Mixed martial arts (MMA) has grown to be one of the world’s most popular sports. It is a seamless amalgamation of various martial arts disciplines, taking the best aspects from each art and creating a complete form of fighting. Millions of people from all across the globe watch mixed martial arts for the awesome display of flashy offensive maneuvers and technical wizardry.
Throughout the years, superstars were inevitably born from the corners of the cage. Built upon awe-inspiring performances, these superstars have captivated imaginations, pushed the limits of what is possible, and made indelible memories that leave a lasting impact on those watching.
Some of the moves these superstars have performed have become synonymous with their fighting styles. Every fighter has a signature move, some insane technique that only they can perform with a certain flair that makes it uniquely theirs.
From Conor McGregor’s straight left hand to two-division UFC World Champion Daniel Cormier’s overhead body slams, we’ll take a look at some of those moves today, explain why they are so effective, and delve into the superstars who executed them.
Ready to see some really cool techniques? Today, Evolve Daily shares five of the best signature moves in all of mixed martial arts.
1) Conor McGregor’s Straight Left Hand
Since bursting onto the scene against Marcus Brimage in 2013, former UFC Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion “The Notorious” Conor McGregor made one thing extremely evident the first time he stepped inside the octagon — that he had the knockout power to back up all the trash talk he dished out.
Brimming with confidence in possession of a monstrous left hand, McGregor stormed through the UFC’s featherweight ranks, beating its biggest names before stopping former pound-for-pound great Jose Aldo with a single left on that fateful evening, December 12, 2015. Since then, McGregor has been absolutely untouchable and quickly became the UFC’s most marketable star.
He would come into fights talking about knocking his opponents out with the left hand and then do exactly that. In fact, McGregor’s left hand is so powerful that even though his opponents know it’s coming, only a few have ever been able to stop it.
With McGregor last being in the octagon in 2016, it’s unclear if we’ll ever see him in action again. But the allure of continuing his mixed martial arts legacy could draw him back to the bright lights of the UFC.
2) Daniel Cormier’s Overhead Slams
Simultaneous two-division UFC World Champion Daniel “DC” Cormier has had it good so far in his run atop the promotion’s heaviest weight divisions. He is the reigning UFC Light Heavyweight World Champion, and after a recent knockout victory over former titleholder Stipe Miocic, he is now also the UFC Heavyweight World Champion.
Cormier has experienced success over his career by falling back on his greatest talent, his world-class wrestling. A former US Olympian, Cormier is known in the cage for his incredible brute strength, overpowering opponents with relentless takedowns and ground-and-pound. His signature move since the beginning of his career, however, has always been his emphatic overhead slams.
When Cormier closes the gap on an opponent, gets any sort of hook, expect whoever he’s up against to go for a ride, no matter how big or how strong they are. Cormier’s overhead throws are featured in the majority of his performances, taking guys like Anthony Johnson, the legendary Anderson Silva, and Alexander Gustafsson for dramatic slams to the canvas.
3) Angela Lee’s Twister Submission
Reigning ONE Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee from the Evolve Fight Team is as talented a martial artist as they come. At the tender age of 19, Lee became the youngest world champion in mixed martial arts history when she defeated Japanese veteran Mei Yamaguchi for the title in 2016. Since then, Lee has been on an absolutely incredible run, racking up an unblemished 9-0 record to start her professional career.
Despite improving in the striking department with every fight, the most prevalent theme throughout Lee’s performances has been her grappling. With a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Lee has stifled her opponents on the mat with effortless transitions and by remaining a constant threat to end any match with some sort of crafty submission.
In just her third professional contest, Lee unleashed her signature move, submitting Filipino-English opponent Natalie Gonzales Hills with a rare Twister submission, shocking the crowd in attendance. The Twister is a difficult move to pull off in the cage, but Lee executed it with such precision that she was able to finish the flashy technique.
She tried it again against Istela Nunes a year later, and almost forced a tap although Nunes powered through the hold, before being submitted later. But because of Lee’s consistent use of the Twister, it earned her the moniker of “Twister Sister”.
4) Georges St-Pierre’s Superman Punch
UFC legend Georges St-Pierre recently returned to competition, defeating Michael Bisping last November via rear naked choke. Prior to that, “GSP” as he is more affectionately known, spent over four years away from the cage to focus on his budding acting career.
Prior to Hollywood however, GSP was known as perhaps the most dominant UFC world champion in the history of the promotion. He made his UFC debut in 2004, and to this day is on a remarkable 13-year run, losing only to legends Matt Hughes and Matt Serra. For the longest time, GSP held the UFC welterweight title, until he decided to walk away from the sport following a close split decision victory over Johny Hendricks in 2013.
Although GSP’s strengths lie primarily in his wrestling, there is a particular move that he likes to perform, specifically to close the distance on rangy opponents, the superman punch. The move involves bringing the rear leg forward to fake a kick, then snapping the same leg back while throwing a straight punch.
This results in both greater power in the punch, while providing a way to dart into range against an opponent who is reluctant to engage. Since much of GSP’s game is predicated on getting close to his foes to bring them down to the mat, he has always put the superman punch to good use.
5) Diaz Brothers’ Stockton Slap
Last, but certainly not the least on this list, is the Diaz brothers’ infamous Stockton Slap. It isn’t so much an effective offensive technique that is essential to both Nick and Nate Diaz’ fighting style, rather, a demoralizing strike that is guaranteed to sap the confidence away from any opponent.
Representing Stockton, California, the Diaz brothers incorporated the Stockton Slap in their offensive repertoire as a means to taunt an opponent with a strike. Although it has almost zero offensive value, its effectiveness lies in how it can take opponents out of their game mentally. It’s absolutely humiliating to get hit with the Stockton Slap, and the Diaz brothers know this, which is why they make it a point to use the move in every fight.
The Stockton Slap is basically an open palm strike, followed by more taunting. Nate Diaz used it when he fought and beat Conor McGregor in 2016. McGregor was completely demoralized and eventually lost by second-round submission.