10.) Anderson Silva vs. Chris Leben
When: Ultimate Fight Night 5, June 28, 2006
Outcome: KO (knee), 0:49 of Rnd 1
Chris Leben’s nickname is “The Crippler,” and it’s because his game plan during a fight usually consists of getting bludgeoned in the skull until his opponent can no longer lift his arms to defend himself. His face seems to be an unholy mix of raw meat and adamantium desensitized by years of substance abuse. If you took Wolverine’s superpower and applied it only to a person’s cranium and then made that person sniff glue for 20-odd years, Leben would be the byproduct.
At the time of this fight, Leben was 15-1 and looking like a legit contender. His roughneck style and impenetrable dome was a combo most fighters couldn’t overcome. Anderson Silva was fairly unknown and making his UFC debut, so nobody really knew how he would fair against a nigh invincible brawler like Leben, who even commented beforehand that “he would eat his shots” and Silva “wouldn’t know how to handle it.”
In retrospect, of course, this all seems hilarious.
The bell rang and, true to form, Leben waded into battle with his hands low and his chin held high, eagerly awaiting the sweet touch of Silva’s fists. Unbeknownst to just about everyone, Leben had just engaged the greatest striker in human history in a brawl, something that would surely end in his death.
In the 49 seconds it took for Silva to murder every brain cell in Leben’s head, he landed a barraging array of punches and kicks and knees that Leben seemed to go out of his way to get hit by. He literally stood directly in front of a man who has never encountered an object he couldn’t punch a hole through, something that’s even braver than stupid. One day he’ll tell his grandchildren how he stood toe to toe with the greatest killing machine ever, absorbed 100% (100%!) of his strikes, and only came away with night terrors and an addiction to oxy-contin
9.) Fedor Emelianenko vs. Zuluzinho
When: PRIDE Shockwave, December 31, 2005
Outcome: Submission (punches), 0:26 of Rnd 1
Fedor fought a lot cans in his day, but Zulu was like the ridiculously oversized tub of Chef Boyardee you get at Costco. To say his fighting style resembled that of a beached whale is an insult to huge, immobile mammals everywhere.
Everyone knew how this fight was going to go; the PRIDE promoters just couldn’t help the urge to put the sport’s greatest heavyweight in the ring with somebody who looked like the creatures that destroy all their major cities. The fight started and Fedor cracked Zulu’s doughy head with a hook, and then – in a move I’ve never seen before or since – simply shoved his top heavy opponent to the mat.
Somehow, Zulu laboriously made his way back to his feet, staggering around the ring like a yeti that just got shot with a tranquilizer dart. Then Fedor shoved him down again. This time he made sure he didn’t get back up, raining down hammer fists until the ref mercifully ended the big game hunt.
This wasn’t so much a fight as it was a tutorial on what to do if Bigfoot ever attacked you, assuming Bigfoot had the motor skills of an intoxicated baby deer. Ironically, when Fedor would fight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in 2011, he wound up on the receiving end of his own lopsided thrashing, apparently forgetting the flawless survival skills he had demonstrated six years earlier.
8.) BJ Penn vs. Joe Stevenson
When: UFC 80, January 19, 2008
Outcome: Submission (rear naked choke), 4:02 of Rnd 2
In a sport full of crazy nut jobs, BJ Penn has managed to subtly separate himself from the pack. I say subtly, because he’s not necessarily someone you immediately think of as a lunatic. He’s from Hawaii, so you know he’s got that whole soft spoken, laid back, Island paradise thing going on. And he has the physique that suggests he really likes licking the salt off all of his fruity tropical drinks.
You know what else he likes to lick? Blood.
When he fought Joe “Daddy” Stevenson for the interim title, it took all of five seconds before he took him to the ground and started punching him really hard. Penn is an Abu Dhabi jiu-jitsu world champion, so Stevenson had a better chance of a giant stork swooping into the arena and lifting him out of the ring by his trousers than escaping Penn’s top control.
