FiveOuncesofPain.com is here to answer that question, as we have pain stakingly reviewed the careers of hundreds upon hundreds of the game’s top athletes in an effort to help establish the most complete inventory of the most electrifying performers in MMA.
Among the most contributing factors in the decision making process involved in compiling this extensively researched list were (in order):
A) Consistency. More than two or three boring fights in a career will make it hard for any fighter to make this list. Loud jeers during previous bouts due to lack of activity are big no-no’s.
B) Recent activity. The last year is the most relevant, with the year prior to that being second, and so on, and so forth. If you had a terrible fight in 2004 but you’ve been bringing it ever since, I’m not going to hold it against you.
C) Finality. Decisions can be exciting for sure, but more often than not there’s nothing more exciting than decisive finality. Taking your fate out of the judges hands consistently is what the fans like to see, and will be rewarded here.
D) Competition. If you’ve been doing nothing but highlight reeling guys all over your hometown in North Dakota somewhere, ant the North Dakota Fighting Alliance shows, there’s a good chance a lot of people haven’t heard of you yet, so you’re not making this list, sorry.
So come along as we kick it 0ff from #50 and work our way down the ranks ten fighters at a time beginning today, and wrapping up with the top ten and complete list that will be published on Friday.
41. Anderson Silva: What Silva lacks in consistency, he makes up two-fold with astonishing Ong-Bak, Matrix-esque finishes. Silva would be much higher on this list if it wasn’t for his very recent lackluster bouts against Thales Leites and Patrick Cote. However, the recent first round demolition of Forrest Griffin and a history of leaving the crowed shaking their heads in disbelief make “The Spider” one of the most closely watched fighters in the sport.
42. Benji Radach: Radach has made a name for himself in the sport as one of it’s most exciting competitors with his tenacious fighting spirit and ability to separate his opponents from consciousness. Benji’s throwdowns with Scott Smith and Murilo “Ninja” Rua will forever have a place among the most brutal battles waged in the history of the game.
43. Jon Jones: An unblemished record and an unorthodox striking style that includes spinning elbows, kicks, backfists, and only Jones knows what else, “Bones” has quickly become one of the premier showman to keep an eye on in the sport. Jones has acquired a massive fanbase in no time since making his Octagon debut, with impressive performances against the likes of Andre Gusmao, Stephan Bonnar and Jake O’Brien.
44. Brian Bowles: With a base in wrestling and 5 submissions in his 8 victories, Bowles has established himself as one of the few 135 pound fighters that can end a fight with a single punch. Fighters like Bowles and Miguel Torres have single handedly created an interest in a division there was little attention focused on in prior years. With 8 finishes in 8 bouts, Bowles has yet to meet a man that could push him to the scorecards.
45. Demian Maia: With every single one of his UFC victories coming by way of submission, Maia is one of the rare ground technicians with a rock steady ability to get the job done time and time again. During his career inside of the Octagon Demian has taken part in hard fought scraps with Ed Herman and Jason MacDonald, while notching dominant first round submissions over the likes of Ryan Jensen, Nate Quarry and Chael Sonnen.
46. Lyle Beerbohm: If Lyle Beerbohm dies without ever having to go the judges scorecards again, he will die a happy man. Having never been a big fan of easing into things, Beerbohm is notorious for getting right to work from the jump, and never leaving a fan in attendance disappointed. In 13 bouts as a professional, Lyle has been forced to the judges just once; In ten bouts as an amateur, Beerbohm gave the judges the night off every time out. A relentless pace, strong wrestling base, punishing stand up, slick submissions and terrifying ground and pound make “Fancy Pants” a serious problem for any lightweight that makes the fateful decision to “man up”.
47. Benson Henderson: Fighting out of the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona, Henderson has come out of nowhere to establish himself as one of the top lightweights on the planet over the last year. Benson has a history of leaving it all in the cage with every single performance. Only twice in Henderson’s 11 professional bouts has he made it to the final bell, and his knockdown, drag-out war with Donald Cerrone was among the best fights of 2009.
48. Leonard Garcia: The “Bad Boy” made a name for himself as a submission artist out of the gate, notching seven wins by tapout in his first eight victories, but you’d never know it now as Leonard has completely reinvented himself as a bomb dropping knockout technician, finishing Hiroyuki Takaya and Jens Pulver with strikes in recent bouts. Garcia’s grueling war with Roger Huerta at UFC 69 was easily one of the best fights of 2007.
49. Martin Kampmann: “The Hitman” is a problem no matter where the fight ends up. Straight out of Denmark, Kampmann has the ability to end any fight standing or on the ground. Only 2 of Martin’s 18 bouts have gone to the judges. His battles against Drew McFedries and Carlos Condit were among some of the best bouts in recent UFC memory.
50. Rory Markham: In 21 professional scraps, Markham has yet to allow a single judge to to their job. Out of 16 wins, Rory has finished 11 of them by either KO or TKO, with the remaining 5 ending by way of submission. In his 5 defeats, Markham has either been KO’d ot TKO’d in every single one of them. Some of the men that have faced the wrath of Rory include Jason Guida, Mike Pyle, Brad Blackburn, Pat Healy and Brodie Farber.