Wrestlers have had their share of success inside the cage as their takedowns and ground control allow them to dictate where fights take place. Many MMA experts would even argue that wrestling is the best base for mixed martial arts, given how much success takedown artists like Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Jon Jones have enjoyed in the modern era of mixed martial arts.
The Six Best Takedown Artists In The UFC
Let’s dive right into our list of the most effective offensive wrestlers in the UFC now:
1) Jon Jones
Jon Jones hasn’t wrestled as much in recent years as he increasingly falls in love with his striking for good reason, but there’s no question he’s one of the best at taking opponents down when he wants to.
Jones was the first man to take Olympian Daniel Cormier down inside the cage, and he’s taken down most of the elite wrestlers he’s ever faced, like Chael Sonnen, Ryan Bader, and Quinton Jackson. Jones is one of the few fighters in MMA who can take any opponent down, and his ground-and-pound is as vicious as it gets.
2) Islam Makhachev
Makhachev is one of the brightest young stars in the UFC, and he’s quickly making a name for himself as one of the best takedown artists in mixed martial arts.
Makhachev comes from a combat Sambo background, which shows in his fights as he can take down just about anyone he steps inside the cage with. His striking has improved leaps and bounds over the years, but it’s his grappling that makes him a true force to be reckoned with.
Islam’s ability to take opponents down is comparable to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s skills. Even good defensive wrestlers like Bobby Green aren’t able to put up much resistance to his takedowns. Islam’s dominance inside the cage has earned him a shot at the UFC’s current lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.
3) Khamzat Chimaev
Chimaev is another young star making a name for himself as one of the best grapplers in all mixed martial arts.
Chimaev comes from a wrestling background, and he never tasted defeat during his wrestling days. Khamzat transitioned to mixed martial arts in 2018, and he’s been on a tear ever since. He remains undefeated inside the cage, and he’s been able to take down everyone he’s faced with ease.
Khamzat is so confident about his wrestling abilities that he picked up Li Jingliang during their UFC 267 clash, walked across the cage with Li in his arms, and talked trash to UFC president Dana White before slamming Li to the canvas. He submitted Li seconds after he hit the canvas.
4) Tatiana Suarez
Suarez is one of the best female grapplers in all of mixed martial arts. Suarez was a decorated collegiate wrestler, and she’s been able to transfer her skills to the cage with ease. Suarez is undefeated inside the cage, and she’s shown an ability to take down just about anyone she steps inside the cage with.
Suarez started her MMA career by appearing on the “Ultimate Fighter” reality TV series and immediately established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the strawweight division. She even holds a win against the UFC’s current strawweight champion Carla Esparza. That was arguably her most impressive performance since she dominated Esparza, who is also an outstanding wrestler, with her takedowns before putting her away. Many MMA experts agree it’s only a matter before Suarez gets the belt around her waist.
Tatiana is also one of the most inspiring fighters in MMA. She battled cancer as a child and went right back to competing afterward.
5) Curtis Blaydes
Blaydes is one of the scariest heavyweight fighters in mixed martial arts because of his ability to take opponents down at will. Blaydes is a hulking mass of a man, and he uses his size and strength to his advantage when looking for takedowns.
Blaydes has some of the best wrestling in the heavyweight division, and he’s been able to take down just about everyone he’s faced inside the cage. His grappling is so good that even fighters like Junior Dos Anjos, who has some of the best takedown defense in all of MMA, couldn’t keep Blaydes from taking him down. That says a lot about Curtis’ abilities as a grappler.
While Curtis Blaydes is one of the best takedown artists in all of MMA, he’s also shown an ability to finish opponents with his striking. He holds notable KO wins over Alistair Overeem and Dos Anjos. So, not only can he take his opponents down, but he can put them away with his fists as well. That makes him a true force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division. Blades completes more than half of his takedown attempts and averages about seven takedowns for every 15 minutes he spends inside the cage.
6) Kamaru Usman
Usman is the former UFC welterweight champion, and he’s widely considered one of the best grapplers in all of mixed martial arts. Usman comes from a wrestling background, and he’s been able to use his grappling skills to dominate just about everyone he’s faced inside the cage.
While Usman doesn’t have the highest takedown percentage, he’s highly efficient with his takedowns. He usually goes for takedowns in the later rounds when he knows his opponents are tired, and that’s when he does the most damage. Usman averages about five takedowns for every 15 minutes he spends inside the cage, but those numbers jump up to seven takedowns per 15 minutes in the later rounds. Even decorated wrestlers like Colby Covington haven’t been able to stop Usman from taking them down.
Usman isn’t just an elite grappler; he’s also an extremely strong and powerful fighter. He uses his grappling skills to tire out his opponents, then pours on the punishment with his fists. Usman has some of the best cardio in all of MMA, allowing him to maintain his high level of grappling for all five rounds.
You may also like: