For a fight fan, seeing a great finish is like seeing a great home run or an awesome touchdown pass, it just adds that little something extra to the viewing experience. In MMA, a fighter who can put on exciting fights with great finishes can usually see themselves rise up the rankings faster than fighters who prefer to grind out decisions against their opponents. The UFC even used to give out bonuses for best Knockout and Submission of the Night before removing those in place of the more encompassing Performance of the Night bonus. So with that in mind I have created this list to showcase the fighters who go out and finish fights on a consistent basis, pulled from the current official UFC rankings as of November 24, 2014.
Guidelines for how the rankings were compiled:
A fighter must have five wins in the UFC (Wins in WEC do not count for this list)
The ranking is done by percentage of wins that come from a finish (12 finishes out of 20 wins equals a finish percentage of 60%, for example)
In the case of a tie the person with more finishes receives a higher ranking.
If it is still a tie, then it will be marked as a tie between the fighters.
Out of 135 possible fighters from nine divisions who could make the list, only 81 met the minimum qualifications of five UFC wins. Most notably, since the division is fairly new, no fighters in the Women’s Bantamweight division made the cut, though a few were close like Rhonda Rousey. The Women’s Strawweight division was not considered as there is no official ranking for it yet. The division with the most eligible fighters was the Featherweight division with 14 fighters, followed by the Heavyweight division with 13, while the Flyweight division had only five.
21 T16. John Lineker UFC Record: 5 – 2
4 Finishes (80%)
Despite missing weight in three fights for the UFC, John Lineker has shown that he has serious power in his strikes. With over twelve of his career victories coming by way of knockout, it is no surprise that he has finished his opponents in four of his five UFC wins, all by way of TKO. If he can keep his weight in check and still be able to land some nasty shots on Ian McCall to get the win at UFC Fight Night 56, expect the young fighter to make it into a title match against Demetrious Johnson sometime in the near future.
19 T16. John Dodson UFC Record: 5 – 1
4 Finishes (80%)
Another Flyweight who seems to buck the stereotype of lighter fighters not having finishing power, “The Magician” John Dodson has been on a roll since winning The Ultimate Fighter. With all of his finishes coming by way of TKO or knockout, he has an impressive UFC resume featuring many top fighters including TJ Dillashaw and John Moraga. If he keeps up this pace it can be expected to see him in a rematch for the title against Demetrious Johnson which was Dodson’s only UFC loss to date.
18 T16. Yoel Romero UFC Record: 5 – 0
4 Finishes (80%)
His nickname might as well be “KO” as Yoel Romero knows nothing but knocking dudes out. In his entire career only one fight has gone the distance, every other win has been either by knockout or TKO. With strong wins over Derek Brunson, Ronny Markes, and most recently Tim Kennedy, Romero has shot up the Middleweight rankings coming in at no.6. It may take some time to get to a title shot as the top of the division is incredibly stacked, but with how he has been plowing through opponents, it almost seems inevitable that Romero will be receiving a title shot.
17 T16. Glover Teixeira UFC Record: 5 – 2
4 Finishes (80%)
Coming into the UFC riding a 16-fight win streak, Glover Teixeira was expected to tear through the Lightheavyweight Division, and that he did. Scoring wins over Rampage Jackson, James Te Huna, and Ryan Bader put Glover in line for a title shot against long reigning champion Jon Jones. Unfortunately it seems that the wheels on the Teixeira train have come off a bit as after losing the decision to Jones, he would lose his next match to Phil Davis, giving him the first losing streak of his career. Yet with his track record, it is only a matter of time before Glover is knocking guys out once again.
16 T16. Mark Hunt UFC Record: 5 – 3 – 1
4 Finishes (80%)
Originally the UFC attempted to pass over the “Super Samoan” after the purchase of PRIDE, but Mark Hunt only wanted to fight. He would soon break a six-fight losing streak and begin knocking opponents out in devastating fashion, usually topped off by his now signature walking away as his opponent is still falling to the canvas. His finishes of Stefan Struve and most recently Roy Nelson have made him a fan favorite and have allowed him to be in position to fight Fabricio Werdum for the Interim Heavyweight Championship.
