Jon Jones, Wanderlei Silva and the 25 Most Aggressive Fighters in MMA History
When the cage door closes, are you there to fight or are you there to run and hide? Some fighters choose what I call run-fu and evade and kill the clock to survive from bell to bell. We all hate them. Some choose to warm up, ease their way into the battle and conserve for spurts of fury, and some come full tilt, all out all the time and try to break the cardio and will of the opponent.
That's the beauty of mixed martial arts. Anything can happen at anytime, and you have to be ready for all that comes at you when the bell rings to get it on.
We all love the most aggressive fighters. The guys that come out meet up with the guy and plant feet and throw, and the guys who come out at 100 miles and hour and keep the punches, kicks and assault coming whether they are eating shots or not; these are the warriors we love.
Here are the 25 Most Aggressive Fighters In MMA History
25. Shane Carwin
Shane Carwin won the first 12 fights of his career in the first round, and that means one of two things or both: power in your hands and an aggressive, straight ahead fighting style.
Carwin believes heavily in his freakish punching power; he has seven of 12 victories by knockout.
One great example of Carwin's aggression is his first round swarming against Brock Lesnar
24. Luiz Azaredo
Luiz Azaredo is a self admitted "old school" style fighter who comes out and goes for broke right from the get go in his fights.
He likes to blitz from the start and try to break the will of his opponent, and he has done so with notable wins over Anderson Silva, Fabricio Camoes and Paul Daley.
He has five knockouts and four submissions in his 15 wins.
23. Robbie Lawler
In his 16 fight career, Robbie Lawler has gone to a decision only three times. We have all been witness to "Ruthless" at his best, as he comes out and goes for the head and is not looking to grapple his way to a decision win.
Fights against Nick Diaz and Scott Smith are perfect examples of Lawler's fighting style as he stood and traded with both of them, not caring win or lose.
22. Phil Baroni
"The New York Badasss" Phil Baroni has shown us through the years that untamed aggression is a good and bad thing. Baroni is 14-13 in his fighting career but has made his name not on wins and losses but on an aggressive, brawling and entertaining fighting style, as well as a kick ass nickname.
Baroni has had wars with the likes of Matt Lindland, Yuki Kondo, Evan Tanner and Ken Shamrock, and when he retreated in the cage, it was due to fatigue and not due to attitude or doubt.
21. Karo Parisyan
Karo "The Heat" Parisyan is a perfect example of how you can bring absolute aggression to an opponent in the cage but not necessarily go for the knockout by strikes.
Karo gained his nickname for a reason, and you know when you are getting in there with him that you are likely to get thrown around a few times, and landing wrong could be your beginning of the end.
It takes engaging and clinching to be able to execute your judo, and aggression is always the key to victory for Parisyan.
20. Ken Shamrock
Ken Shamnrock was the original picture of MMA aggression. He was intimidating, chiseled, skilled and nasty in his Shooto and UFC heyday. He scowled at you from his corner of the cage before the opening of the match, and he would come out fast and hard and try to scare you into submission.
He would often only use his strikes to set up a shoot to a leg lock to victory in his early career, but he could and would hit you hard to get there, and his aggression was in his total persona. He has only two knockouts in his career in his 45 fights, but he has 23 submissions to prove aggression.
19. Carlos Condit
Carlos Condit's aggression is like a stalker hunting his prey. He cuts off all parts of the cage that lead away from him and then he stalks in firing his shots with horrible intentions. There is no way to go to gain your breath, and there is no where to go to gain your wits.
Condit does not rush in recklessly, and his aggression is never misplaced. It may not be overly obvious, but it is there, and he looks to break your inner will as a process to an end, and he has all the tools to execute to perfection.
He has 25 finishes in 31 fights in his career, and he has been a champion of his division.
18. Takanori Gomi
Takanori Gomi is one of only two Japanese fighters to make the aggression list, and it is based on his time as the king of Pride at 155 to 165 pounds and the height of his confidence as a fighter.
Gomi has fire in his hands, and he knows it. His aggressive style led to fear and doubt in many opponents over his career. He has 12 knockouts in 40 fights, and his aggression leads to entertaining fights, win or lose.
