10 Best Strikers in MMA History | Simply Explained
There have been countless of great strikers that have transitioned over to MMA and have had massive success.
In this page, we'll go over the best strikers in MMA, along with what makes them the best.
10. Mirko Cro Cop
Known as one of the greatest heavyweight kickboxers and MMA fighters of all time, it only makes sense to start our list with Mirko Crop Cop.
He is only the second fighter in the world to win kickboxing championships as well as MMA championships.
Cro Cop's kicks were known for being so vicious that his right leg would be called 'hospital' and his left leg was 'cemetery'.
His left high kick in particular was lethal.
He would rack up 30 knockouts in his MMA career, 31 knockouts in his amateur boxing career (out of 48 wins), and 13 knockouts (out of 26 wins) in his professional kickboxing career.
9. Max Holloway
Holloway is a volume striker who is known for picking apart his opponents and picking up the pace with cardio as the rounds advance.
He has been so successful with this style that he has set many UFC records.
Holloway set the UFC single-fight records for total strikes landed and attempted, significant strikes landed and attempted, strike differential, distance strikes landed, significant head strikes landed and significant body strikes landed.
In recent memory, when he fought Calvin Kattar who at the time was touted as the best boxer in the UFC, he would go on to beat him 50-43 in two scorecards, and one judge even gave him a 50-42 win.
He outstruck Kattar massively, and it was a miracle that Kattar was still standing and able to go the distance.
Additionally, he'd go on to fight Yair Rodriguez, another feared striker, and outclass him on the feet as well in a unanimous decision.
Holloway's resume includes wins over Jose Aldo (twice), Charles Oliveira, Frankie Edgar, and Anthony Pettis.
8. Valentina Shevchenko
Shevchenko is known as one of the best female mixed martial artists in the world, due to how well-rounded she is.
She seemingly has no weakness, and her counter-punching in particular has devastated her opponents throughout her career.
Shevchenko has amassed a kickboxing record of 57 wins and 2 losses and won 8 gold medals when she competed in the International Federation of Muaythai Associations world championships.
She is widely known for being one of the best Muay Thai fighters in the world.
One of the knockouts that she is best known for is her head kick vs Jessica Eye where she knocked Eye out cold after setting her up with body kicks only moments earlier.
7. Jose Aldo
Aldo is a legend in the sport, known to be one of, if not the greatest Featherweight fighters of all time.
Aldo used his crisp boxing, devastating leg kicks, and fantastic takedown defense to tear through the opposition.
He was the final WEC Featherweight champion and the first UFC Featherweight champion.
At the prime of his career, he would go 10 years without losing a fight using his Muay Thai style of striking.
His devastating leg kicks were never more apparent than when he fought Urijah Faber. Faber would post a picture of his leg after the fight, and the damage is frightening.
6. Edson Barboza
Barboza is another Brazilian fighter who has used his incredible Muay Thai striking skills to instill fear in his opponents.
His incredible kicks, in all three phases: leg, body, and head, have made highlight-reel knockouts that will be played for a long time.
He has the first wheel kick knockout in UFC history and has finished several fights strictly from leg kick knockouts. His switch kicks are known to be lightning-fast, and when they land they sound like whips.
In his Muay Thai career, he'd amass a 25-3 record, and out of those 25 wins, 22 came via knockout.
Barboza's kicking game is ferocious and is the primary factor in his success all of these years.
5. Alistair Overeem
The first fighter to hold world titles in MMA and K-1 kickboxing at the same time, Overeem is a legend of the sport.
He has become a champion at every fighting organization that he has been a part of except the UFC (he would fight for the title but ultimately lose).
When it comes down to resumes, there aren't many others that come close to Overeem's accomplishments, as well as his longevity.
His kickboxing from the Dutch school along with his K-1 experience has allowed him to excel from all distances. He was known for his ferocious power from range, and his vicious knees and elbows in the clinch.
Overeem has racked up almost 70 MMA fights and has won 47 of them.
4. Conor McGregor
McGregor has one of the most unorthodox striking styles in the UFC.
His wide stance, along with his vicious pull-back counter left hand have left opponents unconscious time and time again.
He also uses karate kicking techniques including the front body kick, and reverse side kick to the midsection to work the body of his opponents.
To date, out of McGregor's 22 wins, 19 of them come by way of knockout.
Using his precise striking, he was able to dethrone Jose Aldo (who had not lost in 10 years) in only 13 seconds.
He would then move up in weight class and dismantle Eddie Alvarez, knocking him down several times en route to becoming a UFC Double Champion.
3. Stephen Thompson
Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson is one of the most accomplished strikers to ever cross into mixed martial arts.
He was a full-contact kickboxer who racked up an absurd record of 58 wins and 0 losses.
There isn't anybody else on the list who was undefeated in their sport before MMA.
Wonderboy is known for his extremely accurate strikes in both his punches and his kicks.
Although his strikes never seem to be devastating when he throws them, the extreme accuracy that he hits them with inflicts major damage.
Thompson is known for fighting with both of his hands down, using his quickness, and accuracy to choose his shots wisely and effectively.
Additionally, he's able to fight from either stance, both orthodox and southpaw.
2. Anderson Silva
What Anderson 'The Spider' Silva did during his prime in Mixed Martial Arts is unprecedented.
He brought his elite striking prowess into MMA and was seemingly 10 steps ahead of every one of his opponent's moves.
He was able to do this using his boxing, leg kicks, and knees in the clinch, as didn't lack striking in any department.
Silva used his precise counterstriking to pick apart and later knock out his opponents at both 185 lbs and 205 lbs.
He holds the UFC record for the longest title reign at an astronomical 2,457 days.
In his 17-fight winning streak, he was able to finish his opponents in 15 of those fights through both knockouts and TKOs using front kicks, punches, knees, and even elbows.
As he transitioned from MMA into boxing at the end of his career, he is still having success with his striking.
He recently upset Julio Cesar Chavez in his 3rd professional boxing fight at 46 years old, despite Chavez having a boxing record of 52-6-1.
1. Israel Adesanya
At the top of our list, we have none other than 'The Last Stylebender' Israel Adesanya.
Adesanya is known for his elite striking, where he can fight efficiently from both stances and pick apart his opponents while setting them up for the knockout.
His style was inspired by Anderson Silva's success.
He has amassed a kickboxing record of 75 wins and 5 losses and even had an amateur kickboxing record of 32-0 before turning into a professional kickboxer.
In his MMA career, he has been able to destroy his opponents using his elite striking in different ways. He has used his crisp boxing, his leg kicks, knees, and even elbows on his way to winning the UFC Middleweight championship.
Ironically it is the same weight class of the championship belt that his idol, Anderson Silva held.
Adesanya has already cleared out his division, and he has only entered his physical prime at 32 years old.