The surest way to win an MMA fight is to knock the opponent out cold. Not only does it put an immediate stop to the fight, but it also puts on a good show for the crowd that’s watching. Across the history of the UFC, there have been many knockout artists that have put on a show in the cage, and many of them tie for KO wins.
So, let’s take a look at all of them. Note that we’re looking at the most knockouts in all bouts, not just title bouts. If you’re interested in big-league MMA fighting and how the fighters are besting one another, you may be interested in placing bets on the outcomes of fights. If that’s you, you’ll want to check out UFC fight night prelims.
12 KO Wins
The most knockout wins accrued by an individual fighter is 12. Only two fighters in the entire history of the UFC have knocked a whole dozen of their opponents out. Those fighters are Vitor Belfort and Derrick Lewis.
To those who know his fighting prowess, it’s no surprise that Vitor Belfort is at the top of this list. He’s known for his explosive punching, especially when he gets the opponent down, where he hammers punches down hard and fast onto them until the referee calls an end to things. That’s how most of his KOs were decided, though some were also head kicks. Needless to say, opponents who face Belfort are in trouble if they find themselves on the mat.
The other fighter who has knocked out 12 people is Derrick Lewis. While Vitor’s career is winding down, Lewis is nearly a whole decade younger and may be able to rack up another knockout or two in the future. He’s currently #3 in the official UFC heavyweight rankings and is known for his “swangin’ and bangin’,” a term he uses to describe aggressive stand-up fighting. Grapplers have often had trouble getting him down and, in trying, they’ve ended up on the wrong side of his fists.
11 KO Wins
Sharing the second spot at 11 knockouts are four fighters – Anderson Silva, Matt Brown, Anthony Johnson, and Thiago Santos.
Anderson Silva is somebody that needs no introduction, often being remembered as the greatest middleweight UFC fighter of all time. In fact, his 2,457-day stint as undefeated middleweight champion is still the longest anybody has lasted while champion and is still celebrated today. He’s recently left the UFC scene to return to boxing, which should tell you all you need to know about how hard he hits.
For the welterweight division, Matt Brown has racked up the most KOs than any other fighter of his weight class. Having a past that’s mired in drug abuse, homelessness, and jail time, Brown won his first-ever MMA fight with no training. Since then, he’s trained and joined the UFC, where he’s made 11 people unconscious over the years, including Dhiego Lima, who he knocked out with just one punch.
Ranked at #1 in the UFC’s official light heavyweight division rankings during his career, Anthony Johnson is another fighter who can knock opponents out with just one punch. While he retired in 2017, he came out of retirement in 2021 to fight at Bellator 258. It’s not a UFC event but the former UFC fighter marked this return with yet another knockout, sending Jose Augusto down in the second round of the bout.
Having entered the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 – the promotion’s own reality TV show based in Brazil – Thiago Santos has since racked up an impressive record across a decade of fighting. He’s currently at #5 in the UFC’s official light heavyweight rankings, with his last KO win being a performance of the night victory against Jimi Manuwa during a 2018 bout, not even a minute into the second round.
10 KO Wins
As we move to the fighters who share 10 KO wins throughout their careers, it’s only natural that there’ll be more of them. As of writing, six fighters have punched and kicked their way to double digits.
They deserve a brief mention, so check it out below:
Chuck Liddell – UFC legend and former light heavyweight champion, who has cameo roles in several movies and TV shows.
Michael Bisping – Former UFC middleweight champion turned actor and sports analyst.
Cain Velasquez – Two-time UFC heavyweight champion who is now a professional wrestler.
Junior Dos Santos – Former UFC heavyweight champion and pro wrestler for AEW.
Donald Cerrone – Current welterweight fighter who has beat GSP’s and Bisping’s records for most UFC wins (21) and even beat A. Silva’s and Belfort’s records for finishes at (15)
Francis Ngannou – Current champion of the UFC heavyweight division.