By Alex Metalis | 11.14.16
Honorable Mentions: Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jose Aldo
Without question, Edson Barboza is the most hellacious kicker in the UFC.
The Brazilian has stopped three fights with his booming leg kicks, and is the only fighter in UFC history to have stoppages via leg kick, body kick, and head kick. He consistently stops his opponent’s in their tracks when he lands kicks. Barboza has landed 221 significant leg strikes via FoxSports.com advanced stats — the sixth most in the promotion’s history.
Barboza’s kicks are thunderous. His strikes fulminate; echoing throughout the arena whenever he lands an unblocked shot. He’s also spry and flexible, allowing him to deploy spins and deliver kicks from a myriad of angles. “Junior” also gifted us with one of the most spectacular knockouts in MMA history against poor Terry Etim in 2012:
Cowboy has shown improvements in his wrestling in 2016, but he sparkles when his kicking game is on display. His cleaving Thai-style kicks have been a major part of his game.
As per UFC Advanced Stats on FoxSports.com, The Jackson-Wink buckaroo has landed 275 significant leg strikes, the most in UFC history. He also lands them at an elite rate: 87.6% of Cerrone’s significant leg attacks have landed cleanly. Furthermore, Cerrone can be madcap with his kick output since his guard and bottom game is so dangerous — he doesn’t need to fear being taken down too much.
Not only does Cowboy immobilize his foes with chopping leg kicks, he delivers terminal strikes with his legs as well. Cerrone has five head-kick knockouts to his credit since joining the UFC.
The kicks of “Wonderboy” don’t crackle as resoundingly as the others on this list. His kicking arsenal, however, is beautiful and destructive; thanks to his high-level karate background and athleticism. While utilizing an unconventional hands-down karate stance with a wide base, Thompson is able to swing and pirouette like frenzied ballet dancer.
Thompson has three head-kick knockouts in his relatively brief MMA career, but he has scored eight knockdowns, most of which are from kicks. He and Lyoto Machida are similar in that their kicks come with little to no telegraphing or windup. Unlike a seasoned Nak Muay, “Wonderboy” employs a slick, nimble kicking game.