Mixed martial arts is a brutal business in more ways than one. Fights themselves are hard, to be sure, and competitors have to be able to shake off shots that would put a normal person to sleep. Bones slamming full-speed off other bones and soft tissue cause bruises, breaks and cuts. They have to work through tight submissions and deal with the force of being slammed to the mat. Even more, however, the day-to-day work of being a professional fighter requires tremendous durability and a propensity for healing quickly from injuries. The mental fortitude necessary to keep working through all of that pain and discomfort is almost unbelievable.
It might go without saying, but fighters are almost by definition tough people. To stand out among that group is a truly special thing. The latest edition of Sherdog’s Top 10 series takes a look at the most durable competitors in the history of the sport, martial artists blessed with a tremendous capacity for absorbing damage without being knocked out, staying healthy and fighting consistently and putting together an exceptionally long career by dint of that resilience.
The Sherdog.com staff panel put forward a wide variety of names, and there are good cases to be made for each entry, not only in the list itself but also within the honorable mentions. This sport is full of tough, hard-nosed men and women, and no list of 10 fighters can do justice to them all.
Number 10 » Despite being past his peak from 2011 forward, his durability allowed him to fight through his opponents’ bursts of offense and wear them down with his sheer capacity for taking punishment. His fragile knees and generally quick deterioration from his physical prime hurt him in these rankings, but take nothing away from the heart and mental toughness he showed for so long.