A big elbow at the end of the first round sliced open Stevenson’s head, and that’s when things got weird. Penn proceeded to pound the blood out of the open wound until everything in the nearby vicinity was colored crimson red. All the reporters on press row had to get new computers because they didn’t splatter-proof their keyboard before the fight.
And then, in a crazy-eyed fit of ecstasy, Penn licked Stevenson’s blood off of his gloves. Seriously, just look at that madman. Now cancel your vacation to Maui and lock your bedroom door.
7.) Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado
When: UFC 153, October 13, 2012
Outcome: TKO (doctor stoppage), 5:00 of Rnd 2
There’s no being cute with this one. Glover Teixeira beat on poor Fabio Maldonado so badly that my eyes tried to escape from my face and hide behind the sofa. There hasn’t been a more gruesome fight in the UFC since Tim Sylvia crapped his pants.
Teixeira, famously, was trapped in Brazil for years due to Visa issues and was making his second appearance in the promotion against Maldonado, a fellow Brazilian. Apparently, he had a little pent up frustration due to being imprisoned in a jungle-filled hell hole for a half decade, and Maldonado was just the poor sap who served as his release therapy.
For two rounds, Teixeira punched Maldonado so much that he legally left the cage a different person. It was like Maldonado decided he wanted a sex change and figured the cheapest way would be to have a large man beat on him until his penis fell off. All things considered, it was an absolute miracle that Maldonado not only had his penis intact after that thumping, but also all of his mental faculties. Despite his pleas to let the fight continue, the doctors were forced to wave it off in fear that if they didn’t stop Teixeira’s berserker rage when they had the chance he may wade into the crowd and start tossing people over his head like Thunderlips in “Rocky III”.
And so Maldonado left the ring that day with a loss, but with more balls than anyone in the history of mankind, and the highlights from this fight became archive footage that scientists show to werewolves in order to satiate their bloodlust.
6.) Johnny Bedford vs. Louis Gaudinot
When: TUF 14 Finale, December 3, 2011
Outcome: KO (knees to body), 1:58 of Rnd 3
Louis Gaudinot had the unfortunate problem of fighting in the UFC when his real weight class didn’t exist. He’s now a newly minted flyweight, but once there’s a 115-pound strawweight division he’ll probably drop down and fight there with the rest of the world’s real life pixies.
Gaudinot is tiny. And he has green hair, which I suppose is just him being self-aware of the fact that he has the dimensions of a leprechaun. He started training MMA when he was six years old and then promptly stopped growing. Needless to say, when he was forced to compete in the bantamweight division a couple years ago, it looked like that scene from “Fern Gully” when all the little fairies are trying to stop the giant tree-eating monster truck.
His fight against Johnny Bedford looked exactly like every time a little brother has tried to take the remote from his older brother. He came at Bedford with courage and determination and Bedford stuck his hand out dismissively and knocked him to the floor. It’s a testament to Gaudinot’s fairy magic that he was able to survive two 10-8 rounds in which he got beaten on like Questlove’s snare drum. Bedford finally finished the fight with knees midway through the third, putting an end to a glorified match of boot vs. ant.
5.) Jon Jones vs. Shogun Rua
When: UFC 128, March 19, 2011
Outcome: TKO (punches and knees), 2:37 of Rnd 3
There probably hasn’t been a more dominant individual athlete in the world than Jon Jones the last few years. He’s like if Michael Phelps won eight gold medals by doggy paddling, and then drowned all his opponents.
Through 18 career fights the closest someone has come to beating him is when Vitor Belfort dry-humped his right arm for 30 seconds. This guy has made “Bones” the best nickname in MMA because when he elbows people in the face blood shoots out like the Buckingham Fountain.
But when they fought, Shogun was the one with the belt. He was also a former PRIDE champion notorious for soccer kicking downed opponents and stomping on their faces like a murderous Michael Flatley. Jones had been fighting decent opponents, but when the UFC asked him to step in on short notice and take on Shogun a lot of people thought he was too young and inexperienced, and his head too kickable.
They were all really, really wrong. Shogun has never had the best cardio, and when you throw in the long layoff he was getting over and a rangy, athletic phenom like Jones, you get slow and surgical beatdown.
