5 UFC fighters who had the ultimate equalizer in the form of their one-hit knockout power

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The fights that take place in cfuOctagon’s are always very unpredictable, and part of what makes them so hard to call is the fact that one big strike can change the outcome of any fight.

Over the years we’ve seen a number of UFC fighters who, despite often having limitations, carried the ultimate equalizer in the form of their one-hit knockout power. At times, these fighters often seemed to get in trouble against tricky foes – only to be able to score a victory with a brutal strike.

Here are five UFC fighters who had the ultimate equalizer in the form of their one-hit knockout power.


#5. Alex Pereira – UFC middleweight contender

Can Alex Pereira's punching power lead him to middleweight gold later this month?
Can Alex Pereira’s punching power lead him to middleweight gold later this month?

Former double-weight kickboxing champion Alex Pereira is ready to face his old rival Israel Adesanya for the UFC middleweight title later this month. It’s probably fair to guess that if he gets the win, he’ll do it with his deadly left hook.

Pereira’s nickname, “Poatan”, literally translates to “hand of stone”. While he only demonstrated the power of his left hook once in the octagon (using it to obliterate Sean Strickland in their fight earlier this year), he sent many haters with him inside the kickboxing ring over the years.

Of his 33 kickboxing victories, 21 of them have come by way of knockout, with the left hook being responsible for the majority. One of his victims, in fact, was Adesanya himself. ‘The Last Stylebender’ saw his lights go out with a single big hit in his second fight with the Brazilian in 2017.

Since switching to MMA, Pereira’s left hook has been no less deadly. Prior to his arrival in the UFC, he used it to knock out Thomas Powell in his fourth MMA fight, leaving him face down on the canvas. His Strickland finish, which had previously shown a strong chin, was stunning.

Not only does Pereira have the power to kill a punch in his left hand, but he also has the expert ability to set up the punch and time it to perfection. This makes him one of the most dangerous men in the promotion right now.


#4. Derrick Lewis – UFC heavyweight contender

Derrick Lewis holds the record for most knockouts in UFC history
Derrick Lewis holds the record for most knockouts in UFC history

In many ways, Derrick Lewis just shouldn’t work as an elite level heavyweight fighter. That might sound weird considering he holds a largely impressive 17-8 UFC record.

“The Black Beast” doesn’t have the best wrestling skills, he’s not a submission expert, and his cardio isn’t as powerful as it could be. Despite these limitations, Lewis has perhaps the greatest equalizer in the form of his absolutely ridiculous punching power. Simply put, if “The Black Beast” connects to an opponent’s jaw – even with a glance – the fight is likely to be over in an instant.

UFC fans received flashes of Lewis’ insane power in his early days with the promotion, as he took down overmatched foes like Guto Inocente and Viktor Pesta in ruthless fashion.

I’m fair to say that over the years “The Black Beast” has more than proven that his power works against high level opponents as well. He picked up victories against higher ranked fighters such as Alexander Volkov, Curtis Blaydes and Alexei Oleinik, often having to come from behind to knock them out.

When you add in the fact that Lewis’ thunderous power works just as well on the floor as it does on the feet, it should come as no surprise that he’s delivered 13 knockouts during his eight-year career in the octagon. The number is currently considered a UFC record.


#3. Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson – former UFC light-heavyweight contender

Anthony Johnson has taken his insane punching power to multiple weight classes
Anthony Johnson has taken his insane punching power to multiple weight classes

Although he was unable to claim gold inside the octagon despite a few attempts to do so, arguably there was no more powerful puncher in the UFC. that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at its peak.

Initially debuting in the octagon as a welterweight on late notice in 2007, Johnson immediately showed his brutal stopping power. He destroyed Tom Speer, Yoshiyuki Yoshida and Kevin Burns, ending his first five wins in the promotion by knockout.

However, it was when he jumped to 205 pounds after years away from the promotion that his thunderous power really got scary. Not only did ‘Rumble’ carry his power with him, but he somehow increased it.

His finishes from Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alexander Gustafsson and Jimi Manuwa were all brutal. However, that was his one-hit knockout of the future light-heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira – a finish that took just 13 seconds – which really showed that ‘Rumble’ still had the ultimate equalizer in his arsenal.

Rumble Johnson knocked out Glover Teixeira seconds into their fight four years ago today #UFC https://t.co/9yE3UpiqH3


#2. Dan Henderson – former UFC middleweight contender

Dan Henderson's brutal right hand has been nicknamed 'The H-Bomb' due to its concussive power
Dan Henderson’s brutal right hand has been nicknamed ‘The H-Bomb’ due to its concussive power

Once given the pejorative nickname “Decision Dan” due to his penchant for allowing his fights to go the distance, Dan Henderson eventually developed a reputation for holding serious power in his hands, particularly his right of pronation.

Not exactly a technically brilliant striker, Henderson often used his right hand from awkward angles. He usually preferred a wide hook and loop – but if it landed on his opponent’s jaw, he usually fell asleep.

After arriving in the UFC from PRIDE in 2007, Henderson shot to fame after using that right hand to violently take out his bitter rival. Michael Bisping. He turned off the lights in “The Count” and left him stiff as a corpse in a truly chilling scene.

‘Hendo’ then moved to StrikeForce, where his right hand was dubbed “The H-Bomb” by commentator Mauro Renallo. It was a nickname that suited him perfectly, as he used the punch to knock out Rafael Feijao and Fedor Emelianenko before returning to the octagon in 2012.

Although he was unable to win UFC gold – and ultimately retired in 2016 after a poor run – he was still able to use his enormous punching power to send players like Shogun Rua and Hector Lombard. This cemented ‘Hendo’ as one of the sport’s true knockout artists.


#1. Francis Ngannou – UFC Heavyweight Champion

No fighter in UFC history can compare to the mad power of Francis Ngannou
No fighter in UFC history can compare to the mad power of Francis Ngannou

Arguably no other fighter in UFC history has displayed the kind of one-hit knockout power as current heavyweights Francois Ngannou has during his octagon career. Simply put, “The Predator” is one of the most terrifying fighters of all time.

Fans were first treated to flashes of Ngannou’s brutal power in his early fights, as he turned the lights out on overmatched foes like Luis Henrique and Bojan Mihajlovic. However, eyes were really opened when he started knocking out proven elite level opponents like Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overem.

Those wins set him up for a title shot against then-champion Stipe Miocic, but he fell short of his challenge. Ngannou was somewhat exposed when Miocic managed to absorb his shots and overpower him on the ground.

It didn’t take long for the Cameroon native to get back on track as he continued to use his incredible power to knock out four fighters in a row – including former champions Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos – before exacting revenge of Miocic and arrest him to claim the title in 2021.

Right now, “The Predator” is clearly the best heavyweight fighter in the world – and what sets him so apart is his insane punching power.

In this case, it really is the great equalizer. Ngannou is actually not a great striker from a technical point of view. He tends to use looping punches and if one lands his target is destroyed. This makes him unique, even in the heavyweight division, and explains his dominance.

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