Conditioning is the key to aggression, and that is where Gomi sometimes gets in trouble in his big fights against top opponents, but fights with Nick Diaz and Kawajiri show that he can and will hang with the best in his division.
17. Tito Ortiz
Tito Ortiz in his prime was a prototypical force of ground and pound aggression. The intimidating way he bounced around the cage before a fight often shed fear into his opponent. Tito looked ready to unleash hell, and he often did during his reign of terror from 1998 to 2006.
Ortiz has eight knockouts in 15 wins in his career, and his strength, wrestling and ability to power an opponent to the canvas are all trademarks of aggression and Ortiz in MMA.
16. Matt Hughes
Matt Hughes ruled the welterweight division with brute strength, aggression and wrestling skill from 2001 to 2006 before losing the mantle to George St. Pierre.
Hughes has 15 knockouts and 20 submissions in his 45 career fights and took a back step to no one. He has notable victories over B.J. Penn, Frank Trigg, Hayato Sakurai and Sean Sherk, and the strength in his takedowns and slams during his reign are legendary.
15. Chris Leben
If aggression means taking shots while continuing to move in and forward, then Chris Leben fits the bill perfectly for this list.
Thirteen knockouts in 25 fights says that Leben can dish out his share of punishment as well, and we all know that when he fights, he takes a few shots, then he comes right in for more looking to land his big blow to end the night.
Leben throws with reckless abandon, and makes no bones about the fact that he is not going to counter or stick and move his way to victory. He is going to stand, plant and bang come hell or high water, and what isn't aggressive about that?
14. Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz is another one of those fighters whose aggression is often hard to spot at times when he is in his fights. He stalks his prey and cuts off space as well as anyone with his lanky, prodding footwork, but he is pushing you nonetheless and is looking to break you over time.
Diaz has had numerous wars in his career with fights against guys like Gomi, Parisyan, Noons and Daley, and you know his fights are never boring, whether standing or on the ground.
Diaz has 13 knockouts and eight submissions in his 33 fights and will stand in your face with his hands up or down and bait you to throw or come in at him, where he will meet you with a well placed jab or punch, leading to the beginning of the end for opponents alike.
13. Diego Sanchez
Diego Sanchez is another one of those fighters who has earned the nickname that is tagged on him as he is a "Nightmare" to fight at any weight for anyone.
Sanchez is not thought of as a knockout artist, as he has only six in 27 fights in his career, but his aggression comes from th eway he runs out and at opponents and pushes the pace throughout his fights no matter who he faces.
He pushed pace against Clay Guida and got a win, and he did it against B.J. Penn and got beaten up, but he still is a fighter who does not wait when in the middle of battle.
12. Clay Guida
Speaking of aggression and guys who push pace in their fights, Clay "The Carpenter" Guida is one of those fighters as well.
Guida is famous for going forward and taking opponents down at will, even though he sometimes stalls once he gets position there. His cardio is off the charts, and it shows in how hungry and overwhelming he is to opponents at times in the octagon.
Guida only has four knockouts in 40 fights, but aggression does not always show in knockouts in mixed martial arts
11. Jose Aldo
Jose Aldo is just coming into his own as a champion in the UFC, as he is only 1-0, but he built his early career in the WEC, as he was 8-0 as the champion there.
Aldo is a lightning ball of strength and aggression, and he has 12 knockouts in his 19 wins in his fighting career to date. Not too many guys have been able to test and take Aldo deep in his fights, but fights against Manny Gamburyan and Mark Hominick are starting to test his heart and will.
Aldo's aggression lies in his striking and their vicious intent, as his kicks and punches can do quick damage in his fights, and he is still young enough to impose that aggression on just about anyone in his division.
10. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto
"Kid" Yamamoto fights with such reckless abandon that he makes the top 10 on this list. You never know what you are gonna get with him, and you never know what is gonna work, but it all comes from aggression for the top Japanese fighter on this list.
Yamamoto has 13 knockouts in 18 wins in his fighting career all overseas, except for one, as he made his UFC debut in a loss in February. Notable wins over Jeff Curran, Cal Uno and Genki Sudo were all wins worth mentioning, and he needs a bounce back in his next fight.
9. Jon Jones
Jon Jones has had only a fraction of a career that many other have on this list, but that shows just how special his form of aggression is in mixed martial arts.
