In all sports, everybody loves a winner. Fans and observers alike flock to sing the praises of the victorious party as long as he’s enjoying his moment in the sun. But in mixed martial arts, winning may prove to be insufficient on its own, especially when you work under the banner of UFC president Dana White who often preaches the importance of finishes.
So while some try their best to please the boss’ advice (AKA demands), others are natural-born killers, fighters who are predatory by nature.
This highly popular species of contestants are either submission experts who are able to suffocate the fight out of their opponents, or knockout artists who enjoy leaving their counterparts flat on the canvas. Furthermore, some belong to a special breed specialized in both arts
So who are the UFC fighters who registered the most finishes in the organization’s history?
Time to reveal the list.
Top 12 Most UFC Finishes of All-Time
Charles Oliveira is the absolute king of UFC finishes. Twenty of his opponents weren’t able to hear the final bell.
Jim Miller is in second place with 17, while the universally beloved Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone completes the podium with 16 finishes to his name.
So let’s take a look at the Top 12 list:
|Light Heavyweight, Middleweight
|Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, Middleweight
1. Charles Oliveira – 20 Finishes
Charles Oliveira doesn’t only hold the UFC record for the most submission wins, but also has more overall finishes than any other fighter in the organization’s history.
The former UFC lightweight champion is one of the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioners to ever grace the Octagon, if not the ultimate best.
The Brazilian managed to submit 16 of his UFC opponents. But ironically, his most significant victory in the company came via knockout rather than a submission win. Oliveira finished Michael Chandler with punches to clinch the vacant UFC lightweight championship in May 2021.
2. Jim Miller – 17 Finishes
Jim Miller is a true fighters’ fighter. He’s the ultimate company man who’s willing to show up anywhere, anytime, and save the day. Yet, the lightweight staple isn’t just there to earn his show money, but also to add another memorable finish to his illustrious resume.
The American holds the record for the most wins in UFC history. He had his hand raised at the end of 25 UFC fights, and 17 of those didn’t need the intervention of the three judges.
Miller won six fights via knockout, and an astonishing 11 through submission. He also made more UFC appearances than any other fighter.
3. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone – 16 Finishes
Thanks to his undeniable charisma and incredibly laid-back attitude, Donald Cerrone stole the hearts of fight fans all around the world. But his knack for finishing fights certainly helped his cause, establishing him as arguably the most beloved fighter in UFC history.
Cowboy’s record showcases his well-rounded game, collecting 10 wins via knockouts and six via submissions. Overall, 16 of his UFC opponents failed to reach the final bell.
Towards the end of his fighting days, Cerrone’s record saw a rise in the number of losses, but his fabulous legacy remains untainted.
4. Matt Brown – 15 Finishes
Matt Brown never managed to reach the pinnacle of the sport. But his ability to knock out opponents in a rather brutal fashion made him an instant hit with the fans and UFC brass alike.
“The Immortal” finished 13 fighters via KO/TKO. While the ground game isn’t really his thing, he still pulled off a couple of submission victories to raise his tally of finishes to 15.
5. Anderson Silva – 14 Finishes
When it comes to MMA royalty, Anderson Silva is on top of the echelon. Some consider the legendary middleweight as the greatest UFC fighter of all time.
However, the Brazilian’s GOAT claim doesn’t solely rest upon his seven-year reign of terror at 185 pounds. “The Spider” boosted his iconic status with a string of jaw-dropping finishes.
His most memorable knockout is a front kick to the face of his compatriot Vitor Belfort (another member of this illustrious list).
Silva only had three submission wins on his UFC record, but one happens to be one of the most ground-shattering finishes in the history of the sport. Of course we’re talking about the fifth-round triangle choke that denied Chael Sonnen victory in a title fight back in 2010, although the latter had dominated the bout for four and a half rounds, as he’ll often remind us.
5. Vitor Belfort – 14 Finishes
Despite being a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, knocking people out is Vitor Belfort’s weapon of choice. The legendary fighter was one of the most explosive strikers in the sport, and has 12 KO/TKO to show it during his various UFC stints.
“The Phenom” caused a stir in 2013 with his overblown physique and high testosterone levels, but regardless, that year saw him finish three fellow UFC champions in the shape of Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson with vicious kicks.
5. Derrick Lewis -14 Finishes
As demonstrated by the table above, Derrick Lewis is the only fighter on the list whose finishes don’t vary between KO and submissions. His 14 stoppages all came through knockouts, setting a UFC record.
The former heavyweight title challenger has no intention of taking the fight to the ground and trying to submit his opponent. Once his foe hits the canvas, it most likely means the fight is already over.
5. Dustin Poirier – 14 Finishes
With nine knockouts and five submission wins to his name, Dustin Poirier cemented himself as one of the best finishers in UFC history.
The American’s knack for producing thrilling finishes endeared him to fight fans. “The Diamond” is yet to win an undisputed title in the UFC, but he remains a bona fide fan favorite.