15 Junior Dos Santos UFC Record: 10 - 2
8 Finishes (80%)
“Cigano” definitely made an impression on UFC fans when he debuted against Fabricio Werdum. In just 90 seconds, he landed an uppercut that sent Werdum crashing to the canvas, and with that a star was born. He would eventually win the Heavyweight Championship from Cain Velasquez by knocking him out in 64 seconds and would then defend the belt by beating Frank Mir via TKO. After losing the belt, Dos Santos would earn another shot after becoming the first man in the UFC to knock out Mark Hunt after hitting him with a spinning head kick.
14 Cain Velasquez UFC Record: 11 – 1
9 Finishes (82%)
In just a short amount of time, Cain Velasquez has struck fear into the entire UFC Heavyweight division. With finishes over Big Nog, Brock Lesnar, and twice against Bigfoot Silva, Velasquez has shown that he is more than just a collegiate wrestler inside the cage. Most recently, Cain almost went the distance for a second time against Junior Dos Santos, pummeling him all around the cage, though he would eventually score a TKO victory.
13 T11. Nate Diaz UFC Record: 12 – 7
10 Finishes (83%)
The younger Diaz brother has definitely made a name for himself in the UFC since his time on the Ultimate Fighter. With impressive finishes over Donald Cerrone, Gray Maynard, and the infamous submission victory over Kurt Pellegrino where he locked in a triangle hold tight enough to let go with his hands and flip off the crowd, Nate Diaz has proven he has what it takes to finish a fight. With a strong mix of submission and knockout victories, Diaz has the abilities to finish the fight wherever it may take place inside the Octagon.
12 T11. Matt Brown UFC Record: 12 – 6
10 Finishes (83%)
During his recent career resurgence, Matt Brown has shown why he is a fan favourite with his hard hitting style and vicious knockouts. Recent wins over Mike Pyle, Mike Swick, and Erick Silva have added some strength to the Welterweights resume which allowed him to recently fight Robbie Lawler for a title shot against Johnny Hendricks. Despite losing the decision in that fight, there is definitely still enough time for “The Immortal” to come back into contention, especially if he continues to rack up impressive finishes like he has been.
11 T11. Andrei Arlovski UFC Record: 12 – 4
10 Finishes (83%)
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion and currently the seventh ranked Heavyweight in the UFC, Andrei Arlovski is known for his brutal knockouts. Knocking out the likes of Bigfoot Silva, Vladimir Matyushenko, and an impressive 15-second knockout of Paul Buentello for the record of shortest title fight in UFC history, Arlovski knows how to put guys down and out. Arlovski has even a submission win in his UFC career as he submitted Tim Sylvia with an Achilles lock in order to win the Interim Heavyweight Championship, which was eventually recognized as the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship after Frank Mir was unable to return after his motorcycle accident.
10 Travis Browne UFC Record: 7 – 2 – 1
6 Finishes (86%)
As the third ranked Heavyweight in the UFC, Travis Browne has made a name for himself with his vicious knockouts and submission skills. Out of seven UFC wins, only one went to a decision, when he faced Rob Broughton. And before his most recent loss to Fabricio Werdum, he had racked up three straight knockout victories over Gabriel Gonzaga, Alistair Overeem, and Josh Barnett, each of which earned him a knockout of the night award from the UFC. As long as he can keep that output going and he's able to get over the mental hurdles when fighting in title eliminators, the sky is the limit for this Heavyweight.
9 Matt Mitrione UFC Record: 8 – 3
7 Finishes (88%)
After being on the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter, many wondered how the fairly unrefined techniques of Matt “Meathead” Mitrione would fare in the UFC Heavyweight division. Those questions were soon answered as he knocked out fellow cast member Marcus Jones in the first round and followed this up by knocking out cast member and internet star Kimbo Slice in his next fight. Mitrione would rack up a decent record of 8-3 with his only decision being against fellow slugger Joey Beltran at UFC 119.
8 Anderson Silva UFC Record: 16 – 2
14 Finishes (88%)
Coming into the UFC after it had purchased PRIDE, Anderson Silva had a lot of hype behind him, which is maybe why they placed him against heavy hitter Chris Leben. Well in less than 50 seconds Silva would become the first man to knock out “The Crippler,” landing 100% of his strikes. Silva would follow this up with a knockout over Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin to win the title. An interesting fact is that out of Silva’s 16 UFC wins, the only two wins that went the distance have been cited by many as two of the worst fights in UFC history, the first being against Thales Leites at UFC 97 and then against Demian Maia at UFC 112.
