The knockout by its very nature is exciting but not all knockouts are created equal. Some come in the form of a flash or fluke where a fighter gets tagged and loses consciousness for a split second. Others are the result of attrition; whether it be years of taking punishment with the body finally giving out or an exhausted fighter who just takes one shot too many. Then you have the truly great knockouts; the ones that are etched in your memory.

For a knockout to be truly great it has to have several elements. First, it needs to be decisive; no flash KO’s here. Second, it needs to have substance. There are some great knockouts on the small circuit, but great ones have to have name value. Third, and most importantly, it has to be spectacular.

#10 Edson Barboza vs Terry Etim, UFC 142

Off all the knockouts on this list this one may just have the least name value. But what it lacks in names it more than makes up for in sheer awesomeness. Barboza’s spinning wheel kick KO of Etim was UFC 142’s Knockout of the Night, 2012’s Knockout of the Year and was nominated for the 2012 “Best Play’ ESPY.

#9 Johny Hendricks vs Jon Fitch, UFC 141

Hendricks’ KO of Fitch is amazing, especially considering that Fitch is as tough as they come and had taken some shots from some of the sports best leading up to this bout. It took Hendricks 12 seconds to drop Fitch and put the UFC welterweight division on notice. The KO of Fitch elevated Hendricks to elite status and solidified him as being one of the most feared knockout artists in MMA today.

#8 Fedor Emelianenko vs Andrei Arlovski, Affliction: Day of Reckoning

Arlovski entered his bout with Emelianenko on a five fight winning streak with four knockouts. He looked like one of the best heavyweights in the world and then BOOM! It was lights out for Arlovski. Early in the fight, Arlovski looked good, but then he went for a flying knee and Emelianenko caught him in mid-air with a powerful overhand right.

#7 Jose Aldo vs Cub Swanson, WEC 41

Aldo is terrifying fighter; his blend of speed, technical brilliance and explosive power is truly something to behold. Even though he came into the bout having knocked out all four of his WEC opponents no one was expecting him to run through Swanson. Then as Swanson took the center of the cage Aldo exploded into his face with a double flying knee.

#6 Dan Henderson vs Michael Bisping, UFC 100

The Henderson-Bisping bout had it all; they were opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, they did not like each other, and their bout ended in spectacular fashion. Heading into the bout Henderson was already a living legend in the world of MMA, but his destruction of Bisping took his status to new heights. Everyone knew that Henderson had power, but when Bisping got caught with an overhand right in second round the “H-bomb” was born.

#5 Wanderlei Silva vs Quinton Jackson, Pride 28

Easily one of the greatest rivalries in MMA histor, Silva and Jackson hated each other and that hatred spurred some great fights. The best though was their rematch at Pride 28 when Silva demolished Jackson in the thai clinch with a barrage of knees. The KO was so brutally epic because of how Jackson’s stiff body fell into the ropes.

#4 Rashad Evans vs Chuck Liddell, UFC 88

When Evans floored the heavily favored Liddell in the second round of their bout it wasn’t just an impressive KO, it signaled the official changing of the guard in the UFC light heavyweight division. For years Liddell had ruled with an iron fist and while this bout was not Liddell’s last it ended his run of being a force in the division. You would be hard pressed to find a more impressive counter strike KO in MMA history.

#3 Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort, UFC 126

Silva is just one of those fighters you can’t afford not to watch; nearly every time he steps into the cage it’s mesmerizing. Belfort was by far the biggest striking threat to ever challenge him and Silva dispatched him in the most spectacular fashion: front kick to the face. Up until that point the front kick in MMA was seen as a defensive technique or a distance tool. Silva changed that in an instance.

#2 Quinton Jackson vs Ricardo Arona, Pride Critical Countdown 2004

Jackson has dubious honor of being the only fighter to appear on this list twice; once on both ends of the spectrum. Jackson is also the only person to appear on this list having knocked someone out without a strike. Arona was going for a triangle when Jackson picked him up and slammed him to the canvass with such force that Arona’s head bounced off the mat and knocked him unconscious.

#1 Gabriel Gonzaga vs Mirko Cro Cop, UFC 70

Cro Cop will always be remembered as one of the greatest strikers in MMA history, he will also always be remember for being on the wrong end of the most spectacular knockout in MMA history. Even though he had shown power, Gonzaga entered the bout viewed primarily as a grappler. Gonzaga shocked the world when he knocked Cro Cop out with Cro Cop’s signature head kick in the first round.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.