
Lesnar's vicious ground and pound skills allowed him to become the UFC heavyweight champion following a victory over Randy Couture at UFC 91.
Lesnar will only become more dangerous as his career progresses.
Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson isn't near the threat he once was as he was considered to be one of the most dangerous strikers in the world at one point.
However, Jackson has done enough over the course of his career to be labeled as a feared fighter in all of mixed martial arts.
In 32 career victories, Jackson has finished off his opponent by way of knockout 14 different times.
Fedor Emelianenko may very well be the most dangerous fighter in mixed martial arts history as he went nearly ten years without a defeat.
While Fedor has since fallen from his throne, his dominance over the years simply cannot be denied.
And, while Fedor is often recognized for his knockout power, he's submitted his opponent on 16 occasions up until this point in his career.
While Randy Couture is no longer fighting in the sport of mixed martial arts, his prestigious legacy lives on.
Couture is one of two UFC fighters to have ever held two titles in two different weight classes as he fought at both light heavyweight and heavyweight.
Over the years, Couture has defeated Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, and Vitor Belfort.
Many mixed martial arts fans believe Shane Carwin to be the hardest hitting heavyweight in UFC history as his vicious strikes are almost unbearable.
And, while Carwin recently took time away from the Octagon, he is expected to return to his dangerous form at some point during 2012.
Carwin began his electrifying career with a perfect 12-0 before becoming the UFC heavyweight champion.
Not only is Anderson Silva one of the greatest fighters to have ever participated in mixed martial arts, but he's one of the most dangerous as well.
Silva may very well be the most feared fighter of all-time as he displays world class knockout power along with spectacular submission skills.
Over his long, dominating career, 'The Spider' has knocked out an electrifying 18 opponents while finishing six more and has never been beaten while fighting in the UFC.
Not only is Jose Aldo one of the most feared strikers in the featherweight division but in mixed martial arts history.
Aldo recently joined forces with the UFC as he currently reigns as the 145-pound champion and has posted a career record of 20-1.
It's a combination of Aldo's strikes, powerful kicks, and athleticism that make him one of the most dangerous fighters of all-time.
While Ken Shamrock ended his career the way no man should ever have to, it's likely he'll be remembered as one of the most dangerous fighters in mixed martial arts history.
As his nick name indicates, 'The World's Most Dangerous Man' Shamrock submitted an amazing 23 opponents by way of submission.
In fact, the first 14 wins of Shamrock's career were a direct result of the submission.
Many mixed martial arts fans fail to realize that Rich Franklin is one of the most well-rounded fighters of all-time.
However, 'Ace' Franklin is also one of the more dangerous fighters to have ever fought in the sport, posting 25 finishes in just 28 career fights.
Franklin has defeated the likes of Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, and Ken Shamrock.
BJ Penn joins Randy Couture as the only other UFC fighter to have ever held a title in more than one weight division.
After a dominating career, Penn announced he would step away from the sport of mixed martial arts until further notice.
Whether or not Penn comes back won't effect his legacy as he is one of the most dangerous fighters of all-time in any weight class.
Takanori Gomi began his mixed martial arts career with an impressive 29-3 (1) record on route to winning the Pride Grand Prix lightweight championship.
While Gomi's career is beginning to fade fast he'll always be remembered as one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet.
Over his career, Gomi has accumulated 12 wins by way of knockout.
Along side of George St-Pierre, Matt Hughes is considered by many fans to be the greatest welterweight in mixed martial arts history.
And, while Hughes certainly isn't the flashiest of fighters, he certainly had the skills to finish off his opponents throughout his career.
While Hughes may or may not be done inside the Octagon, he's had an unbelievable 35 finishes in his long-lived career.
Nick Diaz proved how dangerous he can be in his recent victory over BJ Penn at UFC 137 where he demonstrated world class boxing skills.
Diaz is on the best stretch of his career and remains an overwhelming threat to his opponent every time he steps inside the Octagon.
Issues or not, Diaz is one of the most dangerous fighters in mixed martial arts history.
Mixed martial arts fans across the globe couldn't believe their eyes when Melvin Guillard fell to defeat just under a minute into Round 1 at UFC 136.
However, Guillard has done enough to be one of the most feared fighters of all-time.
At just 155-pounds, Guillard's exceptional striking has allowed him to knock out 19 opponents in just 29 career victories.
Junior Dos Santos
Junior Dos Santos displayed to the world just how dangerous he truly is as he entered the Octagon at UFC on FOX as the number one contender.
64 seconds later, Dos Santos was leaving the Octagon the new heavyweight champion along with one of the best knockouts in UFC history.
Dos Santos will only continue to become more dangerous as he advances in his mixed martial arts career.
Cain Velasquez is a former UFC heavyweight champion and one of the most vicious strikers in the 265-pound weight class in all of mixed martial arts.
Of his nine career victories, Velasquez has knocked out his opponent eight times which include wins over Brock Lesnar, Antonio Nogueira, and Ben Rothwell.