Jones has aggression in his unorthodox strikes, and he has in how he executes his ground game, and eight knockouts and three submissions in his 14 fights shows his attention to finish his fights.
His dominance has been overwhelming in bouts against Ryan Bader and Mauricio Rua specifically, and I see nothing that will stop him any time soon,
8. Tank Abbott
Tank Abbott aggression is the type that can get you in trouble and many areas in the cage, but it is also how you gain a cult like following in the sport.
Abbott was the original bar room brawler of the UFC and often came out swinging for the fences that left guys buckling left right and center for a couple of years ealry in the promotion. Tank has six knockouts and also six knockout losses in his career, and he was not well known for his defense or cardio in his career.
Aggression was his thing.
7. Brock Lesnar
You would be aggressive too if you were as big and imposing and in the line of work that Brock Lesnar is employed in. He has been a bouncer, a football player, a wrestler and now a mixed martial arts star, and it is built on an aggressive and ultra male persona.
Lesnar is a novice still in his MMA career, but two knockouts in seven fights is just a glimpse of the power that this man has. Health willing, Lesnar should be able to use that power and strength to a very solid career, and his brute persona itself will do well for him in his endeavers.
6. Bas Rutten
Bas Rutten was the man who really took aggressive striking to another level in the early days of mxed martial arts.
His famous leg kicks and other unique strikes paved the way for striking with intent and not to score points like in previous karate style fights. Bas was a striker by trade, as his Pancrase career demonstrated, and he has 12 knockouts and 13 submissions in his 33 fight career.
Notable fights with Funaki, the Shamrock brothers and Kevin Randleman show Rutten at his aggressive best and leave a marked impression as one of the most aggressive fighters of all time
5. Vitor Belfort
Vitor Belfort burst on the mixed martial arts scene with raw speed and aggression in the late 90s and has carried that style through to today in his fight career.
Belfort's famous aggression with his hands is known as some of the fastest, most prolific striking in the world. His trademark highlight over Wanderlei Silva is the pinnacle of his hand speed display.
He has 13 knockouts in 19 wins in his career and notable ones against Tank Abbott, Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin.
4. Quinton Jackson
Quinton Jackson is another example of aggression in many ways, as his ability to pick up and slam his opponents down to their demise is etched in the minds of fans everywhere.
Jackson has power in his game everywhere, and he uses an aggressive persona to intimidate and beat opponents often before they get in the cage.
He has 14 knockouts and seven submissions in his 44 fights, but his style is always bent for mayhem, and fans love to watch Jackson fight. He has wins over Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida to show for his style and game.
3. Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic
Mirko Cro Cop made a career on wicked, aggressive strikes early and often in his career, using head kick knockouts as the highlight reel for his work.
Cro Cop's strikes are devastating to say the least, and his intent when he throws them is what gets him this high on this list. He has wins over Josh Barnett, Wanderlei Silva and Pat Barry in his career and has faced all comers throughout.
Twenty knockouts in 27 wins says that Cro Cop often went in to end it, and fans love that in a mixed martial artist.
2. Mauricio Rua
If there is anyone who throws punches and kicks with as much aggression as Mauricio Rua, I have not seen them, and it is what makes him who he is in this day and age.
Rua knows how to "let it go," as they say in his strikes, and it causes his opponents to back up and rethink when they come at him in the cage. He has notable wins over Quinton Jackson, Alistair Overeem and Lyoto Machida to show for his power and aggression.
Rua has 16 knockouts in 19 wins and takes number two on the list
1. Wanderlei Silva
When you think of the prototypical fighter in look, skill and attitude, you need not look further than "The Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva. It started with the way he smiled at you in the stare downs with those scary eye balls, and then into his bundle of aggression as he enters the ring or cage to beat you up.
Silva's whole self and persona just oozed danger and aggression in his Pride days and beyond, and even today, he holds that scowl, stare and skill to back up what he dishes out.
He has 23 knockouts in his 33 wins and has beaten up on such notables as Quinton Jackson, Sakuraba and Dan Henderson. He also has his war with Chuck Liddell to show us all how it is done when the cage door opens, and he takes number one on this list.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA (also a Correspondent with MMACanada.net).
Catch him on Twitter @wakafightermma.