Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

Striking Power of UFC Welterweights

This is the fourth of a series of posts estimating the striking power of UFC fighters by taking the following steps. First, I look at how many standing and clinch strikes each fighter listed on the UFC website has landed in their UFC career. Second, I look at how many knockdowns each fighter has landed in their UFC career, from Fight Metric’s website. The number I use to estimate striking power is the ratio of a fighter’s strikes landed to his knockdowns. This only looks at fighters who have landed at least 50 standing or clinch strikes in the UFC.

This is hardly a definitive measure for a number of reasons. One is that the sample sizes are very low; even the fighters with the longest UFC careers and the most strikes landed barely clear 600 strikes landed overall, and a large percentage have landed fewer than 100. Another is that knockdowns are not the only way striking power can be represented, but from all the statistics I’ve seen available, it’s the only way to measure striking power that I can think of.

Here is how the welterweights in the UFC stack up:

A few notes:

  • One thing that encourages me about this feature is that it’s been passing the “sniff test.” That’s not any sort of statistical standard, but it’s reasonable to think a metric should reflect at least a little conventional wisdom. If I put out a striking power metric that led with Nick Diaz and Rick Story, I should get called out for that. Jake Ellenberger joins Vitor Belfort, Igor Pokrajac, and Brock Lesnar as fighters having the most power in their respective divisions, and that makes a lot of sense to me.
  • With that said, Paulo Thiago being second is a mild surprise, but then I remembered his KO of Josh Koscheck and wins over Mike Swick and Jacob Volkmann. Thiago does indeed have serious striking power.
  • Matt Hughes has fought in the UFC 25 times, dating back all the way to 1999. The first knockdown he scored in his UFC career was against Renzo Gracie at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. He scored two knockdowns in that fight, and one against Ricardo Almeida in his following fight at UFC 117. Because Hughes has landed a mere 184 standing or clinch strikes over those 25 fights, he still rates well in striking power according to this method.
  • Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones rated in the middle of the pack in striking power in their respective divisions. Georges St-Pierre is the same way, rating 15th out of 40 UFC welterweights. It’s worth noting that interim champion Carlos Condit is one spot below St-Pierre.

Next up will be the lightweights!

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3 responses to “Striking Power of UFC Welterweights

  1. jiujitsuwarrior40 April 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I’d put Johnny Hendricks over Jake Ellenberger.

    • David Williams April 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Yeah, Hendricks is no joke. If he beats Koscheck, and I think he will, we might see him take on Ellenberger for the title shot after Carlos Condit fights GSP. That would be a really intense fight because of the power involved.

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