7 MMA Fighters With Incredible Ape Indices
Let's face it, reach plays a huge influence on how a fight can play out. In mixed martial arts, having a larger reach than your opponent can be a big advantage. It can make you harder to hit, your opponent easier to hit, and it can keep you on the outside of takedown attempts. It can also give you more leverage and torque in both striking and grappling.
Ape index measures your arm span relative to your height. A common method of calculation is having the height subtracted from the arm span. Most people have a neutral size ratio. However, there are individuals who possess an arm span that exceeds their height by a huge margin. A good example is the boxer Sony Liston. He stood at 6'1" but had a whopping 84" reach. Therefore, he had a positive ape index of 11".
The height among fighters in a given weight class rarely offers a significant difference, so having a very high positive ape index can be quite advantageous. A larger arm span can potentially create a bit of balance if facing an opponent who is significantly taller. Below are seven MMA fighters with incredible ape indices. For the purpose of this article, any positive measurement of 6" and above would be considered as being incredible. Also, the height and reach of the fighters are based on data provided by Wikipedia.
7) Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee is a young mixed martial artist who signed with the UFC in 2013 and has a very good wrestling background. He currently competes in the lightweight division and has a height of 5'9". This is the average height for fighters in this weight class.
However, his reach is a different story. Lee possesses a reach of 77", which makes it the longest in the lightweight division. The mean reach is at 71.5", meaning he has a significant 5.5" reach advantage over his competition. Interestingly, his reach is only half an inch less than the average of fighters in the heavyweight division, which is 77.5".
His ape index of 8" is the second highest in the UFC today and is only half an inch less than the highest, which is possessed by Jon Jones. Kevin Lee has a 1" reach advantage over the tallest fighter in his division, James Vick, who stands at 6'3". He also has the same reach as former UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez.
6) Miguel Torres
Miguel Torres is a Mexican-American mixed martial artist who currently competes in the World Series of Fighting's bantamweight division. He is a former WEC bantamweight champion and has also competed in the UFC.
Standing at 5'9" and with a reach of 76", he has a significant advantage over the average fighter in his division. He is 2" taller than the 5'7" average and has an outrageous 7" reach advantage over the average reach of 69". His reach is equal to the average seen in light heavyweight division.
His ape index is 7'' and he actually has the longest reach in the World Series of Fighting's bantamweight division. He has a 4" reach advantage over the tallest fighter in the UFC's bantamweight division, George Roop, who stands at 6'1". He also has a 2" reach advantage over Conor McGregor, who is in the weight class above him and currently holds the record for longest reach in the UFC's featherweight division at 74". Last but not least, he has a 1.5" reach advantage over MMA heavyweight legend, Fedor Emelianenko.
5) Paul Daley
Paul Daley is best known for his incredible knockout power. He is also infamous for hitting Josh Koscheck with a left hook sucker punch after the end of their match, earning him lifetime ban from the UFC. He is currently competing in Bellator's welterweight division.
Standing at an average height of 5'9", he has an amazing reach of 76". This gives him a positive ape index of 7". With the average reach of fighters in his weight class being 73.5", he has a 2.5" reach advantage. This is extremely significant considering the fact that he has a 2.5" height disadvantage in his division. The average height of his competition is around 5'11.5".
Amazingly, he has the same reach as Seth Baczynski. At 6'3", Kaczynski is one of the tallest fighters in UFC's welterweight division. He also has a reach advantage over some notable heavyweights and light heavyweights in MMA like Lyoto Machida, Randy Couture, and Quinton Jackson. These men are all six feet tall and above.
4) Marcus Brimage
Marcus Brimage began building interest in martial arts after seeing an episode of Dragon Ball Z and watching a highlight reel of Quinton Jackson during high school. He is known for his explosiveness and being heavy handed. He fought in the UFC's featherweight and bantamweight division before being released from the promotion due to a string of losses and injuries.
Brimage stands at a mere 5'4" but has an outstanding 71" reach. This gives him a positive ape index of 7". He has a 2" reach advantage over the average in the bantamweight division and a 1" reach advantage over the average in the featherweight division. This is special when you consider the fact that he stands 3 inches shorter than the average bantamweight fighter and 4 inches shorter than the average featherweight fighter.
