5 Best Cardio Freaks in MMA
Anyone who has ever fought in MMA or wrestled will tell you that one of the most intimidating things you can go up against in competition is someone you know won’t stop. From the initial bell to the end, they will keep coming at you full speed. And it is from that concept which the five best cardio freaks in MMA was born from.
Wondering who made the list and where they fell in?
Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar (Tie)
Benson Henderson has finished five round fights on seven occasions, winning six of those bouts by decision. The clear visible thing to fans and fighters everywhere during those wins (and his one loss in a five-round bout) was that Henderson was fighting at the same speed at the beginning of the bout as he was at the end. What’s more, it is often the case that fighters with good cardio are best on the ground or their feet. Henderson can fight anywhere at top speed all fight long. And it is for these reasons that he finds himself on our list.
Frankie Edgar has gone five rounds on seven occasions during his MMA career, going 3-3-1 in those bouts. Not the greatest record. But when you realize that his losses came to Benson Henderson (twice) and Jose Aldo and that all of those fights were close and could’ve gone his way, the record looks a lot better. But beyond the fact that in all of those fights he was gaining toward the end, it is the fight he managed where he managed to tie Gray Maynard that was most impressive from a cardio standpoint. They say that toughness is often born from cardio, in that those who are in great shape can come back from a tough beating. Well, Edgar was hurt beyond belief in that fight and still managed to come back. We’re talking about an amazing cardio and toughness freak with some of the greatest heart fans have ever seen in a cage.
The bottom line is that there are numerous flyweights who have impressive cardio. In the end, it’s easier to possess a never-ending motor when you weigh less. But what sets Demetrious Johnson apart in this regard are two things. First, he fought in the bantamweight division for a while, where he did extremely well and even took then-champ Dominick Cruz the distance. And since he’s dropped to flyweight, he has yet to lose and has went the five-round distance on four occasions. For fighting better while keeping the pressure on, Johnson makes this list.
This is not your everyday pick. Some may not look at Brown as a cardio freak, in that he doesn’t go the distance in five-round fights very often. Further, he tends to look tired in bouts toward the end. But here is why Brown makes this list. Stephen Thompson beat the living bleep out of him early in their fight. But as often happens, Brown’s toughness and cardio allowed him to weather the storm to come back and win. Jordan Mein had a great round one, only to find out that the guy in front of him just wasn’t going to quit, losing by second-round TKO. The bottom line is that Brown fights at a furious pace and almost always outlasts opponents. And that’s why he lands at No. 3 on our list.
To tell the story of Nick Diaz’s cardio, looking to five round fights and his record in them is not the way to go. The triathlete’s output is, as well as the way he is able to come back from being hurt to pull out the victory. The bottom line is that no one throws more punches in an MMA cage than Diaz. The pressure he brings is constant and unyielding, and that’s whether you hurt him- as Paul Daley and Evangelista Santos once did- or not. Diaz will never stop, nor relent, and everyone he fights knows it. The bottom line is that if you are not in great cardio shape, you are very unlikely to be able to defeat Diaz. In fact, his cardio doesn’t just allow him to go the distance, it often overwhelms and then stops other fighters. And that is what lands him at number two on our list.
This was the easiest pick. Finding a legitimate heavyweight fighter with great cardio is hard, primarily because moving that kind of weight around doesn’t often allow someone to keep their wind. Yet somehow, Cain Velasquez is able to push the pace in both the clinch and with grappling all fight long against the best that MMA has to offer. What this man is able to do, the way he’s able to break top-level opponents is nothing short of amazing. Velasquez has the most impressive cardio in MMA today. In fact, what he’s done to date indicates that he also possesses the most impressive cardio in MMA history to date. Thus, he’s the clear winner on our list.