UFC fighters risk the chance of getting knocked out every time they step inside the octagon. On several occasions, we have seen fighters put to sleep due to vicious strikes.
However, there remain a select few UFC fighters who, either by dint of an exceptional chin or formidable defense, have avoided getting knocked out in their entire careers.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya doesn't feature on this list as he has a knockout loss dating back to his kickboxing days. Adesanya was knocked out by Alex Pereira in the former's last kickboxing bout at Glory of Heroes 7 in January 2017. That aside, let's look at five UFC fighters who have never been knocked out in their entire UFC careers:
#5: Jon Jones
Jon Jones is arguably the greatest fighter of all time and it's hard to dispute the claim after a look at his credentials. 'Bones' has emerged victorious in all 22 of his outings in the UFC, 15 of which were title fights. After more than a decade of domination in the UFC's lightweight division, Jones has never been submitted or knocked out inside the octagon.
Jones made his MMA debut in April 2008 and amassed a 6-0 record over three months before signing with the UFC. In his last bout outside the UFC, Jon Jones defeated Moyses Gabin via second-round TKO at BCX 5 for the USKBA Light Heavyweight Championship.
#4: Valentina Shevchenko
UFC women's bantamweight champion Valentina Shevchenko's biggest asset is her formidable chin. 'Bullet' has a 21-3 professional record and has never been finished barring an anomaly.
The one stoppage loss in Shevchenko's career came when she faced Liz Carmouche at the C3 Fights: Red River Rivalry in September 2010. While 'Bullet' was dominant for the larger part of the fight, an illegal upkick from Carmouche in the third round opened up a huge cut on Valentina's forehead. The referee did not call the illegal strike and the cageside doctor put the fight to a stop after Shevchenko was deemed unfit to continue. Instead of a disqualification win, Valentina Shevchenko was handed a loss via doctor's stoppage.
But there is no doubting the chin of Valentina Shevchenko. On two occasions, she went toe-to-toe for five rounds against arguably the greatest women's combat athlete of all time, Amanda Nunes. The Lioness herself could not finish Shevchenko and even came close to losing in the second outing.
#3: Marvin Vettori
Marvin Vettori is riding a five-fight win streak going into his title bout against Israel Adesanya at UFC 263. The Italian's latest loss dates back to 2018, a closely contested split decision against none other than UFC middleweight champion Adesanya himself. Vettori's only other defeat inside the UFC came in his second outing with the promotion when he lost to Antonio Carlos Júnior at UFC 207.
Marvin Vettori's two remaining career losses also came via decisions while competing on the Italian regional circuit.
#2: Max Holloway
With his recent victory over Calvin Kattar, Max Holloway now officially holds the record for the most fights without ever being knocked down in the UFC. Out of the 28 fights in his professional career, 24 were in the UFC, including opponents like Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Alexander Volkanovski, Jose Aldo, Brian Ortega, Anthony Pettis, Frankie Edgar, Charles Oliveira and Jeremy Stephens. Holloway holds three decision wins and one TKO victory on the four occasions that he competed outside the promotion.
The closest Holloway came to being knocked out was during his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 236. Max Holloway was saved by the cage as Poirier dazed him with a jab and wobbled him with an overhand right in the final seconds of round 2.
#1: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov has time and again proved that he is an elite athlete. Apart from his extraordinary grappling, 'The Eagle' also sports an excellent chin. We have seen Khabib eat brutal shots from knockout artists like Conor McGregor and Justin Gaethje, but 'The Eagle' has walked through them on every occasion. As he remains retired with a perfect 29-0 record, there is no question of a knockout loss in Khabib Nurmagomedov's career.
The lone defeat in Khabib's career came in an amateur sambo tournament when Khabib was 17. Despite putting up a tough fight, Khabib lost via decision to 20-year-old Ibragimov, who later won bronze medals at the 2016 Olympics and 2018 Asian Games.
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