Can You Headbutt in the UFC? | Simply Explained

In this page we'll go over whether or not you can legally headbutt in the UFC, and examples of headbutts that have occurred in the UFC.

headbutt

Table of Contents

Can You Headbutt in the UFC?

Presently, you are not allowed to headbutt in the UFC. This hasn't always been the case however, as headbutting was a legal move during the earlier years of the UFC. Headbutting was banned in the UFC on October 1997. With this being said, accidental headbutts still occur in fights.

Many accidental headbutts have occurred throughout the history of the UFC, and some have had large implications in a fight, and others not so much.

When accidental headbutts occur, they occur so quickly that it is tough for a referee to even catch it.

mma fighter bleeding

When Do Most Headbutts Happen?

Most headbutts happen when fighters are standing up, and they both enter the pocket to exchange shots, or one of them shoots for a takedown.

Level changing is part of the game in MMA, and something that elite fighters use. In basic terms, level changing is used to set up take downs, strike from different angles, and maintain unpredictability.

Due to this, there is no 'exact way' to eliminate accidental headbutts from MMA. The good news is that accidental headbutts are rare.

Headbutts That Have Happened in the UFC

Kevin Holland vs Kyle Daukaus

In one of the weirdest events ever, an accidental headbutt cause Holland to suffer a 'Flash Knockout', but he was able to get back up to his feet.

Holland still compromised, would get choked out only moments later, and Daukus would be declared the winner.

However, the referee would then hold a review of the fight, and in that review he realized that Holland was knocked out by the accidental headbutt, and the fight should have been ruled a no contest at that point.

Essentially, the referee used a replay to correct his mistakes, which was the right call, but something that isn't common in the sport.

Joseph Benavidez vs Deiveson Figuereido

When Henry Cejudo decided to retire, the Flyweight championship belt became vacant, and Benavidez and Figuereido were set to fight for the belt.

Ironically, the commentary team would point out that Benavidez was lunging in while leading with his head during his exchanges.

Only moments after this, Benavidez would accidentally clash heads with Figuereido which would immediately open a cut on Benavidez's head and knocked him down.

Figuereido would smartly take advantage of this situation and jump on his opponent and finish him.

Jessica Eye vs Jennifer Maia

Unlike the previous mentioned fights, this fight did not end up being stopped.

Eye and Maia would fight for a full three rounds, despite an accidental headbutt that viciously opened Eye's forehead.

If you have a soft stomach, you'll want to skip the following picture. Jessica Eye's forehead was split wide open, to the point that it looked like a third eye even after the cutman treated it with vaseline.