This is one of the best examples of dominance in MMA history because Jones flashed every facet imaginable: He threw punches and kicks of all kinds. He worked the clinch with knees, he connected on sweeps and takedowns. He employed his signature, pointy ground and pound. Over three rounds he destroyed Shogun’s body and broke his will. It was incredible.
4.) Nick Diaz vs. Koji Oishi
When: UFC 53, Junes 4, 2005
Outcome: KO (punches), 1:24 of Rnd 1
This is assuredly the one fight that nobody remembers, but trust me, it deserves to be here. You know it’s a lopsided fight when at exactly 10 seconds in, Joe Rogan is already claiming it’s just a matter of time until Oishi gets knocked out. In fact, Rogan didn’t stop making fun of the strange little guy the entire length of the bout, which admittedly wasn’t very long.
Apparently the Japanese fighter came in with the immeasurably dumb strategy of attempting to punch Diaz’s punches out of midair. This is the equivalent of trying to scream at high-caliber bullets in hopes they will get scared and fly back the way they came. That game-plan would have been a terrible idea against anyone, but — as with the case in the Leben vs. Silva fight — what makes it so funny is the opponent was absolutely perfect .
Nick Diaz is perhaps the best volume striker in MMA history. He punches with all the force of your arthritic grandmother holding up her winning bingo sheet, but he’s incredibly precise, doesn’t get tired, and hits people until they fold from the sheer accumulation of damage.
So let’s say, against all odds, Oishi was able to parry a few of Diaz’s Stockton slaps (not surprisingly he never blocked one), was he really going to be able to stop all 250-300?
Apparently he thought so, which is why he now keeps his teeth in a bedside glass of water. Diaz started the fight by throwing some feeler jabs out there to gauge how Oishi would react, and when he realized that, “Holy shit, this guy is actually trying to punch my punches,” he unloaded the full arsenal and the fight was over almost immediately.
Chang Sung-Jung has recently made the “Zombie” moniker famous, but he fights like a hummingbird compared to this guy. Oishi stumbles around the ring with the blank, wide-eyed stare only seen on adorable puppies and the undead, and I know he’s not the first one, which can only mean that somewhere in Japan is an empty grave. And judging by his fighting, he’s just begging to be sent back.
3.) Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin
When: UFC 101, August 8, 2009
Outcome: KO (punch), 3:23 of Rnd 1
Since beating the last few IQ points out of Chris Leben’s head, Anderson Silva had gone on to knee middleweight champ Rich Franklin’s face into a pancake-like surface barely resembling a human skull and then defend his title 7 consecutive times, swatting away challengers like the unworthy insects they were.
He was also very bored.
In his previous two outings against Patrick Cote and Thales Leites, Silva did more dancing and gyrating in the octagon than punching or kicking. This was obviously bad news for Dana White and the UFC, who needed their star fighter to, you know, start fighting again.
That’s when Forrest Griffin entered someone’s mind and the UFC must have thought they were geniuses. Griffin was the former light heavyweight champion and, taking up Leben’s mantle, arguably the toughest guy in MMA. He was known for looking and fighting every bit like a big, hairy ape and having a heart the size of the Grinch’s after he decided he was totally down for some Who-people love. This guy had gotten the tar beat out of him by Shogun Rua and Stephan Bonnar and all it gave him was a boner.
Surely if anyone could give Silva a fight, it would be Griffin. Once again, Silva literally punched holes in that theory.
Nothing I can say would be funnier than what Griffin himself has said about the fight, so I’ll let him take it from here. In his own words:
“Every fight I go in to, no matter what happens, it couldn’t be worse than Anderson Silva. That shit was a year ago and people, every day, ask me something about that…I was very confused. And I tried to punch him and he literally moved his head out of the way and looked at me like I was stupid for doing it. He looked at me like, ‘why would you do such a stupid thing?’ He looked at me like, ‘oh did you really think you were going to hit me? What a stupid thing to think, you slow, slow white boy.’ And then he punched me. I felt embarrassed for even trying to punch him. I felt like some kid trying to wrestle with his dad.”
