Tuesday, April 23

10 Toughest Chins in UFC History

Highlights

  • Diego Sanchez showed unyielding toughness with 14 years and 35 fights before a knockout loss.
  • Jon Jones, despite controversy, is admired for tenacity, taking hits like a champ, and never being finished.
  • Brian Ortega’s resilience is evident in how he survives and bounces back against tough opponents.



A UFC fighter’s ability to absorb an opponent’s best punch or kick and continuously move forward is perhaps one of the most useful yet immeasurable skills in MMA. Many fighters spend countless hours physically preparing for their upcoming bouts through grueling training camps. However, having the incalculable fortitude to survive an opponent’s most brutal output trumps all when faced with adversity inside the octagon.

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10 Diego Sanchez Had a Never-Say-Die Attitude

Sanchez Was Tough To Put Down

Diego Sanchez flexes before a UFC fight


Date of Birth

Dec. 31, 1981

Place of Birth

USA

Age

42

Year of MMA Debut

2002

Overall MMA Record

30-14

It took 14 years and 35 professional MMA bouts for Diego Sanchez to suffer a knockout loss to an opponent. The inaugural Ultimate Fighter winner is one of the most successful competitors in UFC history. He enjoyed an intriguing 20-year professional career before retiring. Sanchez was known for his toughness and no-quit attitude. It earned him seven Fight of the Night honors and 19 victories during his time with the UFC.


He had epic battles with UFC veterans where he beat Nick Diaz, Joe Riggs, Clay Guida, Takanori Gomi, Ross Pearson, Jim Miller, and Martin Kampmann. Sanchez’s chin was on full display when he fought B.J. Penn for the UFC lightweight title and suffered immense punishment for four straight rounds in 2009. Despite losing that via doctor’s stoppage, he floated between divisions, fighting at welterweight, too. Sanchez’s grit and resilience will forever be remembered by longtime fans, even in other losses against the likes of Gilbert Melendez, Ricardo Lamas and Matt Brown.

9 Jon Jones Has A Granite Chin

‘Bones’ Has Never Been Finished


Date of Birth

Jul. 19, 1987

Place of Birth

USA

Age

36

Year of MMA Debut

2008

Overall MMA Record

27-1 (1 NC)

Jon Jones might have courted controversy a lot inside and outside the UFC cage. But it’s hard to deny his accomplishments and how tough he is. Jones became the youngest UFC champ when he took the light heavyweight gold in 2011, and since then, he has only moved upwards. But Jones wasn’t just an innovator in terms of grappling and striking.

He was a machine who took hits from the best in that division. Whether it was Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira, Daniel Cormier, Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes, Jones never went down. He always found a way to dig deep in championship rounds and eke out the win. To this day, Cormier often says that, while he doesn’t like Jones personally, people have to respect his tenacity and ability to never be finished. This is why ‘Bones’ is White and GSP’s favorite fighter.


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8 Brian Ortega Has A Frame Of Steel

Ortega’s Opponents Have To Dig Deep

Brian Ortega throws a kick in the UFC cage

Date of Birth

Feb. 21, 1991

Place of Birth

USA

Age

33

Year of MMA Debut

2010

Overall MMA Record

16-3 (1 NC)

Brian Ortega has only been stopped through injury (as seen with the shoulder issue vs. Yair Rodríguez in 2022), or by the doctor in the Max Holloway bout in 2018. Other than that, win, lose or draw, Ortega won’t go down. It was evident in the decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski as well.


But Ortega’s rugged nature shines most in his wins. These included a decision over the ‘Korean Zombie,’ and a recent submission win over Rodríguez after being battered in the first round. Wins over Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson and Renato Moicano further reiterate that Ortega can walk through fire against some of the hardest hitters in the UFC featherweight division.

7 Marlon Vera Is Like A Zombie

‘Chito’ Keeps On Coming

Sean O'Malley punches Chito Vera at UFC 299

Date of Birth

Dec. 2, 1992

Place of Birth

Ecuador

Age

31

Year of MMA Debut

2010

Overall MMA Record

23-9-1


Marlon Vera has also never been finished. Even in the loss at UFC 299 against Sean O’Malley, fighters, fans and commentators were curious how he could survive being bruised and bloodied for five rounds. Look no further than decision losses to José Aldo, Song Yadong, and Cory Sandhagen.

Not even these high-caliber fighters can sleep ‘Chito.’ Vera’s chin helped garner wins over Dominick Cruz, Edgar, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font. All of them were stumped by how much punishment he could absorb and brush it off like nothing. ‘Chito’ might not be championship caliber just yet in the UFC bantamweight division, but his style will keep winning him fans.

6 Clay Guida Has An Immortal Spirit

Guida’s Cardo And Energy Are Neverending

Clay Guida gets hyped as he enters the UFC octagon


Date of Birth

Dec. 8, 1981

Place of Birth

USA

Age

42

Year of MMA Debut

2003

Overall MMA Record

38-24

If Tarzan was ever to compete inside the Octagon, it would probably resemble the fighting style of Clay Guida. The Illinois native is a fan-favorite and has only lost by knockout twice in his career against Ortega and Chad Mendes. Guida was renowned for being able to absorb incredible amounts of punishment while continuing to move forward and threaten his opponents with his wrestling abilities.


