The Best Kickers In MMA History, Ranked

There is no highlight in MMA like a high kick, the devastating nature of it instantly puts it on any fighter’s highlight real. That being said, kicks aren’t just the highlight head kick as the best kickers in the UFC can use their legs in a variety of effective ways to suppress their opponent.

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The best kickers in the UFC are fast, and powerful and disguise their kicks in unique ways that allow them to beat their opponent. They can be dangerous from an unprecedented range or stifling throughout a long fight and have proved so on multiple occasions.

10 Lyoto Machida

Growing up as a taekwondo and karate specialist brought Lyoto Machida to the UFC and delivered a unique style that left many fighters confused. He was able to employ kicks that had not been seen in the UFC until that point. He knocked out one of the best heavyweights of all time Randy Couture with the crane kick. Truly an unprecedented talent in MMA.

9 Jon Jones

With his remarkably skinny legs for the UFC’s light heavyweight division, one wouldn’t expect Jon Jones to be such a devastating kicker. His long frame and flexibility allow him to throw kicks incredibly fast and from a long-distance away. He also uses the teep kick to the knee to limit his opponent’s mobility. We’ve seen him knock out Daniel Cormier with a high kick that Cormier himself knew was coming. We saw him dominate Thiago Santos tearing the ACL in both Santos’ knees in the process, and we’ve seen him time and again land crushing leg kicks.


8 Donald Cerrone

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is one of the best finishers in the history of the UFC. When he is on a card, you know you are in for a show. One of the sharpest tools in Cerrone’s kit is his left high kick, many a fighter has been on the wrong side of that weapon. Cerrone has multiple highlight finishes with his left high kick, and as one of the most active fighters on the roster for the past 15 years, it’s a well-known kick, yet he still manages to fool his opponent into getting knocked out by it.

7 Mirko Cro Cop

Mirko Crop Cop is the original high kick master. The former K-1 kickboxer turned MMA fighter around the turn of the century staked his name among the pantheon of great kickers in MMA history while fighting for Pride.

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He devastatedly finished multiple fights with his lethal head kicks. They were unstoppable, and made his Cro Cop synonymous with head kick knockouts.

6 Anthony Pettis

Only one kick resounds in our collective memories when we think about Anthony Pettis’ kicking ability, and boy that kick is something to behold. The showtime kick sets Anthony Pettis apart from all other fighters. Leaping off the cage and landing an insane head kick on Benson Henderson en route to winning the WEC lightweight title and later the UFC title was truly something special and earns him a spot on this list.

5 Edson Barboza

There is not a more violent and technical striker than Edson Barboza. His KO of the year over Terry Etim is arguably the greatest highlight in the history of MMA. He’s also known for his vicious leg kicks. Any fighter that is set to go against him understands that their game plan has to find a way to get into range of him, and if that isn’t executed perfectly, he’ll pick you apart with his legs.

4 Jose Aldo

In his WEC days, Jose Aldo fought against one of the best fighters in the WEC at the time, Urijah Faber. Aldo decimated Faber’s leg, leaving it purple from his hip to almost his ankle the next day.

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Since then Aldo’s leg kicks have been a thing of legend, helping him earn a UFC title. He attributes that leg kick power to his days as a kid playing soccer, and you can tell by the way he throws his whole body into the kick that it’s terrifying.

3 Stephen Thompson

Formerly a karate point fighter, Stephen Thompson took his talents to the UFC and delivered some of the most spectacular head kick knockouts. Fading away with the front, leg he’s able to sneak it behind the guard and knock a fighter out before they even know what hit them. No fighter in the UFC has the kind of kick combinations that Stephen Thompson does. It is unique to him, and it creates a striking puzzle that is almost unsolvable by anyone in the UFC.

2 Anderson Silva

Has there ever been a slicker striker in the UFC than Anderson Silva? His ability to kick off a punch and land it practically anywhere on his opponent makes him one of the most dangerous kickers, let alone strikers, in the UFC. If you remember his front kick to the face knockout of Vitor Belfort, you know of his lethal kicks that can land from anywhere.

1 Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya sits atop the UFC’s middleweight division and is arguably the best striker the UFC has ever seen. The former kickboxer has a distinct ability to whip his legs at opponents that terrifies anyone he goes up against. In his fight against Yoel Romero, he landed so many legs kicks that the shape of Romero’s leg changed because of all the swelling. He also has one of the scariest question marks kicks the UFC has ever seen.

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