Still only 29 years old, Velasquez has plenty of time to regain his heavyweight title that he lost to Junior Dos Santos at UFC on FOX.
While Pedro Rizzo isn't a name too many fans are familiar with, he's one of the most dangerous fighters in mixed martial arts history.
In just 19 career victories, Rizzo presented overpowering exchanges on his feet as he knocked out 11 opponents.
And, while Rizzo has stepped away from the sport he deeply loved, he will be remembered as one of the most feared fighters.
Andrei Arlovski entered the sport of mixed martial arts in 1999 and is still fighting to this very day.
And, while Arlovski certainly isn't the fighter he once was, he has done enough over his memorable career to earn the right to be considered a top threat in mixed martial arts history.
Arlovski will be remembered for his knockout victories over Roy Nelson and Ben Rothwell as well as his submission win over Tim Sylvia.
Bas Rutten's career could be compared to almost no other fighter as he began his fighting career with mediocrity and finished with excellence.
Rutten started off with an average 7-4 record before winning 21 of his last 22 bouts including one Draw.
Many fans also fail to realize that Rutten wasn't just feared in the knockout, but the submission as well as he totaled 25 finishes in his career.
Alistair Overeem recently joined forces with the UFC for a chance to fight at the highest stage of all mixed martial arts organizations.
However, UFC or not, Overeem has always been considered one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet.
Through his well-rounded fighting style, Overeem has submitted 19 opponents while finishing another 15 by knockout.
Dan Henderson is considered one of the most feared fighters of all-time for two reasons.
Not only is he one of the hardest hitters in mixed martial arts history but he's never even been knocked out in his career.
In order for an opponent to defeat Henderson, they'll have to catch him in a submission or hope to survive a frightening decision.
Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua
Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua has proved time and time again why he is one of the greatest fighters to have ever stepped inside a ring or Octagon.
Rua first became established as a feared fighter during his Pride days and his reputation continued after making the move to the UFC.
Rua, a former UFC light heavyweight champion has an amazing 17 wins by knockout in his career.
Despite being on the down fall of his career, Robbie Lawler will always be considered a dangerous fighter.
Lawler's specialty was found in his knockout power as he knocked out an impressive 15 opponents over the course of his career including Melvin Manhoef, Frank Trigg, and Matt Lindland.
Lawler is currently fighting in Strikeforce.
After an already historical career, Vitor Belfort continues to move up the rankings as he's become one of the most accomplished fighters all-time.
Belfort has used his dangerous skills to defeat Rich Franklin, Yoshihiro Akiyama, and Matt Lindland.
'The Phenom' is also one of the best knockout artists fighting in the UFC today.
When Melvin Manhoef entered the Octagon, it was likely he would leave victorious via knockout or leave in defeat by way of submission.
However, it was Manhoef who was feared by many because of his exceptional punching power.
Manhoef knocked out a mouth-watering 23 fighters in just 24 career victories.
There were few fighters who had the experience Igor Vovchanchyn had throughout his career.
Vovchanchyn fought an amazing 66 times and finished off his opponent before the final bell on 46 occasions.
Vovchanchyn's resume included a whopping 29 wins by way of knockout and 17 more by tap out.
Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic
Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic is considered by many to be one of the most dangerous fighters to have ever participated in mixed martial arts.
'Cro Cop' is most famous for his dominant reign in Pride before making the transition to the UFC.
Over the years, Cro Cop has established himself as a serious threat as he's knocked out opponents with his vicious head kick.
Just when fans thought Wanderlei Silva was running on empty, he proved once again why he is one of the biggest threats of all-time.
Through the years, Silva has been recognized as a grueling knockout artist as he's KO'd 24 of his opponents.
Silva's knockout power, heart, and determination have allowed him to rank near the top of the world's most dangerous fighters.
When many fans think of dangerous fighters, they think of no other than Chuck Liddell.
'The Iceman' was for a long time considered to be the most dangerous striker in mixed martial arts history as he had the tendency of overpowering his opponent with just one swing.
Liddell's exceptional stand up game has allowed him to be remembered as arguably the greatest knockout artist ever.
Aside from Paul Daley's mishaps you'll find one of the most feared strikers in Octagon history.
In fact, nearly every time Daley entered the Octagon and was declared victorious, it was by way of knockout.
Daley's success led him to an amazing 20 knockouts in just 29 victories.
Ricardo Arona has been away from the sport of mixed martial arts for a little over two years now but his legacy remains in tact.
While many fans connected Arona with the Quinton Jackson 'slam', he was also a serious threat to any opponent during his time in the sport.
Arona had the ability to overwhelm his opponent to a judge's decision, a vicious knockout, or even a submission.
While Rashad Evans still has a lot to prove inside the Octagon, he's already established himself as arguably the number two light heavyweight in the world.