He has victories over Joe Lauzon, Anthony Pettis, and Nate Diaz in his UFC career. He continues to compete at a high level today. Many fans don’t want the veteran to retire because, no matter what, he will always be entertaining.

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5 Max Holloway Is Another Inhuman Fighter

‘Blessed’ Has Never Been Knocked Out

Date of Birth

Dec. 4, 1991

Place of Birth

USA

Age

32

Year of MMA Debut

2010

Overall MMA Record

25-7


Max Holloway only got finished once — a submission to Dustin Poirier way back in 2012. Since then, Holloway has become one of the legendary featherweights in the UFC. He even has fans from his brief sojourn into the lightweight realm. A big part of this is due to his exceptional boxing.

But it’s also because of his chin. ‘Blessed’ can take hits like no other. Just ask Volkanovski who couldn’t finish him in three attempts. Wins over Arnold Allen, Aldo, ‘Korean Zombie,’ Ortega, and so many more affirm that Holloway is unbreakable. This is why fans are hyped for Holloway and Justin Gaethje to collide at UFC 300.

4 Francis Ngannou Is A Superhuman

‘Le Predator’ Is A Wondrous Physical Specimen


Date of Birth

Sep. 5, 1986

Place of Birth

Cameroon

Age

37

Year of MMA Debut

2013

Overall MMA Record

17-3

Francis Ngannou doesn’t let people hit him much. And even if they do, he can withstand it. Don’t be fooled by him getting slept by Anthony Joshua in boxing. Remember, he dealt with Tyson Fury quite handily in 2023. But in MMA, his chin is something different.

Ngannou has knocked out most opponents very quickly. These include Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Stipe Miocic, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem and Andre Arlovski. But he has taken massive hits and survived. It was observed when he scraped out a decision win over Ciryl Gane on a bad knee, and in decision losses to Miocic and Derrick Lewis. ‘Le Predator’ just can’t be finished in the MMA cage, leaving enthusiasts eager to see how PFL’s Renan Ferreira vs. Ngannou will unfold.


3 Dan Henderson Had An Unbreakable Energy

It Took A Lot To Send ‘Hendo’ Down

Date of Birth

Aug. 24, 1970

Place of Birth

USA

Age

53

Year of MMA Debut

1997

Overall MMA Record

32-15

When it comes UFC titans, Dan Henderson is indeed a juggernaut. The Pride and UFC veteran did not suffer his first professional knockout loss until 16 years into his career against Vitor Belfort. He held jaw-dropping knockout victories over Michael Bisping, Hector Lombard, and Maurício Rua before this.


Perhaps his most impressive performance to date was his comeback KO victory over MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. After being dropped by Emelianenko, Henderson quickly recovered and reversed positions, finishing Emelianenko with thunderous ground-and-pound. Henderson’s chin will be remembered as one of the most difficult to crack in MMA history. Not even Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva could end him as he moved between light heavyweight and middleweight.

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2 Nate Diaz Got Stronger When He Bled

Diaz Had An Indomitable Ability To Charge Up

Nate Diaz raises his hands after submitting Conor McGregor at UFC 196


Date of Birth

Apr. 16, 1985

Place of Birth

USA

Age

38

Year of MMA Debut

2004

Overall MMA Record

21-13

Nate Diaz’s ability to take a punch is simply unnatural. The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner is infamous for his cocky personality, in-cage antics, and ability to come back in any fight, no matter how much damage he takes. The Stockton native holds victories over Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone, Gray Maynard, and Conor McGregor.

Diaz is generally a slow starter who finds himself down on the scorecards after absorbing multiple shots. However, he almost always finds a way to recover, shocking fans and his opponents alike. His comeback victory over McGregor launched his career into superstardom. But purists know that he has more to him than just submitting folks. It’s why the current welterweight champion, Leon Edwards, couldn’t sleep him. Not even Jake Paul could put Diaz down in boxing, which stirs intrigue for when Diaz and Jorge Masvidal box.


1 Frankie Edgar Felt Like A Cyborg

‘The Answer’ Was Another UFC Zombie

Date of Birth

Oct. 16, 1981

Place of Birth

USA

Age

42

Year of MMA Debut

2005

Overall MMA Record

24-11-1

There are not many fighters who are real-life examples of Rocky Balboa. Of all the chins in UFC history, Frank Edgar’s ability to take a powerful punch is remarkable. Edgar was always considered smaller and weaker than his opponents but always found a way to win on multiple occasions. The former UFC lightweight champion was the first lightweight to defeat B.J. Penn twice at 155. He also had wins over Swanson, Urijah Faber, Mendes, Rodríguez, and Charles Oliveira.


After facing Penn for a second time and successfully defending his title, Edgar would engage in an epic two-fight series with top-ranked lightweight Gray Maynard. In their first title fight, Maynard dropped Edgar three times in the first round and nearly finished him multiple times. The champion was able to recover and fight to a split draw. In their second title fight, Maynard again dropped Edgar several times, but the champion was able to recover and incredibly finish Maynard in round four. While Edgar retired after three consecutive losses, his previous comebacks helped push him into the UFC Hall of Fame. He embodies the adage: you can’t keep a good man down.

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