7 Stefan Struve UFC Record: 9 – 4
8 Finishes (89%)
As the current 14th ranked Heavyweight and tallest fighter in the UFC, Stefan Struve has made a name for himself with his incredible submissions and powerful knockouts. Since coming to the UFC, Struve has only won one fight by decision, which was when he beat Paul Buentello at UFC 107. Other than that win, he has accumulated eight finishes in his UFC career. With wins over Pat Barry, Dave Herman, and Stipe Miocic, Struve has shown he has the tools to finish his opponents before the final bell. Unfortunately, health issues have kept “Skyscraper” out of the Octagon since his knockout loss to Mark Hunt since March of this year.
6 Josh Barnett UFC Record: 5 – 2
5 Finishes (100%)
In the little time that former Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett has spent inside the Octagon, one thing he has shown is that he can finish fights. Getting finishes in all five of his UFC wins, Barnett has been able to show that his fight style of catch wrestling and crisp striking can work incredibly well inside the UFC. With finishes over Gan Mcgee, Randy Couture, and most recently Frank Mir, Barnett shows that he deserves his spot as sixth ranked Heavyweight in the UFC. It also does not hurt that his promo style helps sell his fights and endears him to fans looking for hard hits and flashy personalities.
5 T4. Shogun Rua UFC Record: 6 – 8
6 Finishes (100%)
Former PRIDE Champion Shogun Rua came into the UFC with a lot of hype behind him. Unfortunately he has been unable to string together more than two wins in a row. He would briefly hold the Lightheavyweight Championship after being the first man to beat Lyoto Machida, but would lose it in his first defense to Jon Jones. Despite the back and forth between wins and losses, Rua has earned finishes in all of his UFC victories which includes TKO wins over Chuck Liddell, Mark Coleman, and Forrest Griffin.
4 T4. Charles Oliveira UFC Record: 6 – 4 (1 NC)
6 Finishes (100%)
Since coming to the UFC in 2010, Charles Oliveira has made quite a name for himself in regards to how he finishes his opponents. Winning seven performance bonuses in his fights, including three Submission of the Night awards, Oliveira has shown that he has the skills to finish anyone he can get his hands on. With submission victories over Ultimate Fighter winners Jonathan Brookins and Efrain Escudero, along with Performance of the Night victories over Andy Ogle and Hatsu Hioki, Oliveira is slowly climbing his way up the Featherweight ranks and has earned his spot in the top 15 rankings.
3 Roy Nelson UFC Record: 7 – 6
7 Finishes (100%)
Coming off winning the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter Roy Nelson was already a fairly well known fighter from his time in the IFL and various other promotions. He was known for his iron chin as well as concrete fists which knocked out most that he faced. After the vicious KO of Brendan Schaub in the finals, Nelson would rack up knock outs over Stefan Struve, Matt Mitrione, and Dave Herman. More impressive was that the majority of these finishes occurred in the first round and all were by either knockout or TKO.
2 Gabriel Gonzaga UFC Record: 11 – 7
11 Finishes (100%)
Currently ranked 11th in the Heavyweight division, Gabriel Gonzaga has a litany of great moments inside the Octagon. With his knockout victory over Dave Herman in 17 seconds to knocking out Fabiano Scherner in 24 seconds, Gonzaga has some serious power in his hands and feet. That was no more apparent when he viciously knocked out Mirko Cro Cop by using Cro Cop’s signature head kick in order to secure himself a title shot against Randy Couture. So it is no surprise that Gonzaga has finished his opponent in each of his UFC wins, but it is even more impressive the majority of those finishes came in the first round.
1 Vitor Belfort UFC Record: 13 – 6
13 Finishes (100%)
Since starting his UFC career at the age of nineteen, Vitor Belfort has been on a tear through the MMA world. With almost all of his UFC finishes occurring in the first round, Vitor has become a fan favorite for his aggressive and overwhelming style. With a recent three-fight win streak over top contenders Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson, Belfort has skyrocketed up the rankings and now finds himself in line for a Middleweight Title fight with Chris Weidman. While his use of TRT and previous infractions for PED use have caused some to question his performances, as of right now the wins remain on his official record, making them count for this ranking.