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5 UFC fighters that could be the real life Rocky

Johny Payne
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 09:27 IST
American actor Sylvester Stallone, London, 12th January 1979. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Rocky, though a fictional character, could take a hard shot

Fight fans, when you think of the movie ‘Rocky’, you think of the iconic performances, the characters and the over-the-top fight scenes. Many viewers find the boxing matches in the movie franchise to be an unrealistic portrayal of how a real life fight would go.

However, what if I tell you that people like the character, “Rocky’, actually exist, in real life. Well, they do! And why search far and wide, when we have our own versions of Rocky, right here, in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Real-life versions of the iconic movie character compete on a regular basis inside the world famous Octagon. Now, the finest attribute of Rocky, being his durability and granite chin, the fighters resembling the character also ought to have these similar, much sought about attributes.

UFC fighters with an iron chin and an unbreakable will. Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

The UFC has served as a witness to several tough, iconic fighters, over the years, who can take an ungodly amount of punishment; and still keep going. Since it’s, obviously, not possible to include all those, said fighters into one article, what we have below, is a list of the five most durable ones.

#5 Roy Nelson

LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 29:  Roy Nelson white trunks of Lion
 Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson (22-13, 2 losses by KO/TKO) 


Roy Nelson, the Heavyweight (HW) division’s favorite punching bag, co-incidentally, also happens to be one of the most durable HWs of all time. Nelson also has mind-numbing power in his strikes, well, at least, in his right hand.

Nelson started off as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) wizard. However, eventually, he moved away from his vaunted ground game, and drifted toward becoming over-reliant on his missile of a right hand. Nelson started knocking people out, right around his time in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) house.


Nelson’s newfound KO power helped him put several notable opponents to sleep, namely Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic, Matt Mitrione and Brendan Schaub, among many others. Nelson is always introduced as a Kung-Fu fighter, owing to him having a Kung-Fu background. However, Nelson, at his very core, is a BJJ savant with a huge overhand right. 

Now, let us understand Nelson’s durability and a few reasons behind it. Words cannot do justice to Nelson’s iron chin. Nelson has fought the best of the best in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for a long time; beaten a few and got beaten up by a few. Nelson isn’t your conventional athlete or MMA fighter.

In fact, at first glance, a stranger might mistake him for an over-weight, couch potato, on a diet of fried foods galore. However, Nelson’s athleticism is innate. He is, truly, a good athlete, as proven by the multiple fights he has been in, where he took his opponents the distance.

His 5 round war with Josh Barnett. His 3 round appearance against Fabricio Werdum, where Werdum used Nelson as a human Muay Thai bag. His fight against a prime Junior Dos Santos, in which, ‘Cigano’ used Nelson’s belly as a boxing heavy bag and his head as a boxing maize bag.

These fights are just a few examples of Nelson, being able to endure ungodly amounts of damage, and still keep trucking on. 

An important characteristic of Nelson, is that, as an MMA fighter, he has always had his BJJ game to fall back on. That, in turn, allows him to strike, without the fear of being taken down. In fact, he times the opponents who try to take him to the mat, and catches them with his feared, overhand right. Nelson, may be a bit one-dimensional, as of late, not using his BJJ to threaten opponents and simply spamming the overhand right, time and again.

However, till date, his durability has never changed. He has an excellent defensive boxing game. His timing and distance management is also excellent. Inspite of being a bit short for modern HW standards at 6’0”, Nelson more than makes up for it against bigger opponents by his decent parrying and ability to cover up, when under-fire.

‘Big Country’s’ toughness, is something to behold. 

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Published 21 Jan 2017, 00:47 IST
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