Top Five Kickboxers in the UFC
Top Five Kickboxers in the UFC
Many top level Kickboxers have successfully crossed over to the world of Mixed Martial Arts but only a small number have had lasting success in the top tier of the UFC.
Here are my top five kickboxers competing in the UFC.
1. Israel “The Last Style Bender” Adesanya
Prior to making his UFC debut in February 2018, Adesanya had already amassed a professional mixed martial arts record of 11-0. He has since gone 15-0 with an impressive thirteen of his wins coming by way of knockout. Adesanya has been awarded performance of the night in three out of his four UFC fights.
His success in the Octagon and exciting kickboxing style have earned him a fight with arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all time Anderson “The Spider” Silva to take place on 10th February 2019.
In addition to Adesanya’s flawless MMA record he has equally impressive professional kickboxing record of 85-5-1, with over half of his wins coming by way of knockout. It’s hardly surprising then that “the last Style Bender” has quickly risen to be the number six ranked UFC Middleweight.
Here is an excellent breakdown of Adesanya’s unique kickboxing style.
2. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson
Thompson began his martial arts training at just three years old under the guidance of his father Ray, a former professional kickboxer and Karate instructor. He began competing at age 15, winning several amateur kickboxing titles and earning an impressive record of 59-0.
Before crossing over to mixed martial arts in 2010, Thompson was the 2006 number 1 ranked fighter in Chuck Norris’ World Combat League. In addition to his kickboxing credentials, Thompson holds a black belt in traditional Jiu Jitsu and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under his brother in law, Carlos Machado.
In the UFC Octagon however, “Wonderboy” mostly relies on his cobra like striking skills, lateral movement and razor sharp timing to get the job done!
3. Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt
Heavyweight New Zealander Mark Hunt earned his title “the King of the Walk-Offs” by knocking his opponents unconscious and walking away before the referee can officially end the fight. After being defeated in his UFC Debut in by armbar submission in September 2010, Hunt came back in February 2011 to win the “knockout of the night” award for finishing his opponent Chris Tuscherer with a punch in round 2. He later went on to get KO wins over Roy Nelson, Frank Mir and Derek Lewis. Hunt previously competed in a Japanese MMA promotion called PRIDE where he beat the likes of Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva.
Before making the switch over to MMA, Hunt amassed a kickboxing record of 43-13 with thirteen of his wins coming by way of knockout. For some of his career he competed on the famous Japanese K1 kickboxing promotion taking on fighters such as Jerome le Banner, Ernesto Hoost and Stefan Leko.
*Mark Hunt has announced that he will no longer be fighting in the UFC following a decision loss on the 2nd of December 2018, but I still wanted to include him on the list due to his impressive kickboxing background and exciting KO power.
4. Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko
Fighting out of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Valentina “Bullet” Schevchenko is the current UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion. Since making her UFC debut in 2015, Schevchenko has won five out seven fights beating quality opponents such as Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Julianna Pena and Holly Holm with her only two defeats coming by way of split decision loses to none other than current UFC Women’s Double Weight Champion Amanda Nunes.
With a kickboxing record of 56-2, Schevchenko’s success in the Octagon can be largely attributed to her superior in and out movement, distance management and counter-striking. All of which she developed over the course of her highly decorated Kickboxing/ Muay Thai career.
Schevchenko competed at the International Muay Thai Federation of Amateur Championships from 2006-2015, beating future MMA rival Joanna Jedrzejczyk three times by decision.
5. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
Since making his debut in 2011, Donald Cerrone has had an impressive run in the UFC, taking on and defeating some of the biggest names in the sport. He has been recognised for having the most wins, finishes and post-fight bonuses in UFC history.
Alongside his MMA record of 35-11-0, Cowboy has an equally impressive kickboxing record of 29-0-1 and has held several amateur Kickboxing and Muay Thai titles. His extensive Muay Thai background is evident in his MMA striking style where he fights off of a narrow, upright base which allows him to quickly strike with any limb.