Top 10 UFC knockouts of all-time

ufc knockouts

I guarantee you have never read a best UFC knockouts list like this before. It isn’t going to be filled with the usual knockouts you have seen hundreds of times already. This list will be bolder, and greater than the others because it’s about more than just the consciousness severing mayhem of the acts. It’s about the shock waves that go through the victim and the industry.

With that in mind, here are the “Top-10 UFC Knockouts of All Time” that stunned, inspired, changed opinions, and in some cases changed the industry.

10. Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal, UFC 261

ufc knockouts
Apr 24, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Kamaru Usman (Red Gloves) fights Jorge Masvidal (Blue Gloves) during UFC 261 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This fight’s placement on the list may surprise some, but it’s solely based on seeing, arguably, the most durable fighter in the sport put to sleep. You have to understand, before UFC 261, Jorge Masvidal lost by knockout just once. That was in his seventeenth pro fight.

In 49 fights, over an 18-year career, “Gamebred” has hardly ever been even hurt in a fight, let alone knocked out cold. That’s what made Kamaru Usman’s thunderous finish to their two-fight feud at UFC 261 all the more impressive. Especially, since he faced a version of Masvidal light-years better than what Rodrigo Damm saw when he stopped him in 2008.

9. Amanda Nunes vs. Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino, UFC 232

Up until UFC 232, it was a universally accepted fact that Cris “Cyborg” Justino was the scariest fighter in women’s MMA history. Seventeen knockouts in 20 straight wins will do that. So when she stepped into the Octagon to defend her featherweight title against bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, many expected the trend to continue. “Lioness” wasn’t having it.

In beating “Cyborg” at her own game it was a major pivot point in women’s MMA. No longer was Justino “the baddest woman on the planet.” Nunes now was, and she had two shiny gold UFC emblazoned belts to prove it.

8. ‘Shogun’ Rua vs. Lyoto Machida, UFC 113

After fighting a strategic and technical fight–very unlike him–in their first bout, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua said screw this and pushed forward like his usual berzerker self, and a minute into the first round he hit his target. Flooring Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida for the first time in his UFC career, then turned his lights out completely soon after. The Brazilian did what seemed impossible at the time, and he solved the greatest puzzle in the sport and forever made a classic UFC knockouts moment.

7. Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort, UFC 126

Anderson Silva versus Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 was a monumental clash because we were all going to get what we had long wanted. An opponent for “The Spider” was finally an equal when it came to striking. Silva had fought some serious strikers before, but Belfort was a wrecking machine that had the skills to actually put fear in Silva’s heart. Or so we thought.

A little over a minute into the fight, the then long-time middleweight champion served up a front kick that will be on his career highlight-reel forever. He not only won a fight in the UFC with a technique rarely used successfully anywhere in the sport, but he did so in a title fight, and against a man thought to be as savvy of a striker as him. It was the moment Silva went from being just a champion and top fighter, into an MMA legend

6. Francis Ngannou vs. Alistar Overeem, UFC 218

Alistar Overeem being on the wrong end of UFC knockouts wasn’t unheard of when Francis Ngannou got his hands on him at UFC 218. It had already happened four times previously in the Octagon, and some of them were pretty memorable.

However, none of them sent the chill of fear down your spine like this one. The uppercut Ngannou unleashed that night seemed to have the might of Mjolnir behind it. No matter how many times you watch it, part of you has to be amazed “The Demolition Man’s” head stayed attached to his body.

“The Predator” has had many memorable knockouts en route to becoming the UFC heavyweight champion, but none as scary as this.

5. Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic, UFC 226

ufc knockouts
Jul 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) fights Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) during UFC 226 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Before UFC 226, Daniel Cormier had nine career knockouts. However, only two of them came during his stint in the UFC. So if there was anyone that would add Stipe Miocic to an all-time UFC knockouts list, light heavyweight champion Cormier–in a move up to heavyweight–was the last one you would expect.

Yet, with one short hook inside the clinch, “DC” shocked the world and made history. He became the second man to have won both the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles. He was the first to hold them simultaneously, and the second to hold two belts at once in UFC history. Plus, he did so over the man universally viewed as the best heavyweight of all time.

4. Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping, UFC 100

Even before Dan Henderson joined the UFC, the power in his hands was a well-established part of his reputation. However, his UFC 100 knockout was his first quintessential H-Bomb moment on US shores. After four previous Octagon outings, fans had not yet seen the power that felled mixed martial arts greats like Wanderlei Silva and Akihiro Gono when “Hendo” competed for Pride Fighting Championship.

Yet no moment seemed like a better fight for the H-Bomb’s UFC debut than his battle of The Ultimate Fighter coaches scrap with Michael Bisping. For fans of “The Count,” it was a setback that derailed his recent hot streak at middleweight. For fans of Henderson and Bisping haters, it was sweet revenge ‘Merica style.

3. Joaquin Buckley vs. Impa Kasangany, UFC Fight Night 179

It was easily the knockout of the year in 2020, and will likely play on every future UFC marketing video for the next decade. At UFC Fight Night 179, Joaquin Buckley had a moment that will likely make his name stick in diehard MMA fans’ minds forever. Having his kick caught by Impa Kasanganay, and then turning it into a spin kick knockout with the other leg added another level to the unpredictable nature of this sport. It may not have had division or historic relevance, but it will have staying power on KO lists forever.

2. Holy Holm vs. Ronda Rousey, UFC 193

At its most basic level, when Holly Holm head kicked Ronda Rousey into an early nap at UFC 193, in front of 56,000 people, women’s MMA was forever changed. Not on any technical or fundamental levels, but in the fact that the women’s side of the sport was able to get out from behind Rousey’s superstar shadow. Holm forcibly removed the Olympic silver medalist from the equation and opened the door for new faces to rise up and share in the spotlight. It ended a very important first chapter for females in the UFC and began an even better one after.

1. Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo, UFC 194

From his debut in World Extreme Cagefighting, up until his bout with Conor McGregor, Jose Aldo was unbeaten over 15 fights. He had defended the featherweight title nine times and defeated elite talents at the time like Chad Mendes (twice), Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian, and Frankie Edgar. Then “Notorious” changed it all in 13 seconds. It is a mind-blowing thing to ponder even today. One of the best talents to ever grace the Octagon slept in 13 seconds.

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