George Roop, who is the tallest competitor in the UFC's bantamweight division at 6'1", has a negligible 1" reach advantage over him. Surprisingly, Brimage has a reach advantage over stars like Johnny Hendricks, Benson Henderson, and B.J. Penn, who all stand at 5'9".
3) Uriah Hall
Uriah Hall moved from Jamaica to the United States at the age of 13. Upon his arrival, he was bullied at school but found refuge in martial arts. In the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter, he unleashed a devastating spinning hook kick to Adam Cella's head that knocked him unconscious. It was described by Yahoo Sports as being arguably the most violent televised knockout in combat sports history.
He currently competes in the UFC's middleweight division. Standing at exactly six feet tall, he is only an inch less than the average height of the weight class. In contrast, he has an incredible reach of 79". This gives him a 4" reach advantage over the average.
He has a positive ape index of 7" and currently possesses the longest reach in the UFC's middleweight division. Interestingly, this reach puts him ahead of over 85 percent of UFC fighters in the heavyweight division.
2) Georges St-Pierre
Georges St-Pierre is regarded by many to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time. He is a three-time former UFC welterweight champion and was ranked as the number one welterweight in the world for several years by numerous publications. He was named the Canadian Athlete of the Year by Rogers Sportsnet three years in row between 2008 and 2010. He vacated his championship and decided to take some time off from the sport, though he left the door open for a return.
He is 5'10" and has a 76" reach. This makes him 1.5" shorter than the average welterweight but he compensates for this with a 2.5" reach advantage over the average in his weight class. He has a positive ape index of 6".
He has the same reach as Nick Diaz despite being two inches shorter than him. He also has the same reach as Carlos Condit, who stands at 6'2".
It is also interesting to note that St-Pierre has a reach advantage over some notable light heavyweight and heavyweight fighters like Chael Sonnen, Roy Nelson, and Mirko Filipovic, who all stand at least six feet tall.
1) Jon Jones
No MMA fighter in the world uses their reach better than Jon Jones. At 23, he became the youngest champion in UFC history and is ranked as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world by several publications. Jones was stripped of his title and was removed from the official rankings following his arrest on felony hit-and-run charges. He was reinstated into the UFC in October 2015.
He has an unbelievable 84.5" reach for a man who stands at 6'4". He is tied with Stefan Struve for the longest reach in UFC today. This is remarkable since Struve is seven feet tall. Jones is 2 inches above the average height in the light heavyweight division and he has a significant 8.5" reach above the average in the weight class.
He has a positive ape index of 8.5" and currently has the highest measurement in the UFC. His reach is only 0.5" less than the UFC record of 85", held by the 6'8" Dan Christison. The greatest reach disparity in the promotion's history was recorded during a bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Comier. Jones had a 12" advantage over his opponent.
The following MMA fighters also have high positive ape indices. Numbers given are height, reach, and ape index.
- Francis Ngannou: 6'4", 83",+7"
- Taylor Lapilus: 5'6", 73", +7"
- Phil Davis: 6'1", 79", +6"
- Rony Jason: 5'7", 73", +6"
- Cheick Kongo: 6'4", 82", +6"
- Conor McGregor: 5'9", 74", +5"
- Tyron Woodley: 5'9", 74", +5"
- Neil Magny: 6'3", 80", +5"
- Tony Ferguson: 5'11", 76", +5"
Here are MMA fighters with high negative ape indices.
- Artem Lobov: 5'9", 65", -4"
- Chris Lytle: 5'11", 68", -3"
- Andy Wang: 5'6", 63", -3"
- Cody Garbrandt: 5'7", 65", -2"
- Max Holloway: 5'11", 69", -2"
- Issei Tamura: 5'5", 63", -2"
- Darren Uyenoyama: 5'6, 64", -2"
- Jason Reinhardt: 5'6", 64", -2"
Did you know that at 6'3", Magnus Cedenblad has the same leg reach as Stefan Struve who stands at a towering seven feet tall? The UFC introduced leg reach to its fight stats not too long ago. As with any measurement, there will always be freaks of nature. You can check out the UFC fighters with the craziest leg reaches in comparison to their heights here.