The UFC Rankings are subjective and often don’t factor into title shots.
If you’re like me, you’ve kind of given up on the official UFC rankings. They are haphazard at best, and title shots are seldom given to the number one contenders. It’s a business and the rankings just seem like unnecessary shenanigans. So, what I’ve decided to do is put together a list of ten fighters that matters. It’s the All Violence list. It’s for the guys and gals on the roster that don’t give a damn about records or playing it safe. They bite down on their mouthpiece and sling leather like gladiators.
This is not a ranking, and there is no order. It’s just ten fighters that always bring the thunder.
Cody absolutely had to be on this list. He will show up and fight anyone, on a moments notice. Not only will he fight you, he’ll fight to the death if need be. Cody is the rare breed who can hold a world title, and still, continue to be at the very top of the game. For most fighters, if you’re willing to stand on a stamp and go Rock-em Sock-em, you can expect to occasionally take an L. Cody doesn’t.
Shane has been in the UFC for three consecutive fights and each and every time he has gone to war. The man is absolutely fearless. He is always moving forward, punching, kicking attacking. His nickname is Hurricane, and it fits, because it’s not only how he wipes out a tray of Chocolate Lasagna, but it’s how he fights. He’s a storm of activity. One of the most exciting young fighters in the sport, Shane will always come to fight you and separate you from your senses. He’s an absolute beast.
If you don’t like Cub Swanson, you don’t like MMA. You’ll never catch him in a boring fight because it’s not in his DNA. His fight with Doo Ho Choi was an instant Fight of the Year candidate and my favorite clash of 2016. Like most of the guys on this list, Cub is a killer inside the cage and a good guy outside of it. I will never get tired of watching Cub fight.
Jeremy Stephens is a bad man. I know Conor McGregor might not know who he is, but if they were to step into a cage, he’d certainly remember his name. Stephens doesn’t always win, but he’s always in there willing to kill or be killed to get the job done. How and hell do you not respect that. His nickname might be the most fitting in the UFC. “Little Heathen” is exactly what Jeremy is. Trust me.
Justin epitomizes what this list is all about. He’s the classic take two shots to give one back guy. His fight with Michael Johnson showed that. It was his debut in the UFC and it was undoubtedly on the short list for Fight of the Year. He seemingly goes full zombie in his fights, absorbing damage that would drop a small elephant, only to continually come back swinging. He’s fought this way his whole career, and amazingly has never tasted defeat.
I mean, what you say about Robbie Lawler. His nickname should be War because it describes all of his fights. He can arguably stake his claim as having the Fight of the Year in 2015 and 2016. He also has a top five fight of the year for 2014. I mean, how many fighters can say their fights are on the shortlist for Fight of the Year three years in a row? His upcoming fight in December with Rafael Dos Anjos is going to be fireworks.
Mike Perry is every bit a savage. I have a rule about guys with face tattoos. The rule is simple, they are scary. Stay clear of them. Perry is 11-1 and all 11 of his fights ended via TKO. He has a fight coming up in December with Santiago Ponzinibbio which should be an absolute firefight. I don’t necessarily love the guy, but I do respect what he does inside of the Octagon. He’s a psycho, in the best possible way.
Gokhan Saki is in MMA now, and that’s a scary proposition for other Light Heavyweights in the UFC. Saki comes from the world of kickboxing and he knows only one speed, Full Kill. He was successful in his UFC debut, but he was struggling with conditioning as the fight ended. “The Rebel” will face Khalil Rountree at UFC 219 and that will end in a knockout. You can bet the entire house on it. If that fight goes the distance, I’ll get a tattoo of Evan Shoman on my calf.
Joanna Champion is a striking machine. She goes straightforward as soon as the bell rings and goes full tilt. Joanna’s striking is remarkably crisp and heavy-handed. It’s a style that is seldom seen in the Octagon. She’s not looking to take you down and submit you. She wants to come forward, crowd you and knock you out cold. It’s her goal, and she’s damn good at it.
I love Rose. The nickname “Thug” is a perfect fit for her. She has a very diverse game, but all of it is designed to end the fight. She’s not out there point fighting or trying to smother you on the ground. She is doing everything she can to end the fight every second of the fight. She walks an emotional tightrope in the cage, and she channels that emotion into beautiful violence. It’s a joy to be a part of.
There are other fighters who could be on this list. I mean, Donald Cerrone, Carlos Condit, Conor McGregor, Volkan Oezdemir, The Diaz Brothers, Amanda Nunes and much more. In the future, we’ll do more of these lists, and some of those fighters will make it.