Remember that this is exclusively a list about traditional kicks, though. Knees are off limits. So, without further ado-- let's get this party started.
HONORABLE MENTION- David Loiseau’s spinning back kick to the body leaves Charles McCarthy unable to continue.
The Event: UFC 53: Heavy Hitters on June 4, 2005
During MMA’s early days, spinning Tae Kwon Do style kicks were considered ineffective. However, when Canadian fighter David Loiseau decided to unleash his version of the maneuver on Charles McCarthy in the second round, the last thing onlookers called the move was ‘ineffective’.
Primarily because the kick dropped McCarthy and secured a victory for the Canadian fighter.
10. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s head kick KO’s Igor Vovchanchyn.
The Event: PRIDE: Total Elimination 2003 on August 10, 2003
At the time, people were wondering which of these fighters was the more dangerous striker. With one high left kick to the head in the first round, Vovchanchyn was left lying on the canvas and the answer was evident.
9. Georges St. Pierre sets up a TKO victory over Matt Hughes with a left head kick.
The Event: UFC 65: Bad Intentions on November 18, 2006
Matt Hughes is one of only a handful of fighters that can arguably lay claim to being the greatest MMA fighter of all-time. Thus, when Georges St. Pierre dropped him with a devastating left kick to the head and followed things up with several strikes on the ground, it wasn’t just a knockout.
It was a changing of the guard.
8. Edson Barboza's spinning heel kick puts Terry Etim to sleep.
The Event: UFC 142 on January 14, 2012
Round three started in Brazil, with the Brazilian- Edson Barboza- winning. And then he spun around and hit home with a spinning wheel kick, or as Tang Soo Do practitioners might say, a spinning hook kick, which left a very tough guy out cold on the canvas. Prior to this kick, most did not believe that anyone could pull off such a kick in the Octagon.
7. Anderson Silva's front kick ends Vitor Belfort's night.
The Event: UFC 126 on February 5, 2011
How many times have you seen a standard front kick in MMA end someone's night? How many times was it against a legendary striker by a legendary striker for an MMA title? This is why this particular kick makes the list. It was awesome!
6. Lyoto Machida knocks Randy Couture out with a jumping front kick.
The Event: UFC 129 on April 30, 2011
Couture was still one of the faces of MMA, albeit an aging one, when he stepped in there against Shotokan's own, Lyoto Machida. And then Machida pulled off a jumping front kick knockout to the delight of the crowd. It was the first time that anyone could remember such a knockout in the UFC's Octagon.
5. Pete Williams KO’s Mark “The Hammer” Coleman with a head kick.
The Event: UFC 17: Redemption on May 15, 1998
Coming off the first loss of his career via decision to Maurice Smith, many thought that Mark “The Hammer” Coleman would destroy Lion’s Den fighter, Pete Williams out of anger alone. After all, Coleman was in many people’s eyes an insurmountable force that Smith had simply been lucky to defeat.
But when Williams landed a high kick, a move that was rarely used in MMA at the time, and that was all she wrote.
Perhaps the first great high kick in MMA history.
4. Chuck Liddell’s head kick KO’s Renato “Babalu” Sobral.
The Event: UFC 40: Vendetta on November 22, 2002
Some knockouts can’t help but make the highlight reel. Perhaps no knockout in MMA history has gotten more airtime than when Liddell’s left shin made contact with Babalu’s head back in 2002. It was simply an amazing move that put Babalu to sleep and began to cement the legend that is Chuck Liddell.
3. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s head kick KO’s Wanderlei Silva.
The Event: PRIDE: Final Conflict Absolute on September 10, 2006
This event represents perhaps the last of the open weight tournaments in MMA. In addition, the fight was a rematch of an earlier draw. On top of it all, one would be hard pressed to get two scarier strikers into a ring. In other words, the stakes were quite high.
But on this night, Cro Cop dominated the action, culminating with a high left kick to the head that left Silva out cold on the canvas. It was a move that left no doubt who the more proficient stand up fighter was at the time.
2. Anthony Pettis's jumping round kick off the cage wall against Benson Henderson.
The Event: WEC 53 on December 16, 2010
It was the final WEC fight. It was to determine the last WEC lightweight champion. In other words, the stakes couldn't have been higher going into the 5th round of this very, very close fight.
At the time of this kick, very few practitioners were landing jumping kicks. So when Pettis actually jumped off of the cage wall and hit home with something out of The Matrix- yep, a jumping round kick off the wall that dropped Henderson. Well, it certainly sewed up the victory, even if it did not knock out Pettis's opponent.
1. Gabriel Gonzaga’s head kick KO’s Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
The Event: UFC 70: Nations Collide on April 21, 2007
This MMA kick makes it to the number one spot for two reasons. First, when Gabriel Gonzaga beat recent PRIDE transfer Mirko Cro Cop it was one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Second, just take a gander at this list. Cro Cop’s name is present multiple times previous to this one. During his career he defined the high kick in MMA. Thus, to lose in such dramatic fashion by a head kick to a man not known for throwing them was absolutely amazing.
Amazing enough to be named the greatest MMA kick in history, in fact.