This list is meant to reflect the most damage resistant fighters in MMA History. It's not just about avoiding a knockout—it's about requiring a hundred kicks from a horse to achieve one. Against these mighty warriors, damage is their middle name.
There are quite a few MMA stars that can dish it out.
This is a list of who can take it.
1. Fedor Emelianenko
If he didn’t have the strongest Jaw in the world he would have been defeated by now. He has taken amazing blows to the head and still pulled out a win. People could argue for hours about which fighter came closest to knocking out Fedor, but they can never come up with a fighter that did. He truly is, The Iron Man.
2. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
This man is a living legend. Much like Fedor, only slightly less immortal. Big Nog has never been knocked out in his entire career. He was recently TKO’d for the first time in his contest with Frank Mir. It is possible that age is catching up to Nogueira, but flawless is flawless and he certainly is in the Iron Chin category.
3. Don Frye
Check out his fights. Watch him vs. Takayama and Thompson. This man has faced some serious heavy hitters in his career. Most of his fights involve a tremendous amount of damage to both competitors. Don Frye has fought monsters in the ring and survived. Only KO’d one time in his 13 year long career. That was via a kick from Gary Goodridge way back in 2003.
4. Hayato Sakurai
Many Americans may be unfamiliar with this fighter, but his record speaks for itself. He has only been KO’d one time and that was against Takanori Gomi. That’s like saying he's only been KO’d by Chuck Liddell. He is, in fact, still active and recently knocked out Shinya Aoki via knee strikes at DREAM 9 this past April.
5. Cabbage Correira
Cabbage is truly amazing in his ability to absorb blows. He is one of the Great Punching Bags of MMA. If one were to examine his record it would be evident that he never gives up, never surrenders. His corner has thrown in the towel, and the ref has stopped his fights several times. The problem is that he is almost always still on his feet when the fight is stopped. Watch his fight with Arlovski and you will see exactly that.
6. Heath Herring
The Literal Human Punching Bag. That’s Heath in a nutshell. He can take any amount of damage in the world—you could hit him with a 10 story building and it wouldn't matter. He would crawl out—mangled, bloody and broken. Ready for round two. He can take damage and it shows—all over his face and body. And any other bodily destruction that is forgotten at this time.
7. Wanderlei Silva
There was a time when Wanderlei could be hit with anything, beaten with insane ferocity, and then go out for coffee. You could knee him. You could kick him in the head, foot stomp his face forty times, break his arm, take out one of his eyes, and you would still be asleep before the fight was over. He had some kind of unnatural invincibility.
8. Royce Gracie
Talk about invincibility. Though the sports world has caught up to Gracie’s level of skill in Brazilian Jui Jitsu, fans must give him credit. He could take a punch. He really could…take a punch. Not only did he take damage incessantly, he seemed bored by it. Somehow let down by the amount of damage he was absorbing. Arguments regarding this man’s place on the list will surely be few.
9. Forrest Griffin
Perhaps this will be one of the more controversial choices, but his fight with Bonner really did help create the UFC we see today. He has also had many great fights in which he seems to need the damage in order to motivate himself. Forrest isn’t a good fighter unless he is beaten up a bit first.
10. Kazuyuki Fujita
This man’s entire skull was composed of Cast Iron. The very structure of his head, neck, and shoulders seemed to stop anyone from hurting him. The entire MMA world is lucky that head butting is no longer allowed or this man would be Heavyweight Champion of whatever organization he wanted.
Surely many fans would dispute this list. Claim that other fighters deserve the honor. Please tell everyone if you think a change should be made on this list, just please do not mention the names Arlovski, Sobral, or Eastman.
To err is human so they say, its possible the list requires adjustment. Make a convincing case and it could be changed.
Judging who gets hit in the face the best is a subject only MMA fans could ever dream up. Have Fun.
-Marco Yanitelli “The Italian Scallion”