2.) Royce Gracie vs. Art Jimmerson
When: UFC 1, November 12 1993,
Outcome: Submission (punches), 2:18 of Rnd 1
It’s entirely impossible to conceptualize today, but back in 1993 at UFC 1 when this “fight” took place, Brazilian jiu-jitsu was the equivalent of black magic. Nobody had any idea what it was or what it did. Not the referees, not the announcers, and certainly not poor Art Jimmerson.
When the Golden Gloves boxer, who was comically only wearing one boxing glove for the fight, looked across the cage and saw skinny Royce Gracie wearing oversized pajamas, he must have felt pretty good. As long as this fight was on the feet, Gracie was toast.
Of course, Gracie took the clueless boxer down in about a minute, and when Jimmerson hit the mat he was so confused by his surroundings he might as well been laying in a pool of Boba Fett’s urine on Tatooine. The ground was such a foreign place to him that customs agents stormed the arena in search of his passport.
Naturally, Jimmerson had never trained any sort of grappling or wrestling a day in his life and had no idea how to get back to his feet. Before Gracie could even think about slapping on a submission, Jimmerson gave up.
It’s the only time, to my knowledge, a fighter has tapped out due to position. Way to go Art. Maybe wearing two boxing gloves would have helped you fend off the evil floor with greater success.
1.) Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar
When: UFC 153, October 13, 2012
Outcome: TKO (knee to the body and punches), 4:40 of Rnd 1
There are three reasons why this is the most lopsided fight in MMA history.
One: Going in, people expected it to be an absolute beating and yet everyone was still amazed at how one-sided it was. Two: Stephan Bonnar is naturally a weight class above Silva and he tested positive for steroids after the fight. Three: Silva tried for roughly three seconds and still managed to knockout Bonnar out in spectacular fashion.
This was such a goofy fight that I don’t even know how to form coherent sentences about it. It was sort of like Silva vs. Griffin, only if Silva decided to literally stand in one spot the whole time and not throw a single punch. Two athletes competing professionally shouldn’t be this far apart in skill level. It looked like Randy Johnson throwing 100 mile-an-hour heaters to a blind kid.
Silva’s strategy in this fight seemed to be embarrassing Bonnar until he peed himself and ran out of the cage with his arms flopping around. I am not exaggerating when I say that Silva stood in the exact same spot and let Bonnar try to hit him for almost a whole round. And when Bonnar realizes his punches couldn’t harm the egg head of this immortal standing before him, he attempted a spinning back kick, which Silva simply sidestepped. Then he casually moved back into the same spot he was just standing.
I don’t know what was going through Bonnar’s mind during this sequence but if it was anything other than “I’m fucked”, he’s the most confident man in the world.
Towards the end of the round, Bonnar tripped and stumbled back across the cage. Silva, who seemed content to string this thing on as long as possible, simply couldn’t ignore his killer instinct any longer. As Bonnar bounced off the fence, Silva bounded after him and delivered a soul crushing knee to his sternum. Bonnar crumpled into a pathetic heap of broken bones and tears as Silva nonchalantly hovered over him and delivered a few more punches before the ref waved it off.
In the end, the fight only reaffirmed what Chris Leben, Forrest Griffin, and to a lesser extent, Rich Franklin and James Irvin, taught us: if Dana White comes to you with a contract to fight Anderson Silva and tells you to sign it, you politely tell him to fuck off and then stab him in the neck with his pen.
About the Author
Written by Erik Schmidt
I was born into a rich sports tradition in Chicago and graduated with a degree in super fandom from Marquette University. As the sports editor and columnist for the award-winning student newspaper the Marquette Tribune, I interviewed current NBA players Wes Matthews, Lazar Hayward, Jimmy Butler, Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, and talked LeBron and the lockout with ESPN's Chris Broussard during a televised roundtable discussion. I firmly believe that Derrick Rose is the best player in the NBA, the Cubs are honest to God cursed and that Jay Cutler has never smiled. The world's greatest sport is MMA, and though I don't have any real fighting experience, I once received 10 stitches in a bar fight. Enjoy my work, and best wishes.