Evans is also one of the more dangerous fighters in the UFC as his wrestling and knockout power are hard to take on for any opponent.
'Suga' is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and will more than likely get another shot at his title in 2012.
Despite being just 24 years old, Jon Jones is already one of the most dangerous fighters in the history of the UFC.
'Bones' Jones is also the youngest champion in UFC history as his combination of striking, wrestling, and reach have allowed him to be nearly unstoppable.
Up until this point in his career, Jones has been flawless in his wins over Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson and Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua.
Simply because Urijah Faber is one of the smallest fighters in the UFC has no effect on just how dangerous he's become.
In fact, while many consider Faber to be a world class submission artist, he's quickly becoming a knockout artist in his own.
And, Faber's the only man to have defeated the current champion in Dominick Cruz.
While Dominick Cruz doesn't demonstrate the most style throughout his fights in the Octagon, he's proven to be dangerous in nearly every aspect of mixed martial arts.
Cruz has knocked out six opponents including an injury stoppage over the course of his career and took 12 more to the judge's scorecards.
However, just the way Cruz fights has allowed him to be unbeaten since joining the UFC.
Shinya Aoki isn't a fairly well-known name but he is one of the greatest submission specialists of all-time.
In his eight year career, Aoki has submitted an unbelievable 19 opponents while taking another seven to a decision.
Anytime Aoki has an opponent on the ground, needless to say their in trouble.
Demian Maia has gone under the radar since joining the UFC as he's quickly become one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu artists in mixed martial arts today.
Maia's game plan consists of catching his opponent off guard and finishing them via submission.
And, Maia's done just that against Chael Sonnen, Nate Quarry, and Jason MacDonald.
Josh Barnett has been fighting in the sport of mixed martial arts for as long as most of us can remember.
And, to Barnett's credit, he's still winning as he's won eight consecutive fights including wins over Jeff Monson, Gilbert Yvel, and Brett Rogers.
Barnett is found to be dangerous in the knockout as he's submitted 19 opponents throughout his career.
Prior to his bout with Fedor Emelianenko at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum, Fabricio Werdum was considered to be an above average fighter.
However, that reputation quickly changed to a very dangerous fighter as he ended the long-lived winning streak of Fedor in the very first round of action.
Werdum is certainly a compelling threat to any fighter.
The chances of Rickson Gracie winning when he stepped inside the ring were 100% as he's never lost a bout in his mixed martial arts career.
And, not only did Gracie remain unbeaten but he finished his opponent via submission in the very first round of every fight except for one.
Gracie is as dangerous as it gets.
Kazushi Sakuraba's career was as plain as it could possibly get for a mixed martial artist.
When Sakuraba entered the ring he would either submit his opponent or be on the receiving end of a knockout blow.
Sakuraba presented fans with some of the best submission skills in the sport on his way to 19 wins by tap out.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is one of the most dangerous heavyweights of all-time as well as one of Brazil's best fighters.
While Nogueira isn't a huge threat in the stand up, his skills on the ground are nearly unmatchable as he's submitted 20 opponents over his prestigious career.
'Big Nog' has submitted Tim Sylvia, Mirko Cro Cop, and Dan Henderson.
Ronaldo Souza is another example of one of the most dangerous submission specialists to have ever fought inside the ring.
Nearly every single one of Souza's wins were accounted for by submission.
The first eight wins of Souza's career were a direct result of the submission as he quickly became one of the most feared fighters on the planet.
Unlike many mixed martial artists in his day, Royce Gracie is one of the most well-known fighters as he is linked with the beginning of the UFC.
While Gracie's career ended on the down slope, he was considered the most dangerous fighter of all-time during his reign in the sport.
Gracie began his career with a perfect 11-0 record which were all first round submission victories.
Unfortunately for Miguel Torres, many fans don't realize just how good he was in the early part of his career as he started off with a near perfect 36-1 record.
And, of those 36 victories, Torres capitalized on 22 submission victories.
Torres has since joined the UFC and remains one of the most dangerous fighters in the organization.
While many fans credit Frank Mir's first round submission victory over Brock Lesnar to how dangerous he can be, but Mir is much more.
In fact, Mir is one of the most consistent submission artists and has submitted his opponents in a variety of different ways.
And, if needed, Mir can also stand toe to toe with opponents and exchange strikes.
At the age of 40, Jeff Monson is still going strong as he's posted a career record of 43-13.
And, while Monson certainly isn't a threat in the stand up, he's considered a dangerous hazard on the ground as he's finished off an electrifying 27 opponents by tap out.
Monson's is one of the most dangerous fighters in mixed martial arts history.
Whether mixed martial arts fans realize it or not, Jeremy Horn as fought a mouth-dropping 115 fights over the course of his long-lived career.
Unbelievably, Horn has submitted an amazing 60 opponents while knocking out another 17 for a total of 77 finishes in his career.
Needless to say, Horn is one of the most dangerous fighters in the world as he continues to fight until this very day.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!